Romans 3:28 - What is Paul Denying?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Andre, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. Andre

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    Here is a well known chunk of text, often used to argue that people are not justified by good deeds:

    Where then is boasting? It is excluded By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.

    Despite widespread belief to the contrary, Paul is not denying ultimate justification by good works, something he has actually just affirmed in Romans 2:

    God "will give to each person according to what he has done." 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

    What Paul is actually denying in 3:28 is that justification is achieved by doing the works of the Law of Moses. But more specifically, what Paul is really denying is that the Law of Moses is an ethnic delimiter in respect to justification, in a sense that has nothing to do with good works. We need to be careful here to distinguish between two different possible meanings associated with Paul’s denial of justification by works of the Law of Moses:

    (1) Paul could, of course, be arguing that although the Law of Moses provides guidance in respect to “good works”, even the Jew who follows its guidance scrupulously will not, in virtue of doing so, attain justification.

    (2) Equally, Paul could be arguing, as I believe that he is, that the Law Moses does not function to limit justification to Jews. At first glance, this could seem to be the same argument as (1). Why? Remember that only the Jew has the moral guidance of the Law of Moses. So to deny that justification can be achieved by following that guidance to do good deeds would effectively mean that justification, if it is to achieved at all, might be achieved in a manner that is available to Gentiles. Consequently, position (2) needs to be further nuanced to fully discriminate it from position (1). Position (2) consists in the denial, that merely being a member of the people who “possess” the Law of Moses places one in a privileged position in respect to justification over the Gentile, apart from any consideration of good works at all. This is not an argument about “good works” in any sense. Paul is critiquing ethnic privilege, as marked out by the Law of Moses.

    Note that some people take Romans 3:28 as having no specificity at all to the Law of Moses, and that Paul is making a general claim about “good works” not leading to justification. I believe that position is clearly incorrect, but I will not argue the point here. What is more challenging is to choose between options (1) and (2) which, while they both assume that Paul is dealing with the Law of Moses, are still fundamentally different.

    First, a point of method. It is obviously improper to approach this text with the assumption that if there is any way possible, no matter how contrived and awkward, to read v. 28 as per option (1), then that is Paul’s meaning. The more objective approach is to consider both possibilities and sees which possibility works better in context.

    More later (I have only stated my position thus far, not argued it)
     
  2. Andre

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    Deleted own post - formatting problem
     
    #2 Andre, Jul 3, 2010
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  3. Andre

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    Note: This post will not make sense unless you read the OP.

    We start with this from Romans 1:

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek

    Cranfield has argued that the original Greek suggest that “also to the Greek” should be rendered as “also equally to the Greek”. In any event, here we get the first inkling that Paul is concerned with countering a view that God’s grace is limited to Jews, supporting position 2. Paul acknowledges a temporal priority for the Jew but stresses that the Gentile is also embraced under God’s grace. Of course, this statement does not contradict position 1, but it definitely coheres more neatly with position 2.

    Beside, and although the point will not be substantially argued here, a case can be made that Paul wrote Romans largely to encourage the Jewish and Gentile factions of the church at Rome to get along with each others. At numerous points in the epistle, Paul makes statements that show he is centrally concerned with such unity. Examples:

    Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one

    If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

    This last text, of course, is Paul’s warning to Gentiles to respect Jews.
    To the extent that the epistle is focused on achieving Jew-Gentile unity in the Roman church, this supports interpretation 2 re 3.28 – Paul is denying that justification is not ethnically determined (and not denying justification by good works). Again, not a slam-dunk, but one item of evidence in a broader picture.

    More later
     
  4. Andre

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    Note: This is the third post in a series – the first two parts needs to be read first.

    We move to Romans 2 and seek to determine which option, 1 or 2, can be sensibly integrated with what Paul says there.

    Consider option 1. If we provisionally accept that, in v. 28, Paul is denying that Jews are saved by doing the “good deeds” prescribed by the Law of Moses, we are forced into the decidedly odd position of looking back at Romans 2:6-7 and deciding that when Paul wrote those verses, he really meant us to read that text as follows:

    God "will give to each person according to what he has done." 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life, but there are actually zero such people.

    Seem odd? It certainly does. Prophets do not make generally make statements about something that will happen to people, if they believe that “something” will, in fact, happen to no one. So Romans 2:6-7 clashes uncomfortably with interpretation 1.

