The Time of Abram's justification before God

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Dr. Walter, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. Dr. Walter

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    1. He was justified BEFORE he was circumcised:

    Rom. 4:10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
    11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
    12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.



    2. He was justified AT LEAST by Genesis 15:6

    Rom. 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

    Genesis 15:6 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.


    NOTE: However, the Hebrew term translated "believed" is found in the Perfect tense and looks back into the past where this was a completed action that stands completed up to this point. It should have been translated "HAD believed." This is confirmed by Paul in Galatians 3:6-8 where the justification by faith of Abraham is said to have occurred in Genesis 12:3:

    Gal. 3:6Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
    7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
    8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.


    Gen. 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
    2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
    3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.


    NOTE: However, the Perfect tense is correctly translated in Genesis 12:1 "HAD said" demonstrating this conversation took place while Abram was still in his own "country" as well as his Father's house and that brings it back to the time he was in "Ur of the Chaldees" in Genesis 11:28-31. Terah had lost his son "Haran" (Gen. 11:28) and when Abram hearkened to the gospel call (Gal. 3:8) Terah and the rest of the family decided to go with Abram as their intent was to go to Canaan but stopped short at Haran:

    Gen. 11: 27 ¶ Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.
    28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.
    29 And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.
    30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child.
    31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.



    Abraham was justified by faith in the gospel in Ur of the Chaldees (Gal. 3;8; Gen. 12:1-3). I believed he shared the gospel truth with his father and that is why it says that "Terah took Abram his son......and they went forth with them from UR of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan" as that was the Land God had directed him to go after being justified by faith.
     
  2. Dr. Walter

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    Furthermore, Romans 4:1-2 is Paul's application of Romans 3:27 to Abraham:

    Rom. 3:27 Where is boasting [Gr.kauchesis] then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

    Rom. 4:1-21 ¶ What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found [to boast in]?
    2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory [Gr. kauchema]; but not before God.


    Abraham pertaining to the flesh when he was justified was:

    1. No boast in his ethnicity - Chaldean - GENTILE by birth - Gen. 11:28-31
    2. No boast in his religion - Idolater by religion - Josh. 24:15 and Gen. 31:34
    3. No boast in self-righteousness - "ungodly" - Rom. 4:5
    4. No boast in divine ordinances - uncircumcised - Rom. 4:9-13
    5. No boast as a law keeper - Rom. 4:14-15 - 430 years before Moses

    Paul's question "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?" IS interpreted to refer to any "works" that he could BOAST in as "good" before God to merit/earn justification as he continues - "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God."

    Hence, the "works" for boasting have to do with things "pertaining to the flesh" not to the Law of Moses. If he wanted us to believe he was referrring to the law of Moses he would not have qualified it as "things pertaining to the flesh" IN GENERAL.
     
  3. Dr. Walter

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    If Paul had in view to use the example of Abraham to prove that gentiles do not have to become Jews to be justified by the works of the Mosaic law he would have never said:

    Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. -- Rom. 4:4

    This is an additional argument to prove that Abraham was not justified "by works" pertaining to the flesh IN GENERAL rather than pertaining to the Law of Moses in specific.

    He does not say anyone keeping the law of Moses, but anyone "that worketh" is expecting to EARN by his labors payment according to his works. This is the principle Paul refers to in Romans 3:27 or trying to be justified "by the law of works" which is the law that says "according to his deeds" (Rom. 2:6). Just as this Law of justification is rejected in Romans 3:27 it is rejected in Romans 4:4 as it is incompatible with "grace" but rather is demanding that God is in his "debt" according to his works.
     
  4. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    Jas 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
    22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
    23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
    24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
     
  5. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    Note carefully the leading manner in which DW coins this thread. “The Time” denotes that DW begs the question before we even get started. He assumes without proof that there is but one moment of justification, or so it would appear to this reader. Upon what does he base this unfounded presupposition?? Certainly the Apostle James would disagree with the implied premise of DW, and rightfully so would many others.
     
  6. Jedi Knight

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    And many others would disagree with YOUR interpetation you calim to know.
     
  7. Dr. Walter

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    Paul is very clear in Romans 4:11 that he speaking about (1) Justification before God; (2) and justification that is a completed action at the point of faith as he uses Perfect and Aorist tense verbs.

    James is very clear in the above passage that he is speaking about (1) justification before men "shew ME...I will shew YOU"; (2) and justification by works in addition to justification by faith that is progressive and ongoing in regard to the Christian life.

    You on the other hand, do not distinguish between things that differ and attempt to confuse them as one and the same which is inexcusable UNLESS you have no ability to read English or understand Greek tenses.
     
  8. Dr. Walter

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    You apparently either cannot read or you cannot understand what you read. I carefully documented the "time" terms. For example, Paul uses the "when" word in Romans 4:9-13 and expressly asks at what time was Abraham justified before God whether it occurred "in circumcision" or "in uncircumcision" and explicitly answered that question by denying it was in "circumcision" but was in "uncircumcision."

    However, your confused mixture of Justification by works in James with Paul's justification by faith in Romans is completely exposed as error by Paul as your confusion could never ask that question or answer it the way Paul did as your confusion demand ongoing progressive through uncircumcision as well as circumcision. Just evidence you don't understand either James or Paul.
     
  9. Thinkingstuff

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    What's a Calim? Is there some combination of Islamic faith in that statement? Just curious. Also when Abram believed God he also "went" to a land God would show him. Belief and acting on belief is faith.
     
  10. Dr. Walter

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    Faith and faithfulness are not one and the same. The former is the cause while the latter is the consequence. The former RESTS IN the object of promise while the latter is a REACTION TO the what has been embraced as its hope.

    Hebrews 11:1 defines what faith "IS" versus Hebrews 11:2,7-40 describes what is accomplished BECAUSE OF or "BY" faith. What it "IS" is inseparable from the object of hope or the promise providing that Hope. The basis or "foundation" of faith is God and His Word (Heb. 11:3-6). What it DOES is in response to what it has already embraced as its basis of hope.

    In regard to redemption, justification by faith RESTS solely upon the finished work of Christ as promised in the gospel as its confident expectation or HOPE. In regard to Sanctification this Hope or Confident expectation moves the believer by love to obedience not in order to obtain what has been promised but because it has already been obtained as its confident expectation.

    Here lies the definitive point between justification by faith and justification by works. Justification before God is obtained by imputation through faith IN the promised provision of Christ as a completed work FOR the believer. Thus justification by faith rests solely upon the faithfulness of Christ in behalf of the sinner instead of the faithfulness of the sinner TO God. Thus justification by faith ALWAYS is described "in" prepositional phrases "faith IN His blood" or "believing IN Christ" etc whereas justification by works is always described in verbal phrases or action phrases. Justification by faith is about Christ whereas faithfulnes is about YOU.

    Abraham RECEIVED the promise of God through faith before Abraham REACTED to what He received by faith. His justification BEFORE God was due to the former not the latter as the latter was the consequence not the cause. However, the latter justified His professed faith IN the promise of God before men (His father, brothers, wife, family). This is the emphasis of James - "shew ME.....and I will shew YOU...by my works".
     
    #10 Dr. Walter, Jul 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2010
  11. Thinkingstuff

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    Show this in scripture.
     
  12. Dr. Walter

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    I just did in my last post. I pointed out that Hebrews 11:1 defines what faith "IS" versus Hebrews 11:2,7-40 describe what faith DOES. That very distinction is a cause and effect distinction. Faith is inseparable from its basis for hope and that basis is defined in Hebrews 11:3-6 to be God and His Word. I just did by demonstrating that justification by faith is always described "IN" prepositional phrases whereas faithfulness is always described in action verb phrases. I just did by demonstrating that justification by faith "IN" Christ is all about Christ and His faithfulness FOR YOU, whereas faithfulness is all about YOU and your faithfulness TO God.

    Moreover, I put forth a scriptural TIME line when Abraham was justified by faith. According to your definition of justification by faith no such time line can be set forth as there is no difference between faith and faithfulness. Hence, it would be pointless to ask the question "when" was Abraham justified while "in circumcision" or "in uncirumcision" because if he were justified "in uncircumcision" then according to your definition he was equally justified "in circumcision" as well as yours is a PROGRESSIVE justification inseparable from works. Your definition makes no distinction between faith IN Christ versus faithfulness TO Christ. Your definition does not distinguish faith which has for its OBJECT only the faithfulness Christ embraced versus YOUR faithfulness to Christ.
     
