What is justification and why is it necessary?

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What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby MrsOzera » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:07 am

Hello everyone :D
I'm relatively new to Universalism (about 6 months) so I'm still deeply in a "learning phase". It's all extremely exciting though!

Recently, I've been thinking about justification? What, per Universalist definition, is justification? Since I was young, the word 'justification" has always meant "being declared righteous (sinless, blemishless) by God so that our judgment is not hell". Since I no longer believe hell is eternal (or even exists, I'm still debating this), I don't really know what the point of justification is. From what I understand, Universalists don't believe God is angry, or needs to be apeased or needs people to be sinless in order to have a relationship with them. In fact, I'm coming to a point where I believe everything that God has done, is doing and will do (the Cross, grace, mercy, atonement, justification) is more for our benefit than for God's. So why does God need to justify us in order to let us go to heaven? And also, is justification by faith alone? I've heard some Orthodox people and other Protestant Christians claim that justification comes from our faith being put into action, as in, there NEEDS to be works (fruit) to be justified. They claim that someone who has faith but hasn't done anything yet isn't justified. This makes no sense to me, but I would appreciate any thoughts..

Blessings! :) And happy Thursday to you all.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby JasonPratt » Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:09 pm

Welcome to the forum, Mrs.O!

A quick technical note: don't be alarmed if it takes your posts up to a few days to come through; all posts from new members go to the spamcatcher at first so we can check if someone is selling essays or Russian hacking software. (We had a swarm of that back before Christmas, which was quite hilarious as the posts were all boasting about how good they were at getting through Captchas if you could read their posts as evidence. As far as I know they were all zorched inbound. :twisted: )

After three or four posts the system will flip over to allow you through automatically afterward.

I don't have much time to type this afternoon -- buckling down, and up, for an oncoming winter storm in West TN -- but if justification involves people becoming actually and perfectly fair, perfectly just, and not only a legal ruling, then of course so long as we're morally still choosing injustice then we be still making any heaven into a hell, even slightly, for ourselves or other people.

This leads to the question of whether our proclivities to do injustice can all be cured (simply or more complexly), or whether there's more contribution from us as free willed persons involved in our bad behavior than that. If the former then of course there's no need for God's attitude toward us to be, relative to our sin, any amount of personal opposition against us personally; if the latter, then (as Lewis used to say) while whatever can be cured will be cured, and whatever can fairly be excused will be excused, what's left over still needs forgiving and that's a changing of our mind by us as responsible people -- until then we're still making ourselves enemies of the source of our own existence, even if as God says through Isaiah He actually has no wrath in Him and is only fighting us to burn up the thorns and thistles with which we go out to war against Him (so that we will throw them down and cling to Him instead as our friend).

Christian universalists disagree among ourselves on this point: some of us (myself included) do believe God is angry (although technically that's more of a human analogy to God's attitude toward us when we do injustice), even though we believe His anger is a mode of His love for us (against our sin) and not something intrinisc to God in itself; consequently His actions toward us can be discplinary as well as healing and instruction. (i.e. God can do or not do anger, but God can never not do love.) Others of us don't believe God is ever angry at us personally and that all we need is curing of ignorance and/or disease, in which case God never acts in disciplinary inconvenience (i.e. punishment) toward us but only in healing and instruction.


Both sides however probably most often share an understanding of justification to mean bringing a person to be actually just (one way or another), not merely being declared just. Although I've seen some universalists going the legal, forensic route, too: if that was all there was to justification, I'd be even more convinced (if that was possible) that universal salvation is true, and I've seen some Christians arrive at Christian universalism by that route. I think this notion of justification is much of a minority among us, however. (Although those I've seen hold it do tend to be what we call around here ultra-universalists, with no wrath or punishment coming from God, anymore or perhaps ever. But not all ultras hold to a merely legal or procedural justification notion.)
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby MrsOzera » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:10 pm

Hi thanks for your answers and information :) Russian hackers do seem to be something to chuckle about haha :P

So from my understanding from what you wrote, you believe that justification is not just being declared legally righteous, but requires us actually becoming righteous to some degree. I'm not sure why, but this is something that kind of unsettles me. I don't think that I could ever gain assurance of my eternal life if that was the way I was to be declared righteous. From my understanding of Sciptures, the word justification was a legal term and is said to come when one has faith (not works). While I know that eventually everyone will gain eternal life and salvation, it's important to me that I may have assurance of my current, eternal standing with God. I really am lacking in assurance, I'm afraid. I can't really explain what I mean, it might sound a bit weird, but the legal, forensic idea of justification really is the only thing that can give me assurance as to my standing towards God...
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby JasonPratt » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:30 am

MrsOzera wrote:I'm not sure why, but this is something that kind of unsettles me. I don't think that I could ever gain assurance of my eternal life if that was the way I was to be declared righteous.