    What about 2? Embracing position 2, of course, allows us to take 2:6-7 exactly as written.

    More later....
     
  5. Andre

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    Note: This is the fourth post in a series – the first three parts need to be read first.

    Now consider this text from chapter 2:

    9There will be affliction and distress on everyone who does evil, on the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, for the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.

    Note how Paul’s concern here seems to be on ethnic divisions – he goes out of his way to demonstrate that God will be impartial in respect to His treatment of Jew and Gentile. This emphasis favours interpretation 2 in respect to 3:28 because the above is precisely the kind of argument one would mount if one were challenging a belief that the Law of Moses gave the Jew some kind of preferential status. There is strong evidence here, to be further strengthened by subsequent material in chapter 2, that Paul is rebuking a person who thinks that justification breaks down on ethnic lines. If Paul is really focussed on how the good works prescribed by the Law of Moses cannot justify the Jew, why then is he talking about how God treats Jew and Gentile impartially? I suggest that this text preferentially supports the view that, in 3:28, Paul is critiquing Jewish ethnic privilege, not the vanity of trying to be justified by doing the works of the Law of Moses.

    More from Romans 2:

    Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God

    Clearly, this text is aimed at the Jew who boasts over the Gentile in the ethnic privilege of the Law of Moses. This text favours position 2, assuming, of course, that Paul is presenting a coherent integrated argument.

    And more:

    The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker. 28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.

    Once more, this critique is clearly directed at the Jew who thinks his ethnicity, as marked out by circumcision and possession of the Law of Moses, places him in a privileged position over the Gentile. What better way to rebuke such a Jew than to say that he will be judged by an (unclean) Gentile?

    So the evidence mounts – Paul is centrally concerned with dismantling ethnic divisions. And to this point, we have not heard a whisper of an implication that Paul is addressing a person who thinks that good works will justify.

    More later...
     
  6. Dr. Walter

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    Andre,

    There are some things that you are simply ignoring and/or changing simply to suite yourself.

    Look at Romans 3:24-26 and you will clearly see that everything necessary for justification (v. 24) or to satisfy God (propitiation) is provided by God through Jesus Christ and that verse 26 closes this provision with these conclusive words - the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

    Now, pay attention to the exact and precise subject introduced by Paul in the first phrase of verse 27:

    "Where then is Boasting" - v. 27

    This is Paul's subject. He asks that question in regard to what God has provided in Jesus Christ in verses 24-26. Nothing in verses 24-26 is provided by man. Everything provided in verses 24-26 has to do with justification. Verse 24 introduces justification and verse 26 closes with "the justifyer of him which believeth in Jesus."

    Thus the new subject is introduced "Where then" in what has just been described and provided for justification by God "is the boasting?."

    He does not ask what is the difference between Jews and Gentiles. He asks "where then is the boasting" in regard to the provisions for justification in verses 24-26.

    He then immediately answers that question "it is excluded" What is excluded? Boasting in regard to justification as described in verse 24-26 is excluded!

    He now proceeds to tell HOW it is excluded -


    By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. - 28

    Boasting about justification is excluded - that is fact and how it is excluded is reduced to a "law." "by what law?

    Here the term "law" simply means "principle." What excludes boasting from justification is narrowed down to one of two "principles." The principle of "works" versus the principle of "faith."

    1. The term "law" is used to equally describe both "works" and "faith"

    2. Therefore the term "law" means the same for both "works" and "faith."

    3. Therefore the term law simply means "principle" or "rule" equally applied to both "works" and "faith"

    4. They are in opposition to each other and therefore you cannot interpret "faith" to include "works" or "works" to include "faith." They are put in contrast.

    5. Boasting in justification is excluded by either the PRINCIPLE of "works" or the PRINCIPLE of "faith."

    6. "works" is something YOU do whereas "faith" is put in direct contrast to something you do or "works"

    7. Also the same contrast is found in Romans 4:5 "he that WORKETH NOT but "BELEIVETH on him that JUSTIFIES THE UNGODLY." The term "ungodly" demands that "worketh not" means there is nothing done by the one being justified that God can attribute "godliness" to him as the basis for justification.

    8. Therefore "believeth" denies any personal contribution that God uses as a basis to justify that person or else they could not be defined as "ungodly" at the point of justification by faith. ONLY THIS KIND OF FAITH harmonizes with the believing person as "ungodly" when justified and removes all boasting in justification of that "ungodly" believer.

