Khalil G. Jack, Justification-Reconciliation-Final Judgment in the Epistle to the Romans.A Contribution to Pauline Soteriology, P. Pournaras Press: Thessaloniki 2004.
One of the most debated issues in Pauline theological research is the soteriological importance of the teaching about justification and reconciliation through faith. Most of the raised questions have to do with the relation between justification through faith and the eschatological salvation of man. Salvation is the work and gift of God’s grace, but, at the same time, it presupposes the free participation of man. The relation among justification, reconciliation and faith continues to preoccupy the current Pauline research because Paul, especially in the Epistle to the Romans, brings out these two parameters of salvation more than in the rest of his Epistles. This is the topic of the study, which was a dissertation of the Theology Department of Aristotle University.The book, after the introduction, is divided in five chapters.
In the first chapter, the author examines the meaning of the terms sin and justification in the Epistle to the Romans (ch. 3).
In the second chapter, Khalil investigates the issue of faith as a requirement for salvation. In this frame, the author highlights faith as obedience and response to Jesus’ call, emphasizing the relation between love and faith and showing the dynamics and constant character of this relation, but only when Jesus is the single criterion for the justification in faith. The chapter closes with the theological analysis of the meaning of passive justification.
In the third chapter, the author refers to basic views of the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans and especially of 5, 1-11.
In the next chapter, Khalil thoroughly analyzes the Christian’s responsibility before the final judgment, an issue analyzed by Paul in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Romans (2:1-8).
The last chapter discusses the context of salvation in the Old Testament, always in connection with the Epistle to the Romans. The law, which guides the life of the Christian, is no longer the Sinaitic Law, which, according to the writer, consists of commandments related with the flesh rather than the spirit. These commandments failed to function as an antidote to desire; they failed to function so as to liberate man from the law of sin and death. Paul revises the terms and the relation between law and sin, commandment and desire, and interprets them under the light of Jesus’ death and Resurrection.
In conclusion, the author points out that for those who live according to the spirit, bearing the fruits of love, there is no blame («ουδένκατάκριμα»). Faith, which is linked τοdeeds of love, remains, therefore, the presupposition of “walking” spiritually. In this way, Christ’s saving act -the removal of condemnation and the restoration of man in righteousness through faith - is fulfilled.
The book closes with an extensive bibliography and a summary in English.