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Righteous, Righteousness, Justify, Make Righteous in the New Testament, Part 2
by Karl Kemp
2/12/2018 / Bible Studies
2. A SELECTION OF QUOTATIONS FROM CHRISTIAN COMMENTATORS THAT DEAL WITH THE MEANING OF "RIGHTEOUS," "RIGHTEOUSNESS," AND "JUSTIFY" IN KEY NEW-COVENANT-SALVATION CONTEXTS TO ILLUSTRATE THE WIDESPREAD PROBLEM (SERIOUS ERROR FROM MY POINT OF VIEW). I disagree with what these scholars say here, but I have a lot of respect for much, or most, of the work of most of these scholars. For the most part I picked these commentaries at random. I could have quoted from a large number of other scholars who say essentially the same things. This viewpoint is widespread. From my point of view this wide-spread-ness is bad news. I believe it is a serious distortion of the gospel by serious, competent Christians. I believe they are serious Christians and competent scholars, but from my point of view, for one reason, or another, they have accepted and are teaching a widespread serious distortion of the gospel.
All of the verses that I mention here in this section are discussed below in this paper under the study of the Greek words dikaios, dikaiosune, and dikaioo. There I give what I believe is the correct meaning of these Greek words in their contexts. Here I am just quoting what I consider to be wrong (seriously wrong) understandings regarding the meaning of these Greek words in their contexts with some comments. I don't believe it is wrong to include our being declared righteous in a strictly legal sense when we become Christians, or when we repent if we should sin after we become Christians, but I believe it is wrong to not include the super-important transformation that enables us to walk in the righteousness of God through the all-important atoning death and resurrection of the Lamb of God and the outpoured, indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit of life, by grace through faith.
First I'll quote a small part of what John Calvin (AD1509-64) said under Rom. 5:17 and 19, The Epistles of Paul to the Romans and Thessalonians in Calvin's New Testament Commentaries (Eerdmans, 1980 reprint). Under Rom. 5:17, "... The gift of righteousness, therefore, does not signify a quality with which God endows us [which would include transformation], for this is misinterpretation, but is the free imputation of righteousness [which just deals with being forgiven and having a strictly legal, right standing with God]. The apostle is expounding his interpretation of the word grace" (page 117).The apostle Paul taught that God's transforming, making righteous, sanctifying work comes by grace, as does his work of forgiving, etc. Grace means it comes as a gift, is unearned, unmerited.
Calvin under Rom. 5:19: "... It follows from this that righteousness exists in Christ as a property [He is righteous in His being and what He says and does.], but that that which belongs properly to Christ is imputed to us" (page 118). In other words we aren't made righteous, but forgiven and given a strictly legal, right standing with God through Christ's imputed (in a strictly legal sense) righteousness. We are accepted by Him as righteous. This interpretation, though widespread, still is surprising to me, especially in this verse (Rom. 5:19): Adam's rebellion made us sinners; we were not just guilty. But Christ's obedience, in His all-important atoning death and resurrection, did not overthrow sin; it just brought forgiveness and a strictly legal, right standing before God. I don't believe that can be so!
I'll quote a small part of what R. C. H. Lenski, a conservative, well-respected Lutheran scholar said under Rom. 1:17 (Saint Paul's Epistle to the Romans (Augsburg Publishing House, 1936). "The gospel tells all about this righteousness which has nothing whatever to do with works, neither springs from ([Greek preposition] ek) works of ours, nor aims at ([Greek preposition] eis) such works [my underlining for emphasis], but has its source (ek) only in faith and thereby is intended only for (eis) faith" (page 78).
"It was the happiest day in Luther's life when he discovered that 'God's righteousness' as used in Romans means God's verdict of righteousness upon the believer. ... This joy is ours today. Dikaiosune Theou [Righteousness of God] is the status [strictly legal, positional status] of righteousness into which faith and the believer are placed by the judicial verdict of God. It is the doctrine of justification by faith alone. ..." (page 79).
"It is essential to know that dikaiosune is juridical: by his verdict God, the Judge in heaven, pronounces the believer righteous and by that pronouncement, places the believer into the status of righteousness where he remains as long as He is [a believer (Lenski has the Greek "the believer" here)]. It is fatal to eliminate the forensic idea from dikaiosune" (page 80). I believe it is fatal to eliminate that the Lamb of God was slain bearing our sins with the guilt and the penalties, including the major penalties of spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons, so we could be set free and made righteous and holy through the indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit of life.
