Recognize this :
Both of the following passages in the Septuagint (LXX; Greek translation of the Old Testament) use the verb, euangelizesthai (“to preach the _____”) twice. The original Hebrew for the verb is “bring good news.”·
Isaiah 40:9— “You, who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’”·
Isaiah 52:7— “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 61:1 (cf. 60:6) is probably known best—“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
For the Jews of the intertestamental period and even for those who returned to Judah from captivity, the full significance of this promise was yet to be fulfilled.
Greek background: announcement of a great victory, birth or accession of an emperorIn the Greek world, euangelion, is a regular technical term, referring to the announcement of a great victory, or to the birth or accession of an emperor. 1.1.3 So, the terms “to bring good news/glad tidings” or “preach the ______” and “glad tidings/good news” had a double background for Jews living in the Greco-Roman world just before the time of Christ. The end of the Old Testament is pregnant with promise of the coming of the Kingdom of God. John the Baptist appears at a time of great expectation.
the Hebrew and Greek backgrounds for the term “gospel.”
Match the key Greek terms for sacrificial death and redemption with their backgrounds and descriptions. (Sect. 25.1 & 25.2)
Sacrificial Death -
- Sacrificial death (atonement)
- 1.1.1 hilasterion, propitiation, NIV “a sacrifice of atonement,” Romans 3:25
- 18.104.22.168 An expiation: wiping away of sin
- 22.214.171.124 A propitiation: turning away of God’s wrathWrath is God’s active judgment towards “all ungodliness and wickedness” (Rom. 1:18)
- 126.96.36.199 A mercy seat: the place where sin is atoned for. In the
- Septuagint (LXX) the Hebrew kapporeth, especially in Lev. 16, is translated by the Greek word hilasterion. In the one other place where this word appears in the New Testament, Heb. 9:5, the meaning is clearly “mercy seat.”
- 1.1.2 peri hamartias, as a sin offering, for sin, Romans 8:3
- 1.1.3 “sin” = “sin offering,” 2 Corinthians 5:21
Match the key Greek terms for sacrificial death and redemption with their backgrounds and descriptions. (Sect. 25.1 & 25.2)
- 1.1.1 lytron, apolytrosis, ransom, redemption
- 188.8.131.52 Hebrew backgroundIsrael was ransomed (from slavery) in Egypt by the Exodus: Dt. 7:8; 9:26; 15:15; Ps. 25:22; 31:5; Isa. 43:1,14; 44:22-24; 51:11; 52:3
- 184.108.40.206 Greco-Roman backgroundRansoming a captive or prisoner of war from slavery or freeing a slave as an offering to the gods.
- 220.127.116.11 Mark 10:45: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- 18.104.22.168 Romans 3:24 “…justified freely through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (cf. 1 Cor. 1:30; Col. 1:14; Eph. 1:7, 14, antilytron in 1 Tim. 2:6, suggesting substitution)
- 1.1.2 agorazo, buy; exagorazo, buy from, buy back.
- 22.214.171.124 1 Corinthians 7:22, 23; 6:19, 20
- Galatians 3:13; 4:4 126.96.36.199 Leon Morris’s summary of “redemption” in The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, pp.58-59:· The state of sin out of which humanity is to be redeemed (slavery)· The price that is paid (death/blood of Jesus)· The resulting state of the believer (freedom)
Recognize the meaning of “the righteousness of God” as a relational term, for a Septuagint reader and in Paul’s usage. (Sect. 26.2)
- The righteousness of God, dikaiosyne tou theou
- 1.1.1 A relational term: righteousness is the meeting of obligations for which an individual is responsible in a given relationship.
- 188.8.131.52 1 Samuel 24:17; 26:23 (cf. 2 Samuel 4:11)
- 184.108.40.206 David and Saul had mutual obligations in their relationship. David met them; Saul did not.
- 220.127.116.11 Genesis 38:26
- 18.104.22.168 Despite Tamar’s moral actions, it was Judah who failed to meet his obligation to Tamar.
- 22.214.171.124 The righteous person, theologically, stands in right relationship with God; God is the Judge and Ruler of all the world; He will always do right (Gen. 18:25).
- 1.1.2 For the Septuagint [Greek Bible] reader, the “righteousness of God” would mean God’s faithfulness to his promises – to the covenant.
- 126.96.36.199 Isaiah 40-55, especially
- 188.8.131.52 God has made promises and Israel can trust those promises.
- 184.108.40.206 God’s trustworthiness correlates to Israel’s salvation (deliverance).
- 220.127.116.11 Second Temple, Jewish literature uses this and related (cognate) terms in the same way.
- 1.1.3 Paul’s usage of “the righteousness of God.”
- 18.104.22.168 Romans 3:1-5: does the fact that Jewish covenant privilege is no longer exclusive (Romans 2) mean that God has forgotten his covenant promises to Israel/the Jews?
- 22.214.171.124 In this context, “God’s righteousness” most naturally means God’s covenant faithfulness. 126.96.36.199 Romans 3:21-26: God’s faithful response to Israel’s unfaithfulness. 188.8.131.52 God fulfills his promises through the one, faithful Israelite, Jesus. The faithfulness of Jesus is the means by which “the righteousness of God” is revealed.
