The Life of Holiness, Romans 1:16-17 (pp. 111-138)
Posted by kirkcaudle on April 4, 2013
The section that I will be dealing with in this post is pages 111-138, Romans 1:16-17. The following are Jim’s translation (first) and the KJV translation (second) of these verses:
(16)I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is God’s power to bring salvation for all those who thrust, both to the Jew first and to the Greek. (17) For God’s justice is revealed in it by means of trust to those who trust, even as it has been written, “And the just will live by trust.”
(16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
Salvation, “Those who receive salvation are made safe from the adversary, and their shortcomings, spiritual and physical, are removed. The obvious implication is that when we are not yet saved, we are neither safe nor healthy spiritually” (112). To me this implies that we must be “saved.” Speaking in terms of being saved is uncomfortable for many Mormons, but I see no way of getting around the idea that we need to strive for salvation in this life. I do not think salvation is necessarily something that happens in the after all, but is very possible during mortality.
It is the power of God unto salvation, “to hear the gospel preached is to be affected (and not to have been affected is not yet to have heard it preached)” (112). Therefore, if we are not transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ then we have never heard it correctly. There is real power in the oral word.
Believeth, many translations (including the KJV) put “believe” in this verse. Jim does not, he puts “trust.” One reason he gives for this is that “the gospel message is the power of salvation for the faithful; in other words, it is the power of salvation for those who trust God” (114). Faith is what comes naturally after we believe.
Verse 17 (the thesis of the entire Book of Romans)
The Righteousness of God, This phase can mean one of two things. “It could mean ‘the righteousness characteristic of God” or it could mean, “the righteousness that originates from God” (117). The Greek word for “righteousness” here could also be translated as “justice.” It is worth noting here that in the Hebrew Bible righteousness was closely related to the keeping of covenants. Following this logic, God is then a God who keeps his covenants. Jim notes that, “in the context of covenants, the ability to judge right and wrong and to right wrongs is the ability to know who is and who is not in the covenant relation and to bring those who have fallen from the covenant relation back into it” (121).
Revealed, the Greek word here literally means to “uncover.” Therefore, what is uncovered is “something of God’s character, namely his righteousness, is revealed in the power of the gospel” (126). There is something very beautiful about that idea for me.
From faith to faith, Jim says that this phrase “is difficult to understand” and I am having a hard time writing a brief summary of it, so I will leave it to someone else in the comments section! That is a bit of a copout…I know.
As it is written, This was a standard way of quoting scripture.
Just, “The Greek word for just has the same root as the word translated ‘righteousness’ above. It indicates living in accordance with law, treating others equitably, doing the things” (131).
Live, The Greek word here “indicates physiological or animal life as well as life in its fullest sense, including religious life” (131). This type of life is a life time of service. Or as Jim puts it, ” a life of unsatisfied obligation and service” (132). Therefore, the word live in this verse possesses a much richer meaning than to just be alive.
The just shall live by faith, I find the following paragraph to be the most helpful in deciphering this phrase: “It would be fair to say that the central question of Romans is that of the relation of faith to the law, whether the law of Moses or the law written in the hearts of all human beings. Paul seems faced with the belief that obedience to the law can bring salvation, that we can put God under obligation by our obedience. He will oppose that belief by arguing that it is not obedience to the law that bring salvation, but faith in Christ. However, at the end of his argument he will reestablish the importance of the law. He will argue that obedience is the service we owe God” (135).
Get your own copy of The Life of Holiness: Notes and Reflections on Romans 1, 5-8 here.
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