5/30/2006

Predicament #1: The Lack of Shalom

The Good News that Conquers Our Predicament, part 2

In this series, I am exploring the Gospel or “Good News.” In the current “Atonement Wars” among evangelical Christians, some are insisting that the Gospel must be defined primarily as the story of Christ’s dying to pay for the sins of guilty human beings. While I affirm this doctrine, I am convinced that the Gospel is larger, more cosmic, than simply the story of Jesus dying on the cross to forgive sins. While that is a major part of the story, it is not the whole story. That story answers the predicament of our breaking God’s holy Laws. But is that what the Gospel is ultimately about? Isn’t there more to the story than just the legal, forensic part?

To answer this question, we need to go back to the beginning. And we all know that the story begins with Creation. God spoke everything into existence. He created the earth out of the tohu vabohu (the confusion and emptiness). But we should not make the mistake in believing that the Creation is only about humanity and that the non-human creation was only created for our benefit. “The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it” (Ps 24:1). Humanity is certainly the pinnacle of Creation, the very "Image of God" in Creation (and therefore, when humanity fails in that calling to be the Imago Dei there are cosmic consequences). However, the entire Creation is God’s, and we are a part of the Creation. Another example of God’s love for all of Creation is when he made the covenant marked by the rainbow. It was not just between God and Noah, it was “between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth” (Gen 9:16). God is in relationship with his entire Creation. God created out of confusion and emptiness a world that was then marked by peace and wholeness.

The Hebrew word for this is “Shalom.” Nicholas Wolterstorff says that a society characterized by shalom combines peace, justice, and enjoyment of all relationships so that all peoples can flourish in their lives, and that they can also delight in their relationship with God (Wolterstorff, Until Justice and Peace Embrace). Writing on shalom, Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. (President of Calvin College, a leading evangelical institution in the USA) embraces and expands Wolterstorff's definition:
“We call it peace, but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight…the webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.” (Plantinga, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: The Breviary of Sin, p. 10)

So the predicament that the Gospel solves is this: the LACK OF SHALOM. Plantinga has it right: Things are NOT the way they are supposed to be, not only for us humans, but for all of the created cosmos. The predicament is bigger than sin; it is that there is evil where Shalom is supposed to be. I like the way Plantinga describes it:
“We might define evil as any spoiling of shalom, any deviation from the way God wants things to be. Thinking along these lines, we can see that sin is a subset of evil; it's any evil for which somebody is to blame – sin is culpable evil... Sin grieves God, offends God, betrays God, and not just because God is touchy. God hates sin against himself, against neighbors, against the good creation, because sin breaks the peace... God is for shalom and therefore against sin." (Plantinga, Engaging God’s World, p. 51)


So, here we have a predicament of cosmic proportions: the Shalom that God intended for His Creation has been lost.

And therefore, here we have a gospel of cosmic proportions as well: God, in Christ, brings Shalom Peace to His Creation again.

The prophets foretold us that Shalom Peace would come when God will make all things right again:

  • “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)
  • “Therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I. How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:6-7)
  • “I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me” (Jeremiah 33:6-8)

Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, is prophetic as well when his son is born.

  • “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace” (Luke 1:76-79)

The heavenly host proclaims the purpose of Jesus’ arrival:

  • “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14)

Jesus’ purpose was to lead his people in the Way of Peace. However, they rejected his way. They wanted to follow other means of retaliation against Rome (the violent way of the zealots, or the compromising way of the Herodians, the separation ways of Qumran--more on this in my next post), while Jesus offered the Way of Peace, the way of sacrifice, the way of the cross. The result, according to Jesus, would be the utter destruction of the city of Jerusalem. Jesus says of the city,

  • “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42).

The Way of Shalom Peace both brings together humanity with God, and humanity with each other. Peter learns this through his experiences:

  • “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all” (Acts 10:34-36).

