Soteriology in Pauline Christology

By Larry Ray Hafley

Our title, simply put, would be “Salvation In Christ, According to Paul.” The former (1) gets your attention, (2) makes it appear as though I have been to a theological seminary and (3) causes most of you to wonder what in the world I am talking about. The latter tells you that I am not a scholar, but it has the decided advantage of telling you what I am talking about.

“Terminological inexactitude” is lying. Liars will be given eternal retribution in the abyss of the doomed, but being “cast into hell” is just as bad. So, “all terminological inexactituders shall share in a segment of the abyss of pyro-technic features,” which is to say what Revelation 21:8 says with plain language.

Soteriological difficulties in Pauline parousia is a way to say that some things Paul wrote about salvation and the Lord’s coming are “hard to be understood” (2 Pet. 3:1-6). Perhaps by now your sensibilities have acquired the essence; in other words, you got the point. A purpose of preaching is to give the sense and cause people to understand the truth (Neh. 8:8; Jn. 8:32; Acts 8:30-36; 2 Cor. 4:1-7).

Gospel teachers must speak the language of the people (1 Cor. 14). Fancy words and modern, “trendy” terms, derived from our linguistic, cultural milieu (How did you like that?) may be impressive and high sounding, but what doth it profit my brethren? “So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken?”

The learned and the unlearned can both understand that they have sinned and that the wages of sin is death. Both can see that Jesus saves by his grace and through his blood when one obeys the gospel. New converts, those educated and, those uneducated, can know that they must grow on the milk of God’s word. They can be taught the simple items of worship that God has given through his word. They can be instructed and learn the truth as it is in Jesus about how they are to conduct themselves in this life. Hence, in godly sincerity, we must go about telling the good news of Jesus the Christ. Let us lay aside the wisdom of men and the strained adornment of “excellency of speech” and tell the old gospel story to the good and honest heart.

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. . . . And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:1-5).

Guardian of Truth XXXV: 14, p. 427
July 18, 1991