Monday, January 18, 2010

Reading Paul with Michael Gorman 4

The Power of God for Salvation

Paul was a preacher of the good news of God’s salvation. This gospel was not a “personal message of salvation” but a theopolitical announcement (by political Gorman does not mean government structures and political parties but a public, common life together). Although Paul did not give us a comprehensive outline of the gospel and his theology, he did leave us some important summaries by which we can discern Paul’s “big ideas.”

In the first century when people heard the word euangelion (good news) they would think of the salvation promised by the prophets in the Jewish scriptures; another idea brought to mind by this word was the good news of the birth of an emperor, his accession to power, or the salvation that he would bring. Paul was preaching that the promises of the prophets were coming true and that Jesus was the true Lord and Savior of the world; salvation, including peace and justice, would come through Jesus not Caesar.

God’s great plan of salvation, his intervention in human history, to put a world gone wrong to rights has been executed. Therefore, Paul’s gospel isn’t merely about “personal salvation”; Paul does, however, call people into a right relationship with God. The gospel message brings those who believe into, “a new life in this world under the sway of a new lord and savior in the company of like-minded companions….[it is] good news from God, about his Son, for us…[that] centers on Jesus’ death, resurrection and exaltation as Lord.” Those who hear the message must respond with faith.

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