Second, Paul has a much more complex view of the relation between reconciliation, justification, and salvation than most Christians (evangelicals included) seem to articulate. In Rom. 5 alone, the verb δικαιόω is used twice (vv. 1, 9), both times in the aorist passive with reference to faith and the blood of Christ. The verb σῴζω is used twice (vv. 9, 10), both times in the future passive, the first time in distinction from δικαιόω and the second time in distinction from the verb καταλλάσσω. This latter word is used in Romans only Rom. 5:10 (occurring twice, both in the aorist tense), and it is used elsewhere in the New Testament only four other times: once in 1 Cor. 7, and the other three times in 2 Cor. 5:18-20. In other words, it is a Pauline word which is directly related (apart from 1 Cor. 7) to the event of reconciliation accomplished in Jesus Christ. These three words are often conflated in discussions of salvation. Bell, for his part, argues that justification refers to a reality in the life of the believer, so the future tense usage in Rom. 5:19 must be a logical rather than real future.75 But the situation is more complex than this. More work still needs to be done on this topic. A textual study examining the relation between past, present, and future in Paul’s narrative of reconciliation is one that needs to be carried out.
Finally, even if Barth’s early work is too indebted to a time-eternity dialectic which renders any realized eschatology quite problematic, it is nevertheless true that Paul himself thinks, in a sense, dialectically. His numerous antinomies—faith/law, Spirit/flesh, Christ/Adam—are at the heart of his letters. And yet, also like Barth, Paul does not leave these hanging as static contrasts. Paul definitely affirms the arrival of a new world order in the Christ-event, and this new world is not merely a potential reality but an actual one. Something has indeed changed—even for all. In his own way, the Barth of Romans II recognizes this. The dialectic of time and eternity, like Paul’s own dialectics, are only for a time; they, too, will pass away (cf. 1 Cor. 13:12). With that, I close with a comment by Barth on Rom. 8:33-39, of which I think even Paul himself would approve:
Monstrous to us are even those final inevitable contrasts—knowing and not knowing; death and life; divine and human nature; past, present, and future on the one hand, futurum aeternum on the other; here what can be observed, there what is invisible; relativity and absoluteness; earth and heaven¬—to us they are endless finiteness, endless concretion, endless createdness—but in God, as negations which have been negated, as positions which have been dissolved, they are at peace, reconciled, redeemed, and resolved; in Him they are one. For the love of God in Christ Jesus is the oneness of the love of God towards men and the love of men towards God.76
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74. J. D. G. Dunn, “Once More, ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ,” in Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ, 270.
75. Bell, “Rom 5.18-19 and Universal Salvation,” 424.
76. Barth, Romans, 329.