  13. Dr. Walter

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    Genesis 12:1 uses the Perfect tense which is translated "HAD said" which moves the time frame of this conversation recorded in Genesis 12:1-3 back to Genesis 11:28-29 when Abraham was dwelling in the UR of the Chaldees.

    The writer of Hebrews attributes the departure from UR of the Chaldees by Abraham as a departure "by faith"

    Heb. 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
    However, Genesis 11:31 attributes the departure to Terah his Father:

    Gen. 11:31 [B]And Terah took Abram his son[/B], and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

    If you look at Genesis 11:28 you will see that Terah had already lost one of his sons to death. It is obvious to me that Hebrews 11:8 ("by faith") and Genesis 11:31 ("Terah took Abraham") can be easily harmonized by the fact that Abraham loved his family and told them of God's calling and Terah not desiring to lose another son took the lead in aiding Abram in obeying God's call. Thus, Abraham's profession of faith in the gospel (Gal. 3:8 with Gen. 12:3) was justified before men by his witness to them and his determination to obey God in front of his family.
     
  14. Thinkingstuff

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    You haven't shown any such thing. Lets break it down you've quoted hebrews 11:1
    Which only states that an aspect of faith is an assurity of our hope and things that we don't see. It doesn't cover everything that is faith. Also the time line of Abram does not show Abram received the promise before he acted on it. If you follow Abrams life and Genesis story we see this time line.
    At this point there is no indication of a faith in God for Abram but that he married and moved with his family to Haran (south eastern turkey most likely)
    It is at this point God made a request of Abram to move. And in this request came the condition "if you do this, I will do this. Ie
    Having been given this promise Abram believed God and what ?
    Thus when it says in Romans 4
    It is clearly shown that abram's belief was such that he acted on it. Otherwise it would be unbelief. And thus this passage in Romans 4
    is clarifying that Abrams belief in God which was acted upon was before the sign of the covenant ending in the Law. I think you take these things backward so when did Abram receive the promise? Well the first part of it here upon his arrival to the land and lot finally left him
    before
    which passage Paul refers to. Abram has already shown his belief in God by acting on God's instruction. And this belief carried on to what God said in this passage. and fulfilled in this passage.
    So your time line showing Abram already received the promise before he reacted isn't quite true.
     
  15. Dr. Walter

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    Also the time line of Abram does not show Abram received the promise before he acted on it. - Thinkingstuff

    Your responses are very amusing. However, the above statement says it all. May I ask you how can anyone act upon something he has not yet first received????????? Can you go on a honeymoon with a woman you have not first received in marriage? Can you wear a suit you have not first received? Can you act upon a promise you have not first believed IN??????

    Even your translation of Hebrews 11:1 tells you what faith "is" and if I were a betting man the same translation from Hebrews 11:7-40 tells you what is done "by" faith.
     
  16. Dr. Walter

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    Quote:
    Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. 28 While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. 29 Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram's wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor's wife was Milcah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah. 30 Now Sarai was barren; she had no children.

    31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.

    At this point there is no indication of a faith in God for Abram but that he married and moved with his family to Haran (south eastern turkey most likely)


    Both Paul and The writer of Hebews disagrees with your interpretation but attributes his departure from Ur as a by product of faith Paul pinpoints Abraham's gospel faith with the promise in Genesis 12:3 which Genesis 12:1 using the perfect tense "HAD said" places it back in Genesis 11:31 with the departure from Ur of the chaldees. The Writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 11:8 attributes the move in Genesis 11:31 also as a by product of "faith". Additionally, the writer of Hebrews says that faith took place at the point when Abraham did not know WHERE HE WAS GOING but in his departure from Haran he did know where he was going.

    Genesis 11:31 is the ONLY text prior to Genesis 12:1 that can fit the perfect tense "HAD said"! You are wrong and supremely wrong.

    Furthermore, there is no CONDITIONAL CLAUSES in Genesis 12:1-3. Genesis 12:1 is simply a command while Genesis 12:2-3 are UNCONDITIONAL promises. Nowhere does God say "IF you do this, I will do this" - that is your own heretical imagination at work.




    Quote:
    1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.
    2 "I will make you into a great nation

    It is at this point God made a request of Abram to move. And in this request came the condition "if you do this, I will do this. Ie
    Quote:
    and I will bless you;
    I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.

    3 I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
    and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you."
     
  17. Dr. Walter

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    Your interpretations incorporate "works" into the meaning of faith while Romans 4:5 places them in CONTRAST to each other "He that worketh not BUT believeth on him that justifieth the UNGODLY, his (ungodly) faith is counted for righteousnes."

    Romans 4:2 denies Abraham was justified "by works" while Romans 4:6 explcitly states justification by faith is "WITHOUT works" while you demand it is WITH works. The kind of works he is talking about is those "PERTAINING TO THE FLESH" - Romans 4:1 and the general rule of Romans 4:4 is applicable to!

    You are not a Baptist and if this represents your faith you are not a Christian.

    Thus when it says in Romans 4

    Quote:
    3What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."[a]

    It is clearly shown that abram's belief was such that he acted on it. Otherwise it would be unbelief. And thus this passage in Romans 4

    Quote:
    We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before?

    is clarifying that Abrams belief in God which was acted upon was before the sign of the covenant ending in the Law. I think you take these things backward so when did Abram receive the promise? Well the first part of it here upon his arrival to the land and lot finally left him

    Quote:
    The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring [a] forever.
     
  18. Dr. Walter

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    Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: - Gen. 12:1

    The hebrew text uses the Perfect tense indicated by "HAD" in verse 1. This places this conversation prior to chapter twelve into chapter 11. The only place it could occur is between Genesis 11:29-31. It had to occur previous to verse 31 as that is the response to this command. Furthermore, it could not have occurred while he was in Haran because the command speaks about leaving his own "country" which was Ur of the Chaldees rather than Haran of Syria as Genesis 11:27-28 makes very clear that Ur of the Chaldees was his "native" homeland.


    27 ¶ Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.
    28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.29 And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.
    30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child.
    31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
    32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.


    1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

    "THY COUNTRY" is his native birth place - "UR of the Chaldees" repeated two times in Genesis 11:28,31.
     
    #18 Dr. Walter, Jul 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2010
  19. Andre

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    The "works" in verse 2 are not good works - Paul is not contradicting himself in Romans 2 where he clearly affirms a final justification by "good deeds".

    The works in 4:2 is a reference to the works of the Law of Moses. Paul is not arguing against "good works" justification, he is arguing against justification for Jews only.


    Romans 4 does not subvert ultimate justification by good works. Here is the first bit of Romans 4:


    What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."[a]


    Romans 4:2 is clearly a reference to the Law of Moses and doing its works. True, the Law of Moses was not around in Abraham's time. All the more reason to think that Paul is making the point that justification has nothing to do with the Law of Moses. I believe that Paul denies justification by doing the works of the Law of Moses and not justification by good works. Those who argue otherwise have severe problems with Romans 2:6-7.

    Paul's argument is basically directed at the Jew, telling him that salvation is not limited to Jews and Jews only:

    For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. 29Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too

    Note that Paul has written these words just a couple of sentences back from Romans 4:2.

    The problem with seeing Romans 4:2 as anything other than a reference to the Law of Moses makes Paul into a scattered incoherent thinker. In Romans 3, he has just told us how justification is not based on doing the Law of Moses. Then throughout the first 17 or so verse of chapter 4, Paul is still making the same argument – salvation is not limited to Jews.

    The argument is about how Abraham was not justified in virtue of being Jewish and, by extension therefore, justification is not for Jews only:

    Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!

    The case makes itself – Paul is bending over backwards to make it clear that his topic here is the availability of justification to both Jew and Gentile alike. And this is precisely why it makes sense to assert, in 4:2, that the Jew (of whom Abraham is genetic father) is not justified by the works of the Law of Moses. Yes, the law of Moses was not around in Abraham’s time. But Paul is really making a broader argument about justification not being limited to the Jew.

    And what is the ethnic delimiter of the Jew? The law of Moses, of course.
     
  20. Thinkingstuff

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    If abram never went to "a land I will show you" would he have received it? Obviously not. Because in this case he wouldn't have believed God. Your example is poor to say the least.
     

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