On page 88, still under Rom. 1:17, Lenski comments on the meaning of dikaios in that verse. "The term [dikaios] is again forensic: he who is righteous as having been acquitted, as having been pronounced free from all guilt and as being just [or, righteous in a strictly legal sense, not made righteous in his heart and life] by God, the Judge, in his heavenly court ..." (page 88). I strongly disagree!
I'll quote a small part of what Douglas Moo says under Rom. 1:17 in Epistle to the Romans in the New International Commentary on the New Testament series (Eerdmans, 1996). I disagree with a lot that Moo says here, but I have a lot of respect for him and much of his work; I have been following his writings for many years. First I'll quote much of a paragraph where he is discussing one way to understand the words "righteousness of God." He doesn't say he agrees with this view of Luther here, but the following excerpt will show that he does agree with this view (not that he necessarily agrees with every detail).
I'll skip his footnotes here. "... Luther's personal struggle ended with his realization that God's righteousness meant...'the righteousness by which we are made righteous by God.' ...a righteousness that is not one's own (iustitia aliena [it is an alien righteousness; an alien righteousness that is put down to our account that has nothing to do with how we live], a new standing imparted to the sinner who believes - this is what made Paul's message 'good news' to Luther. In contrast with both Augustine and most medieval theologians [and based on what I have read, we don't find Luther's view in the earlier Christian writings either, including the writings of the apostle Paul (Romans chapter 4 is a very special passage as we discuss in this paper)], Luther viewed this righteousness as purely forensic - a matter of judicial standing [strictly legal], or status, and not of internal renewal or moral transformation. This understanding of 'righteousness of God' stands at the heart of Luther's theology and has been a hallmark of Protestant interpretation. On this view, Paul is asserting that the gospel reveals 'the righteous status that is from God' " (page 71). Luther understood that the Holy Spirit will help us live better lives, but nothing close to victory over sin, and he did not include any transforming work of the Spirit in our being made righteous.
"... Bringing together the aspects of [God's] activity and status, we can define it [the righteousness of God in Rom. 1:17] as the act by which God brings people into right relationship with himself. [I'll skip his footnote. As I often mention, I believe it's appropriate to include that aspect of our salvation, but not to exclude the even more important transformation to righteousness. And there is a very definite limit to how much we can have a "right relationship" with God while we are living in sin.] With Luther, we stress that what is meant is a status before God and not internal moral transformation - God's activity of 'making right' is a purely forensic [strictly legal] activity, an acquitting, and not an 'infusing' [or imparting in a transforming sense] of righteousness or a 'making right' in a moral sense (see the Excursus ["Righteousness Language in Paul" on pages 79-90]). [What Moo goes on to say as his paragraph continues is important and helps, but I don't believe it hardly begins to undo the damage caused by a misunderstanding of dikaiosune and dikaios and dikaioo.] To be sure the person who experiences God's righteousness does, necessarily, give evidence of that in the moral realm, as Paul makes clear in Romans 6. [I believe he also makes it clear in Romans chapters 1-3 and 5-8. This is important! We are dealing with the heart of the gospel, which deals with being righteous, which includes walking in the righteousness of God, by grace through faith. God hates sin, and He paid an infinite price in the Sacrifice of His Son, and He poured out the Righteous, Holy Spirit of life into our hearts, so we could be born again and walk in the righteousness of God, with the victory over sin and demons, for His glory.] But while 'sanctification' and 'justification' are inseparable, they are distinct [[They are not equal in meaning, but there is a gigantic overlap in meaning between the two words. Both of them include being transformed and made righteous, and I don't mean made righteous only in a strictly legal sense, and made holy. Moo wants to include transformation in sanctification (by which Moo means to be progressing in holiness, not that we are called, and enabled, to live in an abiding state of holiness) but not in justification.]]; and Paul is badly misread if they are confused or combined. ... " (pages 74-75).
