New Perspective on Paul: Interpretations

Issue/Question Traditional New
1 Basis of justification by grace you have been saved through faith . by grace you have been saved through faith .
2 What is faith? faith = agreement that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God faith = entrusting yourself to God and His Son, not yourself
3 What are “Works of the law” to Paul? Moral efforts by individuals to achieve “rightness” before God The practices and cultural traditions of Jews to preserve their identity in the Old Covenants as the chosen of God, and as a result, God’s favor.
4 What is the effect of God’s grace in salvation? God’s grace, extended through Christ’s death and resurrection, as the only thing that overcomes man’s depravity to enable him to be redeemed God’s grace, extended through Christ’s death and resurrection, as the only thing that overcomes man’s depravity to enable him to be redeemed
5 To whom are Paul’s “theological” epistles addressed? Paul is talking to all individuals. Paul is mainly talking to Jews subject to God’s Covenants — the Old (Abrahamic and Mosaic) who have now been given the offer of the New (Messianic) through faith in Christ, which is also offered to Gentiles. (2 Cor 5:17, Rom 1:6)
6 What is Justification? “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.” (Westminster Shorter Catechism #33) The status conferred by God, the Judge, on a defendant that he is in the “right” meaning, to Paul, that through his faith in Christ he is accepted within God’s New Covenant people.