"Justification by Faith" in Galatians & Romans
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

Most people think of "justification," "salvation," etc., as if they were states of being, referring to what you are (or are not).  Similarly, they often talk about "faith" as if it were an object, something that you have or possess (or not).  In the New Testament, however, these terms all refer to processes, things that you do, or even more importantly, what God and Jesus have done for you: All of these terms originally come from secular (non-religious) language, although today they are usually used in religious contexts.

Process and Results:
Many people think that our salvation depends on our own faith in Jesus, how firmly we believe in him; but what Paul actually says is that salvation is accomplished through the faithfulness of Jesus (as show by his willingness to die on the cross): 

Audience Primarily Gentile Christians (who had not been Jews) Mixed community of Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians
Main Point Gentile Christians need not follow the whole Torah Both Jews and Gentiles are sinners, and both can be saved
Gal 2:16
"... we know that a person is justified
not by the works of the law
but through the faith of Jesus Christ.
And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus,
so that we might be justified by the faith of Christ,
and not by doing the works of the law,
because no one will be justified by the works of the law."
Rom 1:16-17
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel;
it is the power of God for salvation
to everyone who has faith,
to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed
through faith for faith; as it is written:
'The one who is righteous will live by faith.'"
Structure TheologyGal 3:1—5:12
EthicsGal 5:13—6:10
TheologyRom 1—11
EthicsRom 12—15
Analogies Gal 4:21-31
slaves to the Law; compared to Hagar and "the present Jerusalem"
Christians:  free children; compared to Sarah and "the Jerusalem above"
Rom 11:11-32
Jews: olive tree with roots and natural branches (some broken off, but can be grafted in again)
Gentiles: wild olive branches grafted into the cultivated olive tree (but could be broken off again)

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