Paul Concept of Grace

Two facts about Grace: it is a lovely thing (charis can mean physical beauty – charm) and it always has in it the idea of a gift which is completely free and entirely undeserved (gratis).

A strange teaching to the Jews: rewards and punishments were given out in some sort of accordance with man’s righteousness and sin.

  1. The relationship between God and man was one of debit and credit.
  2. The Law was designed to enable a man to amass and to acquire credit in the sight of God.
  3. Nothing could be more drastically opposed to Paul.

Paul begins and ends ever letter with grace:

  1. To all who are beloved of God in Rome, called [as] saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)
  2. [The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.] (Romans 16:24)
  3. To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their [Lord] and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:2-3)
  4. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. (1 Corinthians 16:23)
  5. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy [our] brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:1-2)
  6. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
  7. Paul, an apostle (not [sent] from men, nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me, to the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, (Galatians 1:1-3)
  8. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen. (Galatians 6:18)
  9. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and [who are] faithful in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 1:1)
  10. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with [a love] incorruptible. (Ephesians 6:24)
  11. Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: (Philippians 1:1)
  12. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (Philippians 4:23)
  13. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ [who are] at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. (Colossians 1:1-2)
  14. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you. (Colossians 4:18)
  15. Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. (1 Thessalonians 1:1)
  16. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (1 Thessalonians 5:28)
  17. Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:1-2)
  18. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. (2 Thessalonians 3:18)
  19. Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved [brother] and fellow worker, and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philemon 1:1-3)
  20. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (Philemon 1:25)

There is no other explanation for the change in Paul other than the grace of God: (persecutor of the church to preacher).

Paul speaks without distinction between the grace of God and the grace of Jesus Christ:

  1. I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, (1 Corinthians 1:4)
  2. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness [comes] through the Law, then Christ died needlessly. (Galatians 2:21)
  3. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. (1 Corinthians 16:23)
  4. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (Philippians 4:23)
  5. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen. (Galatians 6:18)
  6. [The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.] (Romans 16:24)

Behind everything is the initiative of God:

  1. I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, (1 Corinthians 1:4)
  2. The mind and attitude of Jesus and the mind and attitude of God are the same. They are identical.

The basic idea behind grace is the undeserved generosity of God:

  1. I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, (1 Corinthians 1:4)
  2. Of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. (Ephesians 3:7)
  3. And working together [with Him,] we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain– (2 Corinthians 6:1)
  4. Now, brethren, we [wish to] make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, (2 Corinthians 8:1)
  5. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
  6. Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. (Romans 4:4)
  7. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. (Romans 11:6)
  8. To the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:6)
  9. Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly [places], in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Ephesians 2:5-9)

There is an inexhaustible abundance in the grace of God:

  1. While they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. (2 Corinthians 9:14)
  2. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; (2 Corinthians 9:8)
  3. And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, (Romans 5:20)
  4. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, (Ephesians 1:7)
  5. In order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:7)

Grace is Paul’s main argument:

  1. To the Romans: “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.” (Romans 11:6)
  2. To the Galatians: “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness [comes] through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” (Galatians 2:21)

We are not only saved by grace, but called by grace:

  1. I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; (Galatians 1:6)
  2. In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to [God’s] gracious choice. (Romans 11:5)
  3. But when He who had set me apart, [even] from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace, was pleased (Galatians 1:15)
  4. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy [our] brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia: (2 Corinthians 1:1)
  5. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, (Ephesians 3:8)
  6. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it. (1 Corinthians 3:10)
  7. For our proud confidence is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you. (2 Corinthians 1:12)
  8. And recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we [might go] to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. (Galatians 2:9)
  9. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)

Illuminating parallels to 1 Corinthians:

  1. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)
  2. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word [of mouth] or by letter from us. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:15-17)
  3. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

It is grace that is responsible for any nobility in life:

  1. For our proud confidence is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you. (2 Corinthians 1:12)
  2. But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, [see] that you abound in this gracious work also. (2 Corinthians 8:7)
  3. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

There is an obligation of grace – grace bestowed in vain:

  1. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
  2. And working together [with Him,] we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain– (2 Corinthians 6:1)

This material is from William Barclay, the Mind of St. Paul, 1975.