Our duty of discipleship, then, as Christ’s followers, is to live in peace with God and with others:

  • “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom 12:17-18).
  • “God has called us to live in peace” (1 Cor 7:15).
“At their best, Reformed Christians take a very big view of redemption because they take a very big view of falleness. If all has been created good and all has been corrupted, then all must be redeemed. God isn’t content to save souls; God wants to save bodies too. God isn’t content to save human beings in their individual activities; God wants to save social systems and economic systems too…Everything corrupt needs to be redeemed, and that includes the whole natural world, which both sings and groans. The whole natural world, in all its glory and pain, needs the redemption that will bring shalom. The world isn't divided into a sacred realm and a secular realm, with redemptive activity confined to the sacred zone. The whole world belongs to God, the whole world has fallen, and so the whole world needs to be redeemed--every last person, place, organization, and program; all 'rocks and trees and skies and seas'; in fact, ‘every square inch,' as Abraham Kuyper said. The whole creation is a 'theater for the mighty works of God,' first in creation and then in re-creation." (Plantinga, Engaging God’s World, p. 95-96)

Redemption in Christ is the re-establishment of Shalom Peace. This is a huge Gospel, a cosmic “Good News” — God is Peace, and he offers peace to all his Creation.

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you” (Romans 16:20).

___

Next: I explain how I think the Cross of Christ is the Way of Shalom Peace.

Links to the entire series:
1: Define the Predicament, and You Understand another Facet of the Gospel
2: Predicament #1: The Lack of Shalom
3: Evil Bondage in the Place of Shalom
4: EXODUS and the GOOD NEWS of FREEDOM in Paul
5: EXODUS and the GOOD NEWS of FREEDOM in the GOSPELS
6: Another of Humanity’s Predicaments: Broken Relationships
7: The Prophesied Kingdom of God
8: The Kingdom of God Restoring Israel from Exile
9: The Kingdom of God Healing Broken Relationships
10: The Kingdom of God and the Atonement
11: The Kingdom and the Mission of God’s People
12: What is my view of the Kingdom of God?

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24 comments:

Matt Wolf said...

Bob,

I heartily agree with you that where once there was peace, there now is a lack of peace.

But please answer this question:

How did creation move from a state of peace to a state of a lack of peace?

Was it not as a result of Adam’s sin? That is his personal, individual sin? Prior to Adam breaking the commandment of God not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, peace existed. Once he broke God’s commandment (read the law), that peace was broken.

It was through the breaking of the command that the peace was broken and it is through the justification of the individual sinner by means of penal substitution that this peace is restored.

I heartily agree with you that Christ restores that peace that once existed. But the means by which that is accomplished is through addressing our personal, individual sin and eventually in judging and finally pouring out His wrath on the unrepentant against their personal and individual sin.


Read the following argument from Paul in Romans 4 and 5.


Rom 4:5-8 (NASB) But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, (6) just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: (7) "BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. (8) "BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT."

Rom 4:23-5:1 (NASB) Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, (24) but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, (25) He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. (5:1) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ


Here Paul makes the point that it is our lawless deeds, our transgressions for which Christ was delivered over and by our faith in this work of Christ, we are justified and have peace with God.

It is our lawless deeds that are forgiven, deeds committed by individual people such as you and me.

Bob, I would take you back to previous posts where you first explained the bouquet of atonement stories. I made the point then and I will make it again now that what you want to lump in as another facet or rose of the atonement is rather a result--an after-the-fact result-- of the atonement. Not the atonement itself.

This is why I ask: what broke that peace that once existed? When you answer that, you will find your definition of the predicament and you will also find your answer to the remedy—penal substitution.

That peace is restored, but only after our sin is dealt with either now through faith in Christ or later through the judgment and wrath of God toward the unrepentant.

Ted Gossard said...

Bob, Good point and one so easily forgotten in the maelstrom of much of the theology among us evangelicals.

Seems more like we're plugged into a get saved, and get others saved, and someday we'll go "home".

Shalom between us and God, us with ourselves, and us and each other, and us and God's creation. Amen.

Ted Gossard said...

I know shalom here is speaking of the conditions created by God, akin to the Garden of Eden. Not only peace, as we use it, but prosperity in overflowing blessing. A place where all is good and right. Where any wrongs would be righted.

Bob Robinson said...

Matt,
I agree with you that the Adam and Eve story explains that sin is personal and individual. But I think that the essential sin of Adam and Eve was that they did not trust God - that this is the reason they broke God's commendment. I think that these are obviously closely related, but breaking the command of God, it seems to me, flows from a fundamental mistrust of God. The serpent’s temptation was to get Adam and Eve to disbelieve what God had said and to act on their failure to trust. You see, I believe that sin is more about breaking relationships than it is breaking laws. The laws are there to maintain Covenant relationship with God. When we break God's commands, the sin is ultimately about our mistrusting God's goodness in giving us these commands. I will be getting into the "Predicament of Lost Relationship" next week.

