Wednesday, March 17, 2004
The big question is what this all does to Wright's assertion that justification is not about entry.
What matters for Paul is that someone is 'in' the Messiah, or 'belongs to' the Messiah. This is not simply a spiritual state resulting from, or consisting in, a certain type of inner experience. For Paul, it is a matter of belonging to a particular community, the new royal family, the Messiah's people; and this family is entered through baptism.
Baptism is therefore 'into the Messiah': it is the doorway through which one passes into membership in the single family God promised to Abraham. Paul does not here explain how baptism relates to faith; he assumes they are both present, as indeed he would, since 'Jesus is Lord' was what the candidate for baptism would have to say.