I'll quote part of what Moo said on pages 86-87 in "B" of his Excursus; the heading for "B" is " 'Justify,' 'Righteousness,' and 'Righteous' in Paul." This excerpt is under the sub-heading " 'Justify' (Dikaioo)." "... It is now generally agreed, then, that dikaioo in Paul means not 'make righteous' but 'declare righteous' [[As I showed in my paper on Isaiah chapter 53, and show in this paper, I can agree with starting with God's declaring us righteous as long as we don't stop there; we must include the not-nearly-often-enough-heard accompanying truth that God's words of declaring us righteous also declare His overthrow of spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons that resulted from Adam's trespass (Rom. 5:12-21) and give us the new birth and a walk in the imparted righteousness of God through the indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit of life, by grace through faith. Jesus bore all of our sins/iniquities/transgressions back to Adam WITH THE GUILT AND THE PENALTIES, INCLUDING THE MAJOR PENALTIES OF SPIRITUAL DEATH AND BONDAGE TO SIN AND DEMONS. Isaiah chapter 53 is all about that one, infinitely important, atoning death that fully solved the sin, spiritual death, Satan problem and makes us righteous with the imparted righteousness of God. However, we must appropriate and cooperate with His saving grace by faith.]], or 'acquit,' on the analogy of a verdict pronounced by a judge. [Moo has a footnote where he says, "So most Protestant exegetes," and he lists a few of them. It is totally necessary for us to consider the difference between judges on the earth whose words have no power to transform sinners to saints and GOD THE JUDGE, WHOSE WORDS HAVE THE AUTHORITY AND POWER TO OVERTHROW ALL OF HIS ENEMIES AND MAKE BELIEVERS RIGHTEOUS.] To justify signifies, according to forensic usage, to acquit a guilty one and declare Him or her righteous. [He has a footnote, "Melanchthon (the Lutheran leader who followed Luther) Apology for the Augsburg Confession, 4.184."]
(still quoting Moo) Roman Catholic scholars who agree that dikaioo means 'declare righteous' nevertheless often insist that this declaration, being God's powerful word, must be effectual, and include thereby moral transformation. [Moo gives some references in a footnote.] It is indeed the case that God's declaration is effectual, but there is nothing about the act that suggests that this effect must extend beyond its forensic sphere. [I believe that much that I say in this paper shows that Moo is wrong here.] So also the criticism that a strictly forensic meaning of dikaioo makes the action a 'legal fiction' is wide of the mark: legal it is, but it is no more fiction than is the release from imprisonment experienced by the pardoned criminal." If we are going to speak of being released from imprisonment, it seems clear to me that dikaioo includes being RELEASED from spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons and made righteous with the imparted righteousness of God. I believe I demonstrate this in my paper on Isaiah chapter 53 and in this paper and other writings.
I'll include one last excerpt from Moo, under the heading " 'Righteous' (Dikaios) and Other Terms." Moo mentions that Paul only uses dikaios 17 times in the New Testament. "... When Paul does use it, forensic connotations are again to the fore (cf. Rom. 1:17; 2:13; 5:19; Gal. 3:11). [[I disagree that "forensic connotations are...to the fore" in any of these four uses of dikaios. I believe all of these verses in their new-covenant-salvation contexts put the emphasis on being transformed/or having been transformed by the saving grace of God in Christ. Romans 2:13 says that the doers of the Law, not the hearers, are just/righteous before God and will be justified (will be found righteous because doers of the Law are righteous, by grace, and will be declared righteous), and Paul makes it clear in Romans that the only way we can become doers of the Law is through new-covenant salvation. (All of these verses are discussed below in this paper.) That's the primary result that God was after in the Sacrifice of His Son (cf., e.g., Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:25-27; and many of the prophecies in Isaiah which I mentioned in the paper on Isaiah chapter 53). God hates sin and He paid an infinite price to overthrow sin in the hearts and lives of His people now!]] One is 'right' not because of behavior that is pleasing to God but because of faith in Jesus Christ [But the primary thing that "faith in Jesus Christ" is intended to do is to transform us from being sinners to being righteous with the imparted righteousness of God, by God's sufficient grace]." (page 88).
And I'll quote from what two commentators say under 2 CORINTHIANS 5:21. I have to admit that I am surprised by the widespread interpretation (I believe it is a serious misinterpretation) that the apostle Paul meant only that we might be/become the righteousness of God in a strictly legal, positional sense through the atoning death of Christ. And especially in a context where Paul was exhorting many of the Corinthian Christians with the very serious need to repent and become what Christians are called and enabled to be. 2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2 are discussed under dikaiosune below in this paper.
