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Archive for the ‘justification’ Category

The Law in Numbers 5concerning a woman falsely accuse of immorality.

Unlike other truth-by-water-ordeal rituals in the Ancient Near East there is nothing intrinsically harmful to the adultery-accused woman in drinking the dust water from the tabernacle floor into which the words of the scroll have been washed.

While condemning the adulteress, the law also protects the righteous vulnerable woman by vindicating her.

An innocent woman falsely accused might endure shame, terror and grueling emotional disturbance.

God’s vindication of the innocent is no marginal matter – and for Israel to ignore her acquittal would be to defy the judge of Israel. The woman’s community would have to acknowledge her innocence. In this ritual God serves as the advocate and arbitrator for a falsely accused woman.

In an honor-shame culture this woman’s exoneration implicit rebuke for the man.

There is a promised blessing of God’s favour that the vindicated woman will bear a child – which will also serve as a sign of her vindication.

The above was informed by Mary Wilson ‘Does the God of the Bible hate women?’ Gospel Coalition Podcast June 17, 2016.

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Justification, the outstanding blessing of salvation, is the Triune God’s counterintuitive gift of forensic acquittal and right status, an end-time decision announced now in the middle of history, consisting of Christ’s own righteous obedience freely imputed to sinners united to Christ through self-divesting and Christ-riveted faith.

source: Dane Ortlund after several moths of pondering Herman Bavinck’s writings on justification. His attempt at a single (run-on) sentence articulating Bavinck’s view. http://hermanbavinck.org/2011/04/06/bavinck-on-justification/

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Justification is an eschatological verdict that has been declared in advance of the last day. This is not to say that the verdict announced now only refers to a future reality. Believers are already justified, and yet at the same time they await the final declaration on the day of judgment when the verdict that God has already announced becomes public (Gal 5:5).

In the same way, the cross of Jesus Christ has launched believers into the age to come, even though they live in the present evil age (Gal 1:4). In other words, the new exodus promised in the OT has become a reality through Jesus as the crucified and risen Lord (Isa 40:3-11; 42:16; 43:2, 5-7, 16-19; 48:20-21; 49:8-11; 51:10-11).

The resurrection in Jewish thought also signals the end of the old evil age and the coming of the new age of peace and plenty (cf. Isa 26:19; Ezek 37:1-14; Dan 12:2-3).

The resurrection is not a prominent theme in Galatians, and yet it appears in the first verse of the letter (Gal 1:1), signifying that the age to come has invaded the present age. The old evil cosmos has lost its hold over believers through the cross of Jesus Christ (6:14). Therefore, believers now belong to the new creation (Gal 6:15). The new creation has not been consummated (Isa 65:17; 66:22), but it has been inaugurated through the work of Jesus Christ. The gift of the Holy Spirit represents the arrival of the new creation (Isa 32:15; 44:3; Ezek 11:18-19; 36:26-27; Joel 2:28). The Spirit is a gift of the last days, and his presence and indwelling among the Galatians shows that the final days have begun.

Eschatological contrasts dominate Galatians, so that we have a contrast between the old age of the flesh and the new age of the Spirit. The flesh in Paul represents the old age and who human beings are in Adam, whereas the Spirit signifies the inbreaking of the age to come.

We see the same eschatological contrast between the law and the gospel. The Mosaic law belongs to the former era and believers are no longer under the law (see esp. Gal 3:15-4:7). To be under the law is to be enslaved to the power of sin (Gal 3:10,22,23,25; 4:3,21-31; 5:18). Such slavery belongs to the former age. Now that the gospel of Christ (a fulfillment of the promise of the new exodus! Isa 40:9; 52:7) is proclaimed, the age of the law is obsolete. Believers live in the era of the cross, the resurrection, and the gift of the Spirit.

Second Corinthians 5:17 rightly summarizes Galatians: If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone; the new has come!

source: Thomas Schreiner, Galatians (Grand Rapids  Mich.: Zondervan, 2010), 394–395.

