N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 55 (Jesus died once for all)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Romans 6:8-10

(Rom. 6:8-10 NET)  8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  9 We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he is never going to die again; death no longer has mastery over him.  10 For the death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God.

Verse 9 is, of course, central to the Christian message. Jesus was not merely resuscitated to die again. Rather, a resurrection defeats death. Jesus, by being resurrected, has overcome the “mastery” of Death and Sin. “Mastery” could also be translated “dominion” (as in the NIV, ESV, and NASB), which likely is closer to Paul’s thought. Although, if we were to think in terms of “master” and slave, the “mastery” would work very well. It’s just that that word has lost most of its slavemaster flavor in contemporary English. Continue reading

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On Sojourners, Walls, and Illegal Aliens, Part 8 (To Whom Are the Commands Given?)

walls-of-jerusalem

To whom are the hospitality commands given?

The original series from May 2016 has now concluded. Reflecting back on those posts, I now realize that I failed to meaningfully address what may be the biggest question: To whom were the sojourner and hospitality commands given?

Well, obviously enough, the commands about how to treat the sojourner were given in the Torah to the nation of Israel. They were to be obeyed  by the individual Israelites, but also by the king and the other leaders of the people. The sojourner commands are largely part of the civil law of Israel. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 54 (living under the reign of King Jesus)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Romans 6:1-7

In his commentary on Romans, Wright argues that “continue in sin” is, in the Greek, “continue under the domination of Sin.” Hence,

(Rom. 6:1-2 NET)  What shall we say then? Are we to remain [under Sin’s rule] so that grace may increase?  2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to [the reign of Sin] still live in it? 

Obviously, Paul intends that his readers not sin, but his first point is that returning to Sin would be to return to the part of the cosmos ruled by Sin. It would be like Israel returning to Egypt to be slaves of Pharaoh, despite having been freed from slavery. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Chapter 6 Retranslated

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

A Re-translation

In most of the previous posts, I’ve offered a revised or annotated translation of the text. I thought it would be interesting — and perhaps even helpful — to accumulate these into a single text.

Unlike the earlier translations, I’ll not show the changes in brackets except where I’m not just translating but also explaining outside the text.

And I hasten to add that this is my own translation, based on my understanding of Wright but not at all the same as his own translation The Kingdom New Testament (which can be bought at Amazon).

Romans chapter 6, modified from the NET Bible translation

1 What shall we say then? Are we to remain under Sin’s dominion so that grace may increase?  2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to the dominion of Sin still live in it?

3 Or do you not know that as many as were immersed into King Jesus were immersed into his death on the cross?  4 Therefore we Christians have been buried with him through immersion into his death, so that just as our King was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new, immortal life.  5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection.  6 We know that our old Adamic nature — a nature controlled by Sin and merely mortal — was crucified with our King so that Sin would no longer reign over us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to Sin.  7 (For someone who has died has been freed from the reign of Sin.)

8 Now if we died with the King, we have faith/trust that we will also live with him.  9 We know that since the King has been raised from the dead, he is never going to die again; Death no longer has mastery over him.  10 For the death he died, he died to Sin once for all time and all with faith, but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 So you too consider yourselves dead to Sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  12 Therefore do not let Sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires,  13 and do not present your members to Sin as instruments to be used contrary to our covenants with God, but present yourselves to God as those who are promised immortality, and your members to God as instruments to be used for covenant faithfulness.  14 For Sin will have no mastery over you, because you are not under the Torah but under grace.

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Torah but under grace? Absolutely not!  16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of Sin resulting in Death, that is, having no hope of immortality, or obedience to King Jesus resulting in not only being considered faithful to the covenant but growing in actual faithfulness 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves to Sin, you obeyed King Jesus from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to when you were baptized, that is, your commitment to live as Jesus lived,  18 and having been freed from Sin, you became enslaved to God’s faithfulness to the covenant and to your obligation to respond to God’s faithfulness with your own faithfulness. 19 (I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.)

For just as you once presented the parts of your body as slaves to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your body and its members as slaves to faithfulness to the covenants, leading to being holy and clean so that you may one day live in God’s presence.

20 For when you were slaves of Sin, you were free with regard to having obey the covenants.  21 So what benefit did you then reap from your former life of sin that you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death with no hope of immortality.  22 But now, freed from Sin’s dominion and enslaved to God, you have your benefit leading to being made clean and holy, and the end is eternal life.  23 For the payoff of sin is death,that is, the loss of any hope of immortality, but the gift of God is eternal life in King Jesus our Lord.

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On Sojourners, Walls, and Illegal Aliens, Part 7 (Tying It All Together)

walls-of-jerusalem

Tentative conclusions

  • So is it right for the federal government to make certain that immigrants — even refugees — have no criminal history or otherwise pose no threat to the safety of the US?

Absolutely. It would be a failure of the government to protect its own people to be so naive or foolish as to assume that merely because someone is seeking asylum or immigration status that they are not criminals or otherwise dangerous. The government today sits in gates of the city, as it were, to judge such things. It’s what governments are supposed to do.

  • So should we have open borders that allow millions to enter the country without any sort of clearing process?

Should Jerusalem have had no walls at all? Walls are good. Some way to police the borders is essential. (It doesn’t have to be a literal wall.) But this truth does not mean we should oppose immigration in general or be unwilling to be hospitable to those who come into our country.

But could the nation, consistent with scripture, come up with a rational system for allowing some immigrants in and keeping some out? Of course. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 53 (baptized into Jesus’ death)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Romans 6:1-5

Having dealt with the question of baptism as a “step” on the road to salvation, we’re going to now talk about baptism on Paul’s terms.

Chapter 6 is not at all a lesson in how to be saved. Rather, the point of chapter 6 is how to live now that we’ve been saved.

(Rom. 6:1 NET) What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase?  

You’ll recall that Paul is not changing the subject. Rather, his discussion in chapter 5 made the point that giving the Torah to the Jews gave them superior knowledge of God’s will — and therefore made them more accountable for disobedience. They had far less of an excuse than the Gentiles, who had only general revelation, that is, God’s will as seen in the Creation and in our moral natures. The Jews had the very words of God! Continue reading

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On Sojourners, Walls, and Illegal Aliens, Part 6 (Bridges and Walls)

walls-of-jerusalemSo let’s return to where we began, with the Pope’s declaration —

A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel.

We need to avoid slogans, catch phrases, and spin doctoring. These merely anesthetize us against the truth.

Where we typically err is by beginning with our political or religious views and then reasoning from scripture to affirm our existing views. We are much better followers of Jesus when we let the scriptures speak to us before we adopt a political position. After all, it’s far better to obey God rather than man.
Continue reading

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