JUSTIFICATION IN CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT THOUGHT

We continue to look at the concept of soteriology and what are the different parts that make up the whole of salvation. Over the next few posts, we will look at the differences between catholics and protestants on their views on justification. Many years ago now, a group of leaders from both the catholics and protestants got together to try to bring unity to the different parties. They discussed their differences but also wanted to lay out what both parties believe and share and celebrate the similarities.

One of the many splitting points during the reformation and subsequent split from the Catholic church was on salvation and in particular justification. This led to many discussions on what is sanctification, how does communion work, and what does justification mean and how is it imparted to a believer and when. These are just a few of course.

So when the catholic and protestant leaders met, they created a joint declaration where all individuals involved signed off and approved it (document can be found here). Some evangelicals had issues with what was signed and the same can be said for catholics. Essentially, this was trying to bridge a gap and create a united community.

One of the questions that we must ask is what exactly are the beliefs of both sides. Secondly, how does each side defend its position. Third and finally, which view does a person hold and why. So today’s post will focus on summarizing the Roman Catholic and Protestant understandings of justification by faith. The next two post will focus on the second and third post respectively.

We must remember it is important to understand an alternate view in order to create conversation and have greater understanding of where that person is coming from. Below is a collection of my thoughts, research, and collaborative efforts to summarize a broad doctrine into a summary statement.

Personal Note: This is not a slamming of either side or specifically of catholicism. This is researching a particular view in an effort to understand what a catholic seems to believe (in general). I am not here to condemn any views or say one side is better than the other. At the end of the day, I will present my personal view as to why I hold to the salvation and justification, but I understand the importance of a united Church and the love and grace that God has provided. I am thankful for the open dialogue between the two sides to try to bring unity.


Protestants view justification as a specific point upon which God declares the believer as righteous. It is the moment when God declares a guilty person righteous because of what Christ has done. This point is where the believer enters into the Christian life. Protestants hold to the view of sanctification as the process or development of being made more righteous throughout a believer’s life. Justification encompasses the forgiveness of sin, acceptance by God, and the imputation of Jesus’ righteousness.

In contrast, the Roman Catholics believe that Christ’s righteousness is imparted to the believer “by grace through faith,” but in itself is not sufficient to justify the believer. The believer must supplement the righteousness of Christ imparted to them with meritorious works. The Roman Catholics view justification as a point and a process, dependent on the grace that a believer receives by participating in the Church. Grace is often seen as something that can be distributed through various possibilities of change and means. Roman Catholics reject that there is an imputed righteousness of Christ to a believer at the moment of salvation; that is, that a believer is counted as fully righteous in the eyes of God. A person is prepared for justification with the help of actual grace. This disposition toward righteousness occurs through cooperation between a person’s will and the grace that assists them to move toward God. Although grace is present, a person cannot reach this justified state apart from their own efforts. Justification involves being made righteous and holy. The person believes that faith in Christ is only the beginning of salvation and that the individual must build upon that with good works because God’s grace of eternal salvation must be merited.

Roman Catholics hold to the doctrine of transubstantiation where they believe as they partake of the elements of the Eucharist, the literal body and blood of Christ becomes a part of the believer, transforming them, and making them more righteous. On the other hand, Protestant partake of the Lord’s Supper by holding to either the memorial view – the elements are seen as symbols and the believer commemorates Jesus’ death – or the consubstantiation perspective – Jesus is spiritually present in the elements but is not in the elements or are they the physical body and blood of Christ.

While both believed a person is saved by grace, the biggest difference between the Protestant and Roman Catholic view is how a person receives that grace and whether it is the point at which a person becomes a Christian or if it is the point and a process that is continually moving toward salvation.

Salvation in the Old Testament – Was faith in Christ necessary?

In the previous post we introduced the question about what did salvation in the Old Testament look like and was faith in Jesus needed to be saved. We introduced the topic in that post and will further clarify the response in this one.

