Tuesday, April 11, 2006

We had our April session of the Greek Exegetical Study of the Book of Romans today, which we attempted on Romans 3. We spent some time discussing on:

1. The implication of the Psalms passages quoted from v.10-18
Discussion were on how these passages in the OT times were applied to the pagans but now Paul uses them on the Jews. Paul could have given it a shock treatment to press it upon the Jews that they too are unrighteous.

2. Righteousness apart from the law (v.21)
Some of us were thrown off by the word "apart" or χωρiς in Greek (separate, apart, without). Finally we agreed that it basically means that righteousness is not by works of the law. But what was brought up by one of us got me thinking too - were the Jews using works as a determinator of getting righteousness in the first place? It was concluded that with the sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross, the laws no longer hold any place in attaining a righteousness that is from God.

3. Passing over of sins previously committed (v.25)
This is new for me - for the fact that God's righteousness is revealed on account of the passing over of previous sins. God's act of not punishing those before Christ by their sacrifices is justified by the act of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.

But what really strike me most today is the realisation that I had not paid much attention to the Final Judgment of God. I had not thought much about it. At the back of my mind, even though I know that we will be facing God in the Last Day, I have always envisioned it to be - "Alas! I meet my God!" without much thought on the treatment of my sins, i.e. how holiness, who is God will treat unholiness, who is I.

But what about justification? Are we made righteous, therefore no judgment, or are we merely declared righteous? But even if we were declared righteous, there shouldn't be judgment and punishment, should there? Hadn't Christ already taken the punishment for us on the cross?

Picture by Robert Munson

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7 comment(s)

  1. Maeghan,

    I just stumbled across your blog. There are a lot of great things to ponder here. I hope you don't mind me commenting.

    This issue to me is not 'are we made righteous?', but rather 'when are we made righteous?'

    When are we, as those who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus, actually redeemed? If it is immediate, then what happens when we sin again (which is clearly inevitable)? Either redemption occurs when we are at the seat of judgement (aka when we meet our maker), or God is not bound by time. I stick in the later camp myself. My sin, in its entirety is purged through Christ and it is already done.

    This is not a get out of jail mentality, it is an answer to the parallel of predestination. Life occurs in linearly for us, but that is not to say it does for God.

    God has directed us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. I have faith that I am saved, but only God knows it. Since I am not privy to that little tidbit, I must believe in what God has told me. On the day of final judgement, God will let me in on the answer to that question.

    Just a thought. You have a very nice blog here.

    God Bless

  2. Hi Doug,
    Thanks for your thoughts! (i definitely do not mind it at all)

    You brought up an interesting point, which I believe also have to do with sanctification. Redemption, as I have also mentioned in one of my earlier posting, is a word-picture that explains the fact that God redeems us from slavery to sin through the payment of the blood of the cross. So, redemption I'd say would happen at the point of our receiving of Christ into our lives. After which the process of sanctification must set in, where as you have mentioned, we would have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

    On the final part, are you saying that while we are assured that we are saved, we must be humbled to admit that only God has privy to the actual fact that we are?

  3. Maeghan,

    That is what I am trying to say: I can have faith that I am saved; I can stand and believe on the scriptures that I use as the litmus of salvation; I can even experience the liberty being freed from sin and experience God's love through the Holy Spirit; but at the end of the day, only God knows if we indeed are truly saved.

    God is loving, and forthcoming about this. He gives us assurances and offers proof, through the scripture of the path of salvation, as well as insight into his nature and the fact that what He say he does, he will do. Still, salvation requires us to trust what we are receiving.

    Our eternal destination is still in His hands and only He knows our true heart.

    I believe we can be confident of our salvation because of the evidence that God has put before us, but still, we must humbly acknowledge that only God knows us well enough to make that final call. This is where the fear and trembling come in.

    God Bless

  4. The topic did come up in our Romans class in March. Someone quoted Billy Graham. He claimed that the reverend said he knows he is saved, but only when he finally finds himself with God in heaven, he'd go "Phew!" (though I can't attest to the authenticity of the account).

    I never really did think about it in that way: which was why my many posts on justification to understand it better, only to find more questions! LOL

    But I agree with you. God has the final say and he is the final judge. We need only to trust in him and his grace.

  5. Meaghan,

    I am afraid that a lot of these quesitons come back to having the faith to know that we are saved: The concept is simple, but the application is a doozy!

    In the English language, there are few sentences easier to say than 'I do', but when I got married, those two words seemed to carry the weight of the World on them. After nine and a half years, I think it has gotten easier and easier to say them (and live of life that reflects them). A lot of this has to do with how great my wife and our life together is, but a lot has to do with the fact that I believe more and more that she is the perfect person for me. Has my confidence in 'I do' grown or diminished? I don't think I need as much strength to say 'I do' when I have such assurances.

    My walk with God is a lot the same way. When I walked an aisle of my church 25 years ago, embracing Jesus, salvation, and God's grace took a lot of faith. Now, after many years, I see His love, handiwork, and providence daily. Embracing it is a whole lot eaiser.

    God is awesome, and I can't even begin to understand the dynamics of the Creator, yet His tangibility makes words like 'sanctification', 'submission'and 'redemption' welcoming, and a whole lot more paletable.

    I think I might write a post on this soon.

    Have a great week,

  6. Reminds me of something I read somewhere - that "seeing is believing" is illogical. When one sees, there is no longer a need to believe, is there? I need to think about that ...

  7. Psalm 19:1

    1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

    'proclaim' is more literally translated 'point to'. It doesn't say 'draw a line to' God. God gives us enough evidence that we can extrapolate His presence. The faith is in connecting the 'points'.

    God Bless