Author Topic: Walter Maier Statement on Justification  (Read 1377 times)

AustralianLutheran

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Walter Maier Statement on Justification
« on: November 28, 2020, 05:55:22 PM »
Here is a statement on justification from Walter Maier, submitted to Ft Wayne in January 1981. How could Jesus have been "acquitted" of the sins imputed to Him? In legal language, it seems confusing to me that Jesus paid for our sins but that He was also acquitted. How can you acquit someone after they've paid the price of the charges laid against them (in this case, charges brought against Christ by imputation only and not by actual committed sin)

When the Lord Jesus was “justified” (I Timothy 3:16) in His resurrection and exaltation, God acquitted Him not of sins of His own, but of all the sins of mankind, which as the Lamb of God He had been bearing (John 1:29), and by the imputation of which He had been “made...to be sin for us” (II Corinthians 5:21), indeed, “made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). In this sense, the justification of Jesus was the justification of those whose sins He bore. The treasure of justification or forgiveness gained by Christ for all mankind is truly offered, given, and distributed in and through the Gospel and sacraments of Christ. Faith alone can receive this treasure offered in the Gospel, and this faith itself is entirely a gracious gift and creation of God through the means of grace. Faith adds nothing to God’s forgiveness in Christ offered in the Gospel, but only receives it. Thus, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on Him” (John 3:30)
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Walter Maier Statement on Justification
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2020, 08:12:05 PM »
Here is a statement on justification from Walter Maier, submitted to Ft Wayne in January 1981. How could Jesus have been "acquitted" of the sins imputed to Him? In legal language, it seems confusing to me that Jesus paid for our sins but that He was also acquitted. How can you acquit someone after they've paid the price of the charges laid against them (in this case, charges brought against Christ by imputation only and not by actual committed sin)

When the Lord Jesus was “justified” (I Timothy 3:16) in His resurrection and exaltation, God acquitted Him not of sins of His own, but of all the sins of mankind, which as the Lamb of God He had been bearing (John 1:29), and by the imputation of which He had been “made...to be sin for us” (II Corinthians 5:21), indeed, “made a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). In this sense, the justification of Jesus was the justification of those whose sins He bore. The treasure of justification or forgiveness gained by Christ for all mankind is truly offered, given, and distributed in and through the Gospel and sacraments of Christ. Faith alone can receive this treasure offered in the Gospel, and this faith itself is entirely a gracious gift and creation of God through the means of grace. Faith adds nothing to God’s forgiveness in Christ offered in the Gospel, but only receives it. Thus, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on Him” (John 3:30)

It may be Maier's take on translating 1 Timothy 3:16, which has "justified" or "vindicated" in many English translations. You may consider consulting his son who currently teaches at the Ft. Wayne seminary.

https://www.ctsfw.edu/about/faculty/dr-walter-maier-iii/
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AustralianLutheran

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Re: Walter Maier Statement on Justification
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2020, 09:24:20 PM »
Thank you! I will do just that. I've asked this question in another forum too, and it has largely gone unanswered. I suppose people do not want to speak on behalf of Maier - which is understandable. Thank you for your reply.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Walter Maier Statement on Justification
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2020, 02:18:17 AM »
1 Timothy 3:16 has a series of aorist passive verbs which are usually followed by the preposition ἐν with the dative case, which, for now, I will always translate with "in".


1. he was made known in flesh
2. [he] was justified in spirit
3. [he] was seen by angels (no preposition)
4. [he] was proclaimed in nations
5. [he] was believed in world
6. [he] was taken up in glory


One of the issues is that the actor in these sentences changes. The passive verbs indicate that he was acted upon. "He" is the object of the passive verbs, not the subject. One key to understanding is to try and turn passive verbs into active verbs.


1. God the Father made him known in the flesh.
2. we'll omit this one for now.
3. Angels saw him.
4. Disciples proclaimed him among the nations.
5. The people in the world believed him.
6. God the Father raised him in glory.