    9. Therefore, this is faith "IN" an object the provides complete propitiation/satisfation of God's justice FOR or IN THE PLACE OF the believer or as Rom. 3:26 says "the justifier of him that believeth IN Jesus Christ" as described in verses 24-26. This is not FAITHFULNESS TO Jesus Christ but faith "IN" the provision of propitiation Jesus Christ supplied IN THE SINNERS BEHALF. This is not "faith" doing anything at all but RECEIVING what has been DONE by Jesus Christ to JUSTIFY the believer.

    Next Paul identifies which principle excludes boasting and which principle does not exclude boasting:

    Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. - v. 28

    1. This is the conclusion to the final question "which law" in regard to two opposing PRINCIPLES.

    2. The word "deeds" is a translation of the same Greek term previously used in the preceding verse translated "works."

    3. By context the PRINCIPLE of "works" in verse 27 is defined to be the same as "the deeds of the law" in verse 28.

    4. The PRINCIPLE of "works" that is being denied as grounds for justification and grounds for boasting is "GOOD" works as none would boast in "bad" works. "Good" works are defined only by the "law" of God as there is no other REVEALED standard to distinguish "bad" from "good" works other than the law of God - the Ten commandments or the MORAL LAW.

    5. The same "law" here is the same law in verse 31 that faith establishes because it is the law of righteousness satisfied in the Person of Jesus Christ which is the only proper object of justifying faith.


    Having established we are justified by faith in God's provision in the Person and work of Jesus Christ that is the "propiation" (satisfaction) of God's law and that we are not justified by "works" defined by God's law as "good" then Paul proceeds to draw the obvious application:


    Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
    30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.


    Having Christ SATISFY the Law's full demands by His OWN WORKS manifested in His OWN LIFE and Death which is the basis for justification BY FAITH and not BY THE DEEDS OF THE LAW - therefore Gentiles can be justified EQUALLY as Jews because NEITHER are justified by the principle of "works". This excludes the Judaic law as well as the law written upon the conscience of the Gentile (Rom. 2:14-15). Therefore the boast of the Gentiles in Romans 2:1-5 to be BETTER than other gentiles in Romans 1:19-32 is equally denied as the boast of the Jew's to be BETTER than Gentiles in Romans 2:17-24.

    ONLY THE SUBSTITUTIONARY WORKS OF JESUS CHRIST provide the grounds for justification to both Jew and Gentile WITHOUT WORKS but through FAITH ONLY.

    Remember there are no other alternatives considered or presented by Paul that removes boasting for how one is justified. Since it is not "by works" then we are justified by "FAITH ALONE."

     
    #6 Dr. Walter, Jul 4, 2010
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  7. Dr. Walter

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    Justified "by faith"

    Justification is obtained by faith "IN" the completed substitutionary actions of Jesus Christ that completely SATISFY God's Justice which is the GOOD NEWS of the gospel being prclaimed - Romans 3:24-26.

    Justification is not obtained by faithfulness TO Christ as "faithfulness TO Christ is impossible until after one has been removed from under the penatly and condemnation of sin and is made acceptable in God's sight. It is justification by faith "IN" the completed substitutionary actions of Jesus Christ that removes the sinner out from under the condemnation and penalty of sin and provides him with the righteousness of Christ in God's sight.

    Justifying faith is "IN" the OBJECT of faith not in the SUBJECT or actions of the one embracing that object. Justification is all about Christ's faithfulness TO God in your behalf as preached in the gospel NOT your faithfulness TO Christ.

    Sin by definition is the transgression of the Law of God (1 Jn. 2:6). Hence, justification by contrasting definition is the satisfaction of that transgression by the Person and works of Jesus Christ in behalf, or in the place of the transgressor in the sight of God. Faith that justifies is merely faith that embraces the finished worker and His work as your justification without your works as they cannot improve what Christ has finished.

    If you restrict the moral law of God to Jews only then Gentiles cannot be defined as sinners in 1 Jn 4:6 as only those UNDER a law can transgress that law. Where there is no law there is no transgression and where there is no transgression there is no need of salvation and where there is no need of salvation there is no need of a Savior. Since the WHOLE WORLD is condemned by sin, then the whole world is UNDER THE LAW that sin is a transgression of (Rom. 3:19-20). Romans 3:19-20 does not use the plural "LAWS" but the singular "law" which equally and unitedly condemns both Jews and Gentiles as sinners (Rom. 3:9-18).

