Thursday, August 06, 2020

Why foreground "Christ"?

I would argue that the probability that Paul specifically intends to foreground the allegiance aspect of pistis in passages such as these is moved from possible to highly probable when we consider that, for Paul, Jesus above all is the Christ or the Lord. “Jesus is Lord” is in fact where the gospel above all reaches a climax. When Paul speaks of Jesus Christ—and note that he does speak in this way every time Jesus is mentioned in all of the passages quoted above—Christ is not a last name or a meaningless addition; it is an honorific designation. It means Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the long-anticipated but now-ruling Jewish-style universal king. I cannot overstate the importance of this. In other words, Paul everywhere presupposes that the most basic identity of Jesus is that of the enthroned divine—human king, the actively ruling Son of God. So contextually the most obvious and natural way to speak about the proper relationship between the king and his people is allegiance or loyalty.—Matthew Bates in Salvation by Allegiance Alone, 82–83

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