Laws of the Israelites

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Paidion
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Re: Laws of the Israelites

Post by Paidion » Wed May 20, 2015 4:00 pm

Hi Paidion,

I know you do not believe in imputed righteousness. I am puzzled about how, since we "stumble in many ways", we can attain righteousness. How do you see it?
Greetings Homer,
I think I have already explained this a few times, but I don't mind doing so again. Salvation from sin (which is rather similar to attaining righteousness) is a process. If we are engaged in that process, we are on the narrow path which leads to life. In order to get onto that path in the first place, we need to entrust ourselves, our very lives, to Messiah Jesus. Then, through faith, we need to appropriate the enabling grace of God (which was made available through the sacrificial death of Jesus as well as His resurrection). As we continue to do that, we will stay on that narrow path. Furthermore, Paul was persuaded that God would continue to work in us and enable us until the process is complete. He wrote, "I am persuaded of this very thing, that the One beginning a good work in you, will continue to accomplish it until the day of Jesus Messiah." (Philippians 1:6)
This perseverence is important.
For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end. (Hebrews 3:14 RSV)
I think the reason God puts so much emphasis on righteousness—actual, practical righteousness, is that He knows that this is the life-style that will most benefit others as well as ourselves. If we understood this, I don't think we would worry so much about "getting to heaven" or "avoiding hell." I think we can trust God to do what is best for us in this regard. I think those who put their confidence in some "salvation" formula, such as "I have accepted Christ as my personal Saviour" or "I have trusted in the finished work of Christ" or "I have prayed the sinner's prayer" or some other such formula, but who have no interest in living righteously (because they imagine it to be impossible), may some day find that they have been self-deceived.
Is the ACTUAL righteousness we must have relative or absolute?
Perhaps you are asking whether it must be complete, or will it do for it to be incomplete. Since salvation is a process, God certainly accepts us before our salvation from sin is complete. As long as we remain on the narrow path, God knows we are trusting in Him as the source for righteous living, and that "working together with Him", we are achieving it. I don't think He will find the severe remediation of hell to be necessary unless we get off the narrow path. In other words, if we reject Him, and say something like this to ourselves, "To heck with this stuff! I'm going to live my life the way I want to live it. It's time to look out for #1."
If it is relative, how can a person know if he is righteous enough?
I think I may have answered this above. It's not a matter of degree as far as being acceptable to God is concerned. God, of course, expects complete righteousness, and He is going to get it, when His work in us is completed at the day of Jesus the Messiah! Meanwhile He puts up with our incompletion. God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy!
Would the attitude of the heart, such as that of the tax collector, Luke 18:13, be counted as righteousness? Or supplying what was lacking?
The heart attitude of the tax collector would be a first step. In crying for mercy, He entered the door of salvation. After that he would need to live it out, to persevere, to stay on the narrow path that leads to life.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 82.

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Paidion
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Re: Laws of the Israelites

Post by Paidion » Wed May 20, 2015 4:26 pm

Dizerner wrote:But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited (imputed) as righteousness

No way around this clear verse.
With your statement, do you aver that your interpretation is the only possible one?
First, we need to understand that the "work" to which Paul referred was attempts to comply with the Mosaic law with the understanding that so doing would demonstrate that you are righteous. Secondly we need to understand that the word translated as "justifies" is another form of the word translated as "righteous" and often means "makes righteous." Thirdly, we need to undertand the one's faith is not credited to him instead of righteousness. There is a Greek word that means "instead of" or "in place of" but that preposition is not used here. The preposition used here is often translated as "into" in other contexts. In this context, the idea is that one's faith is counted with righteousness as the goal. As one continues in faith or trust, rightousness results.

Here is a paraphrase of the verse with these considerations in mind:

But to the one who does not in self-effort try to keep the Mosaic law, but who entrusts himself to Him who makes the ungodly righteous, his faith is considered by God as a means toward the goal of righteousness.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 82.

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psimmond
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Re: Laws of the Israelites

Post by psimmond » Wed May 20, 2015 9:34 pm

I'm also not a believer in Luther's imputed righteousness. I think N.T. Wright, James Dunn, Don Garlington, Ben Witherington, and so many more are right in rejecting this idea. The New Perspective on Paul does a much better job of explaining righteousness and justification.

Here's a great back-and-forth between Piper and Garlington:
1. http://www.thepaulpage.com/files/Imputation.pdf
2. http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/joh ... hteousness
3. http://www.thepaulpage.com/files/Piper_Rejoinder.pdf
Let me boldly state the obvious. If you are not sure whether you heard directly from God, you didn’t.
~Garry Friesen

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