“But to understand ‘justification’ here in Gal. 2, solely as some hypothetical person standing in the divine law court receiving the verdict, ‘not guilty’ (as true as this is), seems to miss the import of it for the particular concrete situation in which Paul is engaged. ‘Justification’ answers the particular problem of Jews and Gentiles not eating together (2:13b). It speaks to concretely circumcised and uncircumcised people sharing the same table (2:13c). In short, justification is about ecclesiology (church) and soteriology (salvation)…on earth as in heaven, right? Maybe I’m theologically ill-formed but I don’t find this conjunction problematic in the least. 3 birds minus 1 shot bird equals 2 birds flying off somewhere and this while not less than a mathematical (theological?) calculation, is far more than that.
I can’t recall hearing a sermon about justification and the church. I’ve heard numerous messages that probe the rich contours of justification in its all of its soteriological beauty. Why is this? I suspect that the long shadow of Plato still influences us. Wouldn’t a sermon on justification be appropriate for a conference on race relations in the church….or even class relations for that matter? Doesn’t relating justification to the”