Three issues with phrase #2.
1. Who is the active subject of δικαιόω? We've seen both God and humans be subjects in other phrases.
2. Which of the four definitions of δικαιόω (from BDAG) best fits in this context and how should it be translated?
    a. to take up a legal cause, show justice, do justice, take up a cause
    b. to render a favorable verdict, vindicate
    c. to cause someone to be released from personal or institutional claims that are no longer to be considered
        pertinent or valid, make free/pure
    d. to demonstrate to be morally right, prove to be right
3. Does πνεῦμα refer to the Holy Spirit or to Jesus' spirit? That is, his inner life, his disposition, his state of heart and mind.


I would interpret statement #2 to refer to the resurrection, by which Jesus was shown to have been right in what he said and did. The grammar could be understood to say that the Spirit showed (the world) that Jesus was right. It could also be understood to say that God showed (the world) that Jesus was right and that brought peace to his spirit. Remember his cry of abandonment from the cross.


Another approach is to consider δικαιόω to refer to freeing Jesus from the bonds of Death/Hades/Sheol.


I don't believe that 1 Timothy is using δικαιόω with the same meaning that Paul uses it in Romans. Trying to make it fit into Paul's scheme creates problems.
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Re: Walter Maier Statement on Justification
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2020, 12:58:37 PM »
1 Timothy 3:16 has a series of aorist passive verbs which are usually followed by the preposition ἐν with the dative case, which, for now, I will always translate with "in".


1. he was made known in flesh
2. [he] was justified in spirit
3. [he] was seen by angels (no preposition)
4. [he] was proclaimed in nations
5. [he] was believed in world
6. [he] was taken up in glory


One of the issues is that the actor in these sentences changes. The passive verbs indicate that he was acted upon. "He" is the object of the passive verbs, not the subject. One key to understanding is to try and turn passive verbs into active verbs.


1. God the Father made him known in the flesh.
2. we'll omit this one for now.
3. Angels saw him.
4. Disciples proclaimed him among the nations.
5. The people in the world believed him.
6. God the Father raised him in glory.


Three issues with phrase #2.
1. Who is the active subject of δικαιόω? We've seen both God and humans be subjects in other phrases.
2. Which of the four definitions of δικαιόω (from BDAG) best fits in this context and how should it be translated?
    a. to take up a legal cause, show justice, do justice, take up a cause
    b. to render a favorable verdict, vindicate
    c. to cause someone to be released from personal or institutional claims that are no longer to be considered
        pertinent or valid, make free/pure
    d. to demonstrate to be morally right, prove to be right
3. Does πνεῦμα refer to the Holy Spirit or to Jesus' spirit? That is, his inner life, his disposition, his state of heart and mind.


I would interpret statement #2 to refer to the resurrection, by which Jesus was shown to have been right in what he said and did. The grammar could be understood to say that the Spirit showed (the world) that Jesus was right. It could also be understood to say that God showed (the world) that Jesus was right and that brought peace to his spirit. Remember his cry of abandonment from the cross.


Another approach is to consider δικαιόω to refer to freeing Jesus from the bonds of Death/Hades/Sheol.


I don't believe that 1 Timothy is using δικαιόω with the same meaning that Paul uses it in Romans. Trying to make it fit into Paul's scheme creates problems.


I would also agree with the above assessment. 

In the strict Pauline sense justification can also be viewed using 2 Corinthians 5 as a sounding board.  In verse 21 it is apparent that for our sake, God made Christ to be our sin.  That is in agreement with Mark 10:45 where Jesus identifies the Son of Man as the one who serves.  In terms of the One who knew no sin (go back to 2 Cor. 5:21) Jesus had the capacity in his own self to take our sin into himself (and away from us and in this way we have been set free by God from our sin) and be put to death on the cross. 

This is far and away different from what is being said in 1 Tim passage referenced above. 

