N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 77 (Futility)

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 8:20-21

(Rom. 8:20-21 ESV) 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope  21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Wright says,

Whereas, up until now, it might have been possible to think that Paul was simply talking about God’s salvation in relation to human beings, from here on it is clear that the entire cosmos is in view. Nor is this a strange oddity, bolted on to the outside of his theology, or of the argument of Romans, as though it were simply a bit of undigested Jewish apocalyptic speculation thrown in here for good measure. No: it is part of the revelation of God’s righteousness, that covenant faithfulness that always aimed at putting the whole world to rights. This is why, as we saw in 4:13, Paul declared that God’s promise to Abraham had the whole world in view.

N.T. Wright, “The Letter to the Romans,” in The Acts of the Apostles-The First Letter to the Corinthians, vol. 10 of NIB, Accordance electronic ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002), 596. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 76, Part 2 (the Creation Waits with Eager Longing)

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.

Does the OT agree with Paul that the Creation groans in anticipation of is redemption? [JFG]

It’s not unfair to ask where Paul got his doctrine. And it’s possible that he knows what he knows solely by direct revelation from God. Or maybe there’s even more to it.

(Isa. 65:17-25 ESV) 17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. … 25 The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.”

Notice that Isaiah, in highly poetic, metaphorical language speaks of the NHNE in terms of the wolf and lamb grazing together, etc. Isaiah sees the redemption of the Creation as extending to the animal kingdom. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 76, Part 1 (the Creation Waits with Eager Longing)

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 8:18

(Rom. 8:18 ESV)  18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

The translations differ as to whether Paul means revealed “in” (KJV, NKJV, NIV) us or “to” (ESV, NET, NASB, NRSV) us. The Greek preposition is eis, usually translated “into,” “unto,” or “toward.” Wright says that the preposition is —

implying not merely that we are to be shown a vision of glory (as the NRSV implies), nor simply that a glory will appear within us (as the NIV implies), but that the future revelation will bestow glory upon us, from above, as a gift.

N.T. Wright, “The Letter to the Romans,” in The Acts of the Apostles-The First Letter to the Corinthians, vol. 10 of NIB, Accordance electronic ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002), 595.

That is, not only will we see glorious things, and not only will glorious things take place, but we’ll participate in the glories of the New Heavens and New Earth (NHNE) (which Paul will get to shortly). Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 75 (We Suffer with Him)

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 8:14-17, Part 3

(Rom. 8:14-17 ESV)  14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,  17 and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 

Suffering

I’m not a fan of the verses on suffering. And so it’s really tempting to skip them, and I doubt that many readers would complain. We rarely preach on these, and we tend to gloss over them in Bible class. We Americans just don’t suffer as the First Century Christians did. I mean, to us, “persecution” is a threatened loss of tax-exempt status. I commend to your reading some of the martyrdom accounts in the Ante-Nicene Fathers. They’ll give you a new appreciation for the price that was paid for Christianity to survive the brutal persecutions of the Romans. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 74 (Sons and Heirs)

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 8:14-17, Part 2

(Rom. 8:14-17 ESV)  14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,  17 and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 

V. 16 has always been difficult, especially for me growing up in the Churches of Christ. My Baptist friends insisted that this verse promises a subjective assurance not only of salvation but of perseverance — that you’ll never fall away. But by high school, we all knew kids who’d “been saved” and clearly weren’t living the lives of Christians. My Baptist friends assured me that such people had never really been saved and that their internal assurance had been self-deception.

I granted the theoretical possibility but told them I failed to see any advantage in an internal, subjective assurance that might really just be self-deception. They were not happy with me at all, and they correctly pointed out that their doctrine was better than my “hardly ever saved” doctrine. And so this passage has always held a fascination for me. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 73 (Putting to Death the Deeds of the Body)

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 8:12-13

(Rom. 8:12-13 ESV)  12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.  13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 

This is a warning against falling away. After all, those who are in the Spirit live by the Spirit and fulfill the Torah of the Spirit of Life. Up to this point, Paul has spoken of two realms, two kingdoms, one in which Sin and Death reign through our fleshly natures and one in which Jesus is King and the Spirit is possessed. If we live according to the flesh, we have changed realms and rulers — and eternal fates.

Paul doesn’t go into much detail as to what living according to the flesh might mean. He instead speaks positively of what it means to live according to the Spirit: it’s to “put to death the deeds of the body.” That is, it’s to grow in holiness. As we allow the Spirit to defeat sin in our lives, we become more and more like Jesus and remain in the Spirit’s realm — saved. Continue reading

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N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 72 (the Indwelling Spirit)

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 8:8-11

(Rom. 8:8-11 ESV)  8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.  10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead [will not be granted immortality] because of [Sin], the Spirit is [eternal] life because of righteousness [God’s faithfulness to the covenants].  11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give [eternal] life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Paul continues to describe the world in stark terms. Either you have the Spirit and so have immortality or else you are “in the flesh” and so mortal. That is, the saved and those who possess the Spirit are the same people. The damned and those who don’t have the Spirit are the same people.

Beginning in v. 9, Paul introduces the concept of the Spirit dwelling in the Christian. The Greek is oikeō, meaning to reside in a place. Some translations use “live,” which adds unnecessary ambiguity. The thought is one of taking up residence, not merely being there. Continue reading

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