Why? Our assurance of eternal life isn't in our works, but in God's commitment and competence in empowering and leading us to be righteous. I certainly didn't mean to be saying that we earn our eternal life once we attain enough righteousness to be justified. (Nor do we earn it by faith instead of works, which only makes faith itself a work.)

Of course the term was a contemporary legal term, but God's judgment isn't ever a merely legal judgment (maybe never a legal judgment at all, except in passing). God judges truly and truly judges what actually is true. God's judgments aren't a useful legal fiction like human legal justification at the time (and even that wasn't only legal in basis: the core concept still goes back to a judge correctly judging a person to be righteous.)


MrsOzera wrote:I can't really explain what I mean, it might sound a bit weird, but the legal, forensic idea of justification really is the only thing that can give me assurance as to my standing towards God...


And not your trust in God Himself, personally? That can be hard to do, admittedly, but I think it's better than trusting a legal formality, especially what is only a legal fiction (however useful it might be). But God is faithful to us regardless of our difficulties in trusting Him personally. :) And being a perfectly just judge, God relates to us taking all our difficulties fairly into account. (Which is why God expects more from those who have more advantages.)

George MacDonald, C. S. Lewis' teacher, has several interesting and helpful considerations of the topic in his Unspoken Sermon series (including what amounts to volume 4, The Hope of the Gospel), if you can find those.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:56 am

Technical theological words used to irritate me - why all the fuss about minutely parsing the inflected meanings of Paul's language, when what I wanted was a breaking into my life of the life of Jesus?

I feel differently now - not about Jesus breaking into my life, He is welcomed! - but about the technical language.
My thinking now is this: We are called to have our minds 'renewed'; there are layers to that call, of course, but one major factor in that renewal is to understand what the true meaning of history is - not just for the Christian, but for all people.

A great part of that truth is understanding the earth-shaking importance of Paul's explanation of the covenant with Abraham!! THAT is what God has been up to - and Paul goes to great lengths to show that the covenant was to deal with sin, and not just for the Jews, but for all the rest of us. God has been faithful all these thousands of years to the promises he made to Abraham (the faithfulness Paul calls the 'righteouness of God), up to the climax of the covenant in His messiah Jesus our Lord.

So - as Paul lays all this out in Romans 1-4 especially, he uses words that have to do, not with our inner experiences or emotions, but with words that do describe 'what's been going on', and though they do not bear on our daily struggles and feelings much, they DO help to 'renew our minds' so that we are thinking God's thoughts, in a sense. Paul is telling the real history of the world, which is counter to all the stories we hear in culture and in school and etc.

Hey Dave, been reading N.T. Wright much???
Yes indeed - working through his long commentary on Romans in the New Interpreter's Bibe - a thrilling ride to be sure.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Bob Wilson » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:45 pm

I doubt that the understandable desire to believe in "legal, forensic 'justification'" is consistent with Paul's understanding.

“Wrong DOERS (even the “greedy”) will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9; Cf. Matt. 7:21-23). “Keeping God’s commands is what counts…we uphold the law… It is those who OBEY the law who will be declared righteous.” For God sent His Son “in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who do not LIVE according to the sinful nature” (1 Cor. 7:19; Rom. 3:31; 2:13,26; 8:4; Cf. Mt. 19:16f).

“People reap what they sow… Everyone will receive what is due them for the things DONE, whether good or bad… God will repay everyone according to what they have done… To those who persist in DOING good… He’ll give eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7f; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 2:6f; Cf. Jesus: Mt. 25:34-46; Mk. 9:43-49; Lk 6:38)
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:10 pm

Perzactly!
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby maintenanceman » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:14 pm

Hey Bob, good to hear from you but I am at a question as to what your point is... Please don't get me wrong and maybe dave has the decoder ring, but what is the point about

“Wrong DOERS (even the “greedy”) will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9; Cf. Matt. 7:21-23). “Keeping God’s commands is what counts…we uphold the law… It is those who OBEY the law who will be declared righteous.” For God sent His Son “in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who do not LIVE according to the sinful nature” (1 Cor. 7:19; Rom. 3:31; 2:13,26; 8:4; Cf. Mt. 19:16f).