Randy Bosch

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Re: Walter Maier Statement on Justification
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2020, 02:43:39 PM »
I would interpret statement #2 to refer to the resurrection, by which Jesus was shown to have been right in what he said and did. The grammar could be understood to say that the Spirit showed (the world) that Jesus was right. It could also be understood to say that God showed (the world) that Jesus was right and that brought peace to his spirit. Remember his cry of abandonment from the cross.

Maybe, but not only a possible interpretive reference to the resurrection.  After all, Jesus was justified before time as God, was justified in His Baptism, with the voice of God the Father (this is my Son with whom I am well pleased) and the visible presence of the Holy Spirit showing the world that Jesus was both justified and "was right". 

Why would Jesus need God showing the world that Jesus was right to bring peace to His spirit when He was/is/shall be, aorist passive or not, one in and with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  There was, is, shall be a need to show the world, perhaps only possible through the Holy Spirit until the second coming of Christ. 

The "Remember His cry of abandonment from the cross" is critically important, yet to choose to see it as the schwerpunkt of the story, when the center of gravity is that Jesus atoned for/vindicated us of sin,  may be adding to misunderstanding of your central grammatical thesis.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2020, 03:10:22 PM by Randy Bosch »

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Re: Walter Maier Statement on Justification
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2020, 04:55:35 PM »
I would interpret statement #2 to refer to the resurrection, by which Jesus was shown to have been right in what he said and did. The grammar could be understood to say that the Spirit showed (the world) that Jesus was right. It could also be understood to say that God showed (the world) that Jesus was right and that brought peace to his spirit. Remember his cry of abandonment from the cross.

Maybe, but not only a possible interpretive reference to the resurrection.  After all, Jesus was justified before time as God, was justified in His Baptism, with the voice of God the Father (this is my Son with whom I am well pleased) and the visible presence of the Holy Spirit showing the world that Jesus was both justified and "was right".



δικαιόω in the sense of to show to be right, does not necessarily imply that one was wrong before. Jesus was always right in what he said, did, and in his relationship with the Father. The resurrection as a δικαιόω event showed the people who thought that they were right in crucifying this blasphemer were wrong; and it affirmed that Jesus had been right. When we ask, "Justify yourself," it usually implies that they have to show that what they said or did was right (perhaps contrary to what we, the questioner thought about it).

Quote
The "Remember His cry of abandonment from the cross" is critically important, yet to choose to see it as the schwerpunkt of the story, when the center of gravity is that Jesus atoned for/vindicated us of sin,  may be adding to misunderstanding of your central grammatical thesis.


I think that it is part of the schwerpunkt of the story, especially when Luke quotes another Psalm, using the same Greek word, in Acts 2:27: "For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption" and 2:31: "[David] foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to hades, nor did his flesh see corruption."


The abandonment felt on the cross, was not an abandonment to Death and destruction. Another definition of δικαιόω is to be freed from the charges leveled against one. The crowd believed Jesus deserved death. By not being abandoned to Hades, he showed himself to be freed from those charges and the punishment against him. The one the crowds called, "Guilty," God, through the resurrection, showed him to be "Not Guilty."
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

AustralianLutheran

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Re: Walter Maier Statement on Justification
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2020, 01:24:58 AM »
c. to cause someone to be released from personal or institutional claims that are no longer to be considered
        pertinent or valid, make free/pure
    d. to demonstrate to be morally right, prove to be right

Could it not be that option (c.) fits with Maier's statement? Christ was 'acquitted' in the sense that He was made free, because the claims against Him weren't any longer pertinent, because He had paid for them by His blood.

Christ is acquitted of the world's sins, for the world, on the foundation that He has paid for them. That still seems theologically clunky to me.

I must admit - the significance of Jesus's resurrection in our justification has always eluded me. I've been told that it is "proof" that our sins are paid for and that the world is justified. Where is that in the Bible, laid out clearly?
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Walter Maier Statement on Justification
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2020, 05:54:23 AM »
Consider 1 Corinthians 15:17, which makes the resurrection necessary to valid faith and forgiveness.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Walter Maier Statement on Justification
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2020, 12:13:13 PM »
I must admit - the significance of Jesus's resurrection in our justification has always eluded me. I've been told that it is "proof" that our sins are paid for and that the world is justified. Where is that in the Bible, laid out clearly?


