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Wednesday: The Righteousness of Christ — 39 Comments

  1. Worthy, worthy is the Lamb, even though God has foreknowledge He still created us. Even though He knew the cost. It displays our value.

    So that even we are in need of the Remedy, some call the "healing model" but this model is not metaphor, it's reality. We really need to have our hearts and minds healed. So the best translation for Romans 3:25 and what the "mercy seat" meant was "he overcame obstacles unfavorable to our relationship". There were no obstacles stopping God and His law from bringing us back to trust, it was in "humankind" where the problem was and that is where He has set right and put right this obstacle for eternity.

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    • I tend to think that "propitiation" is an unfortunate translation of Ro 3:25, and I appreciate the suggestions of better translations .

      However, different "models" salvation can be misleading because they are limited. Instead it is better to consider various aspects of salvation that are revealed through biblical types, symbols and analogies.
      The substitutiony aspect of salvation has been grossly misrepresented by both its proponents and opponents. Yet the substitution role of "the Lamb that was slain" is a central theme of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. But the image of an offended God needing to be appeased is a satanic distortion. Instead, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.
      Thus substitution and reconciliation are two aspects of salvation, but the Bible uses many more. Perhaps our readers can suggest some more.

      A soul healing aspect is suggested in several texts, such as Ex 15:26, and PS 41:4, Ps 147:3, Matt 13:15 and others. I find it interesting that Isa 53:5 combines the substitutionary aspect of salvation with the healing aspect. I believe it would be very helpful to pay more attention to the healing aspect of salvation to correct any misunderstanding brought about by a distortion of the substitutionary aspect.

      However, a focus on the healing aspect to the exclusion of all other aspects of salvation is itself a distortion that can lead to serious misunderstanding. I believe that there is no single model of salvation that can accurately represent all of God's gracious plan to save us. That's why the Bible uses so many types, symbols and analogies. After all, aren't we planning to be studying this subject for eternity?

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  2. The English verb, “to propitiate” means to appease an offended person. Propitiation is when an offensive or upsetting matter is dealt with in a manner that is satisfying to the offended person. The goal is to restore the relationship broken by the offense that caused the anger.

    The question is does the Father needed Jesus to appeased Him?

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    • The opposite is true. God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,' (Rom. 5: 8.)

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    • Hi Ronald

      You raise an excellent point and summarise the issue well in your final question.

      As you may well be aware, but for the potential benefit of others who may read this, propitiation can mean appeasement - but that is not its only/inevitable meaning. I've done quite a bit of digging on this concept because my traditional understanding of propitiation didn't seem to make sense to me - ie, that God is "offended" and needs to be appeased - it seems to be out of harmony with his character even as revealed to Moses in Ex 34:6-7.

      Propitiation can also mean 'that which expiates' - which in its fullest extent means that which actually deals with what has been broken by actually addressing/re-dressing the underlying cause. Thus, it is the thing that actually restores the relationship that was broken by 'reversing'/actually fixing that which caused the broken relationship.

      And what was that cause? I submit that it was not an 'offense' in the way we typically understand the concept of committing an offense. Rather, I would submit that the cause was Adam and Eve's violation of that which is necessary to maintain and sustain Life. This situation was 'simply' an objective reality - not a subjective offending someone.

      What did Satan successfully tempt Adam and Eve to do? Was it merely to disobey God? I would submit that it was to distrust God - and therefore to distrust what God had said was how reality works. It was this distrust of God and what God had outlined that led Adam and Eve to then do what seemed right in their own eyes. Because they did not understand how reality actually works, they thought that what they were doing would be fine - but then they discovered that it wasn't and that instead an irreversible (apart from God's intervention) cascade of impacts had been initiated (see Prov 14:12; 16:25 - Solomon understood this). They discovered (the hard way) a "knowledge/knowing" of evil - a first-hand experience of the actual reality/nature of evil and what it can only result it.

      At the same time, their hearts/mind became changed - they developed a terminal heart condition so to speak. Prior to this incident, their hearts/minds had been working in accordance with the principle of agape love - the principle of advancing the best interests of others. But as they distrusted God, their hearts/minds moved to a self-referenced base - which is the core principle underpinning the reality of evil. The early Christian church understood this - and Ellen White also demonstrates her understanding of this.

