Monday, September 07, 2009

Romans 3:27-31
"One God, One Faith, One People"

[Crossposted to Street Prophets. The index for the series is here.]

I am using Carl Palmer's titles for these posts. The appropriate links are:

The text:

(NET) Romans 3:27 Where, then, is boasting?41 It is excluded! By what principle?42 Of works? No, but by the principle of faith! 28 For we consider that a person43 is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law.44 29 Or is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles too? Yes, of the Gentiles too! 30 Since God is one,45 he will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then nullify46 the law through faith? Absolutely not! Instead47 we uphold the law.

41 tn Although a number of interpreters understand the “boasting” here to refer to Jewish boasting, others (e.g. C. E. B. Cranfield, “‘The Works of the Law’ in the Epistle to the Romans,” JSNT 43 [1991]: 96) take the phrase to refer to all human boasting before God.

42 tn Grk “By what sort of law?”

43 tn Here ἄνθρωπον (anthrōpon) is used in an indefinite and general sense (BDAG 81 s.v. ἄνθρωπος 4.a.γ).

44 tn
See the note on the phrase “works of the law” in Rom 3:20.

45 tn Grk “but if indeed God is one.”

46 tn Grk “render inoperative.”

47 tn Grk “but” (Greek ἀλλά, alla).

Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
My Comments: A discussion I have had a few times recently is over the denotative and connotative meanings of "faith". One common thread of any number of pastors of mine has been that it is meaningless to discuss faith without discussing the object of that faith - and there are many possible objects. Folks will talk about faith in their boss, faith in the government (Ok, well, not so many there), faith in their own skills and abilities, or faith in the skills or abilities of others. Indeed:
. . . faith is being sure of what we hope ["confident expection"] for, being convinced of what we do not see.
This applies to many things. Imagine that Joe Blow has decided to drive across town to visit his mom. He has made this trip hundreds of times, and he knows he will easily be there in time to take his mom to dinner. He calls her and tells her he will be there in 45 minutes, asks where she would like to eat, and tells her he will take her to dinner. What Joe doesn't know is that a semi is going to jack-knife and roll on the freeway - stopping all traffic for 4 hours. This is going to happen right after he gets on the freeway and has no way off. His confident expectation is derailed by an unseen, and unseeable, event. In fact, the results of his trip were never seeable - but that didn't stop him from having faith in its outcome. His mom's faith in her son's timeliness is going to leave her hungry (and worried if he doesn't have a cell phone).

It is faith in Christ or in God that Paul is talking about in this passage - and most of the time when people throw the word "faith" around it has some religious meaning. Even that is insufficient, there are folks with all sorts of different objects of their religious faith than Christ or His Father.

When Paul talks here about "one God, one faith, one people" he is not saying that everyone in the world shares the same religious faith - he is saying that gentile and Jewish believers in Christ share "one God" and "one faith" and are "one people" because of that shared faith in Christ.

Of course, I believe there is one God (and one God only) and wherever his "invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen" it is that God, recognized by the viewer or not, that has been seen. Like that famous elephant, we may all see different pieces but it is still just one elephant. Equally, I think followers of Christ do not have a complete view of God; but they see His Son - and His Son has proved His "creds" by His resurrection.

Next: 4:1-8 -- "God's Economy - Everyone on Well-fare"

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How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly