“Christ crucified is the sum of the Gospel, and contains all the riches of it. Paul was so much taken with Christ, that nothing sweeter than Jesus could drop from his pen and lips. It is observed that he hath the word ‘Jesus’ five hundred times in his Epistles.”
Category Archives: Paul
“Admittedly, Luther is prone to seeing his own circumstances reflected in biblical texts (if this is a fault); and (herein lies a very great fault), when he writes polemically, his terms and tone are often monumentally lamentable.
Still, one has only to read a few pages of his writings (most any will do) to realize that, in crucial respects, he inhabits the same world, and breathes the same air, as the apostle. Both are driven by a massive, unremitting sense of answerability to their Maker.
For both, the message of God’s grace in Christ is a source of palpable liberty and joy, and of prodigious παρρησία. For both, the faith in God awakened by the message of the cross is a living, busy, active, mighty thing; for both, works without faith are dead.
Neither makes the slightest gesture toward cloaking his horror and indignation at any perceived tampering with the divine kerygma or infringement of divine prerogatives. Such kindredness of spirit gives Luther an inestimable advantage over many readers of Paul in ‘capturing’ the essence of the apostle’s writings.
On numerous points of detail, Luther may be the last to illumine. For those, however, who would see forest as well as trees, I am still inclined to propose a trip to the dustbins of recent Pauline scholarship—to retrieve and try out, on a reading of the epistles, the discarded spectacles of the Reformer.”
–Stephen Westerholm, “The ‘New Perspective’ at Twenty-Five,” in Justification and Variegated Nomism: The Paradoxes of Paul (eds. D.A. Carson, Peter T. O’Brien, and Mark A. Seifrid, vol. 2, 181st ed.; Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament; Grand Rapids, MI; Tübingen: Baker Academic; Mohr Siebeck, 2004), 38.
“We become fruitful by grace; we persevere by grace; we mature by grace; by grace we grow to love one another the more, and by grace we cherish holiness and a deepening knowledge of God.
Therefore Paul reminds his readers at the end of his prayer that everything he has asked for is available only on the basis of grace. The Savior himself cannot be glorified in our lives, nor can we be finally glorified, apart from the grace that He provides.”
–D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1992), 60–61.
“Virtually every element of Christ’s work that is of interest to Paul is connected in some way to union with Christ. Salvation, redemption, reconciliation, creation, election, predestination, adoption, sanctification, headship, provision, His death, resurrection, ascension, glorification, self-giving, the gifts of grace, peace, eternal life, the Spirit, spiritual riches and blessings, freedom, and the fulfillment of God’s promises are all related to union with Christ.”
–Constantine Campbell, Paul and Union with Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 331-332.
“The resurrection of believers is set before the church time and time again in many different contexts as the great redemptive occurence of the future. It springs directly from and has its explanation in the reality of the resurrection of Christ, the center of the Pauline proclamation (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 4:14).
His own people were already included in Christ’s resurrection, and baptism is the sacramental incorporation into this redemptive event (Rom. 6:4ff.; Col. 2:12; 3:1). The actual renewal of their life is the likeness of Christ’s resurrection (Rom. 6:5); in it the resurrection of Christ is already working itself out (Rom. 6:8; 2 Cor. 4:10ff.), and will work itself out more and more (2 Cor. 3:18).
It is this having been raised with Christ, this being permitted to know oneself alive for God in Christ (Rom. 6:11), this having already put on the new man (of the resurrection) (Col. 3:10), which has its consummation in the resurrection from the dead at Christ’s parousia.
And in proportion as believers may be the more forcefully aware of having been included in this spiritual event of renewal, they will also be the more fervent for its full outworking in the resurrection of the dead (Phil. 3:11ff)…
Christ has robbed death of its power (2 Tim. 1:10), given His own victory over death (1 Cor. 15:57). His resurrection and that of His people form an unbreakable unity.”
–Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1966/1975), 537-538.