“People reap what they sow… Everyone will receive what is due them for the things DONE, whether good or bad… God will repay everyone according to what they have done… To those who persist in DOING good… He’ll give eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7f; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 2:6f; Cf. Jesus: Mt. 25:34-46; Mk. 9:43-49; Lk 6:38)


You prefaced it with
I doubt that the understandable desire to believe in "legal, forensic 'justification'" is consistent with Paul's understanding.


I well may have taken this wrong and that happens a lot with me. Help me out here! :lol:
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby maintenanceman » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:18 pm

BTW daveB what is the story behind your avatar?
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:59 pm

Spur of the moment, nothing more :D
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby maintenanceman » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:05 pm

Sorry dave, what is the pic you are using as the avatar? :D
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Paidion » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:19 pm

At least two Greek words have been translated as "justification": δικαιωσις and δικαιωμα. Both originate from the verb δικαιοω which in turn is derived from δικαιος which means "righteous." The whole question revolves around whether the verb δικαιοω means "to count as righteous" or "to render righteous." Every good lexicon suggests the latter as a possible meaning.

The angel announced to Joseph that he should call Mary's baby "Jesus" (Saviour) for He would save His people from their sins. To be saved from sin is tantamount to being saved from sinning, and that is a life-long process. If you think of "justification" as meaning "righteousification" I think you will get closer to the intended meaning. God wants people to become ACTUALLY righteous. He is not interested in POSITIONAL righteousness (which is not righteousness at all—well... maybe a pretending "righteousness") The idea of positional righteousness is that because of Christ's sacrifice, God looks at those who have accepted Christ or His sacrifice as if they had never sinned (they even define "justification" as "just as if I'd never sinned'). In their view, God is blind to the sin of a justified person. When He looks at such a person, He does not see the person's sin—only Christ's righteousness.

I believe this position is a grave error. God sees our every sin, and He wants to help us overcome that sin by His enabling grace. That is why Christ died—to free us from sin by His grace.

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sensible, righteous, and devout lives in the present age, expecting the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; encourage and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11-15)
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:20 pm

I found it Here
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby maintenanceman » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:02 pm

thanx :D
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Bob Wilson » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:19 pm

maintenanceman wrote:Hey Bob... what is the point about
“Wrong DOERS (even the “greedy”) will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9; Cf. Matt. 7:21-23). “Keeping God’s commands is what counts…we uphold the law… It is those who OBEY the law who will be declared righteous.” For God sent His Son “in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who do not LIVE according to the sinful nature” (1 Cor. 7:19; Rom. 3:31; 2:13,26; 8:4; Cf. Mt. 19:16f).
“People reap what they sow… Everyone will receive what is due them for the things DONE, whether good or bad… God will repay everyone according to what they have done… To those who persist in DOING good… He’ll give eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7f; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 2:6f; Cf. Jesus: Mt. 25:34-46; Mk. 9:43-49; Lk 6:38)


You prefaced it with
I doubt that the understandable desire to believe in "legal, forensic 'justification'" is consistent with Paul's understanding.

Help me out here!


Is it clearer if I say that these words of Paul suggest that he does not understand "legal, forensic justification" as what meets our real need?

Mrs Ozera objected to Jason, "you believe that justification is not just being declared legally righteous, but requires us actually becoming righteous to some degree." But I find that Paul's claims that those who obey and actually DO good are the ones declared righteous and get eternal life supports those here who point out that 'justify' has the core meaning of actually "making us righteous" or just, not simply treating us as if we are righteous. As Paul puts it, Jesus gave himself to create a people who do "Not LIVE according to the sinful nature." I find the whole Biblical narrative presents this sort of actual righteousness as the goal God desires to produce and is pursuing.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Paidion » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:44 pm

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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby davo » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:58 pm

I agree… there is NO such thing as “positional righteousness” as is often defined. We are simply righteous, but not according to any performance on our part; such righteousness was God’s gift in Christ to humanity. It is BECAUSE OF this we can then learn… “to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sensible, righteous, and devout lives in the present age” — thus living in the fruit or reality of Christ’s righteousness. Responding to Christ helps righteousness become a lived reality, i.e., tapping into ‘eternal life’ as the present reality it is, as per the likes of… Jn 10:10b; 14:23; 16:33a, et al <<< this IS ‘eternal life’.

