Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "Soteriology"
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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
- THE MEANING OF THE WORDS
- Old Testament words
- Yashar- meaning "upright or right" (Num. 23:10; Job
4:7; Ps. 19:8; Ps. 107:42; Job 23:7; Prov. 2:7)
- Tsaddiq - meaning "righteous, just" (Gen. 7:1; 18:28;
20:4; Ex. 9:27; Gen. 18:23-26)
- Tsedaqah - meaning "rightness, justice" (Gen. 15:6;
30:33; Dt. 6:25;' 9:4-6
- Tsedeq - meaning "rightness, justice" (Lev. 19:15; Dt.
1:16; 33:19; Job 6:29; 8:6
- Tsadaq - meaning "to be right, just" (Gen. 38:26; Job
- Tsidqah - meaning "rightness, justice" (Dan. 4:27)
- New Testament words
- Dikaios - meaning "righteous, virtuous, keeping the
commands of God" (Mt. 1:19; 5:45; 9:13; 10:41 - rendered "just")
- Dikaiosune - meaning "rightness, righteousness as a
state of being" (Mt. 3:15; 5:6, 10, 20; 6:33; etc. )
- Dikaioma - meaning "ordained by law, ordinances";
therefore "that which is just" (Lk. 1:6; Rom. 1:32; 2:26; 5:16,18; 8:4;
Heb. 9:10; Rev. 15:4; 19:8)
- Dikaios - meaning "the state of rightness with God"
(Lk. 23:41; 1 Cor. 15:34; 1 Thes. 2:10; Tit. 2:12; 1 Pet. 2:23)
- Dikaioo - meaning "to be righteous" (Rev. 22:11)
- EXPLANATORY REMARKS
- Old Testament usage
In all of the Old Testament words, when used of the relations of God and
man, one idea prevails, the righteous (or just) man is right with God.
A righteous or justified man under the law was one who "believed God" and
"walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless," by
which is not meant a sinlessly perfect man, but one who, when he sinned,
resorted to the ordinances and offered, in faith, the required sacrifice.
- New Testament usage
In the New Testament three usages occur:
- God's inherent character (Rom. 10:3a, "ignorant of
- God's consistency with His character (Rom 1:17; 3:26a,
"that He might be just" and still forgive the sinner).
- The gift of Divine grace made possible through the
redemptive work of Christ; the righteousness of God received by faith in
Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:22; 4:22-5:1; 10:3c).
- HELPFUL DEFINITIONS OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD GIVEN BY
- "That righteousness which God's righteousness requires
Him to require. " Cunningham
- "That righteousness of which God is the Author; which is
of avail before God; which meets and secures His approval." Hodge
- "That righteousness which the Father requires, the Son
became, the Holy Spirit convinces of, and faith secures." Brooks
- "The sum total of all that God commands, demands,
approves, and Himself supplies." Moorehead
- "The believer is now by faith shrouded under so complete
and blessed a righteousness that the thundering Law of Mount Sinai can find
neither fault nor diminution therein. This is called the righteousness of
God by faith. " John Bunyan
- DESCRIPTIONS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
The word is used to describe:
- A quality of the Divine character (Ps. 7:17; 11:7;
35:24,28; Dan. 9:7; Rom. 3:25)
- To be righteous is to have that character that leads
one always to do that which is right.
- The righteousness of God is that attribute that leads
Him always to do right.
- The ethical quality of the acts of God (1 Sam. 12:7; Ps.
9:8; 72:2; Isa. 45:19)
- The character and acts which are the results of salvation
through faith in Jesus Christ. (Rom. 8:4; 2 Cor. 9:10; 1 Cor. 15:34; Eph.
5:9; Phil. 1:11; 1 Pet. 3:14; 1 Jn. 2:29; Rev. 19:8 ASV)
- The character and acts which are the alleged righteous
results of self-effort under the law. (Rom. 10:3-4; Phil, 3:4-6; Lk.
18:9-12; Isa. 64:6)
- That righteousness which God imputes to every believer on
the Lord Jesus Christ and which is called "the righteousness of God" (Gen.
15:6; Jer. 23:6; 33:16; Rom. 3:21-23; 4:5-6; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21)
- THE RESULTS OF SUCH AN IMPUTATION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
- The believer becomes related to Christ as a member of His
body (1 Cor. 12:13).
- The believer becomes related to Christ as a branch in the
True Vine (Jn. 15:1, 5)
- God sees the believer as a living part of His own Son,
and so He
- Loves him as His own Son (Jn. 17:23).
- Accepts him as His own Son (Eph. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:5).
- Accounts him to be what His Son is, i.e., the
righteousness of God (Rom. 3:22; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21).
- A DISTINCTION BETWEEN IMPUTED AND IMPARTED RIGHTEOUSNESS
- Imputed righteousness is that which the believer becomes
in virtue of his being in Christ. Jesus Christ represents the righteousness
of God, and the believer becomes what Christ is at the moment of believing
(2 Cor. 5:21).
- God imputes to me righteousness and then He imputes me
righteous and then He justifies me, i.e., declares me righteous (Rom.
8:29-30; Mt. 6:33; Col. 2:10; Eph. 6:11).
- Imputed righteousness deals with our standing before God.
In his daily life or state the believer is far from perfect, and in this
aspect of his relation to God he is to "grow in grace and in the knowledge
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18). Thus, he also needs
- Imparted righteousness presents a righteous conduct as
being possible on the part of each believer which is not the result of his
own effort, but rather is the work of the Spirit. This righteousness is
produced, not by the believer, but in the Christian by the Holy Spirit (Rom.
8:4). Imparted righteousness is related to the believer's state; imputed
righteousness is related to the believer's standing.
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