I'll quote a paragraph from what Colin Kruse said under 2 Cor. 5:21 in 2 Corinthians in the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries series (Inter-Varsity Press, 1987). "In seeking to understand what it means to be the righteousness of God, we receive assistance from certain other passages where Paul touches upon the same subject (Rom. 3:21-26; Phil. 3:7-9). [I don't believe these verses back up what Kruse says here. Most of these verses are discussed below in this paper under dikaiosune.] The righteousness of God, understood as that which believers have, or become, is the gift of a right relationship with God based upon the fact that He has adjudicated in their favour by refusing, because of the death of Christ in their place, to take account of their sins" (page 129). I don't believe we can have much of a "right relationship with God" while we are sinning against Him.
I believe it is clear that God imparts His righteousness to believers through the all-important atoning death and resurrection of Christ in their behalf, as I discuss throughout this paper and in the paper on Isaiah chapter 53. The Lamb of God didn't just bear the guilt of our sin so that we might be forgiven and have a strictly legal, right standing with God. He, the sinless Lamb of God, who is deity with God the Father, having been with Him in the beginning, who became the God-man to save us, bore our sins (back to Adam) with the guilt AND WITH THE PENALTIES, INCLUDING THE MAJOR PENALTIES OF SPIRITUAL DEATH AND BONDAGE TO SIN AND DEMONS, SO THAT WE MIGHT BECOME/BE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN UNION WITH CHRIST IN THE FULL SENSE THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS MEANS IN NEW-COVENANT-SALVATION CONTEXTS LIKE THIS ONE. For two powerful examples see 1 Peter 2:24 and 1 John 3:7, along with the five uses in Romans chapter 6 and many other verses.
I'll include one last excerpt in this section, but I could have easily included hundreds of pages of similar excerpts that deal with what I am sure is a wrong understanding of the meaning of the words "righteous," "righteousness," and "justify," or equivalent translations of the three Greek words we are studying in this paper. I'll quote part of what Paul Barnett says under 2 Cor. 5:21 in The Second Epistle to the Corinthians in the New International Commentary on the New Testament series (Eerdmans, 1997). "... Because of their proximity a close parallel exists between the statements 'become the righteousness of God' and 'not reckoning their trespasses to them' (5:19). [[(This double bracket continues for three paragraphs.) First, I am sure that the apostle was not encouraging his readers to pause and meditate on the fact that they have been forgiven and given a righteous, strictly legal status through Christ that has nothing with how they live, since God is "not counting their trespasses against them" (NASB).
Also, although it is very clear that a totally necessary aspect of the gospel message is asking for forgiveness if we should sin, that wasn't Paul's primary concern here. It is very important to see that in 5:20, the verse right before 5:21, THE APOSTLE WAS EXHORTING THE MANY CHRISTIANS AT CORINTH WHO NEEDED TO REPENT TO REPENT AND BE RECONCILED TO GOD. (We are not reconciled to God in any reasonable sense while we continue to sin against Him, walking in the flesh to some extent instead of walking by the Spirit which is required of Christians.)