Check out this post HERE and give yourself about ¾ of an hour to see a good explanation between ‘righteousness’ as we see it as opposed to the reality of how God sees it.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:17 pm

The OP was a question about the concept 'justification', right?
26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

I don't think justification is a matter of character in the above verses; when Paul wants to speak about character, he does so plainly.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby maintenanceman » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:32 pm

Sorry Bob I do not understand when you say
Paul suggest that he does not understand "legal, forensic justification"


You'll have to clarify that to me.

You said
But I find that Paul's claims that those who obey and actually DO good are the ones declared righteous and get eternal life supports those here who point out that 'justify' has the core meaning of actually "making us righteous" or just, not simply treating us as if we are righteous. As Paul puts it, Jesus gave himself to create a people who do "Not LIVE according to the sinful nature." I find the whole Biblical narrative presents this sort of actual righteousness as the goal God desires to produce and is pursuing.


YUP... there is a distinct difference between those who think that these scriptures are written to us and those who believe that they are historical. Every time you think you need to do something you're screwed :lol: The paradigm is different. :shock:


Thanks

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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:55 pm

And to me. While being 'justified' is by no means the end of the work that Christ has for us - and GMac, better than anyone imo, has the handle on that - still, 'justification' is a word Paul used, explaining it as a word approving that a person does believe in the God who raised Jesus from the dead. A person that believes that way is 'justified' - it's not a word about holiness, or seeking to do good - Paul talks a lot about that in other places.

To help the gentile Roman Christians locate themselves in history, though, Paul goes back prior to Moses-Torah (the law) all the way to Abram, to show God's righteousness in HIs faithfulness to that covenant even in the face of Israel's and indeed all mankind's failures and sin. God stayed faithful as always, and it should evoke faithfulness in us (from faith(fulness) to faith(fulness)).

Justification is God's approval that we are on the right Way, by that kind of faith - in God who raised Jesus. And to go on that Way shows that we are justified. Nothing we can feel, but something we need to know.

And now all Heck can break loose :roll:
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby davo » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:33 pm

DaveB wrote:And to me. While being 'justified' is by no means the end of the work that Christ has for us…

Quite so Dave. As I understand it… it is the realisation of justification that enables as you say… “the work that Christ has for us” to take shape. Thus it is not dissimilar to our established state of reconciliation, of which there is a call to then live according to it, i.e., the essence of Paul’s “be ye reconciled to God.” — remembering Paul is addressing this to “believers” NOT unbelievers.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:43 pm

Good, well said.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Paidion » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:18 am

Dave B wrote:26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

I don't think justification is a matter of character in the above verses; when Paul wants to speak about character, he does so plainly.


Dave, when we understand the word translated as "justified" to mean "rendered righteous" then the verses you quoted make total sense with respect to character change as a result of Christ's sacrifice.

How would you understand "justification of life" in the following verse?

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. (Ro 5:18 NKJV)


Does God through Christ justify our wicked lives so that we are acceptable in His sight just are we are, with no change in life style being necessary? Or should the expression be translated as "righteousification of life"—that is the free gift resulted in our formerly sinful lives becoming righteous?

P.S. I realize that "righteousification" is not an English word, but I coined it for this purpose. I can't think of any known English word that could be used instead, to indicate our lives having been made righteous.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:31 pm

Paidion - I don't think righteousness, as a character trait or fruit of the spirit - can be imputed. There is no 'gift' of character as far as I can tell. Patient endurance (often in suffering) does build character. I wish there was an easier way.


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Without the might of higher communings,
Is foolish also--save he willed himself to be.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Paidion » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:11 pm

Paidion - I don't think righteousness, as a character trait or fruit of the spirit - can be imputed.

Correct. It is not "imputed" or "counted as righteousness."

The text says that Abraham's faith was counted TOWARD righteousness (with righteousness as the goal).
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:52 pm

Well, what do you know? The Calvinist site Got Questions - has addressed this.

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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:18 pm

Whoa - not only missed the boat, did not even see the ocean!

