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 accomplishes our salvation.
Rom 2:25-29, Part 4 [JFG]
(Rom. 2:25-29 ESV) 25 For circumcision [the mark of a Jews] indeed is of value if you obey the law [Torah], but if you break the law [Torah], your circumcision becomes uncircumcision [of the heart under Deu 10:16 and 30:6].
26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law [Torah], will not his [physical] uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision [or the heart]? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code [Torah] and circumcision but break the law [Torah].
28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter [merely knowing Torah rather than obeying Torah]. His praise is not from man but from God.
Ezekiel and the Spirit [JFG]
Ezekiel’s prophecies about the Glory of God establish many of the NT’s metaphors used to describe the Spirit. But there are also several passages speaking more directly to what the Spirit will do in the Messianic age.
(Ezek. 11:17-21 ESV) 17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ 18 And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. 19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord GOD.”
Now, “spirit” in v. 19 is generally translated with a lower case “s” — although this is far from certain. The word (ruach) can mean Spirit, life, breath, wind, or even attitude. And Ezekiel is certainly saying that the people will have an attitude change. But as we’ll see, Ezekiel likes to play with the multiple meanings of ruach, so that “spirit” often carries more than one meaning — such as both Spirit and attitude. After all, the Holy Spirit does change our hearts to have a better attitude. Continue reading