Thursday, March 13, 2008

Justification in the Pauline Corpus: Day 6

I am taking class in a more relaxed manner come the 6th installment of class, having resigned to the fact that it might be just beyond my abilities to tackle this one head on. I am releasing some stress by affirming myself that I do not have to take this credit if I find that I can't cope, what with 4 assignments still pending, two of John's and two more of Psalm's.

But whatever the case, if I do decide to work on this, I will tackle the assignment on the comparison between E.P. Sander and Paul - on how Sander's views that in Second Temple Judaism gaining "salvation" is described in terms of "covenantal nomism" where one "get in" by grace and "stay in" through obedience to the Torah can be squared against Paul's teaching on salvation. In my opinion, this will pave for me a stronger foundation in the traditional understanding of justification and the New Perspective of Paul, that is, if I decide to tackle this head on.

Nevertheless, today's class was rather interesting - I realised something I hadn't quite thought about before. Dr O'Brien touched on the topic of "Justification and Personal Assurance of Salvation". Midway through, he asked:

Have you ever experience any instances of doubt, after your conversion, of your assurance of salvation?

I frowned a bit, trying to think if I did.


The class was either a bit shy and subdued like most Asians would be, except for a few more vocal Westeners - no one responded to the question.

You mean you are all confident and never had any doubts? You've never actually asked if you were elect?

Several students put their hands up.

I am in trouble here: I really didn't doubt it.

Class continued but I could not shake it off. I kept asking myself if I am missing something here. I admit it - I was not paying much attention there for a while. I then think I realised why - could it be because I am a Methodist, who plainly believed in justification by faith, that as long as I profess Jesus as my Saviour, I am saved. What is then at stake is how I live out my Christian life. On Judgement Day, it will be a matter of whether I am getting crowns or not.

Of course I am simplifying it here - the statement beginning from "I am a Methodist ..." will generate loads of disagreements and questions. But I am merely stating where I am coming from and I recognise that there are still many questions unanswered. But this is basically just why I hadn't doubted my assurance of salvation at all.

But the question is very real to some, and that I now acknowledge.



  1. I have never doubted my salvation, Pealie!!!!

  2. Interesting. My mom always said that my grandma sometimes doubted because she was a Methodist and not a Calvinist like us.

  3. Susan,
    I knew you wouldn't ;)

  4. Julia,
    Interesting ... in the light of being a Methodist, it is possible that she doubted because she might have thought about her lack in obedience and behaviour.