This is what you need to know: (don't I sound pompous and authoritative? :oops: )

http://ntwrightpage.com/2016/04/05/the- ... ification/
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:37 pm

DaveB wrote:Whoa - not only missed the boat, did not even see the ocean!

This is what you need to know: (don't I sound pompous and authoritative? :oops: )

http://ntwrightpage.com/2016/04/05/the- ... ification/


I do like NT Wright. But what is the "criteria", for determining the Calvinists - have missed the boat and ocean:?: :lol:

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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:45 pm

That would be your Bible, Randy.
More of my arrogance and pomposity. :o
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:49 pm

DaveB wrote:That would be your Bible, Randy.
More of my arrogance and pomposity. :o


Which can bring us, a variety of theological positions Dave. Unless you are suggesting, all churches and theologians - are in agreement - on what it says :?: :roll:
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:51 pm

Doesn't matter. I'm Wright.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:56 pm

DaveB wrote:Doesn't matter. I'm Wright.


Well, I do see how NT Wright, talks about the P-Zombie version of hell. Which got me on my quest...regarding the tribulation and the Zombie Apocalypse. So we are both Wright. ;)

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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby MrsOzera » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:47 pm

Hey everyone :)

Just quickly skimmed through your replies. I'm sorry, but I don't think I can answer them each individually. And you'll also have to forgive me, I'm incredibly sleep deprived and stressed (mostly due to college and spiritual worrying) so I have to (unfortunately) say that I'm a tiny bit confused by the comments. So many of you guys stress justification being a declaration of salvation and being saved by Jesus's sacrifice and that it's a response to the gift freely given, and then I see the same people talk about justification being us actually beoming righteous, living righteous, living a sin-free life (which, I'm not sure if any of you guys feel this way too...I believe is impossible...:/).

I'm genuinely just really confused. It seems like Paul seems to stress justification as being an instant thing that happens when one believes the Gospel of Jesus. It doesn't make sense to me that it is us actually living a sinless life. There were so many people, for example in Corinth, who were doing wildly immoral things, and yet Paul writes to them that they are saved and forgiven and justified, so to me that seems to be separate from sanctification. I absolutely agree that the salvation by God is not simply "legal". But, maybe this is because I come from a Protestant upbringing, having this "legal" aspect "cleared up" is incredibly relieving and brings me great peace and hope....

Either way, like I said, I'm incredibly sleep deprived so you will all have to forgive me if my message makes no sense.

Many blessings on you all,

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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Bob Wilson » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:54 pm

maintenanceman wrote:Sorry Bob I do not understand when you say
Paul suggest that he does not understand "legal, forensic justification"

You'll have to clarify that to me.

(there is a distinct difference between those who think that these scriptures are written to us and those who believe that they are historical.)
chad


Your quote left out most of my sentence. It said the 8 Pauline texts I cited suggest that Paul does not understand 'legal' justification "as what meets our real need."
My impression is that you, Davo, and DaveB assert what you think Paul means by justification, but don't engage such relevant texts about what Paul understands to be crucial.

I have no idea what you mean when you appear to just respond that it's a mistake to take these texts as 'written to us.' But in practice, it feels like a way to assert that offering what Paul actually wrote as evidence of his understanding can just be ignored. I take his view on this as relevant to shaping the interpretation of the Christian tradition.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby davo » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:01 pm

DaveB wrote:Whoa - not only missed the boat, did not even see the ocean!

This is what you need to know: (don't I sound pompous and authoritative? :oops: )

http://ntwrightpage.com/2016/04/05/the- ... ification/

Dave did you notice Wright’s reframing of justification in terms of “vindication” on the believing ones, and that on the last Day (which from my perspective makes this the nut and bolts of Paul’s ‘justification’ pertinent to that end-time group of saints in sync with Jesus ministering unto Israel’s redemption.) Which of course in the fullness of events typically then has in-kind benefits flowing to all and sundry, or as Wright would say… “What God would do for the world He was doing first in Israel.” — thus that biblical principle of Paul’s… “to the Jew first and then the Greek.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby davo » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:11 pm

MrsOzera wrote:I'm genuinely just really confused. It seems like Paul seems to stress justification as being an instant thing that happens when one believes the Gospel of Jesus. It doesn't make sense to me that it is us actually living a sinless life.