      I would therefore concur with you that the Father does not need Jesus to appease him because he is not offended. Rather, the Father is deeply saddened by what happened to His creation and is deeply motivated to actually deal with and repair/restore the terminal condition of humanity. And so the wonderful plan of salvation whereby God in Jesus reconciled the world back to Himself (at-one-ment) by actually working within reality to fix reality.

      No offense, no appeasement. Just an Awesome, Omniscient God who is able to actually save/fix/restore to the utmost!

      And the result - Christian's who are healed (a progressive and ongoing process) from their terminal condition and restored back into harmony with the image of God in preparation for and eternity with God face-to-face - rather than merely being 'covered over'. Relationship restored!

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    • The word translated as propitiation in this verse is the Greek word, hilasterion, which in turn is a translation of the Hebrew word, kapporeth. (I am not a theologian, but I have looked up this word). 'Hilasterion' referred to the lid or the cover of the Ark in the sanctuary. Luther translated it as 'gnadenstul' (literally seat of grace) in German and Tyndale translated it as mercy seat in English!

      'Hilasterion' was only a place of atonement or reconciliation.

      A truer translation of Romans 3:25 should read as follows (as some newer translations have it):

      Whom God displayed publicly for reconciliation through faith in his blood for the manifestation of his righteousness, for the remission of sins that are past, by the patience of God.

      The idea of propitiating an angry God is not in the verse! Praise God.

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      • Using the word "propitiation" in Romans 3:25 is a perversion of logic; to give yourself a gift to satisfy the offence of another person against you makes no sense. Those who produced the NKJV missed an opportunity to correct the mistaken interpretation of the KJV, that is, "hilasterion" as propitiation, which it is not. The New English Translation (NET) translates Romans 3:25 as:

        "God publicly displayed him at his death as the mercy seat accessible through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed."

        The mercy seat is where God's gracious character of love is fully displayed.
        (Recall that the temple veil was torn from top to bottom at the moment of Jesus' death on the cross, so that the mercy seat of the ark of covenant could be seen by all.) And this fits Jesus' declaration in John 3:14-17:

        "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him."

        God the Father gave his Son to us for the remission of our sins, not to assuage his anger. He gave us Jesus out of his amazing gracious love (while we were yet at enmity with him).

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  3. There is so much love in God! And sometimes we still doubt! He was able to sent His only Son to die for us! And we still doubt! We have to believe He is love! It is so easy! But we make it difficult! We want our own ways! We have to learn to deliver everything we got in His hands, because He knows better!

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    • JC: You are absolutely right that we doubt. We doubt because Satan has so misrepresented how and why Jesus came and died. We doubt because Satan has perpetuated the lie that Jesus came to appease God's wrath and that God executed Jesus in man's place to satisfy his 'justice'.

      There are many who need to know the truth of His Salvation process - and then they will be "drawn" to trust Him because they see his trustworthiness for themselves.

      If one thinks about it, we can only believe God's is love when we can see that He is love. True faith is not blind faith - it is informed faith. Romans 4:21 tells us what Abraham believed/had faith in - that God would do what He had promised in detail. That is why God has outlined his track record for us - His Word.

      God's first revealed character trait in Ex 34:6 is mercy - also translated as compassion. Compassion incorporates understanding - in other words, God gets it. He understands the difficulty we have in trusting Him - and because of this understanding He is exceedingly patiently helping us to come back to trust in Him by progressively addressing the doubts we have. I think of Thomas who doubted Jesus resurrection appearance - Jesus didn't tell him to 'just' trust Him, but gently gave Thomas evidence that led Thomas to build trust.

      As you have correctly said, we have to LEARN to deliver everything into God's hands - that learning is a cognitive as well as experiential process whereby we come to see more and more clearly the Truth about God's nature and character (including the nature and character of the reality that God also exists within) and correspondingly then come to see more and more clearly the misrepresentations of the character and nature of God that Satan has so successfully perpetuated.

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  4. God foresaw our short comings & made a way for us through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ death on the cross . He did this on All Mankinds behalf. What an awesome compassionate loving caring gracious God we have and serve.

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  5. What is Pauls point in: Romans 3:26-27.
    By His death on the cross Jesus triumphed over the forces of evil. He who defeated the demonic spirits during His earthly ministry has broken their power and made certain their ultimate doom. Jesus’ victory gives us victory over the evil forces that still seek to control us, as we walk with Him in peace, joy, and assurance of His love. Now the Holy Spirit dwells within us and empowers us. Continually committed to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, we are set free from the burden of our past deeds. No longer do we live in the darkness, fear of evil powers, ignorance, and meaninglessness of our former way of life. In this new freedom in Jesus, we are called to grow into the likeness of His character, communing with Him daily in prayer, feeding on His Word, meditating on it and on His providence, singing His praises, gathering together for worship, and participating in the mission of the Church. Here are they who keep the commandments and have the faith of Jesus. Revelation 14:12.