Individuals in the Old Testament period were saved by grace through faith. Salvation has always been by grace through faith in Christ (Eph 2:8-9); it has always been in Christ and is based on His sacrifice. “The basis of salvation in every age is the death of Christ. The sacrifices pointed forward to the death of Christ in the future. The requirement for salvation in every age is faith. The object of faith in every age is God. It’s the content of faith that changes in the various dispensations.”[1] Throughout the Old Testament we see God’s promise of a Messiah (Gen 3:15; Isa 9; 53), but it was historically impossible to have Jesus as the content of their faith. The concept of faith has always been important because “without faith it is impossible to please” God (Heb 11:6), and it is displayed in the lives of both Old and New Testament believers. It seems that Old Testament individuals did not understand the “redemptive significance” of the prophecies concerning Christ and His suffering, nor is it apparent that they understood that the sacrifices depicted the person and work of Jesus Christ as the church age believers do.[2] The sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed toward the sacrifice of Christ and those done in faith brought temporary forgiveness (Ps 32:1-2; 103:12) because of the sacrifice of Christ that was to come.

“Those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith” (cf Gal 3:8-9 with Gen 12:3). In Galatians 3:11, Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 saying “the righteous shall live by faith.” Hebrews 11 displays the faith of the Old Testament believers was evident as Scripture says their faith was “counted to them as righteousness,” (Gen 15:6; Rom 4:3, 5-8; Heb 11:7). The Old Testament people had the promise of the coming Savior and that He would “save His people from their sins” (Matt 1:21; cf. Isa 53:5-6). The people of the Old Testament were saved in the same way we are today, by faith in the Savior. For the Old Testament believer it was the promise of the Messiah because God had only revealed a certain amount to the people of the Old Testament period.

The difference between the faith of the Old Testament believer and a New Testament believer is the content of faith. Thus, God’s requirements for what must be believed is different based on the amount of revelation He has given. Since Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise, He has given us a more complete revelation of the Messiah in the life, work, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Salvation has always been by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Therefore, did individuals in the Old Testament period did need to know about Jesus to be saved? Yes, individuals were saved by grace through faith in Christ based on what God had revealed about the promised Messiah, Jesus, who would bring complete atonement. Since we have the complete picture, our salvation is based on the death of Christ, our faith is the requirement, and the object of faith is God. The content of our faith is different than Old Testament believers because we know that Jesus came to this world, died for our sins, was buried, resurrected, and will return one day.


[1] Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), 115.

[2] Dallas Theological Seminary, “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article V, The Dispensations,” internet, 2015, accessed Sep 6, 2015, http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement/.


Bibliography

Dallas Theological Seminary. “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article V, The Dispensations.” Internet. 2015. Accessed September 6, 2015. http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement/.

Ryrie, Charles C. Dispensationalism. Chicago: Moody Press, 1995.

Conclusion to Representative Imputation of Sin

Today we close this topic on the imputation of sin and summarize the past few posts. In the previous post, it was determined that the representative model was the best model for me because it provided the best answers on the imputation of sin.  I have included a bibliography of all the sources I used for this paper in case that helps and anyone wants to do further research. This post will close our discussion on anthropology and will help us move forward to the next theological topic.


We die for the sins of one man, yet grace abounds through one man. From one sin the sentence of condemnation was passed, but free justification from many sins is offered. We have been condemned for a sin which we had no personal or voluntary participation in, so how much more shall a person live on account of a righteousness that is cordially given. If all are united in Adam and condemned for his offense, so also are all who are in union with Christ be justified on the basis of His righteousness. As one man’s disobedience constituted humans as sinners, so the obedience of one man constitutes believers as righteous (Rom 5:18-19).[1]

The sin of Adam is imputed to his posterity from the fact that he was their natural head and representative. It is also shown by the principle of representation pervading the Scriptures and the principle of imputation involved in other doctrines of the Bible. The evil consequences on the apostasy of Adam are expressly declared in Scripture to be a penal infliction.[2] Finally, it is shown on the ground on which the providence of God is administered. This is shown on the basis that the sins of one man can be justly imputed to another, which is also seen in the concept of justification. Justification is a declaration that the demands of justice have been satisfied.[3] It proceeds on the assumption that the required righteousness belongs personally, inherently or by imputation to the person who is justified or declared to be just.[4] The person and work of the second Adam are the one glorious solution of the problem of the first Adam, and the triumphant vindication of Divine justice and mercy. This is the main point for all practical purposes, and in this all Christians can agree.


[1] Ibid, 203.

[2] Ibid, 201.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.


Bibliography

Berkhof, Louis. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1938.