G’day Leandra… when you get a moment after some well needed rest check out that link I provided in my first post up the page… it could bring you much relief and assurance as to whose measure of righteousness actually counts, God’s or man’s.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:58 pm

Bob Wilson wrote:assert what you think Paul means by justification, but don't engage such relevant texts about what Paul understands to be crucial


Bob- are you talking about the meaning of Paul's usage of the term "justification"? My focus was on the OP, where justification was taken to mean something quite other than what Paul said and meant.

Maybe 'relevant texts' is the issue? I"m leaning very heavily on the first 4-5 chapters of Romans, which have possibly been widely misunderstood to make certain current - well actually, since the Reformation - catchphrases .

I have read a few reformed essays questioning whether Wright is even a Christian. The wrong-headedness of that questioning is almost beyond my ken.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:29 pm

Here is an intelligent critique of Wright's view on justification. This is not by someone who agrees with him on all matters; but the author is well known and respected, Craig Blomberg.Excerpt:

Put another way, those who find sixteenth-century formulations of theology the best ever produced in Christian history and not to be tampered with in any fashion, even on the basis of Scripture itself, will struggle with Paul’s repeated references to the Christians being judged according to their works. While Gal 5:6; Phil 2:12-13; Eph 2:10; and numerous other texts all clearly speak of the role transformed living must play for the truly justified person, too many Protestants recoil at the thought that Paul’s texts on judgment according to works (esp. Rom 2:6-11, 13-16, 25-29; 1 Cor 3:10-15; and 2 Cor 5:10) might mean exactly what they say when read in straightforward fashion. Of course, no one is justified by works, in the sense of God’s legal declaration of right standing with him. But the Spirit (note, e.g., his crucial role in Romans 8 and Galatians 5) proceeds to indwell the justified person, enabling one to obey God’s righteous standards, not perfectly or anything close to it, but in a way that one could never have done before. The justified are thus marked out as living to some degree in morally virtuous ways that demonstrate the reality of their experience with Christ. To this degree they can be said, in the final analysis, to be judged favorably on the basis of their works.


Throughout his prolific writing career, Wright has increasingly centered his attention on the breadth of the gospel message being much more than how an individual attains salvation, defined as life in heaven after death. Instead, Wright wants to keep reminding us that God’s plan for his creation extends to the re-creation of the entire cosmos, climaxing in new heavens and new earth. Fixate on the Reformers’ (understandable) preoccupation with how an individual becomes right with God (crucial in its day against medieval Catholicism) and one may miss the bigger picture, in which the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham through the children of Israel as progenitor of the Messiah looms even larger. Begin with this bigger picture and justification by grace through faith rather than works of the Law follows necessarily, but it will be understood in the larger, less anthropocentric but fully theocentric context of God’s Lordship in Christ over the whole universe. end of excerpt

It makes sense of Paul, does it not?

For the full critique, not a long read btw, you can go right here
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Cindy Skillman » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:04 am

Mrs Ozera, I think it's both. We are righteous because we are born again of the Spirit. We are becoming righteous because of the work of the Holy Spirit within us. And a bonus third step... we will be made fully righteous at the resurrection of our bodies into newness of life.

The goal, yes, is to be without sin--and that should be GOOD and not frightening news--because it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. It is HE who works within us to fulfill His good pleasure.

As (I think) Paidion posted --maybe here in this thread-- I can't remember; God is not easy to satisfy, but He is very easy to PLEASE.

Look at it this way: Let's say I have a little grandchild visiting. I want her to clean up her bedroom (the guest room) and make the bed, so I ask her to do this. She says, "Yes, Grandma!" and runs to the guest room, picks up her clothes off the floor and puts them in her bag, then does her best to make the bed. I am pleased and delighted with her obedience, yet I will still teach her how to make the bed and help her to do it. As she grows and matures, I'll expect her to do these things without being told, and while I'll still be pleased, I'll expect more of her as she becomes able to do more. I will teach her and remind her and still love her even if she forgets--even if she rebels. However, if she does rebel, that will damage our relationship. It will make me sad and her bad behavior will harm both of us. It will not stop me loving her, but it will cause pain. She may reject me but I will never reject her. If she returns to me, I will welcome her with joy--like the father of the prodigal son.

God is like that. God is our loving Father, not some hard-to-please task master. HE will work His righteousness in our lives (and not we ourselves) as we cooperate with Him and submit to His ministrations to us.