    This is the MORAL LAW of God that Old covenant given to Israel is but the same ESSENTIAL manifestation as that written upon the conscience of the Gentile EXCEPT that it is much more EXPANDED into the civil and ceremonial/religous life of the Jew - but the SAME MORAL ESSENTIAL LAW that condemns both Jew and Gentile - Rom. 3:19-20

    This is the SAME LAW in Romans 3:28 and 31 that is the definer of good "works" which Paul denies and repudiates as the basis of justification. Justification is limited to FAITH ONLY as the only other option given is "works."
     
    #7 Dr. Walter, Jul 4, 2010
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  8. Andre

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    Of course, I have never denied any of this. You only think I have, because, apparently, you simply do not believe what Paul writes in Romans 2:6-7.

    I think I have been quite clear about this - the person who, through faith alone, accepts Jesus as saviour is assured of ultimate justifcation by deeds on the last day. Unless that person simply walks away from their faith.

    You have no actual grounds for suggesting that, in any sense, I deny the truth of Romans 3:24-26. You seem to apply your own restriction that the means by which Jesus ultimately justifies the believer must exclude the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. I suggest that you have no scriptural grounds for applying that restriction.

    Now, I have presented a detailed case for why Paul is not denying ultimate justification by deeds in Romans. And there is a lot more evidence to come.....
     
  9. Andre

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    Note: This is the fifth post in a series – the first four parts need to be read first.

    Now we consider some material from Romans 4:

    Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?

    The issue of whether God’s grace is limited to Jews is clearly at issue. Remember – this material is really just a few sentences along from 3:28-29, where Paul has denied justification by works of the Law and then grounded that statement in the statement that God is God of Gentiles as well as Jews. It is important to let Paul tell us what he wants to tell us, and not let our traditions mute him. With the above statement, and with the amplifying material below, it becomes fairly clear that Paul is not critiquing the effort of the Jew to “earn” salvation by pursuing the Law. Instead the focus of his critique is on the belief that God’s grace is limited to Jews:

    Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!

    Again, if Paul’s denial in justification by doing the works of the Law is really a denial of “good works justification”, why is he going to such great lengths to point out the fact that Abraham received the promises about his family before he received the key mark that set the Jew apart from the Gentile – the mark of circumcision. Paul is clearly wanting to deny that being born Jewish does not confer privilege in respect to justification. If circumcision were indeed some kind of moral activity, one could perhaps say that Paul was making the point that Abraham’s justification was not the consequence of the “good deed” of circumcision.

    But, and there really should be debate about this, circumcision is not a “good deed”, it is an act of ethnic demarcation. Paul is not concerned with rebuking what he actually affirms in Romans 2:6-7, that is justification by good works. Instead, he wants to say that justification is not for Jews to the exclusion of Gentiles.

    And the following only affirms this central concern with matters of ethnicity, not good works.

    Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.

    In seeing Paul as denying “justification by good works”, the reformers were reacting to certain problems in the church at the time. Fine. But Luther and Calvin did not write inspired Scripture, Paul (and others) wrote inspired Scripture. I suggest that the corpus of evidence (and there is a lot more to come) shows that Paul’s critique of “justification by works of the Law” is not a critique of the idea of justification based on good works. It is substantially an ethnic argument. We in the 21st century west tend to forget how powerful ethnic lines were in second temple Palestine.

    And, of course, when we follow Paul’s argument carefully, we see that, with some relief, we do not need to concoct what are rather obviously awkward and contrived means of denying that Paul meant what he wrote in Romans 2:6-7. Remember, Romans 2:6-10 is the first statement about justification (and salvation) in what many consider to be the great epistle on “soteriology”.

    And what does Paul do in those verses? He affirms that ultimate salvation is by good deeds. So why is this declaration transformed into a statement of the purely hypothetical?
     
  10. Dr. Walter

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    First I do NOT deny what Paul teaches in Romans 2:6-7! I deny YOUR INTERPRETATION of it.

    Second, You do teach double justification (which is really no justification at all) as you speak of being "assured of ULTIMATE justification" when Paul uses the Aorist and Perfect tense in speaking of COMPLETED justification already.

    I have spelled out in detail what is clearly taught in Romans 3:24-31 and the facts of the exposition repudiate your whole position. This is not a contrast between jew and gentile in regard to justification but a contrast between two principles not persons - "works" versus "faith." You REVERSE and therefore REPUDIATE Paul's whole argument.