Calvin, John, and John Owen. Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010.

Chafer, Lewis Sperry. Systematic Theology. Vol. 2. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993.

Cunningham, William. Historical Theology. Vol. 1. Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1864.

Hodge, Charles. Systematic Theology. Vol. 2. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997.

Lange, J. P., P. Schaff, F. R. Fay, J. F. Hurst, and M. B. Riddle. A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Romans. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008.

Miley, J. Systematic Theology. Vol. 1. New York: Hunt & Eaton, 1892.

Murray, John. The Imputation of Adam’s Sin. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1959.

Reid, D. G., R. D. Linder, B. L. Shelley, and H. S. Stout. “Sin.” In Dictionary of Christianity in America, section “S.” Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1990. Logos Bible Software.

Shedd, William G.T. Dogmatic Theology. Edited by A. W. Gomes. 3rd ed. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub, 2003.

Spence-Jones, H. D. M., ed. The Pulpit Commentary: Romans. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909.

Sproul, R. C. The Gospel of God: An Exposition of Romans. Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1994.

Strong, A.H. Systematic Theology. Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1907.

Evaluation of Mediate Imputation

As we continue to look at the different popular models on the imputation of sin, today’s post will focus on an evaluation of the Mediate imputation model. For an intro into this model, please see the previous post.


 

Evaluation of Mediate Imputation

The mediate view does well at emphasizing a personal corruption, but it fails because it omits imputed guilt and original sin. The mediate view provides an inadequate explanation on Romans 5, mainly in rendering the word “sinned” as a passive creating several problems. First, this would be the only instance this verb hamartanō would have such a meaning.[1] The passive would have required a different combination of words.[2] The passive excludes Adam and Eve who were not “reckoned” to have sinned.[3] The passive would denote “God’s act of imputing sin, not man’s act of committing it. But it is the sinner’s act, not that of the judge, which is the reason for punishment.”[4] It is illogical to say that all die because all are condemned to die is to give insufficient reason for death.[5] The mediate interpretation contradicts those passages of Scripture which refer the origin of human condemnation and human depravity, to the sin of our first parents, and which represent universal death, not as a matter of divine sovereignty, but as a judicial infliction of penalty upon all men for the sin of the race in Adam (Rom 5:16, 18).[6] The doctrine of mediate imputation denies the sentence of condemnation has passed upon all men for the sin of one, and affirms that the ground of that condemnation is inherent depravity.[7] We are accounted partakers of Adam’s sin only because we derive a corrupt nature from him. However, Scriptures say the reason why we are depraved is, that we are regarded as partakers of his sin, or because the guilt of that sin is imputed to us. The guilt in the order of nature and fact precedes the spiritual death which is its disciplinary consequent.

Mediate imputation denies inherited corruption as a consequence of punishment. “Punishment supposes guilt. If the loss of righteousness and the consequent corruption of nature are punishments, they suppose the antecedent imputation of guilt and therefore imputation is immediate and not mediate; it is antecedent and not consequent to or upon inherent depravity.”[8] It denies the participation of all men in Adam’s sin and provides no explanation of man’s responsibility for his inborn depravity.[9] Man’s inheritance must be seen in light of God’s judgment, which reflects the justice of God. Man is not only condemned for a sinfulness of which God is the author, but is condemned without any real probation, either individual or collective.[10]

Finally, mediate imputation changes the method of salvation and justification. The point Paul makes in Romans is that men are justified for a righteousness which is not personally their own. The mediate view destroys the parallel between Adam and Christ. “If we are partakers of the penal consequences of Adam’s sin only because of the corrupt nature derived by a law of nature from him, then we are justified only on the ground of our own inherent holiness derived by a law of grace from Christ.”[11] This leads to a doctrine of subjective justification, that a righteousness not within believers but wrought out for believers – the righteousness of another, even the eternal Son of God, and therefore an infinitely meritorious righteousness – is the ground of our justification before God.[12] Any doctrine which tends to invalidate or to weaken the Scriptural evidence of this fundamental article of our faith is fraught with evil greater than belongs to it in itself considered.[13] “The great principle insisted upon in support of this doctrine is that one man cannot justly be punished for the sin of another. If this be so then it is unjust in God to visit the iniquities of the fathers upon their children. Then it was unjust in Christ to declare that the blood of the prophets slain from the beginning should come upon the men of his generation.”[14]


 

[1] Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 559.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid, 560.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Strong, Systematic Theology, 618.