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  6. The last verse of 'Sitting at the feet of Jesus' is apropos to todays lesson.
    Bless me oh my Savior bless me as I sit low at thy feet, oh look down in love upon me as I see Thy face so sweet. Give me Lord the mind of Jesus, make me Holy as He is . May I prove I've been with Jesus, who is all my righteousness.
    There is an app you can now get that has the old and the new SDA hymnal.

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  7. Romans 3:25 and 26 goes on to say that if we have been won back by all that God has done at such infinite cost; we’ve been won back to trust him and to trust his Son, he justifies us. What does it mean to be justified? Paul, of course, has never heard the term. It’s more Latin than English. Justify literally in the Latin means to make just, as solidify means to make solid, petrify means to make like a stone, justify, to make righteous.

    But the word has come to have some very special meanings. The Greek is dekiao. Dekiao is the verb, dekiasone is the noun. Now that’s translated righteousness. In the gospel, the dekiasone of God is revealed, the righteousness of God. The adjective for righteous is dekias. Dekias is righteous, dekiasone is righteousness.

    Put an “a” in front to make adekias, and that’s unrighteous. We consistently translate this root with the word righteous in there somewhere—righteousness, righteous, unrighteous. But when we come to the verb dekiao, we don’t say make righteous but we say justify.

    How did that ever get started? Justification has accumulated all kinds of special meanings. However, there isn’t agreement everywhere as to what the meaning is. One of the most instructive and vigorous arguments about this took place when no less a scholar than Bruce Metzger at Princeton took up the argument with Goodspeed, the Greek scholar who wrote many books and translated the New Testament in 1923.

    Goodspeed was a great scholar who always sought for clarity and simplicity. That doesn’t mean he is right here. But, it means that he argued for his translation “to make upright” with great force. But he provoked many people. He translates Romans 3:25-26: “God makes upright those who have faith in his son.” If you look in the versions, you find a great variety of translations. There is: set right, declare right, make right, put right, account right, accounted right.

    What do you have in front of you for Romans 3:25 and 26? “Accounted right” is quite common. Well, what does it mean to us is all that matters. If only we had an English word, “rightify”, we wouldn’t have to use the Latin justify. That would be the best, because then you would have righteousness, righteous, unrighteous, rightify.

    The word has accumulated so many meanings over the years that we really need to take a fresh look at it. In fact, it used to distress Ellen White to hear people argue at such length about the distinctions between justification and sanctification, leading her to write this in 1891, three years after the Minneapolis General Conference:

    "Many commit the error of trying to define minutely the fine points of distinction between justification and sanctification. Into the definition of these two terms, they often bring their own ideas and speculations. Why try to be more minute than is inspiration on the vital question of righteousness by faith?"

    Now, how’s that for counsel and warning as we ask what it means to be justified? It means one could go too far in drawing distinctions that are not merited by scripture. That quotation is in that 7A Volume of the Bible Commentary, page 296.

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    • Stephen, the dictionary defines justify "to show or prove to be right or reasonable". Justified is the past tense which shows that all the requirements have been met. For example, according to the laws of the USA, for a person to run for President, he or she has to meet certain criteria. Once those are met, the person is justified and can run for presidency (he or she may not win) but was justified.

      Similarly with God's people, in the past, there were certain things you must meet to be identified as a child of God: circumcision, born or adopted as a Jew, follow the laws, etc. etc. Now, Paul said we can be justified to be called God's people by just believing in Jesus as the Messiah.

      Justification is the process to make a person justified. This process varies throughout the ages and now, it is by exercising faith in Jesus (which has a number of activities, such as, if you have faith, show me your faith by your works, as James clarified).

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      • Carlton,

        Suppose in imagination some day in the future you were to ask Paul in heaven what he meant by all of those legal words, what do you think his response would be?

        Of course he will say, “I didn’t write those legal words in my l letter to the Romans.” (Paul didn’t write in Latin, that wasn’t written until hundreds of years later in what we know as “the dark ages”)

        All English and Latin translations are interpretations, done during those dark ages! Meaning all this legal language has been interpreted into Paul’s writings from what the “translators” thought he was saying.