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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Bob Wilson » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:28 am

DaveB,

By "relevant texts" in Paul, I of course was including the eight I quoted. I appreciate your references to Wright and the dilemma in Paul of not being justified by works, but being judged according to our works. Many in the New Perspective think the first refers as usually specified to the works "of the Law," while the second refers to good works in general. I suspect it's more complicated than that, and involves the differing tenses of justification that you cite, and Paul's understanding that the vital good works produced in us by faith are ultimately credited to God's doing, and thus will be the criterion by which we will be pronounced righteous or acquitted at the future day of judgment.

Perhaps a central conundrum with ideas of instant 'legal' justification is whether Paul's understanding of believing correct doctrines implies that persevering through a process of growth in actual righteousness is then not essential. My impression is that Paul does not see being 'justified by faith' as implying that we are then exempt from the painful consequences of sinful choices, or of God's judgment in that sense. I.e. it's vital to affirm that acceptable faith leads to a changed life that "works by love." Maybe that's just another way of saying that I doubt the classic reformed tendency to define justification essentially as an 'imputed' righteousness.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:41 am

Thanks for that clarity, Bob. (Clarity is not an easy thing to achieve, especially on a Forum, it seems. I know I struggle with it).

And I agree fully with you.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby LLC » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:46 pm

Justification can also mean the act of showing what is right and reasonable. In this sense, yes, we need justification in order to prove that the words that are spoken are true.For example, I listen to Dave Ramsey because I believe in his message. Why should I live within my means? I look around and see those who drive nicer cars, live in bigger houses, wear better clothes, eat out constantly, are up to date in the technological world, etc. etc. all on credit. Sometimes, I feel like I am on the losing end of the deal. However, I continue to persevere in my belief that it is proper and right to live within one's means. As another example, take the South Beach diet plan versus the Atkinson's diet plan. Both propose that if you follow them, you will lose weight. If you do not lose weight, the plan is not justified( shown to be right). I know that this may not be the best example,but hopefully you get my drift. Why should we follow Jesus? Is this the way to life and are the words that He spoke actually true? Do we receive the blessings of life if we follow Him, and if not, do our lives end in destruction? Look around and see the evidence and the testimony for yourself.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby maintenanceman » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:12 pm

Bob Wilson wrote:
maintenanceman wrote:Sorry Bob I do not understand when you say
Paul suggest that he does not understand "legal, forensic justification"

You'll have to clarify that to me.

(there is a distinct difference between those who think that these scriptures are written to us and those who believe that they are historical.)
chad


Your quote left out most of my sentence. It said the 8 Pauline texts I cited suggest that Paul does not understand 'legal' justification "as what meets our real need."
My impression is that you, Davo, and DaveB assert what you think Paul means by justification, but don't engage such relevant texts about what Paul understands to be crucial.

I have no idea what you mean when you appear to just respond that it's a mistake to take these texts as 'written to us.' But in practice, it feels like a way to assert that offering what Paul actually wrote as evidence of his understanding can just be ignored. I take his view on this as relevant to shaping the interpretation of the Christian tradition.


You said
Your quote left out most of my sentence. It said the 8 Pauline texts I cited suggest that Paul does not understand 'legal' justification "as what meets our real need."
and I'll concur it did. Thanks for the clarification and I think I know where you are coming from :)

You said:
My impression is that you, Davo, and DaveB assert what you think Paul means by justification, but don't engage such relevant texts about what Paul understands to be crucial.
Could be, and thanks for putting me in such grand company but they might not be so thrilled to be lumped with the likes of me. :lol:

Some times I view some of these back and forth episodes as splitting hairs, or concentrating on certain individual tree's and not the forest. But this being a forum, I assume I have that privilege.

Finally you said:
I have no idea what you mean when you appear to just respond that it's a mistake to take these texts as 'written to us.' But in practice, it feels like a way to assert that offering what Paul actually wrote as evidence of his understanding can just be ignored. I take his view on this as relevant to shaping the interpretation of the Christian tradition


Respectfully, it is not 'just responding' that in my view it's a mistake to take these texts as 'written to us.' I am well aware that you take these texts very seriously, and you have some very good and compelling exegesis on these verses. But I would say that it is my opinion that Paul never was talking more than to the people of that time. He was not addressing us some 2000 years later in my opinion. :o