[7] Hodge, Systematic Theology, 210.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Strong, Systematic Theology, 618.

[10] Ibid, 618.

[11] Hodge, Systematic Theology, 212.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid, 213.

[14] Ibid.

Examination of Imputed Sin pt. 2

Today’s post will finish the brief examination on what is sin, what is imputed sin, and how does it fit into a representative model. What role did Adam have in this? How are we connected with Adam? These questions will be examined in this section. The first part of this discussion can be found here.


There are three main explanations on the word sin or “hēmarton” in this passage [Romans 5:12-19]:

(1) It is active in its meaning and denotes the first sin of Adam and his posterity as a unity: his posterity being one with him by natural union or else by representation or by both together; (2) it is active in its meaning and denotes the first sin of each individual after he is born; and (3) it is passive in its meaning, signifying, either “to be sinful” or “to be reckoned as having sinned.”[1]

Paul, unless he departed from the invariable Scripture us of the word hēmarton when he asserts that death as a just punishment, passed on to all men “because all sinned,” employs the word sinned actively.[2] But if he did depart from the usual meaning of hēmarton, he would be the only inspired writer to do so; and this would be the only instance in his writings in which he does.[3] Initially, man was created as enduring as the angels. Though some angels sinned, God did not impose the judgment of death upon them. Their judgment was of another form. The first angel to sin was not a federal head of the angels, nor is there among them any procreation with its problem of heredity.[4] Therefore, there could be no parallel experience with respect to judgments from God for sin set up between the human race and the angels. No other man, not even Abraham, stood first in the generations of humanity nor did any other receive a divine commission to this unique responsibility.[5] However, there is a perfect headship in the resurrected Christ over the New Creation. All typology in Adam respecting Christ is built on the fact of the two perfect headships. Nevertheless, the most illuminating passage (Heb 7:9-10) on the fact of federal headship concerns Abraham; which implies not only headship but that the offspring are seminally represented in the federal head and are divinely reckoned as having acted in the federal head.[6] No one would claim that Levi consciously or purposefully paid tithes to Melchizedek, yet God declares that he did pay tithes. Likewise, no one will claim that each individual in Adam’s race consciously or purposefully sinned in Adam; yet there can be no doubt that God reckons that each member of the race sinned in Adam’s transgression.[7] The same federal coaction asserted in the words “all sinned” is implied in 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die.”[8] Therefore, God sees only two men and each member of the race is either in Adam (the unregenerate) or in Christ (the regenerate).[9]


 

[1] William G.T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, ed. A. W. Gomes, 3rd ed. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub, 2003), 558.

[2] Ibid, 559.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Chafer, Systematic Theology, 313.

[5] Ibid, 302.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid, 303.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

Compare and Contrast Angels and Humans Part 1

Since we have concluded the study of looking at the Gospels, we are going to take a brief break from the Biblical Exposition of that topic and move into the theology of angels, demons, humans and sin.

This post will provide a brief introductory section on what the next few post will look at, what to expect, my thesis in the paper, and finish by looking at a brief look at what makes up an angel, including demons. As the purpose of this is to provide a concise, high-level overview of the differences between angels and humans, there is no doubt that many more pages and books could be written on this topic. Hopefully, this will serve as a primer into a bigger discussion that could happen later.


Introduction

Angels and humans have many of the same qualities in common: both were created by God, both originally created holy, and both created to worship to name a few. However, there are many differences as well including future position, procreation and man’s unique image. The origin, nature and purpose of each will be examined as well as comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences between angels and humans. God made both unique yet similar and with a common purpose: to love, serve and worship God.

Angels

God spoke and imparted life into an “innumerable company of sinless, spiritual beings, known as angels.”[1] A countless host (Heb 12:22; Rev 5:11) of angels were created (Neh 9:6; Col 1:16) simultaneously which proposes they are immortal (Luke 20:36) and do not procreate (Matt 22:30). All angels were originally created holy and without sin. One angel, Lucifer, sinned and a great company of angels followed his rebellion against God (Matt 25:41) becoming demons to be used by Satan for unholy purposes (Isa 14:12–17; Ezek 28:11–19; Jude 6).[2] There are many chosen angels (1 Tim 5:21) who remained obedient to God and remained holy (Mark 8:38). Scripture does not state the time of the angels creation but points to it being before the creation of the world (Col 1:16, Job 38:4-7).

