Controlling Focus of Paul’s Theology

Paul’s theology focus is on historia salutis, the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is a “one-for-all” accomplishment of redemption. It has been accomplished, an action described in past tense. And it is a historical reality that the Christian faith is based on.

Very close to the focus of Paul’s theology is the ordo salutis, the ongoing application of redemption. It is ongoing application of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It is in present perfect tense, present tense, and future tense.

  • “as we raise the question of the ordo salutis in Paul, we need to keep in mind that his controlling focus is the historia salutis, not the ordo salutis. Or, in order not to leave the impression of what would be a false disjunction… he is concerned with matters of individual appropriation only as they are integrally tethered to and flow from his redemptive-historical focus.”

  • “Does this conclusion… `de-center’ justification or, for that matter the work of the Spirit in Paul’s teaching? Not at all… But it does put such benefits in proper fundamental perspective, a perspective that represents something of a difference in accent from what has largely been true beginning with the Reformation.”

  • The controlling focus of Paul’s theology/gospel is eschatology or, what is equivalent for some, redemptive history (historia salutis).

  • Specifically, the center of his theology is the death and resurrection of Christ in their eschatological significance.

  • The death and resurrection of Christ is the consummate fulfillment of Scriptures; as such, the death and resurrection of Christ represent eschatological realities.

Richard Gaffin, By Faith, Not By Sight

  • Richard Gaffin, By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation, P & R Publishing (2013). [Amazon]

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