        The bottom line is if you think that God runs His government up in Heaven no different than an earthly human government then yes you can read a lot of legal language into it.

        But I don’t think Paul saw it that way.

        We need to be aware that Martin Luther’s Sola Scriptura was 62 books of the bible not 66. So he missed the Great Controversy. So as a result he missed the larger view, what we call the great controversy view.

        In the larger view I don’t see any legal problem with a legal solution. I see mankind in a real problem needing a real solution from a real Saviour.b

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        • God speak to us through nature. If he can use nature, he can also use Latin, English, or Spanish. Greek is one medium, and he also give us the gift of tongues so we can translate Greek into Latin perfectly well. The main point is to communicate, and He has done so through the Holy Spirit with the translators.

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        • Note of clarification: It is true that Paul did not write in Latin but classical Latin was certainly the language of the Romans in Paul's time. Translation of the Bible into Latin certainly occurred at a later date. The Roman Catholic Church uses a variant of Latin known as Ecclesiastical Latin. It differs slightly from classical Latin in syntax and uses Italian pronunciation.

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      • Carlton, Do you really believe that "through the ages" there have been ways to be justified other than faith in Christ the Messiah?
        Did Jehovah who declared that He does not change (Mal 3:6) experiment with different ways of saving sinners? Is there more than one way to be saved now?

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        • It is probably best to think that our understanding of salvation has grown through the ages. I am not sure that everyone would have expressed the ideas of salvation in the same way as we do. God does not change but our understanding of God does.

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          • Indeed, I agree. I expect that there will be people in heaven who were saved by Christ without having ever heard His name.

            Perhaps my wording was not the best because it implies conscious faith in Christ. The reality may be a trust in a Creator by a very different name upon recognizing Him through His handiwork and listening to the voice of His Spirit in their hearts. (See Romans 1)

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    • Stephen,

      EGW wrote the following sentence in Signs of the Times, January 20, 1890, para 6:

      "The only way in which he could set and keep men right was to make himself visible and familiar to their eyes."

      There you have it---SET RIGHT and KEEP RIGHT! I believe she meant 'justify and sanctify'.

      More importantly, what needs to be set right is that which has gone wrong---sin has displaced love from man's heart. When God sets man right, He puts His love back in it and keeps love in there lifelong if one continues to trust Him. Hence, "sanctification is the work of a lifetime". {COL 65.2}.

      EGW again: "True sanctification comes through the working out of the principle of love." {AA 560.1}.

      (0)
  8. Paul in Romans, Galatians, Colossians, 1 Tim etc is dealing with a specific teaching/doctrine - that the Law from Mt Sinai has, at least, equal place and obligation in the Christian’s life.
    Some seem to think that this discussion is just intellectual. It should be about *living*… But God found it necessary to repeatedly call out that teaching. I think we distinguish Adventism from the rest avidly holding that the Law from Mt Sinai, Ten Commandments, and the Sabbath, especially, are *eternal*; the rest of the Law and Prophets point to, typify, foreshadow Christ - the Sabbath and the Ten Commands are ends in themselves.

    Why is there debate or discussion over this? Maybe because Scripture does not specifically say one way or the other. Conclusions have been drawn from Scripture and it’s almost impossible to reconcile or resolve fallen beings’ conclusions. God, however, has concluded that *Christians* are obligated to His Righteousness, His Law, His Spirit. The fundamental article in the Christian economy is the Spirit. In the Jewish/Israel economy it was/is the Law.
    Is the Law of Mt Sinai eternal? I think we say yes/no because we say “the Law of Love is eternal”, “the Ten Commandments is a transcript of God’s character”. So the 10 Commandments is not eternal per se, but God’s Law is eternal?!

    When Israel asked God to refrain from speaking the Ten Words to them, He said they had spoken well. So He told them, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers, you shall listen to Him. This is according to all that you asked of the Lord… saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die’. The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their brothers like you, and I will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which He shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of Him.”(Dt 18:15-20) Has Christ not come and spoken these Words? “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification with which no one will see the Lord. For you have not come to a mount that might be touched and to blazing fire, to darkness and gloom and whirlwind… so that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them… But you have come to Mt Zion and to the city of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the *festal assembly* and church of *Firstborns* who are enrolled in Heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the Righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a New Covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.” (Heb 12:14,18-24). Why is there a comparison?(2 Cor 3). “Pay attention to Me, O My people, and give ear to Me, O My nation; for *a Law* will go forth from Me, and I will set My Justice for a light of the peoples.” (Isa 51:4). “In the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains… and many peoples will come and say, “Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His Ways and that we may walk in His paths.’ For *a Law* will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”( Isa 2:2-4; Mic 4:2).

