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Tulod, Byron Jon

Seminar 3

2016400264, 2-E, Th, 7:30 8:30

September 22, 2016


St. Pauls Justice Teachings

Saint Paul, the Apostle, original name Saul of Tarsus, was one of the leaders of the first
generation of Christians, often considered to be the second most important person in the history
of Christianity. Far from ordinary, Paul was given the opportunity to do extraordinary things for
the kingdom of God. The story of Paul is a story of redemption in Jesus Christ and a testimony
that no one is beyond the saving grace of the Lord. As far as his missionary belief, he believed in
the strict observance of Gods Law both for himself and for those who believe in Jesus Christ.
This is seen in Gal 2:15 when he said, We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles
16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we,
too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[a] Christ and not by the
works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. It provides a
testimony of Paul regarding justice founded on the Law and justice based upon faith in Jesus
Christ. It is because of this personal experience of the relationship with Jesus Christ that Paul
focuses his Gospel on a steadfast contrast between two alternative paths to justice: one based on
the works of the Law, the other founded on the grace of faith in Christ.1
As for the meaning of the Law, according to Pope Benedict XVI, "the word Law meant
the Torah in its entirety, which imposed a series of actions ranging from an ethical core to ritual
observances and substantially defined the identity of the just man, such as circumcision, dietary
laws, etc. All these precepts - expressive of a social, cultural and religious identity - were very
important" in the Hellenistic age when polytheism was rife and Israel felt threatened in its
identity and feared "the loss of faith in the One God and in His promises."2

1 Pope Benedict explains St. Pauls teaching on justification to thousands, retrieved


on September 21, 2016 from
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope_benedict_explains_st._pauls_teachi
ng_on_justification_to_thousands/
2 Ibid

Further, the Pope adds that at the moment of his encounter with the Risen Lord, Paul
understood that "with Christ, the God of Israel, the one true God, became the God of all nations.
The wall -so he says in the Letter to the Ephesians- between Israel and the pagans was no longer
necessary: it is Christ who protects us against polytheism and all its deviations; it is Christ who
unites us with and in the one God; it is Christ who guarantees our true identity in the diversity of
cultures. The wall is no longer necessary, our common identity in the diversity of cultures is
Christ, and it is he who makes us just.3
To make things simpler, St. Paul taught us the fact that God justifies, which means that it
is God alone who reconciles humankind through Christ (Rom 3:21-31). People cannot justify
themselves, but can only be justified by being united in faith with Jesus Christ and by accepting
the grace won by Christ (Rom 5:1-2). Justification is not something that can be won by following
the Law, but people can only be made right with God and set free from a life of immorality by
accepting God's reconciling grace as a free gift.4

3 Ibid
4 A Brief Look at St. Paul's Life and Teachings, retrieved on September 21, 2016
from http://www.loyolapress.com/our-catholic-faith/scripture-and-tradition/jesus-andthe-new-testament/saint-paul-and-the-epistles/a-brief-look-at-st-pauls-life-andteachings