Sunday, November 16, 2008

quote for the week: N. T. Wright on justification

[Justification] is God's declaration that those who believe are in the right; their sins have been dealt with; they are God's new covenant people, God's renewed humanity.

N.T. Wright, quoted from "Romans," 471 (in The New Interpreter's Bible, vol. 10) by Scot McKnight in A Community Called Atonement, 90.

14 comments:

Litl-Luther said...

Seems rather vague for such a crucial doctrine, nor does it deal with one critical component of justification: "imputed righteousness".

lorenzothellama said...

It's very hard to know whether one is justified or not.

All who believe they are, aren't necessarily. Jesus said "all who call me Lord will not necessarily reach the Kingdom of God" (or words to that effect).

I think we are walking on very shakey ground here!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Lt'l Luther,
'Tis the nature of quotes. I used to copy down longer quotes at first, but now shorter ones. It just gets a simple point across, and that's kind of the nature of blogging, as well, I think.

But if you crack open a book from N.T. Wright, including this big one on Romans, you'll find much there on justification.

I don't necessarily track with Wright all the way on justification, though I do think much of what he says on it is Scripturally true.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Lorenzo,
One has to honor what Scripture says. It says that when one believes God's word, and now specifically about Jesus and his coming for us to be human and to die for our sins, (and be raised from the dead), their faith is counted as righteousness in God's sight. It's simple faith in God's word about his Son Jesus.

We accept God's word that we're a guilty sinner deserving of condemnation and death, and we also accept God's word that in Jesus, and by his death, we're forgiven. We put our faith in Christ and in his death for us, for our sins to be forgiven. And that's when God counts us right with himself. Not at all based on our feeling, but on God's word. So that our confidence or faith is put in God and his word about Christ, not on anything at all about ourselves (except acknowledging our guilt as sinners, and need for a Savior).

Does that help you here?

Litl-Luther said...

Ted, I appreciate the very good words\ response you gave to Lorenzo, and I agree wholeheartedly with you. Thanks bro.

Odysseus said...

Here's a monkey wrench in the whole thing ( :P ). Has anyone notice that EVERY judgment scene in Scripture has NOTHING to do with one's belief system but on what one has DONE for the poor, widowed, orphan, hungry, naked, imprisoned, etc.?

Could this be because 'Jesus is Lord' is a statement of fact that doesn't change if one believes it or not?

Blessings of God be with you.

OD

HALFMOM said...

I think, Odysseus, that is because those judgments assume that real faith is shown in a changed life which will result in good works.

"Jesus is Lord", is indeed fact, whether we believe it or not. However, only those good works done in and through His power are going to last any judgment, no matter how wonderful they were.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I have to agree with Halfmom on this one. No matter how God looks at people and nations at the judgments- what is required for salvation is faith, over and over again in Scripture, and in Jesus' own words.

It's indeed a faith that becomes active in obedience in good works out of love for God and others. But no one is saved by their works, as Ephesians 2:8-9 make clear. 2:10 brings in the reality of the good works which God gives those who are saved by grace through faith- good works are a part of the fruit of salvation in Christ, never of course the root.

Odysseus said...

I don't think I stated that people were 'saved by works'. I said that they would be judged by their works.

Regarding 'believing', does one believing in God change one status regarding their sins? That is, are sins dealt with at the cross or when someone believes?

I'm not trying to start anything here. I'm just asking the question.

Furthermore, is one's individual salvation take place apart from a community of believers? That is, is one saved without the whole?

Blessings of God be with you.

OD

Litl-Luther said...

Odysseus,

I believe the sins of all Christ's sheep were dealt with on the cross, and then at the appointed time, God gives each of Christ's sheep faith to appropriate what belongs to them in Christ.

Odysseus said...

I would say, along with St Paul, that God has already reconciled the world to Godself. The message then is 'be reconciled to God' (2Cor. 5). The issue, it seems, is not with God but with people. People need to be reconciled to God. That is the ministry of reconciliation.

Therefore, justification seems to be exactly like Bishop Wright stated. Belief in the present of what God will do in the future (or, maybe) -- belief in the present of what God has done in the past.

Blessings of God be with you.

OD

Odysseus said...

Another quote from Wright on justification:

'The moment in the present when one part of creation is put to rights in advance of the final renewal.'

Litl-Luther said...

I didn't realize N.T. Wright was a bishop....but with as much as Ted has quoted Wright at this blog (probably quoted him far more than any other person), I would have thought Wright was the new pope of Christendom. …I'm still trying to like the guy, however. It isn't easy with Wright espousing the "new perspective" on justification, which I think is probably heretical.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Triston,

I have to doubt your words on this. I'm not sure N.T. Wright is in the top five of authors I consider must-reads, though there's a number. He most certainly is in my top ten. But actually I've quoted him less than you think.

And I think he has some important things that those of us who are heirs of the Reformation, should listen to and benefit from.

But that's my take, brother.