Let me try this out: I'm thinking that Christ's death is what paid for our sins. He was a sacrifice, both like those in the Old Testament that brought forgiveness and reconciliation with God; and unlike those because he was the flawless Divine making a human sacrifice; not flawless animal.


The resurrection attests that God the Father shows us that what the Son did was right; and that Death does not defeat him. Rather, he has defeated Death - the punishment for our sins.

"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

AustralianLutheran

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Re: Walter Maier Statement on Justification
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2020, 07:41:51 PM »
I must admit - the significance of Jesus's resurrection in our justification has always eluded me. I've been told that it is "proof" that our sins are paid for and that the world is justified. Where is that in the Bible, laid out clearly?


Let me try this out: I'm thinking that Christ's death is what paid for our sins. He was a sacrifice, both like those in the Old Testament that brought forgiveness and reconciliation with God; and unlike those because he was the flawless Divine making a human sacrifice; not flawless animal.


The resurrection attests that God the Father shows us that what the Son did was right; and that Death does not defeat him. Rather, he has defeated Death - the punishment for our sins.

Now that makes sense, and I'm a little embarrassed I didn't make that connection before. Our punishment is death. Christ paid for our punishment, by suffering it. Our punishment (death) is proven to be satisfied in the resurrection, as Christ isn't dead, showing that death is paid for and defeated.
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George Rahn

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Re: Walter Maier Statement on Justification
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2020, 08:39:24 PM »
I must admit - the significance of Jesus's resurrection in our justification has always eluded me. I've been told that it is "proof" that our sins are paid for and that the world is justified. Where is that in the Bible, laid out clearly?


Let me try this out: I'm thinking that Christ's death is what paid for our sins. He was a sacrifice, both like those in the Old Testament that brought forgiveness and reconciliation with God; and unlike those because he was the flawless Divine making a human sacrifice; not flawless animal.


The resurrection attests that God the Father shows us that what the Son did was right; and that Death does not defeat him. Rather, he has defeated Death - the punishment for our sins.

Now that makes sense, and I'm a little embarrassed I didn't make that connection before. Our punishment is death. Christ paid for our punishment, by suffering it. Our punishment (death) is proven to be satisfied in the resurrection, as Christ isn't dead, showing that death is paid for and defeated.


Bingo!  What a witness and confession to the joy we Christians share!

George Rahn

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Re: Walter Maier Statement on Justification
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2020, 08:52:33 PM »
I must admit - the significance of Jesus's resurrection in our justification has always eluded me. I've been told that it is "proof" that our sins are paid for and that the world is justified. Where is that in the Bible, laid out clearly?


Let me try this out: I'm thinking that Christ's death is what paid for our sins. He was a sacrifice, both like those in the Old Testament that brought forgiveness and reconciliation with God; and unlike those because he was the flawless Divine making a human sacrifice; not flawless animal.


The resurrection attests that God the Father shows us that what the Son did was right; and that Death does not defeat him. Rather, he has defeated Death - the punishment for our sins.

Now that makes sense, and I'm a little embarrassed I didn't make that connection before. Our punishment is death. Christ paid for our punishment, by suffering it. Our punishment (death) is proven to be satisfied in the resurrection, as Christ isn't dead, showing that death is paid for and defeated.

Let me do a riff on the above:  Just by virtue that death is the end for sinners in general and that by ourselves death could not be undone since we are stuck in it totally and inescapably by fate, and so biologically grounded, it took God in Christ to take all this on and in himself in order to do away with that which we were imprisoned.  You can see how this is all played out historically and biographically (indeed which is historical nonetheless) in the Gospels.  God's plan is brilliant.  And now that Christ is alive our future in Christ's biography (hidden with Christ in God...Colossians 3:3) is guaranteed.  So that is why the disciples became apostles and why Paul couldn't hold back his need to tell others following his conversion.