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There are three fundamental themes that become manifested from the epistles of Paul. Apostle Paul wrote these books at a time when Christianity was considered new and the church was growing but there were different doctrines emerging. Churches in different towns had their own manner of teaching; Apostle Paul wrote these books to clear on some concerns and to give a direction to the church. He wrote to the following churches: The Church in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Philippi, Colosse and the church of the Thessalonians.
This discussion will look into the following themes: The Christian Community and the Body of Christ, Joy in the Midst of Trial and Righteousness and Salvation. The discussion will further delve into the importance of these themes in the church today and in my day to day life. The discussion will look at specific epistle and it will therefore try and get the major theme depicted in the epistle by Apostle Paul.
Three Important Themes in Paul's Epistles
The Book of Romans; Righteousness and Salvation
The Book of Romans has a predominant theme of righteousness and Salvation and therefore reading it has been regarded as a life-changing exercise. In the book of Romans chapter 1: 16-17, the gospel reveals that God is righteous and worthy to be worshipped and it demonstrates this traits in two phases. The first chapter of the book reveals Gods wrath against mankind; those that are sinners, and have rejected to follow God’s word, they have gone against God’s natural revelation to them. The second one talks about the righteous sinners. This group of people has been to known to pass judgment upon others without taking into consideration that God will also judge them in the same way they have done. This group of sinners is unaware of their sin since they feel that matters are still right between them and God (Bruce, 1969).
Paul notes that God’s righteousness is depicted by His judgment on both kind of sinners, and the fact that He judges both of them without any kind of favor whatsoever. In Romans chapter 2, the Bible claims that both the Jew and the Gentile will equally be judged. God is impartial and he judges sinners on the basis of the revelation shown to them. The Jews knew Him earlier through His laws that were given to Moses while the Gentiles didn’t know Him completely but they believed in a super human being (gods). In Romans chapter 3:1the holy book proclaims that by being a Jew it did not make anyone righteous before God but rather offered a believer with the ability of being entrusted with the word of God. Paul concludes in Romans 3:9 that both the unrighteous Jews and the Gentiles are all guilty before God. God is further revealed to be righteous by His provision of salvation to mankind. And his salvation is for all through faith in Jesus Christ.
From the above teachings I have learnt that I should not judge my fellow Christians but rather give advice according to the word. God is righteous and therefore it implicates that we should all follow suit.
The church today shouldn’t be judgmental but rather take pride in teaching about righteousness that God permits. God will judge Christians according to the information they were exposed to since He is righteous and will not favor any person. A Christian should never think that he or she is more righteous than other people; those that openly delve in sin, because it is in this thought that one sins without knowing.
The Christian Community and the Body of Christ as depicted in the Book of Corinthians
The Church of Corinth had problems regarding immaturity, judging of others and loss of compensations. The solutions to these problems were later provided by Apostle Paul with his letter to the church. Apostle Paul became worried by the reports of lack of discipline in the church. Cases of immorality were reported to be on increase and in a particular incidence an offender was left unpunished thereby bringing a row that lead to the divide of the church. Paul taught that for the body of Christ to be clean such an individual was expected to be more disciplined and anyone who practiced wrong doing was not to be left in their midst of others since he or she could spoil others (Bruce,1969).
Litigation in the Body of Christ was discussed by Paul in chapter 6 where he corrected the practice of church members judging fellow members believing it was right. He further criticized the practice of Corinthians taking pride when dealing with their legal problems before the legal authorities. Such practices were tarnishing their testimony that they were intending to pass to non Christians. Paul told the church that they were expected to appoint a believer who could solve their immediate problems rather than taking their cases to unbelievers.
Apostle Paul further discussed the challenge of Lack of Purity within the church when he found out that some members of the church in Corinth were soliciting prostitutes out of the false misinterpretation of Christian freedom. In response to this,Paul told the church that their freedom was limited to whether or not it was profitable or if it was going to enslave them in the burden of sins.
The Church in Corinth had scores of problems and Paul went ahead to teach them that the love for others could not have coexisted with pride and that love was the only the fundamental principle that guided all actions.
The church being the body of Christ meant that it was to be kept as holy as possible. The church of today is not as strict as it should be. People engage in heinous sins and are still left as church leaders. When a fellow Christian sins he/she should be excommunicated to allow for ample time to repent and strengthen his or her relationship with God. Immorality should not be tolerated by all means, Christ is Holy we should emulate him.
Joy in the Midst of Trial as Portrayed in the Book of Philippians
In this Book the word Joy/gladness has been used for so many times so as to encourage us to rejoice in the Lord always despite our trials and temptations. Paul depicts this kind of joy even though he was in jail. In the first Chapter, Apostle Paul urged the Philippians to be steadfast in trials by looking to joy in the gospel ministry.
In Philippians chapter 1, Paul is depicted rejoicing even when he is in a terrible state; this is because of his love for the gospel that he purports to spread to the whole world. Paul rejoices even though some people are preaching about Christ out of selfishness, envy or self-ambition; he proclaims that the bottom line was that Christ was still being preached.
In Philippians 1:18-26, Apostle Paul's rejoices even when he is threatened to be killed this joy came out of his constant determination to uplift Christ no matter what threats he had received on his life. He is happy because of his surety of eternal life and that he hopes for the growth of the church in Philippi; he fells he has an unfinished job to be completed.
In Philippians 1:27-30, Apostle Paul advises the Philippians to pick some lessons from him in remaining steadfast. Apostle Paul urges Philippians to welcome Epaphroditus in the Lord with great joy because he almost died out of proclaiming Christ (Lowery, 1983).
With this discussion, it is evident that the Joy of he Lord should always be in us even when we are facing very traumatizing situations. Across the globe, the church of today is also facing a lot of persecution and many other challenges. Christians in Iran and Nigeria are being locked up in cells and some are even killed but because they possess the joy of being in Christ they are comforted with the promise of living after death; for they have heavenly eternity as a reward. When a young person proclaims Christ as being the savior of his or her life, he or she gets mocked by his or her peers; it is perceived as being old fashioned, but when one truly understands Christ he or she will always find Joy that cannot be found anywhere else.