Now, the point of this post is that Shalom was meant to be cosmic, and that the LACK of Shalom is also cosmic. I said nothing about the cause and the mechanism for restoration of Shalom in this post (except to say that it is through Christ). I will be getting into that with the next post. My point is simply that when we understand that the predicament is BIGGER than individual sin - that it is a universal lack of Shalom - then we are starting to understand the vastness of the Gospel. The Gospel that says that the predicament is simply individual sin misses the grander problem. The mechanism to solve the grand predicament definitely deals with individual sin, and it deals with systemic evil as well!

Bob Robinson said...

Ted,
How do you understand how the Gospel of "get saved, and get others saved, and someday we'll go 'home'" fit into the Gospel of the Restoration of Shalom?

Bob Robinson said...

Matt,

Also, I'd like to say:
The theology in this post is not original with me or with any "Emerging Church" types. It flows from evangelical Reformed theology - especially the neo-Calvinism of Abraham Kuyper that is evident in the writings of Wolterstorff and Plantinga. Plantinga's book on sin (Not the Way It's Supposed to Be) won Christianity Today's 1996 Book of the Year. This is not stuff from liberal sources...FYI.

Ted Gossard said...

Bob,

That phrase I see as bad and not good. It is simplistic as to the predicament we're in, as you well note here: the lack of shalom. And therefore it misses an important aspect of what Christ's atoning work is for, even in this present world.

Matt Wolf said...

Bob,

Let me ask again, because you really didn't answer the question but rather just restated the predicament--a lack of Shalom.

How did we get from a state of peace to a state of non-peace, even at the "cosmic" level?

I agree with you that underlying every sin is a mistrust of God--a lack of faith in what He proclaims. When we sin, we basically are putting into action what we believe, right? When we sin, we are calling Him a liar because we fail, as you point out, to trust Him--to take Him at His word.

The thing we learn in Genesis is that prior to Adam expressing His mistrust of God by breaking the command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, there was peace between man and God. Once Adam expressed his mistrust of God in eating from the tree, that peace between Adam and man was broken.

Gen 3:17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.

And it was only then that God put into action His plan of redemption—the redemption of man, to restore the peace that Adam had broken. (Gen. 3:15).

This is what the Gospel addresses, Adams (and all of mankind’s) sin. Here is why Christ came:

Heb 2:14-17 NASB Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, (15) and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. (16) For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. (17) Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

So, how did we get from a state of peace to a state of non-peace, even at the "cosmic" level?

Eric Steen said...

Bob,

You addressed forensic justification by stating, “To answer this question, we need to go back to the beginning. And we all know that the story begins with Creation.”

We need to go back to a point well before the creation to when the Trinity covenanted to save fallen man. Consider Ephesians 1:3-8:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.”

Much can be observed in this passage regarding redemption. Minimally, we observe that God determined the redemption of man prior to the fall, in fact prior to creation. We also see that redemption requires being holy and blameless and forgiveness, which are only accomplished “through His blood.”

Drawing from Wolterstorff', you define the problem that mankind and creation face as shalom shortage: “ ‘In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight…the webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight’... So the predicament that the Gospel solves is this: the LACK OF SHALOM.” But, if an absence or scarcity of shalom is the issue, why doesn’t God’s word say as much in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians?

In this passage Paul certainly emphasizes the blessings we receive in Christ, which could be defined as flourishing and delight among other things. But these blessings are clearly based on the forgiveness we can only experience through the blood of the risen Savior who was, “who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification.” (Rom 4:25)

Eric

Bob Robinson said...

Matt,
I guess I don't understand the issue you are raising. We agree that the sin of Adam led to the lack of Shalom.

Bob Robinson said...

Eric,
Are you just trying to pick a fight? There are so many evangelicals who use "Creation, Fall, Redemption" to tell the story of the Gospel, that I guess you are just seeking a quarrel. Of course I agree with you that God's election is predestined, and that the passage from Ephesians that you cite teaches this. Okay, that's settled.

Are you really saying that the story should not start with Creation? I'm sorry, but I see nothing wrong with beginning the story at the beginning.