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Source: George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Eerdmans, 1993), pages 483–484:

Justification, which primarily means acquittal at the final judgment, has already taken place in the present. The eschatological judgment is no longer alone future; it has become a verdict in history. Justification, which belongs to the Age to Come and issues in the future salvation, has become a present reality inasmuch as the Age to Come has reached back into the present evil age to bring its soteric blessings to human beings. An essential element in the salvation of the future age is the divine acquittal and the pronouncement of righteousness; this acquittal, justification, which consists of the divine absolution of sin, has already been effected by the death of Christ and may be received by faith here and now. The future judgment has thus become essentially a present experience. God in Christ has acquitted the believer; therefore he or she is certain of deliverance from the wrath of God (Rom. 5:9) and no longer stands under condemnation (Rom. 8:1). …

Justification is one of the blessings of the inbreaking of the new age into the old. In Christ the future has become present; the eschatological judgment has in effect already taken place in history. As the eschatological Kingdom of God is present in history in the Synoptics, as the eschatological eternal life is present in Christ in John, as the eschatological resurrection has already begun in Jesus’ resurrection, as the eschatological Spirit is given to the church in Acts (and in Paul), so the eschatological judgment has already occurred in principle in Christ, and God has acquitted his people.

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What does redemption mean? It does not mean redeemability, that we are placed in a redeemable position. It means that Christ purchased and procured redemption. … Did Christ come to make the salvation of all men possible, to remove obstacles that stood in the way of salvation, and merely to make provision for salvation? Or did he come to save his people? Did he come to put all men in a salvable state? Or did he come to secure the salvation of all those who are ordained to eternal life? Did he come to make men redeemable? Or did he come effectually and infallibly to redeem?

p.63.

Murray comments that the word "call" has more power in the Greek than in its English translation.

If we are to understand the strength of this word, as used in this connection, we must use the word ‘summons.’ The action by which God makes his people the partakers of redemption is that of summons. And since it is God’s summons it is efficacious summons.”

p.91

It is calling that is represented in Scripture as that act of God by which we are actually united to Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 1:9). And surely union with Christ is that which unites us to the inwardly operative grace of God. Regeneration is the beginning of inwardly operative saving grace.

p.93

The basic religious question is that of our relation to God. How can man be just with God? How can he be right with the Holy One? In our situation, however, the question is much more aggravated. It is not simply, how can man be just with God, but how can sinful man be just with God? In the last analysis sin is always against God, and the essence of sin is to be against God. The person who is against God cannot be right with God. For if we are against God then God is against us. It could not be otherwise. God cannot be indifferent to or complacent towards that which is the contradiction of himself. His very perfection requires the recoil of righteous indignation. And that is God’s wrath. … This is our situation and it is our relation to God; how can we be right with him?

The answer, of course, is that we cannot be right with him; we are all wrong with him. And we are all wrong with him because we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Far too frequently we fail to entertain the gravity of this fact. Hence the reality of our sin and the reality of the wrath of God upon us for our sin do not come into our reckoning. … We are not imbued with the profound sense of the reality of God, of his majesty and holiness. And sin, if reckoned with at all, is little more than a misfortune or maladjustment.

If we are to appreciate that which is central in the gospel, if the jubilee trumpet is to find its echo again in our hearts, our thinking must be revolutionized by the realism of the wrath of God, of the reality and gravity of our guilt, and of the divine condemnation. It is then and only then that our thinking and feeling will be rehabilitated to an understanding of God’s grace in the justification of the ungodly.

p.117

Justification is both a declarative and a constitutive act of free grace. It is constitutive in order that it may be declarative. God must constitute the new relationship as well as declare it to be. The constitutive act consists in the imputation to us of the obedience and righteousness of Christ. The obedience of Christ must therefore be regarded as the ground of justification; it is the righteousness which God not only takes into account but reckons to our account when he justifies the ungodly.

p.124

source: John Murray, Redemption, accomplished and applied (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1975). 

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