Thursday, July 17, 2008
Francis Watson on "Faith" and "Works"
Writing about the patterns of religion in Philippians 3, Francis Watson states:
'"Faith alone" brings salvation only in the sense that for Paul "faith" comprehends not only "belief" or "trust" in the narrow sense but also the adoption of a new way of life with the social reorientation that this entails. There is, then, no tension whatsoever between the exhortation to accomplish one's own salvation (in response to divine grace and with divine help) and the stress of the efficacy of faith in 3:9. The problem arises only if faith and works are understood as abstract and logically incompatible principles, rather than as terms that encapsulate two different ways of life in two different communities. The anithesis between "law" and "faith of Christ" is to be understood not theoretically, as a logical contradiciton, but practically, as an imperative' (Francis Watson, Paul, Judaism, and the Gentiles: Beyond the New Perspective, p. 148).