You yourself Bob have written position papers that address issues that you would consider, I assume, to be relevant to any that would hear them, whether tomorrow or in 100 years. You wrote them in such a way as it would be obvious. I would say that this is not the case with Paul's letters, or much of the NT in my opinion. And Yes I realize I am going against tradition and orthodoxy. ;) The dynamic of Paul is a Pharisee who was getting after it and had His 'road to Damascus' revelation and subsequent conversion were taken to his kinsmen first and then when that didn't pan out he went to the gentiles, and thus the great book of Romans. I have no argument that we can learn from Paul's teachings, just that they were not meant for us here in 2018. :D
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:42 pm

Chad - I"m very interested to hear your reasoning on that. Certainly Paul was writing, for instance, to the Christians in Rome when he wrote Romans.
But I think the Damascus Road and the 2 years 'in the desert' gave Paul true insights in what God was and is 'up to' - His eternal plan.

But that is for me to defend - first I'd like to know your reasoning otherwise. I know it's a big subject and your answers might be a real help.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:51 pm

There's a very interesting Quora discussion thread


Oh, yes. What about Chad's theory? Let's ask Charlie Chan. :lol:

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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby maintenanceman » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:17 pm

DaveB wrote:Chad - I"m very interested to hear your reasoning on that. Certainly Paul was writing, for instance, to the Christians in Rome when he wrote Romans.
But I think the Damascus Road and the 2 years 'in the desert' gave Paul true insights in what God was and is 'up to' - His eternal plan.

But that is for me to defend - first I'd like to know your reasoning otherwise. I know it's a big subject and your answers might be a real help.


Ahhh, yes, that is the rub. Was God's, as we say 'eternal plan' meant for the Israelites there at that time? Or for the whole of humanity for generations to come... And no offence to those who look at the NT as CS Lewis has... :shock: That somehow Jesus and most of the writers of the NT got the second coming wrong???

Yes Paul's time with God meant something, both to the folks there at that time and to us. But differently... In my very humble opinion.

The understanding that the whole of humanity 'was included' in the happenings of the first century was totally prophesied through the OT Prophets.

There was every understanding that Christ was coming soon. I don't want to get into a peeing match about that. If you want look at the James Stuart Russell book about the scriptural impending coming of Christ, it is a good read. And free. :D

So if we look that Jesus did take care of the sin between man and God, that all of the stuff between 'ADAM' and 'GOD' has been reconciled by and through Christ, Much of our 'evangelical exegesis may well be for not. :shock:

Just a thought. :lol:

Cheers.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby maintenanceman » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:21 pm

Randy says my theory is the most stupid he (or Jackie Chan) has ever heard.

I'm getting used to these assaults. The whole Idea of this and other forums is to exchange ideas.

Good luck Randy.
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby DaveB » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:24 pm

PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP - there, I win! ;-)

Thanks Chad, that helps me understand you better. NOw if only you would point to the evangelical exegesis that your stance would question, I'd be even happier, which I know is what all of you wish for) :lol: :lol:

Just a couple of examples would be nice.
Thanks. I"m not ppppppppppppppppppping either :D
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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:48 pm

maintenanceman wrote:Randy says my theory is the most stupid he (or Jackie Chan) has ever heard.

I'm getting used to these assaults. The whole Idea of this and other forums is to exchange ideas.

Good luck Randy.


Don't blame me. Blame Charlie Chan. Since when do you take, someone following the Holy Fools tradition - seriously. :lol:

Or to put it another way. If William Shakespeare injects some comic elements - into one of his tragedies. Do you take it seriously?

But when I talk about the tribulation and the Zombie Apocalypse. That's a different matter entirely. ;)

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Re: What is justification and why is it necessary?

Postby maintenanceman » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:03 pm

DaveB wrote:PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP - there, I win! ;-)

Thanks Chad, that helps me understand you better. NOw if only you would point to the evangelical exegesis that your stance would question, I'd be even happier, which I know is what all of you wish for) :lol: :lol:

Just a couple of examples would be nice.
Thanks. I"m not ppppppppppppppppppping either :D


Hi Dave, I have no stance nor want to. Just like I told you when I said I don't care what you believe. I'm not an evangelical.

We should leave it at this. :lol:

If the thread goes on to how people are justified or who are justified or by what means ANYONE is justified, than have at it.

My contention is that Christ Justified ALL.

Fairly straight forward I would say.

On another note, Guitars, what is your business plan? If I can ask?
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