Also, are you saying that every doctrine must be present in every passage of Scripture in order for it to be true? (You wrote, "But, if an absence or scarcity of shalom is the issue, why doesn’t God’s word say as much in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians?") Since Shalom is not present in the passage you cite, are you actually saying we should dismiss it?

Also, did you miss that later in Ephesians, Paul expounds on how the shalom peace of the cross brings Gentiles into the fold as God's People, reconciling and uniting the entire human race (both Jews and Gentiles)?
"(13)But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. (14)For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, (15)by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, (16)and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. (17)He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. (18)For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Matt Wolf said...

Bob,

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the lack of peace is not the issue the atonement addresses. It is Adam's and mankind's sin that the atonement--that Christ--addresses.

Since the lack of peace is a result of sin--that is, sin is the root of a lack of peace--to say the atonement addresses peace is to not deal with the root of the problem (or predicament). The fruit of the sin--a lack of peace--is not the sin itself. Once sin is dealt with, peace is dealt with. And without dealing first with sin, peace won't be restored.

So to say that the atonement addresses this lack of peace without any mention of the sin that is behind it (which, if I understand you correctly, is one way a person can come to Christ in the bouquet of atonement stories you posit), fails to deal with the problem for which Christ was sent to the cross. He wasn't sent to the cross because of a lack of peace. He was sent to the cross because of sin that broke the peace in order that he might restore the sinner back to God.

I know you will be addressing this on your next post...

eric steen said...

Bob,

No. I'm not trying to pick a fight. You posed the question, "But is that what the Gospel is ultimately about? Isn’t there more to the story than just the legal, forensic part?" You went on to say that the answer to this question begins with creation.

I intended to communicate that understanding the role of forensic justification in the atonement requires that we begin not at creation but prior to it, which is what Paul does in Ephesians chapter one.

I think perhaps this is actually a minor point because, if I understand you correctly, you perceive that the major problem created by the fall is cosmic disruption/lack of shalom which includes everything from man's corrupt nature to the world we live in. While lack of peace is a result of Adam’s rebellion, its restoration is not redemption in itself, but the fruit of redemption.

You stated, "Also, are you saying that every doctrine must be present in every passage of Scripture in order for it to be true?" No. I am not making this claim. That would be silly. However, I would say that Paul clearly addresses in this passage what redemption is, and he omits any mention of restoring "lack of shalom." Given the Bible’s tremendous emphasis on precision when it comes to the gospel, why would Paul neglect to address this concept of shalom if it is so crucial?

I'm not ignoring verses 13-18 of Ephesians chapter two. A close read of this passage reveals that peace is the fruit of having been reconciled to Christ through His blood. Peace is established subsequent to what Christ accomplished--the expiation and propitiation of sin. (Sin is the problem, not lack of shalom.) Once men are reconciled to Christ, peace ensues.

You stated, “So the predicament that the Gospel solves is this: the LACK OF SHALOM… The predicament is bigger than sin; it is that there is evil where Shalom is supposed to be.” Yet these statements contradict Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Honestly, Bob, I’m not trying to pick a fight here, but you couldn’t be more wrong.

Bob Robinson said...

Matt,
Thanks for your comment. Let me clear something here. This post is not dealing with "the atonement," but "the gospel." I have not mentioned atonement anywhere in this post. I am looking more broadly at the gospel. The atonement, in my understanding, is the mechanism of the gospel, but it is not the whole gospel. I will be getting into the atonement in the next post.
So, I ask for a little patience. I will explain how I think atonement brings about the shalom peace that I'm talking about here in the next post.

Bob Robinson said...

Eric,
I guess we have to agree to disagree. I beleive that sin is a subset of evil, and that evil is defined by the lack of shalom. In order to bring about God's intentions for his Creation, he must deal with sin (and this is through Atonement), and when sin is dealt with it brings about shalom. We disagree with which is the key predicament -- you say it is sin and that all evil is the result of sin; I say it is evil and that sin is the root cause of evil. It sounds like we are closer than you are giving credit for!!

Mat t Wolf said...

Bob,

Your response to Eric is a bit confusing. You say that sin is a subset evil and define evil as a lack of shalom. You then say sin is the root cause of evil.

How can a root cause of something also be a "subset" of something?

If sin is the cause of evil (lack of Shalom as you define it) then evil is a "subset" of sin. Maybe I just don't understand what you mean by subset.

Please clarify this for me.