     
  11. Dr. Walter

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    It is not "widespread belief" that repudiates your "works" for justification theory but Paul's belief that is spelled out in Romans 3:24-31. Romans 2:6-7 simply gives you justice according to and UNDER LAW which judges all men "according to their works" - nothing more and nothing less.

    In Romans 3:19-31 Paul denies that anyone works will pass the Law's judgement and repudiates "works" as the means of justification before God. Romans 3:27 gives only TWO alternatives and repudiates
    "works" as a viable means for justification before God.



    The above statement is a complete twisting of Romans 3:27-28. What Paul actually denies is that justification is by THE PRINCIPLE OF WORKS and therefore that includes the Law of Moses as well as anything regarded as Law that involves works.


    Anyone who can interpret Romans 3:27-28 and come to the conclusion this text has nothing to do with "good" works is not a serious exegete of Scripture. It does not take much genius to read Romans 3:24-26 to see there is NOTHING in these texts that is PROVIDED BY THE BELIEVER for his justification but EVEYTHING is provided by God in the Person and work of Jesus Christ and it concludes simply appropriating "through faith" as the object of faith "believing IN his blood....He is the just and justifier of he that believeth IN Jesus." Hence. ALL GOOD WORKS by the believer is elminated as there is nothing for the believer to do but embrace what has been COMPLETED as "propitatiaton" (satisfaction) of divine justice and righteousness by Christ Himself self.

    Romans 3:27 proceeds to eliminate "works" as a PRINCIPLE involved in justification. No one would even consider including BAD works for justification as that is the very reason justification is necessasry so it is ONLY GOOD WORKS as a principle that is being considered. The principle or law of GOOD WORKS are elminated completely and therefore so are all good works in keeping with all laws defining what is "good" works are eliminated from justification. Why? Because to include "good works" is to repudiate the sufficiency of GOOD WORKS BY CHRIST as the "propitiation" of violated Justice.



    Paul has already repudiate THE PRINCIPLE OF WORKS altogether in Romans 3:27 and therefore the law of Moses that demands good works is automatically repudiated since it falls under that GENERAL PRINCIPLE OF GOOD WORKS.


    The Law of Moses does not justify anyone, Jews or proselyte Gentiles but only demands what is necesssary to be justified by it (Rom.2:6-7). It will not justify anyone who attempts to keep it for justification.

    This is false. The Gentile has the essence of Moral law written upon his "concience" as the moral guide for "GOOD WORKS" versus "BAD WORKS" (Rom. 2:15). However, Romans 3:27-28 eliminates the PRINCIPLE OF GOOD WORKS as a basis to justify anyone before God and therefore eliminates both the law of Moses written upon stone, parchment, skins as well as the law of God written upon conscience as the basis for justification before God.


    The same PRINCIPLE OF GOOD WORKS or LAW OF GOOD WORKS is found in external written form to the Jews as it is in external written from to the Gentiles but Abraham denies either LAW OF GOOD WORKS can justify a person before God by denying the validity of the principle of good works altogether in Romans 3:27-28.


    This is patently false. Paul first rules out ANY and EVERY law of Good works as applicable to justification before God and CONSEQUENTIALLY the Jewish law is no better than the Gentile law inscribed upon their conscious as a standard for justification because both the Jew and Gentile VIOLATE BOTH and are CONDEMNED BY BOTH equally. Hence, the law of Moses does not justify the Jew and more or less than would the Gentile as neither can be justified by it as it would equally condemn both as SINNERS just as the law written upon the conscience of both the Jew and Gentile would EQUALLY condemn them as sinners if no WRITTEN EXTERNAL law existed as both are the same in regard to being a LAW OF GOOD WORKS which cannot justify any human being.


    Romans 3:27-28 repudiates ALL LAWS OF GOOD WORKS in general and the law of Moses in specific as standards for justification by good works before God. Look at Romans 3:27 and you can clearly see the meaning of "law" is generic or general in regard to both "works" and "faith" equally. Any and every law of "good works" is repudiated as a way to be justified (v. 27) and therefore the conclusion naturally is that the "deeds of the law" of Moses is repudiated as a means to be justified by good works. Since the law written in the conscience of every man is neither Jew or Gentile but GENERIC it too is equally repudiated as the standard of "good works" for justification before God. [/QUOTE]
     
  12. Dr. Walter

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    The Gospel has to do with the content spelled out in Romans 3:24-26 that has nothing to do with the GOOD WORKS of any sinner but the sufficiency of the good works and death of Jesus Christ as the propitiation/satisfaction of Divine Justice FOR BELIEVERS in this provision.