Paul’s Concept of Faith

No one word comes so near the center of Paul’s belief as the word faith. Faith is always faith in a person, not intellectual acceptance of a body of doctrine. Paul uses the phrase four ways: belief in God, belief in Jesus, belief in the promises of God and belief in the promises of Jesus.

Paul uses faith to mean loyalty, fidelity, that which we would more naturally call faithfulness:

  1. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (Galatians 5:22)
  2. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. (Romans 1:8)
  3. For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which [exists] among you, and your love for all the saints, (Ephesians 1:15)
  4. Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; (Colossians 1:4)
  5. For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ. (Colossians 2:5)
  6. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. (1 Thessalonians 1:8)
  7. For this reason, when I could endure [it] no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor should be in vain. (1 Thessalonians 3:5)
  8. Therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. (2 Thessalonians 1:4)
  9. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. (Philippians 2:17)

Paul contrasts faithlessness of Israel to the faithfulness of God:

  1. What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? (Romans 3:3)
  2. But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you, (1 Thessalonians 3:6)
  3. The OT has a moving instance of this fidelity (2 Samuel 15:19-23)

There is also the unalterable conviction that certain things are true:

  1. That your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:5)
  2. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17)

Sometimes Paul uses the word “to believe:” this unshakable belief and conviction with preaching. How can a man be moved to belief and conviction unless he hear the presented Christian message?

  1. For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not [come to] know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21)
  2. What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave [opportunity] to each one. (1 Corinthians 3:5)
  3. Whether then [it was] I or they, so we preach and so you believed. (1 Corinthians 15:11)
  4. So that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. (1 Thessalonians 1:7)
  5. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 4:14)
  6. When He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed–for our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:10)

Here are two great Christian facts: conviction is an essential part of Christianity and preaching is the medium which produces conviction. Preaching is not designed to produce questions but to answer them, not to awaken doubts but to settle them. Raising question are for helping the hearer to see the need to find the answers in life.

The idea of faith in a creed does not come into the NT until as late as the Pastoral Epistles: the creed of the early church was simply, “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:11)

Christianity is The Faith – allegiance to a person, not a creed:

  1. Now accept the one who is weak in faith, [but] not for [the purpose of] passing judgment on his opinions. (Romans 14:1)
  2. But only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” (Galatians 1:23)
  3. If indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. (Colossians 1:23)
  4. Having been firmly rooted [and now] being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, [and] overflowing with gratitude. (Colossians 2:7)
  5. Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
  6. We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is [only] fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows [ever] greater; (2 Thessalonians 1:3)
  7. Test yourselves [to see] if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Faith as a confident hope is a conception which is more characteristic of the writer of Hebrews (Hebrews 11:1) but the idea occurs at least once in Paul: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”– (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Things which come by faith:

  1. Justification comes by faith – –oun never means to make a person something, but to reckon, treat or count that person as something. So, God treats us as if we were righteous.
    1. For in it [the] righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS [man] SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Romans 1:17)
    2. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. (Romans 3:28)
    3. Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 5:1)
    4. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, [saying], “ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” (Galatians 3:8)
    5. Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified. (Galatians 2:16)
  2. Righteousness comes by faith – being in a right relationship with God, not moral excellence.
    1. Even [the] righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; (Romans 3:22)
    2. But the righteousness based on faith speaks thus, “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), (Romans 10:6)
    3. And may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from [the] Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which [comes] from God on the basis of faith, (Philippians 3:9)
    4. Paul’s faith defined – complete trust and complete surrender to Jesus Christ. It is the total acceptance of all that He said, all that He offered and all that He is.
  3. Propitiation comes by faith in His blood – the sacrifice to restore the lost relationship between God and man. “Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. [This was] to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed.” (Romans 3:25)
  4. Access and confidence come by faith – prosagoge means access to the presence of a king.
    1. Through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2)
    2. In whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him. (Ephesians 3:12)
  5. Grace comes by faith – that which we do not deserve. The Jew would argue that God’s favor must be earned. But Paul teaches that it is freely given and must simply be accepted and trustingly taken. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

But how?

