Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Divine Favor

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
~ Romans 5:8-9
Those who know their sins to be atoned for, and themselves restored to divine favor, are labeled (to use Paul's Greek term) dikaioumenoi; that is, they are the beneficiaries of God's dikaiosyne (Greek) or tzedakah (Hebrew). The standard English rendering, "justified," is at best the least inadequate translation. The point, in any case, is not that such people are, by a divine legal fiction, "declared righteous" though in fact they remain sinners, nor that they have suddenly been transformed from sinners into right-behaving individuals, but simply that their sin with its bane has been atoned for and they are thus, by God's goodness, once again in good standing with their Creator and Judge.
~ Stephen Westerholm, Preface to the Study of Paul

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