    Since Romans 3:27 REPUDIATES in general ALL GOOD WORKS as a PRINCIPLE or LAW to obtain justification before God therefore it naturally repudiates ALL GOOD WORKS under any specific law (Rom. 3:28) to obtain justification before God. Therefore, both Jews and Gentiles are EQUALLY justified WITHOUT GOOD WORKS but only by the GOOD WORKS OF JESUS CHRIST as the propitiation of God's violated moral law which is received by the principle of FAITH alone. Here is the equality of Jew and Gentile - WITHOUT GOOD WORKS BY BOTH and only by faith IN THE GOOD WORKS OF JESUS as the full and complete PROPITIATION/SATISFACTION of Divine justice.



    The basis of unity was not "good works" done by either party as the entire principle of good "works" is repudiated in Romans 3:27 as viable for justification of either party. The basis of unity is the "PROPITIATION" provided by God through the good works and death of Jesus Christ as the basis for justification "through faith."

    Romans 11:17-21 has nothing to do with individual personal salvation but with God's purpose of redemption as it changes back and forth from the sphere of Israel to Gentiles back to Israel. For example, the broken off are "grafted back in AGAIN" and individuals are not lost and resaved. This has to do with God's changable sphere for his work of redemption between Jews as a PEOPLE versus gentiles as a PEOPLE. He breaks Israel off as a PEOPLE (while continuing to save individuals) and then regrafts them back again as a PEOPLE. Likewise, the gentiles. He works exclusively among them as a PEOPLE while cutting Israel off as his exclusive sphere of redemption as a PEOPLE (while still saving individuals) but then cuts off the Gentiles as a PEOPLE (while still saving individuals) and returns to the exclusive sphere of redemption of Israel as a PEOPLE. Andre's interpretation would have people saved, then lost, then saved again as the Jews are cut off, then regrafted back in again
     
  13. Andre

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    I have, of course, never denied this, except in the sense that I take Paul seriously when he writes of a future justification by good deeds, at which those in whom the Spirit has been at works, will be awarded eternal life.

    This does not deny justification by faith - it merely demonstrates that the Spirit transforms those with faith into the kind of people who will indeed "pass" a good works judgement at the end:

    6God "will give to each person according to what he has done."[a] 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life

    You seem to think that the "those" is a "those" with zero members in it. If Paul had wanted to set forth an unattainable standard, he would not have used this kind of statement, a statement which clearly asserts that there will indeed be people who get eternal life at the end based on persisting in doing good.

    This is simply a statement of what indeed will happen - it is not the articulation of an unattainable standard.
     
  14. Andre

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    I could debate this, but that is beside the point.

    My point was that Paul is centrally concerned with perceptions of ethnic privilege.

    And this text powerfully supports that point.
     
  15. Dr. Walter

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    Again this demonstrates that all who come to God UNDER THE LAW to be justified by their works will be treated JUST by the law. No respect of persons. Works will be judged according to their own merits determined by JUST law given JUST consequences. Works regarded by the law as good will be rewarded the just recompense for good works while works regarded by the law as evil will be rewarded the just recompense for bad works.

    However, it is the Jew that believed HIS OWN WORKS would pass the judgement of the Law because he interpreted the law just as you do - LOWER standard than absolute goodness - without sin. This is precisely why Paul goes on to address this "BOAST" of the Jew whether it was a "BOAST" that was credible (vv. 17-24) and then denies it is any more credible than the Gentile boast (Rom. 2:1-5) in his conclusion in Romans 3:9-21.




    You admit here to what I say is exactly the same purpose in Romans 2:6-8, and that is to demonstrate the JUST principles of the law in regard to works. To demonstrate just principles both the criteria and consequences for good and bad works must be set forth and that is precisely and only what Paul does in Romans 2:6-8.



    Romans 3:27 eliminates ALL LAWS OF GOOD WORKS as the basis for justificaiton before God and therefore Romans 3:27 naturally eliminates the Jewish law of good works as the basis for justification before God. However, you are perverting and misinterpreting Romans 3:28 as though this is the ONLY law of good works Paul is elminating becuase of its JEWISHNESS when in truth it is eliminated because of its HUMANNESS as is ALL LAWS OF GOOD WORKS.