The purpose of angels is threefold: to reveal, worship, and serve.[3] Angels reveal by bringing a message from God (Matt 1:20; Rev 14:6) or revealing God’s truth (Gal 3:19; Heb 2:2). The angels, who are before the throne worshipping God (Rev 4:8-11), are sent out as “ministering spirits” to serve those who will inherit salvation (Luke 15:10; Heb 1:14).[4]

Angels are personal beings displaying a consciousness (Rev 22:9), cognition (Matt 28:5; 1 Pet 1:12), affection (Job 38:7; Luke 15:10) and volition (Dan 10:21-22).[5] Unlike humans, angels are immaterial, non-sexual (Mark 12:25), immortal (Luke 20:36) and spiritual beings (Heb 1:13-14).[6] Angels reside in the Second Heaven, but appear to mankind in dreams (Gen 28:12), visions (Isa 6), and even human sight (Luke 2:9-14), taking the form of either men (Gen 19), man-like (Dan 10; Matt 28), living creatures (Rev 4), or as clothed and luminous (Rev 10).[7] Angels are great in power (Acts 5:19; 2 Pet 2:11) and wisdom (2 Sam 14:20), yet they are not divine, not to be worshipped (Rev 19:10; 22:9), and their power is restricted (Matt 24:36; 1 Pet 1:11-12) since they are subjected to God and His judgment (Matt 25:41; 1 Cor 6:3).


[1] Dallas Theological Seminary, “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article III, Angels, Fallen and Unfallen,” internet, 2015, accessed February 21, 2015, http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement/.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Nathan Holsteen, “Session 2: The Nature and Classification of Angels,” unpublished class notes for ST 103 (Dallas Theological Seminary, Spring Semester, 2015), 3.

[4] Dallas Theological Seminary, “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article III , Angels, Fallen and Unfallen.”

[5] Holsteen, “Session 2: The Nature and Classification of Angels,” 5.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid, 5-6.

The Significance of Women in Luke: Luke’s Writing Style, pt 3

As we continue to look at Luke and how he emphasized women in his narrative, today we begin to see how his writing style was used to show the difference between a male response and a female response. As will be briefly discussed shortly, Luke uses a style called “pairing” that provides a unique comparison in different situations that the other writers do not use. In an effort to show this, we will start our analysis of Luke’s Gospel by first looking at the first two chapters of Luke and the birth narrative.

Luke: The Style of Pairing and Passage Analysis

Luke uses a unique writing style of “pairing” wherein he presents a number of linked pairs or groups of similar types of events or parables together.[1] A high proportion of these references are to male and female which is not always about comparison, but suggest a measure of equality that was unexpected in the time of Jesus.[2] Another unique aspect of Luke’s style is that he focuses on women who are exemplars of poorness and lowliness before God that finds expression in barrenness, widowhood, spiritual or actual neediness, or service to the poor.[3] In many of the pairing cases, the story about the man is traditional and the one about the woman is special to Luke.[4] Lucan “pairs” can be detected in almost every chapter of the Gospel.[5]

The Pregnancy and Birth Narrative

The first pairing example in Luke’s Gospel is found in the birth announcements made to Zechariah (Luke 1:5-23) and to Mary (1:26-38). This is one of several incidents that contrasts the male and female response. Mary’s questioning of the messenger is rooted in faith, where Zechariah’s is not.[6] In response, Zechariah is punished and Mary is blessed. It is Mary who provides a better example of true faith.

