Friday, August 22, 2008

Romans/ Witherington/5

The rest of the chapter is more straightforward. Again the:

"It is important in teaching and preaching this material that one focus on what the text does say and not on what it does not say. Romans 4 is about Abraham's nodal trust in God, which God reckoned as righteousness. It is not about Christ's righteousness being imputed to Abraham or to those who follow his example. The discussion is about faith vs. works, not christology v. anthropology. Furthermore, the dominant metaphor is not forensic but commercial--the reckoning of a credit because of faith and the non-reckoning of a debit, namely sin. These factors should guide the way one teaches and preaches this material."

We will keep his distinctions in mind,(though I don't understand what he is getting at) and see what he does with them in coming chapters.

Argument four--5.1-11.

I don't have any problems with this chapter. The only thing, Witherington, as usual, stresses the unfinished nature, (or is it the on-going nature?), of salvation. "How much more then, having been set right then by his blood, shall we be saved through him from the wrath of God...having been reconciled shall we be saved by his life."

He summarizes his point at the very end in the "bridging the horizons" section:

"--having been set right leads to peace with God, a current standing in grace, and a hope for the future. There are past, present, and future dimensions to salvation and its benefits. It is not just about pardon and release, not just about peace with God, not just about having grace sufficient to stand and to resist sin day by day, not simply about having a legitimate hope. It is about all these things and all of these benefits accrue in the present. Paul does not even speak about glorification here or the final future. Yet he does speak of one future dimension to salvation: if one has been set right in the present, one will be saved from the wrath to come. The salvation process is not complete in the present. It is completed only in the future, with the final deliverance from wrath and the assumption of the resurrection body Paul's entire discussion of salvation is eschatologically driven, and includes very few other-worldly dimensions."

I think this is emphasized mainly for the correction of Calvinism, again. Or else, it relates to the fact that Paul is explaining why he and others still suffer (we also rejoice in our sufferings). Actually, probably the latter.

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