  1. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
  2. So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; [and] that you, being rooted and grounded in love, (Ephesians 3:17)
  3. Paul turns the word faith into flesh by way of examples in Romans 4 and Galatians 3.

The elements of faith:

  1. Receptivity – faith begins with a consent to listen – So faith [comes] from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
  2. Assent of the mind – belief that God exists, and Jesus is who He said He was and is.
    1. Evidence for the historical Jesus need not be sought in the annuls of history or the Gospels. It lies in the state of the world today. Simply compare the world before Jesus and the world after Jesus on earth.
    2. (1) Code of sexual purity
      (2) Social justice
      (3) Respect for women
      (4) Love of children
      (5) Care for the weak, sick, aged, poor and deformed
  3. Assent to the significance of the facts – the whole man to Jesus Christ. Intellectual assent is not enough (James 2:19). “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus [as] Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

The Christian faith in its fullest and best:

  1. Man confronted with the Christian message
  2. Man confronted with what it cost Jesus to bring the message
  3. Man must make a complete self-surrender and submission to this Jesus Christ – obedience

This material is from William Barclay, the Mind of St. Paul, 1975.

Paul and Being in Christ

Every man who writes or speaks has his favorite phrases, and for Paul it was “In Christ.” It is not so much the essence of his theology but the summary of his whole religion. The phrase appears in all but one of his letters, 2 Thessalonians. It is something to be known by every Christian man and woman.

Paul never uses the phrase “In Jesus:” He does use in Christ, in Christ Jesus, in Jesus Christ and In the Lord. The phrase has to do uniquely with the risen Christ. It is not describing a physical relationship, but a spiritual one.

Paul thought of the church as a whole, and of each of the churches as being in Christ:

  1. Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. (1 Thessalonians 1:1)
  2. And I was [still] unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; (Galatians 1:22)

Not only churches, but individual members were in Christ:

  1. Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: (Philippians 1:1)
  2. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. (Philippians 4:21)
  3. And that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. (Philippians 1:14)
  4. To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ [who are] at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. (Colossians 1:2)
  5. Therefore receive him in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard; (Philippians 2:29)
  6. But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, (1 Thessalonians 5:12)

There is a source of unity for members to be in Christ: we must understand that Christianity is not being in a church, but being in Christ.

  1. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26)
  2. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. (Galatians 5:6)
  3. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
  4. So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (Romans 12:5)
  5. With a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, [that is], the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. In Him (Ephesians 1:10)
  6. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. (Philippians 4:2)

For Paul, life was lived in Christ:

  1. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church. (1 Corinthians 4:17)
  2. For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet [you would] not [have] many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. (1 Corinthians 4:15)
  3. Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? (1 Corinthians 9:1)
  4. For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 2:17)
  5. All this time you have been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. [Actually,] it is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ; and all for your upbuilding, beloved. (2 Corinthians 12:19)
  6. But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. (Philippians 2:19)
  7. And I trust in the Lord that I myself also shall be coming shortly. (Philippians 2:24)
  8. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. (1 Corinthians 16:24)
  9. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago–whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows–such a man was caught up to the third heaven. (2 Corinthians 12:2)
  10. So that my imprisonment in [the cause of] Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, (Philippians 1:13)

Not only Paul wrote like this – Tertius, who wrote Romans at Paul’s dictation sends his greetings: I, Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord. (Romans 16:22)

Sometimes “In Christ” simply means “Christian:” (Romans 16:2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)

The great Christian qualities are in Christ:

  1. If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, (Philippians 2:1)
  2. But [it was] because of the false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. (Galatians 2:4)
  3. I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, (Romans 9:1)
  4. [to be specific], that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, (Ephesians 3:6)
  5. For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. (2 Corinthians 1:20)
  6. To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their [Lord] and ours: (1 Corinthians 1:2)
  7. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. (1 Corinthians 4:10)
  8. Therefore if any man is in Christ, [he is] a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  9. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. (1 Corinthians 7:22)
  10. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)
  11. And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:1)
  12. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, (2 Corinthians 1:21)
  13. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk in Him, (Colossians 2:6)

