Salvation Through Participation: An Examination of the Notion of the Believers' Corporate Unity with Christ in Early Christian Soteriology
The foundation of many of the earliest Christian's salvific conceptions is the notion of the corporate unity between Christ and the believers. The essential role that the notion of corporate identity plays is evident in various salvific contexts. This study examines four different contexts or expressions in which the earliest believers' soteriological interpretation of Jesus' death and resurrection finds expression; namely, Paul's understanding and usage of the "dying for" and "surrender" formulas, his conception of the believers' eschatological resurrection, and his understanding of the Lord's Supper. On the basis of this investigation, it becomes evident that the corporate understanding that Christian believers are united with Christ is one of the essential foundations of the earliest believer's conception of salvation. Paul's essential notion of salvation is that of participationism. Because of their unity with Christ, the believers are conceived by Paul as sharing or participating in Christ's fate, including both his death and his resurrection.
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