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Divine Forgiveness in Paul? Justification by Faith and the Logic of Pauline Soteriology

David Lertis Matson 
Professor of Biblical Studies
Hope International University 
dlmatson@hiu.edu

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Abstract

Pauline scholars remain puzzled by the virtual absence of forgiveness language in Paul. The problem, however, is more than a lexical curiosity; it penetrates to the core of Pauline soteriology. Rather than forgive, God justifies sinners by regarding the death of the sinner as having taken place in union with the substitutionary representative death of Jesus on the cross. This model of a God who exacts payment for sin is incompatible with forgiveness, but only in this way is God both just and justifier. The result is a compelling answer to one of the common objections to traditional atonement theory, with important implications for Christian life and theology.

 
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Volume 22 Issue 2

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VOLUME 22, No. 2
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