The miraculous conceptions and births from the closed wombs of Mary and Elizabeth described in Luke offer an interesting portrait. At the start of the Gospel, there are two women, one old, one young, both childless. The barrenness of Israel under the old law, as represented by Elizabeth, will be the last of the prophets that will herald in the Messiah.[7] It is compared to the virgin’s womb who brings the new law, the message of salvation and grace. This new covenant will afford women a greater role that is suggested by making Mary, not Joseph, the recipient of the angelic message.[8]

Mary’s subsequent encounter with Elizabeth (1:39-45), introduces another example of a distinctive contribution of women in Luke’s presentation. They both identify with the lowly and oppressed.[9] Elizabeth tells Mary she is blessed because she believed, and the two of them stand together as faithful listeners and hearers.[10] “It is Elizabeth and Mary, not Zechariah and Joseph, who are first to receive the message of Christ’s coming, who are praised and blessed by God’s angels, and who are first to sing and prophesy about the Christ child.”[11] They are not just witnesses, but active participants in God’s redeeming purposes. Elizabeth and Mary are the most prominent characters in the first two chapters of Luke, yet Elizabeth does not appear in the other Gospels.[12]

Another example of pairing in the dual examples of Simeon and Anna (2:25-38). Both are in the temple, both praise God, both give witness to the fulfillment of the promise, and both are shown to be faithful.[13] Anna, a barren widow who served God faithfully (2:37) and was eager to speak of the Lord Jesus and His redemption, is described as a prophetess. The fact that she is a prophetess and her testimony was valued just as much as Simeon’s shows Luke’s theme of equality.

The women of the pregnancy stories, Anna, Elizabeth, and Mary, are recognized in Luke as demonstrating patience, prayer, praise, and faith – marks of true discipleship.[14]


 

[1] Mary Benson, “The Women of Luke’s Gospel,” Testimony Magazine, 2007, accessed March 14, 2015,  http://www.testimony-magazine.org/back/aug2007/benson1.pdf

[2] Kopas, “Jesus and Women: Luke’s Gospel,” 192.

[3] Kopas, “Jesus and Women: Luke’s Gospel,” 192.

[4] D’Angelo, “Women in Luke-Acts: A Redactional View,” 444.

[5] Ibid, 445-46,

[6] Kopas, “Jesus and Women: Luke’s Gospel,” 193.

[7] Benson, “The Women of Luke’s Gospel.”

[8] Kopas, “Jesus and Women: Luke’s Gospel,” 193.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ben Witherington III, Women in the Earliest Churches, (New York: Cambridge Press, 1991), 134.

[12] Benson, “The Women of Luke’s Gospel.”

[13] Kopas, “Jesus and Women: Luke’s Gospel,” 195.

[14] D’Angelo, “Women in Luke-Acts: A Redactional View,” 448.

The Significance of Women in Luke: A Radical Reversal

Following the introductory post about why Luke seemed to have a greater number of stories about women than the other Gospel writers, today we look at the reasons why Luke may have been more open to speaking about women. Because Luke focuses on Jesus bringing salvation to more than just the Jews, as well as his prior education, we can start putting the pieces together with how his inspired narrative is formed. Today, we will see how Jesus changed society and the impact that had.

A Radical Reversal

Luke’s purpose was to show how God had turned society upside down when Jesus entered the world and displayed great love.[1] “Luke, both as an educated Gentile and as a physician, would naturally have a more open mind and heart to the socially deprived peoples of his day.”[2] Thus, it is not surprising that women are prominent in his Gospel. Throughout his narrative, the theme of reversal is seen with the positive attention given to women and the inclusion of the Samaritans and Gentiles.[3]

Luke’s portrayal of Mary, Jesus’ mother, is emblematic of how God reverses the misfortunes of the human condition. Mary’s Magnificat (1:46-50) exemplifies Luke’s new way of interpreting society that occurred through the entering of Christ into this world. The Magnificat, which resembles Hannah’s hymn (1 Sam 2:1-10), celebrates the reversal of human values and this form of justice to which the Sermon on Mount speaks.[4] In Mary’s song of praise, she echo’s Elizabeth’s prophecy showing that she and Elizabeth (1:41) are both filled with the Holy Spirit.[5] The Magnificat (1:46-56) displays a hymn of human solidarity both with others who have cried for deliverance and with the compassionate God.[6] Luke 23:5 displays how Jesus treated the minorities differently. He welcomed and admitted these peoples, particularly women, into his group which was unheard of in rabbinic circles.[7] This is further displayed in the story of Mary and Martha (10:38-42) where Jesus accepts Mary into His “rabbinical circle” as she listens to His words.