- 184.108.40.206 “Romans 3:21-4:25 as a whole expounds and celebrates God’s own righteousness, God’s covenant faithfulness, revealed, unveiled, in the great apocalyptic events of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (N. T. Wright, What St. Paul Really Said, p.107)
- 220.127.116.11 Romans 9:6-36; 10:2-4: If and how has God kept his covenant promise?
- 18.104.22.168 Romans 1:16-17: the gospel reveals God’s covenant faithfulness = God’s righteousness.
- 22.214.171.124 Righteousness of God in Philippians 3:9 and 2 Corinthians 5:20-21.
Explain (in 3 paragraphs) the concept of justification from each of the following perspectives: covenantal, law-court (forensic), and eschatological (end-time). For each perspective, also include two scripture citations (book, chapter & verse numbers) and a summary of each citation’s concept. (Sect. 26.3)
The language of justification
- 1.1.1 Justification is covenant language, and covenant language is legal language. A covenant is a treaty or contract between two individuals.God’s covenant with Abraham (“royal grant,” unconditional and perpetual) did not originally exist for the sake of Israel alone, but to deal with sin and save the world.
- 126.96.36.199 Galatians 2-3: Who is a member of the people of God? Who belongs to Abraham’s family? Those who are righteous by faith, like Abraham. This culminates in Galatian 3:26-29.
- 188.8.131.52 Philippians 3:2-11 Paul’s covenant status does not rely on his Jewish heritage or Torah observance (his own righteousness), but on faith (God’s gift of God’s own righteousness).
- 184.108.40.206 Romans 3:21-31 This passage answers Paul’s question in 3:1-9: how can God prove faithful to his covenant if his covenant people, through whom he would redeem the world, have proven unfaithful? The answer: “God has now revealed his righteousness, his covenant faithfulness, through the faithfulness of the true Jew, the Messiah Jesus of Nazareth.” (N. T. Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, p.127)
- 1.1.2 Justification is law-court language (forensic).Evil is dealt with in the law court. God is the great Ruler, Lawgiver and Judge. Evildoers will be judged and condemned; the righteous will be vindicated.
- 220.127.116.11 2 Corinthians 5:21; not an ethical, subjective righteousness, but rightly related to God in Christ. God no longer counts a person’s sin against him or her. 18.104.22.168 Romans 2: 6, 16: “God will repay everyone according to what they have done.” (2:6) “This will take place on the day when God judges everyone’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.” (2:16). (TNIV)
- 1.1.3 Justification is eschatological (end-time) language.It is only at the final judgment that the ultimate verdict will be rendered and each person’s righteousness or unrighteousness will be determined. Those who walked with God in covenant faithfulness were assured that they would be vindicated in the future judgment. The question is: What is the definition of true Israel, those within the covenant? How do you tell who belongs to that community now – in advance of the eschatological, final verdict? 22.214.171.124 The pious, Jewish answerFor the pious Jew, it is only through obedience to the whole law that you stay in the covenant and will be able to stand on the Day of Judgment. In other words, there is no “assurance of salvation.” This is a decisive difference between pre-Christian Paul and the Apostle Paul (see the next section). As Rabbi Jacob (140-165 AD) said, “This world is like a vestibule before the world to come; prepare thyself in the vestibule that thou mayest enter into the banqueting hall.” (Aboth 4.16)But how does someone prepare? This story helps us to understand the Jewish answer. One of the greatest rabbis of the first century, Johannan ben Zakkai, was ill. When his disciples came to visit him he began to weep. They asked him why he was weeping. He replied, “If I was being led into the presence of a human king, who today is here and tomorrow is in the grave, whose anger, if he were wrathful against us, would not be eternal, whose imprisonment, if he imprisoned me, would not be everlasting, whose death sentence, if he condemned me to death, would not be forever, and whom I could appease with words and bribe with money – even then would I weep; but now, when I am being led into the presence of the king of kings, the Holy One, blessed be he, who lives and endures for all eternity, whose anger, if He be wrathful against me, is eternal, whose imprisonment, if He imprisoned me, would be everlasting, whose sentence, if He condemned me to death, would be forever, and whom I cannot appease with words or bribe with money – nay, more, when before me lie two ways, one towards the Garden of Eden and the other towards Gehinnom [Hell], and I know not towards which I am to be led – shall I not weep? (b. Ber. 28b, cited in W.D. Davies, Paul and Rabbinic Judaism, p.315f) 126.96.36.199 Paul’s answer in Romans 8:1 (is a sharp contrast to the rabbi’s quote above). “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”; 8:31ff: “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, and gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, also graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?... For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 188.8.131.52 Romans 9:30-11:32 God will be true to his promises, saving the Gentiles and then finally Jews, 10:9-10: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
Sin has separated us from God, and God is the offended party. However, motivated by love, God takes the initiative to remove the barrier of hostility between himself and humanity at great cost to himself. “God is always the subject of reconciliation [he initiates and acts]; and humanity or the world is always the object.” (G. Ladd, A Theology of the NT, p.492
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
“All of this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (5:18)
There must be a human response and acceptance of the offer of reconciliation: “Be reconciled to God,” (v. 20)
Romans 5:10-11 “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more will we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Benefit of reconciliation: peace with God (v 1).
Colossians 1:20, 22; Ephesians 2:16
Benefit of reconciliation: peace with each other after the barriers of hostility are demolished (Eph. 2:14, 16—between Jew and Gentile)
the aspects of reconciliation between God and humankind. (Sect. 27)