    The Law of Mt Sinai teaches us how we, as humans, aught to live with each other as answerable to God; what is required of us (Rom 3:19). But Christ comes and teaches us about God’s ways (Ps 25:8-12; Isa 55:8-10; 54:13,14). He is God’s Righteousness. Why is He teaching God’s ways? Because Christians, born from above, sons of God, new creatures, spiritual beings, are to live *righteously* and *godly* in this age (Tit 2:11-14). These possess God’s glory in “earthen vessels”. This is so “that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from *ourselves*(2 Cor 4:5-7).

    Those who are *in the flesh*(Jn 3:6), the unregenerate, and those who prefer Moses to Christ (Jn 9:28,29), and those whom God has not yet brought to Himself, remain under Law.

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  9. The meaning of Righteous: acting in accordance with divine or moral law :free from guilt or sin (according to the dictionaries). Righteousness is the noun, so the righteousness of Christ is referring to His actions related to Adam's sin which make us all guilty, but the act of Christ dying on the cross, freed us from Adam's sin and the condemnation of the human race.

    If a thief is caught and went before the judge to be sentenced for death, but the judge pardoned the person and set him or her free, that person is free from that guilt according to the law. But he or she can still steel again, and if caught, can either be put to death, or be freed again by the judge.

    Similarly, Christians who assumed the Righteousness of Christ are no longer guilty of Adam's sin, but if they sin again, they can by law repent and be set free, or be condemned at the day of judgement.

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    • Carlton, if Christ’s death was the ultimate death as the penalty for sin, but Christ never sinned, whom does His death affect? Could or would the affected be subjected to that same death? The gospel is the *power* of God unto Salvation. Scripture indicates that everyone justified or reconciled by His death is guaranteed Salvation (Rom 5:8-11,17

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      • If everyone will inherit eternal life because Jesus paid the ultimate price for sin, what about those Jesus mentioned in John 8:44 "For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. (NLT)"

        Also, Revelation 20:15 says "And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire." Therefore Jesus' death of paying the ultimate price for sin has no valuable effect on those who are disobedient to God. Not everyone will receive ethereal life.

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        • Then it affects only those whose names are written in the book of Life from the foundation of the world; "as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself" (Acts 2:39); "as many as have been appointed to eternal life." Acts 13:48
          Can we deny the fact that God guarantees salvation to all whom he has justified/reconciled by His blood as found in Rom 5:8-11,17.

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          • Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

            Jesus died for the ungodly - which is everyone in the world - because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. His pardon was gracious enough to apply to every person he created but not everyone will accept the free gift of pardon, be born again and changed.
            It is wrong to teach Jesus only died for some, only for those he knew would be good enough to save. The doctrine of a 'limited atonement' introduced into Christianity by Calvin is wrong. Once your name has been removed from the book of life at the judgment it is no longer there, and those that no longer have their names listed there will be thrown into a lake of fire. Their names are not there at the point of being thrown into the lake of fire because they were never listed there, but because their names were removed from the book of life.

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    • Hi Carlton.

      IF our relationship with God is predominately a legal one, then your are correct.

      But what if our relationship with God transcends being merely a legal one? What was the nature of the man's relationship with God prior to Genesis 3? Was it a legal one then? Or was it something far greater? And if so, did that relationship get terminated and a legal one instituted instead? And what about our relationship with God in the earth made new - if it is a legal one now, will it stop being a legal one then?

      Or is it we (in response to Satan's projection of his own nature and character onto God) who have misunderstood the nature of our relationship with God in our "dim" (1 Cor 13:12) understanding?

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      • Remember that the opposite of a legal relationship is an illegal one! Legal refers to the law, which is the explanation for why things exist and function correctly.

        The universe functions because of certain laws - legal aspect of nature. Therefore, our relationship on earth with humans and in the Heaven made new, will be Godly, legally, lovely, happy, and lawful. Anything else will be ungodly, illegal, disrespectful, sad, and chaotic!