Bob Robinson said...

Matt W,

God created the world in a state of Shalom. Evil came into the world by way of the Serpent. Sin did not occur until humanity succumbed to the evil temptation of the serpent. When Adam and Eve sinned, the Shalom was shattered and this, over time, created all sorts of evil in the world (personal acts of sin, systemic evil in society, and the evil that now exists in the created order-causing things like earthquakes, tsunamis and birth defects). The root causes of evil are the sinful nature of humanity and the evil actions of Satan.

Evil is a bigger category than sin. Sin is culpable evil: when someone can be blamed for the evil that they have done. However, not all evil is sin - a stillborn baby cannot be blamed on somebody’s personal sin, it is evil in a broader sense than somebody’s “sin” (though the reason babies are stillborn is because humanity is plagued with a sinful nature).

Does that make sense?

My point is that the Gospel must deal with the cosmic predicament that evil has pervaded the entire Creation, not just the personal sins of individual human beings. If we have a big understanding of evil, then we have a big understanding of the Gospel.

eric steen said...

Hi Bob,

What exactly did Christ's death accomplish in your view? Did it overcome evil? Did it overcome sin? In the reformed view, Christ's blood atones for the elect. His death and resurrection are effective, for His sacrifice justifies the sinner. In your shalom view I don't know what it does since the world continues to experience earthquakes and birth defects.

We both agree that the gospel is great, that it is big and magnificent. While my soteriology centers on penal substitution, you take the perspective that such a view is too limiting. Perhaps this is borne out of a desire to exalt the gospel, but ultimately what you have done is dilute it. It is no longer big; it is ineffective.

I praise God that my hope in Jesus is based on His payment for my “culpable evil.”

Eric

Bob Robinson said...

Wait for the next post, and Christ's death will be discussed then! PATIENCE!!!

Scot McKnight said...

Bob,
Plantinga defines sin as "culpable Shalom-breaking" and, yes, I agree with you: atonement deals with bringing peace. A major issue here is that many of the commenters are defining everything by the cross. Paul says clearly that we are still in our sins and not justified until the resurrection, which is bringing us into the new creation. So, we need the life of Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, and Pentecost if we want to be responsible to what atonement means.

I'm with you on this one brother.

eric steen said...

Scot,

With all due respect, does it really matter how Plantinga defines sin? (Which books of the Bible did he write?) Can I get a biblical definition of sin?

What Bible verse(s) state that justification occurs at the resurrection?

Eric

Bob Robinson said...

Eric,

1) About Plantinga: His definition of sin is biblical. The jury has already weighed in on this, and every evangelical biblical scholar I've seen agrees with Plantinga's assessment. His book on sin is seen by evangelicals as probably the best treatment in 100 years on the subject.

2) About Justification: In Romans 3, we learn a lot about the cross and how it is intrumental in Justification. In the next chapter, we learn that Abraham believed God and it was "it was credited to him as righteousness" (4:22) - the prototype of a "believer." But then the passage continues to explain that Justification is not just limited to the Cross:
"The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification" (Rom. 4:23-25).

Justification, Paul says, is not fully effective until the resurrection. Atonement not only expiates sin, but enters us into the New Life of Resurrection.

Matt Wolf said...

Scot and Bob,

Please clarify:

Who's resurrection are we talking about here?

Scot, unless I misunderstood your comment, you seem to be saying that we are not justified until we are resurrected. Is this what you are saying?

Bob, the passage you quote from Romans speaks about Christ's resurrection. If you are trying to support what Scot wrote by saying "Justification, Paul says, is not fully effective until the resurrection.", you seem to be indicating that:

1) We are not justified until we are resurrected, or

2) Christ has not yet been resurrected.


If you continue to read Romans, you read immediately on the heels of the passge you quote that we HAVE BEEN justified.

I'm not trying to set up a straw man here, but I must assume from this that I am not understanding either of you on this because Paul is pretty clear here.

Bob Robinson said...

Matt Wolf,

If I can speak for Scot, he is referring to the resurrection of Christ (as per the verse I cite). He is not saying we are justified when we are physically resurrected.

Paul states that Jesus was resurrected for our justification (Rom 4:25), and Scot is saying that it is a theological mistake to say that justification is solely to do with the cross. We HAVE been justified because of the death AND resurrection of Christ.

Thanks for asking for the clarification.