Christians hold fast during persecution and peril in Christ:

  1. For now we [really] live, if you stand firm in the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 3:8)
  2. Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long [to see], my joy and crown, so stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. (Philippians 4:1)
  3. So that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again. (Philippians 1:26)
  4. Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things [again] is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you. (Philippians 3:1)
  5. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)
  6. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned [before,] but you lacked opportunity. (Philippians 4:10)
  7. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church. (1 Corinthians 4:17)
  8. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and [who are] faithful in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 1:1)

Every good thing that we experience or attain is in Christ:

  1. [and I pray] that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. (Philemon 1:6)
  2. Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ, (Ephesians 1:3)
  3. 11. In Greek the phrase is en Christo – usually “by means of” or “through the agency of” Christ.
  4. Metaphorically we can talk about two people being “wrapped up” in each other, which fits well here.
  5. Analogy of the way in which we live in the air – just as all men live in the air, and cannot live without the air, so all Christians live in Christ.

Other pictures Paul uses about the Christian experience:

  1. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Galatians 3:27)
  2. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to [its] lusts. (Romans 13:14)
  3. My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you– (Galatians 4:19)
  4. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)
  5. Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. (Colossians 2:12)

This material is from William Barclay, the Mind of St. Paul, 1975.

Paul and the Risen Christ

The church focused more on the resurrection than they did on the cross. The reason might be that they were still thinking of Jesus in terms of Jewish Messiahship. The one thing which was the final guarantee that Jesus was the Messiah was the fact that He had risen from the dead. Paul stresses the cross and the atoning and sacrificial death of Christ, but the resurrection was central to the Christian faith. Jesus never foretold His crucifixion without also including His resurrection. It was part of the same process. It was the same for Paul.

Paul speaks of the cross and resurrection:

  1. [He] who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. (Romans 4:25)
  2. For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we shall live with Him because of the power of God [directed] toward you. (2 Corinthians 13:4)
  3. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, [and] being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

Paul mentions the resurrection in nearly every letter: except 2 Thessalonians and Philemon, yet even here the resurrection permeates all else.

  1. Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
  2. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God. (Romans 7:4)
  3. Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. (1 Corinthians 6:14)
  4. For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we shall live with Him because of the power of God [directed] toward you. (2 Corinthians 13:4)
  5. Paul, an apostle (not [sent] from men, nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), (Galatians 1:1)
  6. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, (Philippians 2:9)
  7. Which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly [places], (Ephesians 1:20)
  8. Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. (Colossians 2:12)

The teaching is central to the church since Paul’s letters pre-date the Gospels: There was existing oral tradition, and theses instructions were for those who were entering the church for the first time. It was the essential element of the message of the first missionaries.

Paul’s great teaching on the resurrection: (1 Corinthians 15:1-58)

  1. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:3) – and he passed the standard to the church.
  2. And last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. (1 Corinthians 15:8) – Paul adds his own experience to ensure that the resurrection was not a second-hand story that he accepted.

Early Church Creeds: The church existed in a pagan society and had to always be able to briefly and succinctly tell that society the teachings on which the church stood. It was a brief statement of faith.

The resurrection was an act of God:

  1. But for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, (Romans 4:24)
  2. Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. (1 Corinthians 6:14)
  3. The early church never thought of Jesus as someone in a book. He was not a person who was, but a person who is. Their faith was not founded on a book but in a person. The church was not to tell men about Jesus but to introduce them to Jesus.

What the resurrection meant to Paul: Who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, (Romans 1:4)

The risen Christ as Messiah: The Jews thought in terms of Messiahship, and Jesus contradicted all the accepted ideas of the Messiah. Paul was dealing with Gentiles in his letters. But when he did preach to Jews, he used the idea of Messiahship (Acts 13:14-43)

The risen Christ as the perfect High Priest: This is a theme in the letter to the Hebrews, but Paul does address it.