    He is focused on how the GENERAL LAW OF GOOD WORKS cannot justify ANY FLESH in Romans 3:27 and there neither can the law of the Jew in Romans 3:28 as God treats both EQUALLY and IMPARTIALLY as SINNERS who have broken ANY and EVERY law of good works. Therefore, the only means for justification is by "THE LAW OF FAITH" spelled out in Romans 3:24-26 which is equally applicable to ALL SINNERS who simply receive by faith the finished work of Jesus Christ as the complete PROPITIATION/SATISFACTION of God's violated Justice. Therefore HIS GOOD WORKS instead of OUR GOOD WORKS. Thus ALL LAWS OF GOOD WORKS are repudiated equally and entirely for justification before God as justification before God is SOLELY and ONLY by "the law of faith" which simply embraces the substitutionary and sufficient provision in the life and death of Jesus Christ as the propitiation/satisfaction for the violated justice of God. Therefore "Christ is THE END" (not the beginning) for righteousness of the law to "ALL" (not merely Jews) that believe in him.



    No, this is the boast of the Jew who MISTAKENLY believes that his "good works" measures up to the law he is under for justification before God. He is equally MISTAKEN as the boasting gentile (Rom. 2:3). The truth is that there is NO LAW OF GOOD WORKS that can justify the Jew or Gentile before God as there is NO FLESH that can measure up to ANY LAW OF GOOD WORKS they are under.

    Romans 5:29 uses the term "if" to simply consider HYPOTHETICALLY what would be the consequences "if" a Gentile could justified by his obedience to the LAW OF GOOD WORKS that he is under (law written upon his conscience - v. 15). However, no gentile has ever or will ever measure up to that standard any more than any Jew has or will measure up to the JEWISH LAW OF GOOD WORKS. But "if" the gentile never violated his inward law of conscience he would be regarded by God as equal to being circumcised in the flesh as the outward circumsion is designed only to reflect a justified state before God (Rom. 4:12). Likewise, the only true Jew is not one who is circumcised outwardly but one who is in addition to the outward circumcision is inwardly righteous and thus justified before God (Rom. 4:12). However, Paul immediately proceeds to demonstrate there is no Gentile or Jew that has not violated their LAW OF GOOD WORKS - Rom. 3:9-21.

    Both laws (on conscience; on stone) manifest the very same righteous standard that originates with God's own nature -the righteousness of God.
     
  16. Andre

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    What am I doing is respecting the entire corpus of scripture. And we certainly have Paul speaking of a future justification:

    for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

    Now you seem to think that there will be no such doers who will be justified.

    Well, lets look at the broader context:

    for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

    If you believe that Paul thinks that zero people will be justified by "doing the Law" you have Paul really saying this:

    for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified (***but there will be zero people justified in this way). 14For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law (***but actually none of them do instinctively the the things of the Law) , these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them (***but actually none of them will be able to claim that their consciences are defending them)

    You really have Paul making a deeply confused and misleading statement.

    Look: we have Paul starting with a statement about doers of the Law being justified. You seem to think that this is an unattainable standard. Paul then elaborates by referring to events where Gentiles do the things of the Law. You appear to placed in the remarkable position that Paul writes of Gentiles doing these things (to be justified by context) while believing that there are no such Gentiles. So even though he writes of Gentiles doing the Law, as an explanation of the statement about doers of the Law being justified, and yet you believe that Paul thinks there will be zero such Gentiles who do what he says they do.

    I am not really sure how such a position can be sensible maintained.
     
  17. Andre

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    No. My argument is sound. I have produced a powerful case that Paul is denying justification based on ethnic division, not based on good works.

    I trust you are not suggesting that Romans 3:9-20 rules out justification by good works. It might, if one rips Romans 8 right out the New Testament. Because it is quite clear that the believer is delivered from "Romans 3:9-20" position and that the Romans 3 description of the sinner unable to do good works is therefore taken off the table as an argument against ultimate justification by good works.

    Once again, a relevant text from Romans 7:

    Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

    Who the wretched man? He is the person we read about in Romans 3:9-20. What has Jesus' work accomplished? It has delivered him from the state he was in. So the first bit of Romans 3 is hardly any kind of argument that people cannot be justified by good works.