The same message regarding the serious need for some of his readers at Corinth to repent is included in 6:1, the verse following 5:21: "And working together with Him, we [especially Paul, but including his companions] also urge you not to receive God's grace in vain" (NIV). In the worst-case scenario, we would receive the grace of God in vain if we are/will be rejected by God. It is clear that Paul was calling those Christians at Corinth who needed to repent to repent throughout much of 1 and 2 Corinthians. (In 2 Cor. 13:5, for example, he exhorted his readers: "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you - unless indeed you fail the test?" Also see what the apostle Paul said in 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Rom. 6:16; 8:12-14; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-7.) In 2 Cor. 5:21 the apostle was exhorting those who needed to repent to repent and become what all Christians are called, enabled (by grace), and required to be in union with Christ.]] As indicated earlier, 'righteousness' is the opposite of 'condemnation,' the divine rejection (see on 3:9). [[I won't spend much time commenting of 2 Cor. 3:9 here. For one thing, the apostle equated "the ministry of the Spirit" in 3:8 with "the ministry of righteousness" in 3:9. The Righteous, Holy, indwelling Spirit of life was given to enable us to be born again and live in the righteousness of God with the victory over sin and demons (cf. Gal. 5:16). Also, being condemned includes a lot more than receiving a legal verdict (this point will be briefly discussed as we continue).]] The words 'become the righteousness of God in him' point to forgiveness, the reversal of condemnation. [[No, as is typical for Paul, once we get beyond Romans chapter 4, which is a very special chapter as I discuss in this paper, the words "the righteousness of God" very much include being transformed by the grace of God in Christ. And, as I mentioned, in this context Paul was exhorting his readers who needed to repent to repent, being transformed - to be/become "the righteousness of God in [Christ]." This is what it takes to reverse being condemned. For mankind to be under condemnation in Romans chapter 5 included being spiritually dead and in bondage to sin and demons, with the understanding that the day of judgment is coming. The heartbeat of Christianity is that the Lord Jesus has rescued (redeemed) us from that pitiful state and given us the Righteous, Holy Spirit of life, which makes us alive with the life of God and righteous and holy with the imparted righteousness and holiness of God, as we cooperate with the grace of God by faith on a continuous basis.]] Here, then, is the objective, forensic 'justification' of God to those who are covenantally dedicated to God 'in Christ,' whom God 'made sin.' [He had a footnote that is not directly relevant to this study.] ... ...." I obviously disagree with his last sentence. Paul was speaking of a lot more than just a "forensic 'justification' of God" here.
3. A STUDY THAT LISTS ALL OF THE USES OF DIKAIOS, DIKAIOSUNE, AND DIKAIOO IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, THAT QUOTES MANY OF THESE VERSES, AND THAT DISCUSSES THE MEANING OF THE VERSES THAT ARE DIRECTLY RELEVANT TO THE TOPIC OF THIS PAPER, AND SOME OTHER VERSES TOO.
For this study I'll use the listing of verses for these Greek words in the Greek English Concordance to the New Testament for the NIV (Zondervan, 1997). This concordance lists all of the uses of the Greek words in one place, unlike the concordance for the NASB.
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of rightly understanding the meaning of these words in the verses that speak of new-covenant salvation. There is a GIGANTIC DIFFERENCE between our believing that the apostle Paul meant that we are forgiven and have a strictly legal, right standing before God that has nothing to do with our being transformed by God unto righteousness and holiness when he used one of these three Greek words and our believing that Paul meant that God forgives us AND ACTUALLY MAKES US RIGHTEOUS BY SETTING US FREE FROM THE PENALTIES OF SPIRITUAL DEATH AND BONDAGE TO SIN AND DEMONS THAT RESULTED FROM ADAM'S TRANSGRESSION, AND BY IMPARTING HIS OWN LIFE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS TO US THROUGH THE SACRIFICE OF HIS SON AND BY HIS OUTPOURED, INDWELLING RIGHTEOUS, HOLY SPIRIT OF LIFE. Faith for victory over sin cannot be based on our being forgiven and having a strictly legal, right standing with God.
As I mentioned, one primary goal for this study is to find all of the very few places where these Greek words are limited to the meaning being forgiven and having a strictly legal, right standing with God, or the equivalent, including the viewpoint that Christ's righteousness is put down in our account in a strictly legal sense when used in new-covenant-salvation contexts. Based on previous study I already know (I believe I know, and I am committed to the viewpoint) that these words are almost never used that way, even though many Christians put a strong emphasis there. I have known for a long time that the way dikaioo and dikaiosune are used in Romans chapter 4, which is a very special chapter, as I explain in this paper, and the way dikaioo is used in Gal. 3:6, which quotes from Gen. 15:6 as does Rom. 4:3, do not include transformation.
As I have mentioned, I haven't found any other places in this study where these words are used in new-covenant salvation contexts where transformation is not included. Furthermore, I haven't found any verses in non-new-covenant-salvation contexts that fit the greatly limited meaning that includes forgiveness but has nothing to do with how people live, what they do in their daily lives, their works. As I mentioned, Luke 18:14 could be understood with the greatly limited meaning, but I don't believe Jesus intended to include that idea in His parable. Luke 18:14 and that parable are discussed under the Greek verb dikaioo. I was open before God to be changed by this study, but that hasn't happened, and I am thankful: THIS IS GOOD NEWS! NO TRUE CHRISTIAN WANTS TO CONTINUE TO SIN!