  1. And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to [the will of] God. (Romans 8:27)
  2. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. (Romans 8:34)
  3. The word used is pontifex, or bridge-builder. The real priest builds a bridge between his fellow men and God.

The risen Christ as Judge: For to this end Christ died and lived [again], that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. (Romans 14:9-10)

The power of the resurrection:

  1. That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; (Philippians 3:10)
  2. And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. [These are] in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly [places], (Ephesians 1:19-20)

The resurrection connected to the new life:

  1. Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
  2. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God. (Romans 7:4)
  3. Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. (Colossians 2:12)
  4. For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we shall live with Him because of the power of God [directed] toward you. (2 Corinthians 13:4)

The resurrection as release of divine power: If Christ was not raised from the dead, there would be no possibility of the Christian to live every moment in the presence of the living Christ. It means the Christian approaches no task alone, bears no sorrow alone, attacks no problem alone, endures no temptation alone. The resurrection is the guarantee of four truths:

  1. Truth is stronger than falsehood – men sought to destroy the truth and the resurrection proves its indestructibility
  2. Good is stronger than evil – the resurrection proves that good overcomes the evil of sinful men
  3. Life is stronger than death – we share that life
  4. Love is stronger than hate – men took God’s love and sought to break it on the cross.

To Paul, the resurrection was neither simply a fact in history nor theological dogma. It was the supreme fact of experience.

This material is from William Barclay, the Mind of St. Paul, 1975.

Paul and the Death of Christ

For Paul, the cross stood at the center of the Christian faith, and it had a certain self-evidencing power. It was something to show men in its stark simplicity.

  1. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, that the cross of Christ should not be made void. (1 Corinthians 1:17)
  2. And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1)
  3. You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed [as] crucified? (Galatians 3:1)

It was not something to argue about, but something to be shown to men: The story tore down the barriers of separation. It is clear that Paul understood that Christ died “on behalf of” men, and not “instead of” men. The Greek preposition is huper, and not anti.

  1. Who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. (1 Thessalonians 5:10)
  2. For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. (1 Corinthians 8:11)
  3. For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. (Romans 14:15)
  4. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; (Ephesians 5:25)

Reconciliation: the gulf is bridged, enmity is taken away.

  1. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:10)
  2. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)
  3. And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, [I say], whether things on earth or things in heaven. (Colossians 1:20)
  4. This does not in itself imply or necessitate a substitutionary, or even a sacrificial view of the death of Christ. Paul could argue that this was a compelling demonstration of the love of God that men are now compelled to see God as the lover of men’s souls and not Law-giver, Task-master and Judge they had always believed Him to be.
  5. For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; (2 Corinthians 5:14)

Redemption: the word Savior implies something from which man had to be saved.

  1. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; (Philippians 3:20)
  2. In order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:5)
    1. God sent Jesus to rescue from the bondage of the law
    2. God did it to save men from the penalty under the law
  3. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, (Ephesians 1:7)
  4. In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:14)
  5. Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us [and] which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Colossians 2:14)

Paul connects the death of Christ with sin:

  1. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:3)
  2. Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, (Galatians 1:4)
  3. [He] who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. (Romans 4:25)
  4. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)
  5. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Paul connects the death of Christ with sacrifice:

  1. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)
  2. And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor. (Ephesians 5:2)
  3. Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are [in fact] unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. (1 Corinthians 5:7)
    1. Deliverance from bondage of Egypt – general
    2. Deliverance from bondage of sin – specific
  4. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning. For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite [you.] (Exodus 12:22-23)
  5. That you shall say, “It is a Passover sacrifice to the LORD who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.” And the people bowed low and worshiped. (Exodus 12:27)

Paul stresses the cost of salvation: what ought to have happened to us, happened to Jesus.

  1. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”– (Galatians 3:13)
  2. He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

The pictures in light of the sacrifice of the cross:

  1. Justification – courts
  2. Reconciliation – friendships
  3. Redemption – slavery
  4. Adoption – family
  5. Propitiation – sacrifice
  6. Reckon, impute – accounting

This material is from William Barclay, the Mind of St. Paul, 1975.