    It is a statement that they cannot be justified by good works apart from the work of Jesus.
     
  18. Dr. Walter

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    You are beating a dead horse. There are five problems with your interpretation of Romans 2.

    1. The subjects addressed are not people who have been justified by faith - nowhere are these people described as having been justified by faith.

    2. These are people who come to God by works

    3. Paul is setting forth the principles of a Just judgement UNDER LAW according to their works.

    4. Romans 3:9-21 not only denies they will pass that judgement but Romans 3:27denies anyone can be justified by works IN GENERAL and therefore no jew can be justified by "the deeds of the law" of Moses IN SPECIFIC (Rom. 3:28).

    5. Therefore the only justification is by faith alone (Rom. 3:28) for both Jews and Gentiles (Rom. 3:29-30) equally.

    Justification by faith is the only way the law is vindicated (Rom. 3:31) as the only good works that can vindicate/satisfy/propitiate (Rom. 3:24-26) it fully is the substitutionary works of Jesus Christ which is the object of faith in Justification.

     
    #18 Dr. Walter, Jul 5, 2010
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  19. Dr. Walter

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    You have not set forth a single solitary argument that is contextually sound. The only ethnic problems you have provided (Rom. 14-15) is over things neither right or wrong in and of themselves.

    Romans 3:9-21 not only denies anyone will be justified by works but Romans 3:27-28 denies that God can justify anyone by "the law of works" IN GENERAL or by the Mosaic law in specific.



    Romans 8 has NOTHING to do with justification but with progressive sanctification. This is how you defend your false doctrine by ripping things out of context or pitting scripture against scripture.



    Romans 7:1-8:13 refers to the Law and the elect before and after regeneration.

    Romans 7:1-5 provides the contrast between two marriages - one under the law and death, the other under Christ.

    Romans 7:6-12 gives us the first marriage of Paul using the past tense indicating his former state of unregenercy.

    Romans 7:14-8:13 gives us the Second marriage of Paul using the present tense indicating his PRESENT state of regeneracy.

    Romans 7:14-25 deals with the regenerate Paul attempting to conform to the Law of God by the power of His own will - battle between indwelling power of sin and the will power of Paul attempting to obey the law of God - warring against sin without the Holy Spirit - total defeat

    Romans 8:1-3 deals with the regenerate Paul submitting to the power of the indwelling Spirit in the battle with indwelling power of sin - victory.

    The wretched man is the BORN AGAIN MAN as that is the only kind of man that STRUGGLES with indwelling sin as the lost man LOVES darkness. The BORN AGAIN man is the only man that has an "inward man" that "delights in the law of God" as the Lost man simply is the "old man" entirely. This is the BORN AGAIN man who struggles with sin by his own WILLPOWER and not by the Indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Only the Born again man "serves God" with his the law of his mind (Rom. 7:25) but the fleshly nature will always serve sin (Rom. 7:25) and that is why this "corruption" must put on "incorruption" one day as there is no salvation for the flesly nature but only its death. The born again man is sold under the power of indwelling sin without any ability to overpower it - that power comes from relying on the power of the Spirit INSTEAD OF his own WILL POWER (Rom. 7:18-22).
     
    #19 Dr. Walter, Jul 5, 2010
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  20. Andre

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    The fact that Paul has not made it explicitly clear that those he describes as being justified at the end by good works must be Christians who have been justified (in the present) by faith, does not mean that he believes otherwise. Paul is doing something he does a lot in Romans - giving the reader a "teaser" in advance of later going on to explain more fully.

    And this is exactly what is going in Romans 2. Paul indeed describes people being justfied by works in Romans 2. And later, in chapter 8, he explains how this is accomplished - through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit given to those who are in Christ.

    Lest anyone think I am "rationalizing" here, look at the first bit of Romans 3. There Paul raises three questions about God's treatment of the nation of Israel. Does he answer them in Romans 3? No he does not - he raises the exact same three question later in Romans 9 and there gives the whole story.

    So I am entirely "justified" in claiming that, in Romans 2, Paul is telling only a part of a story that he will later more fully explain.

    So the fact that Paul does not identify those "justified by good deeds" in Romans as believers is not a counterargument to the claim that it is indeed those who believe in Jesus who are ultimately those who end up passing the Romans 2 "good works" judgment.
     
    #20 Andre, Jul 5, 2010
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