I have a super-strong desire to teach this right. It will greatly affect our concept of what new-covenant salvation in Christ is all about. Did God call us to victory over sin, even all sin, in the New Testament? I believe He did and that this is EXTREMELY GOOD NEWS! God gives us the grace to live as He would have us live, in His righteousness and holiness, but we must appropriate and cooperate with His grace by faith, a faith that must be based on what His Word actually teaches. And we will never rightly interpret God's Word apart from accurately knowing the meaning of the individual words, and some words are of key importance: The words we are studying in this paper are among the top ten most important words used in the New Testament.
Although the New Testament calls us to walk with the victory over all sin and demons, WHICH IS VERY GOOD NEWS THAT WAS DESIGNED TO BLESS US, it makes it very clear that there is intense warfare against us trying to keep us from walking with the victory over all sin coming from the world, the flesh (the old man that wants to continue in sin), and the devil and his hosts. (We certainly need to appropriate all of the saving grace that God has made available to us, including all the work of the Holy Spirit, including all the gifts of the Spirit.) And the New Testament makes it clear that we will be forgiven if we sin when we repent, but we must make it a top priority to aim at the target of not sinning at all. (I realize that will involve a big change for many Christians.) God hates sin, and He paid an infinite price in the Sacrifice of His Son to save us from spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons.
As I have mentioned, it is important for me to make it clear that Christians who (from my point of view) misinterpret the meaning of the words we are studying can still have faith for victory over sin based on the meaning of other words. For one important example, at least most Christians agree that the holy, holiness, make holy, saint, sanctify, etc. word group includes at least some transformation. However, the majority do not interpret these words to teach that we can stop sinning in this life, but only that we can be decreasing the amount of sin in a sanctifying process that continues throughout this life. I believe that this word group in new-covenant salvation contexts typically speaks of our being called and enabled to live in an abiding holy state now, not that the victory is always easy or automatic. I should point out that although it doesn't look like it in English, these words all have the same root in Greek: hagios an adjective is most often translated "holy" or "saint"; hagiosune and hagiasmos, nouns, are most often translated "holiness" or "sanctification"; and hagiazo, a verb, is typically translated "sanctify" in some form or "make holy." The root meaning of hagios is "set apart"; we are to be set apart by God for God, which includes walking with the victory over sin, in the ideal all sin. (See the last chapter of my book Holiness and Victory Over Sin on the meaning of the words holy, holiness, sanctify, etc.)
We cannot afford to misinterpret the three Greek words we are studying in this paper. They are used often and are of crucial significance to rightly understand the gospel of new-covenant salvation. If we believe that verse after verse is only telling us that we can be forgiven and have a strictly legal, right standing with God, there is no basis for faith for victory over sin and demons. (We need a solid foundation. We need to have faith for, and to appropriate and cooperate with, all of the enabling grace that God has made available to us: As I mentioned, the world, the flesh [the old man that wants to continue to live in sin] and the devil and his hosts are against us.) It's true that the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God bore our sins with the guilt so we could be forgiven and come to a right relationship with God. (However, we aren't going to have much of a relationship with God while we are sinning against Him.) But in that same Sacrifice, He also bore the penalty for our sins back to Adam, including the major penalties of spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons, in order to set us free from those penalties.
Christians are not given the option to skip being set free from spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons and being made righteous with the imparted righteousness of God. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! THIS IS THE HEART OF THE GOSPEL! THIS IS GOOD NEWS GIVEN TO BLESS US, NOT TO MAKE US FEEL GUILTY! We cannot afford to put most of the emphasis on being forgiven, so we can better fight against guilt feelings. Christianity will never work as God intended unless we put the emphasis on victory over sin itself (not on victory over guilt feelings), in accordance with God's Word (which we must rightly interpret), by grace through faith! I realize that guilt feelings hurt, but God's remedy is to get rid of sin. And if we sin we will be forgiven when we repent, and we must believe we are forgiven when we repent. The devil and his hosts want to keep Christians feeling guilty, but much more important they want to keep us sinning, and if possible to get us back into unbelief. We want the will of God to be accomplished in us and through us, which is the opposite of what the devil wants! God's grace is here to enable us to do His will!
We will begin the study of the Greek adjective dikaios in Part 3 of this paper.
Copyright © by Karl Kemp
http://www.karlkempteachingministries.com Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.
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