Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cranfield on Romans 1:17

…to take ‘God’s righteousness’ as referring to the righteous status given by God agrees better with the structure of the argument of the epistle, in which 1.18-4.25 expounds the words ‘he who is righteous by faith’ and 5.1-8.39 the promise that the man who is righteous by faith ‘shall live’. If 2.13; 3.20;, 28; 4.2, 13; 5.1, 9, 19, are examined carefully, it will be seen that it is on the status resulting from God’s action and on the men on whom the status is conferred rather than on the actual actions of God that attention is focused.

The sense of the whole sentence, as we understand it, may be set out as follows: For in it (that is, in the gospel as it is being preached) a righteous status before God which is God’s gift is being revealed (and so offered to men), a righteous status which is altogether by faith. …by revealing and making available precisely this gift of a status of righteousness before Himself God is indeed acting mightily to save.

As used by [Paul], ‘faith’ has the same sense as it has in the earlier part of v. 17 and ‘shall live’ refers, not to political survival, but to the life of God, which alone is true life, the life which the believer begins to enjoy here and now, and will enjoy in its fullness hereafter.

4 comments:

The Underground Pewster said...

I am afraid that I am left more confused by Cranfield.

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. KJV

"Therein" refers back to the Gospel of Christ and the power of God unto salvation.

The passage of this revelation from one follower to the next seems to be more fitting to the "faith to faith" part.

The sentence still seems to make more sense as "the righteousness of God."

Chuck Hicks said...

Fair point. I would tend to agree with you on the basis on Romans 3:26a. It seems that Cranfield's overall thesis drives through to 3:27b -- that, in his mind, is the thrust of the epistle. In other words, I think he takes it as given that God is just/righteous (regardless of the world's rejection of it); but that He makes men righteous by faith in what He has done is revealed in the gospel. There might be some weight in that argument if we put ourselves in the shoes of 1st century Jewish Christians who were astounded by the ready conversion of Gentiles.

Thanks for reading and commenting. We shall press further and see how this goes.

Chuck Hicks said...

One other verse that might be helpful in this regard is 2 Cor. 5:21:

"...that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Chuck Hicks said...

...in my first coment I meant to say,

Cranfield's overall thesis drives through to 3:26b...

not 3:27b. Sorry for the confusion.