The cure of the crippled woman on the Sabbath (13:10-17), which can be paired with the Sabbath cure of the man with dropsy (14:1-6), reflects multiple significant reversal concepts. Jesus not only cures on the Sabbath, but He cures a woman on the Sabbath all to the dismay of an official; this is a double conflict that is only found in Luke. Then, Jesus refers to her as a daughter of Abraham, thus indicating participation in the religious life of Israel that was unimaginable.[8]

These stories then seem to show that while Jesus and in this case Luke do not outright condemn the social structures, they did go beyond those walls so that women could enjoy His ministry.[9] Since Jesus was radically changing society and relationships in society, Luke’s writing style must be examined along with these passages on women.

[1] Maly, “Women and the Gospel of Luke,” 99.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Luke Johnson, “The Gospel of Luke,” in Sacra Pagina, vol 3 (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991), 22.

[4] Maly, “Women and the Gospel of Luke,” 102.

[5] Matthew Henry, “Luke,” in Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged, (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 1825.

[6] Jane Kopas, “Jesus and Women: Luke’s Gospel,” Theology Today 43 (1986): 193.

[7] Maly, “Women and the Gospel of Luke,” 102.

[8] Kopas, “Jesus and Women: Luke’s Gospel,” 199.

[9] Maly, “Women and the Gospel of Luke,” 104.

More Scriptural passages regarding the Trinity

Today, we continue looking at biblical references about the Trinity, focusing on numbers 76-100. This will focus on Scriptural passages found in Ephesians 3 through 2 Peter. Again, these are passages that exhibit Trinitarian references or a unit of thought. Some exegetes may divide up some of these passages, but are kept together for a unit of thought purpose. However, there are also certain passages that are appropriate to divide (Ac 20:21-24, 27-28). It is all subjective and up to the reader.

The main point of this whole exercise is to show that the Persons of the Godhead are spoken about in certain blocks of Scripture reinforcing a Trinitarian belief. (For more information on this, please refer back to the original post that will give a little more background).

  1. Eph 3:2-5 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
  2. Eph 3:10-17 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
  3. Eph 4:3-6 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
  4. Eph 4:30-32 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
  5. Eph 5:18-20 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  6. Php 2:1-6 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
  7. Php 3:1-3 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! [cf.2:29-30]… For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—
  8. Col 1:6-8 All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
  9. 1Th 1:1-6 Paul, Silas and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you. We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
  10. 1Th 4:2-8 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
  11. 1Th 5:18-23 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  12. 2Th 2:13-14 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  13. 1Ti 3:14-4:1 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
  14. 2Ti 1:7-14 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
  1. Tit 3:4-6 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
  2. Heb 2:3-4 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
  3. Heb 3:4-7 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice,
  1. Heb 6:4-6 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
  2. Heb 9:14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
  3. Heb 10:12-15 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this.
  4. Heb 10:29-31 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
  5. 1Pe 1:2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:
  6. 1Pe 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,
  7. 1Pe 4:13-16 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
  8. 2Pe 1:16-21 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Scriptural passages on the Trinity continued

Our journey through the New Testament continues today as we look at the next 25 passages that have reference the Persons of the Trinity. This will look at numbers 51-75, taking us from Romans 8 through Ephesians 2. For more information on the reasoning that these passages are included, please refer back to the initial post.

  1. Ro 8:9–17 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
  2. Ro 8:26–29 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers
  3. Ro 8:38–9:5 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. I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
  4. Ro 14:17–18 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
  5. Ro 15:12–13 And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit
  6. Ro 15:15b–17 because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.
  7. Ro 15:30 I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.
  8. 1Co 2:1–5 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
  9. 1Co 2:8–16 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishnessto him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
  1. 1Co 3:10–16 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
  2. 1Co 6:10b–11 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
  3. 1Co 6:15–20 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body
  4. 1Co 12:3–6 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesusbe cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
  5. 2Co 1:21–22 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
  6. 2Co 3:3–6 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
  7. 2Co 3:14–18 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
  8. 2Co 5:1–10 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
  1. 2Co 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
  2. Gal 2:21–3:5 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
  1. Gal 3:10–14 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit
  1. Gal 4:4–6 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
  2. Gal 5:21–24 I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
  3. Eph 1:3–14 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
  4. Eph 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
  1. Eph 2:13–22 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace… His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.