Saturday, 18 July 2009

Justification: Understanding the Reformed Doctrine - Part 13 Justification & 1 Cor. 1:30

Fesko continues chapter 9 by tackling NTW's argument that 2 Cor. 5:21 only mentions "the righteousness of God" as opposed to the "righteousness of Christ":
Wright's objection at this point borders on what can only be called a literalistic biblicism. Yes, he is correct to state that it is "God's righteousness" to which Paul refers. Nevertheless, Paul also emphasizes that God's righteousness comes en auto ("in him"), in Christ. It is not possible to separate the righteousness of God from the righteousness of Christ unless one wishes to posit a radical tritheism, a separation of the ontological Trinity. Contra Wright, we see an example of the unity of attributes of the Trinity in 1 Corinthians 1:3-4: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus." We see that grace comes both from the Father and the Son, but that the grace of God comes en Christo. Likewise, the righteousness of God comes en auto (cf. 2 Peter 1:1). (p253)
I was hugely impressed by Fesko's careful reading of "the righteousness of God"; I've never heard it put quite that way before, especially in the light of 1 Cor. 1:3-4.

Next to 1 Cor. 1:30, where Wright contends that if we are going to speak of the imputed righteousness of Christ, then we must also speak of the imputed wisdom of Christ, the imputed sanctification of Christ and the imputed redemption of Christ. Fesko answers this by saying:
What unifies the four qualities is not their instrumental means of communication but the material means, namely being en Christo. When one is united to Christ he receives the wisdom of God through calling, righteousness through imputation, sanctification through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and redemption through the cross. (p255)
I found Fesko's treatment of 1 Cor. 1:30 the most compelling exegetical case for reading the passage. Superb stuff. I'm still not sure where I stand on 2 Cor. 5:21 as I feel that there is a good half-way house to be got at between NTW and Fesko. More to come on my thoughts on this passage.

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