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        • The following is a quote from Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, page 109.2:

          "But in heaven, service is not rendered in the spirit of legality. When Satan rebelled against the law of Jehovah, the thought that there was a law came to the angels almost as an awakening to something unthought of...Love for God makes their service a joy. "

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          • Love for God makes their service a joy. So in every soul wherein Christ, the hope of glory, dwells, His words are re-echoed, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalm 40:8. – {MB 109.2}

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        • The opposite of natural law is "positive law" or "man-made law." Positive law may be based on natural law, but not the other way around. Positive or man-made laws include laws such as the speed at which individuals may drive on the highway and the age at which individuals may legally purchase and consume alcohol.

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          • We need to be careful that we do not confuse the issue of law by creating new terms and definitions. Natural law is typically used to describe relationships in the natural world. For example, the laws of physics and genetics. They are descriptive but not prescriptive. What you are calling man-made law or positive law is typically called civil law and is usually prescriptive.

            With respect to God's law, we sometimes make too much of the forensics of law keeping rather than focusing on the relationship that God wants. I have used the illustration of marriage before and I think it is an appropriate analogy. There are civil laws regarding marriage that are on the statute books of most states. Few of us who are married know the law in detail but keep it anyway, because we are in love with our spouse. We are keeping the law because our relationship is alive and well. We do not keep the law to make the relationship work.

            God always wants a relationship with us, not a bunch of legalistic law-keepers. In fact he has some hard words for those who concentrate on the legal aspects and forget about the relationship!

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  10. Look at what the Lord has done for us; sending Jesus the sacrificial lamb to take upon himself our sins. He who knew no sin. That is amazing love, that is unconditional love. All we have to do is accept Christ righteousness by faith.

    Thank you for the cross Lord. Thank you for the price you paid. Bearing all my sin and shame. In love you came and gave amazing grace.

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  11. As to Romans 3:25 in the context of God`s righteousness to be manifested and vindicated, the term hilasterion, on one side, is describing the upper part of the altar of burnt offering to be sprinkled at with the blood of a sacrificial, substitutionary animal. This procedure is located within the court yard of the temple. (Ezekiel 43:14.20) The KJV renders the term with "settle" the RSV with "ledge".

    On the other hand, hilasterion is used as he designation of the mercy seat on the ark to be sprinkled with the blood of sin offerings in the most holy place at the day of atonement. (Leviticus 16:2. 14-15) Paul is taking the term hilasterion from the Septuagint in Romans 3:15 as quoted in the above passage.

    In both cases, in the court yard and in the most holy place, the blood ritual is demonstrating the righteousness of God in carrying out righteous judgement as sin and guilt has to be condemned and punished. (Deuteronomy 25:1) In this case the punishment is carried out on a substitutionary, sacrificial victim. Sin and guilt being removed, the sinner is set free from his guilt by the mercy of God who is demonstrating that justice and mercy are united and not separated, so much so, that there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

    Be it within the court yard or the most holy place: the whole sanctuary service is demonstrating that the sinner is being justified without any works by grace alone. It being a shadowy and a pattern of the great sacrifice of Christ, Paul is using this sanctuary symbolism in Romans 3:25 to describe the reality of grace salvation testified beforehand within the sacrificial service of the earthly sanctuary. Paul is drawing these elements of salvation by grace alone from the Old Testament as a witness for things to come, climaxing in Christ`s substitutionary death on the cross. (Hebrews 3:5)

    Winfried Stolpmann

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  12. It is indeed awesome to just ponder on who God is with our limited knowledge. Immediately we realize that there is far more to know about Him in due time. God's justice with the war experience that was in heaven is still a mystery to me, at the same time however I can readily say He (God) is fair. This teaches a lot about His Justice.

    Looking at life today, I am reminded that nothing about me makes me just, regardless of how genuine and or committed I am in my daily duties and activities. It is God who pronounces me to be that way (just), based upon faith exercised in him.

    Humans cannot fathom this by any theory, developed law or secret code. It is our Jesus who has said "I am the way the truth and the life..." (John 14:6) Humans cannot get any where with out him. Even on our sinful path He took us out of death so we could one day see clearly and learn of His promise and in so doing understand He is just. This teaches that He has made the way possible for eternal life to all men.

    Many times we try not to do any wrong or make a mistake, but even so, even our good can end up being wrong because of the sinful world we live in. Our good might just hurt. Praise God! His forgiving power out pours his heart of justice because this too can be removed from our experience. We need not linger on it forever because his righteousness is far more valuable and available for us to be saved in eternity.

    (2)

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