To each according to deeds : divine judgement according to deeds in second temple Judaism and in Paul's letters
Paul's use of the motif of 'judgment according to deeds' corresponds terminologically, rhetorically, and theologically with its use in second temple Judaism. In order to demonstrate this thesis, the author examines the tradition- history of the motif in the Jewish Scriptures, the OT Pseudepigrapha, and the Qum- ran literature. By the beginning of the common era 'judgment according to deeds' is a widespread, fundamental theological axiom, applicable to a variety of rhetorical purposes. The motif has an important soteriological function within what is now commonly termed Jewish 'covenantal nomism' (not legalism). This judgment does not entail a one-for-one recompense of good or evil deeds, but views works wholistically (i.e., as a whole either good or bad), and thus as revealing one's 'way' of life or 'heart'. One's deeds do not earn or merit God's grace and salvation; nevertheless, one's recompense-the blessings or the curses of the covenant-will be congruent with ("according to") this pattern of behavior, since one's works reveal what is hidden in the heart, either loyalty or disloyalty to God and his covenant. Salvation by covenant mercy and judgment according to works are complementary. In both its form and function Paul's use of the motif places him firmly within this same tradition-history. In addition, he maintains the wholistic perspective of deeds common to the Jewish tradition. Although the term 'covenantal nomism' is not appropriate for Paul's thought (Christ replaces the Torah as the defining locus of electing grace), the fundamental structure of grace and works, election and obedience, salvation and judgment, remains remarkably similar. In Paul also one is justified by grace and judged according to works, issuing in eternal life or wrath. The juxtaposition of justification and judgment causes Paul no theological tension, because he inherited a way of speaking and thinking about judgment according to deeds which similarly related them without paradox.