Author Topic: Righteous before God?  (Read 999 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Righteous before God?
« on: August 07, 2022, 08:11:58 PM »
Luke says the following about Zechariah and Elizabeth:

Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. (Luke 1:6)

So, I wondered, Is it possible for humans to be "righteous before God?" Can we live "blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord?"

Luke also calls Simeon "righteous" (δίκαιος) (Luke 2:25) and Joseph (Arimathea) (Luke 23:50) and Cornelius (Acts 10:22).

In contrast to this, Paul states: “There is no one righteous, not even one," quoting Psalm 14:3.

One approach is to conclude that Paul and Luke had different beliefs about human abilities to do δίκαιος. 
"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]

George Rahn

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Re: Righteous before God?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2022, 08:50:10 PM »
Luke says the following about Zechariah and Elizabeth:

Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. (Luke 1:6)

So, I wondered, Is it possible for humans to be "righteous before God?" Can we live "blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord?"

Luke also calls Simeon "righteous" (δίκαιος) (Luke 2:25) and Joseph (Arimathea) (Luke 23:50) and Cornelius (Acts 10:22).

In contrast to this, Paul states: “There is no one righteous, not even one," quoting Psalm 14:3.

One approach is to conclude that Paul and Luke had different beliefs about human abilities to do δίκαιος.

Only God knew of their being righteous before him.  We wouldn’t know what that righteousness even looks like since we are sinners.  So I trust what scripture says here.  God knows what that righteousness before him looks like.  How could sinners even know that?

I view that from Paul’s pov as a sinner he knows and can extrapolate that all have sinned before God.  Luke is describing and making an indication about the righteousness of Zechariah, et. al. at God’s pov.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2022, 08:57:52 PM by George Rahn »

peter_speckhard

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Re: Righteous before God?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2022, 08:56:21 PM »
Luke says the following about Zechariah and Elizabeth:

Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. (Luke 1:6)

So, I wondered, Is it possible for humans to be "righteous before God?" Can we live "blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord?"

Luke also calls Simeon "righteous" (δίκαιος) (Luke 2:25) and Joseph (Arimathea) (Luke 23:50) and Cornelius (Acts 10:22).

In contrast to this, Paul states: “There is no one righteous, not even one," quoting Psalm 14:3.

One approach is to conclude that Paul and Luke had different beliefs about human abilities to do δίκαιος.

Only God knew of their being righteous before him.  We wouldn’t know what that righteousness even looks like since we are sinners.  So I trust what scripture says here.  God knows what that righteousness before him looks like.  How could sinners even know that?
What makes you conclude that an aspect of sinfulness is an inability even to identify righteousness? It seems to me there would be no way to repent if that were the case, since turning to and turning from would be the same, which would mean repenting and not repenting would be the same.

George Rahn

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Re: Righteous before God?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2022, 09:01:00 PM »
Luke says the following about Zechariah and Elizabeth:

Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. (Luke 1:6)

So, I wondered, Is it possible for humans to be "righteous before God?" Can we live "blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord?"

Luke also calls Simeon "righteous" (δίκαιος) (Luke 2:25) and Joseph (Arimathea) (Luke 23:50) and Cornelius (Acts 10:22).

In contrast to this, Paul states: “There is no one righteous, not even one," quoting Psalm 14:3.

One approach is to conclude that Paul and Luke had different beliefs about human abilities to do δίκαιος.

Only God knew of their being righteous before him.  We wouldn’t know what that righteousness even looks like since we are sinners.  So I trust what scripture says here.  God knows what that righteousness before him looks like.  How could sinners even know that?
What makes you conclude that an aspect of sinfulness is an inability even to identify righteousness? It seems to me there would be no way to repent if that were the case, since turning to and turning from would be the same, which would mean repenting and not repenting would be the same.

I’m talking about God’s own righteousness since Isaiah says somewhere of God’s own words “…my thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways.”

George Rahn

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Re: Righteous before God?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2022, 09:09:27 PM »
I believe it is pure hubris to believe we know what God’s righteousness is since we are sinners.  Believing what God says is righteous is to receive what that righteousness is.  Do we really know the full impact of God’s verdict first announced to Adam in the garden:  “you will die if you eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?” 

peter_speckhard

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Re: Righteous before God?
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2022, 09:13:44 PM »
I believe it is pure hubris to believe we know what God’s righteousness is since we are sinners.  Believing what God says is righteous is to receive what that righteousness is.  Do we really know the full impact of God’s verdict first announced to Adam in the garden:  “you will die if you eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?”
We can’t fully know the mind of the infinite God, but we can know what He reveals to us. The only relevant righteousness in question would be human righteousness. If you loved God with all you are and loved your neighbor as yourself you’d be righteous before God.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2022, 09:49:08 PM by peter_speckhard »

George Rahn

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Re: Righteous before God?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2022, 09:22:34 PM »
I believe it is pure hubris to believe we know what God’s righteousness is since we are sinners.  Believing what God says is righteous is to receive what that righteousness is.  Do we really know the full impact of God’s verdict first announced to Adam in the garden:  “you will die if you eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?”
We can’t fully know the mind of the infinite God, but we can know what He reveals to us. The only relevant righteousness in question would be human righteousness. If you lived God with all you are and loved your neighbor as yourself you’d be righteous before God.

Do you believe that God is righteous to put to death all sinners, ie. all people?

George Rahn

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Re: Righteous before God?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2022, 09:25:58 PM »
I’ll answer my own question:  Yes, God is certainly righteous to do so or else he would be lying about the verdict in the garden.   

And yet…APART FROM LAW A RIGHTEOUSNESS of God has been shown…ie. The Gospel

Jeremy_Loesch

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Re: Righteous before God?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2022, 09:38:37 PM »
I don't believe that Paul and Luke had different views on righteousness because they viewed righteousness through Jesus. How were Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon, Anna righteous? They trusted the promise of God that He would send the Christ.

That meshes with Paul that there is no righteousness apart from Christ, so yes, there is no one who is righteous in themselves. All righteousness comes "extra nos". Or, we are nothing but given to.

Sure, the OT folks were good people bit that is not what made them righteous. They trusted the Word of God. In many and various ways God spoke to His people of old through the prophets but now in these last days He has spoken to us through His Son.

Jeremy

DCharlton

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Re: Righteous before God?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2022, 09:49:48 PM »
I don't believe that Paul and Luke had different views on righteousness because they viewed righteousness through Jesus. How were Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon, Anna righteous? They trusted the promise of God that He would send the Christ.

That meshes with Paul that there is no righteousness apart from Christ, so yes, there is no one who is righteous in themselves. All righteousness comes "extra nos". Or, we are nothing but given to.

Sure, the OT folks were good people bit that is not what made them righteous. They trusted the Word of God. In many and various ways God spoke to His people of old through the prophets but now in these last days He has spoken to us through His Son.

Jeremy

Right.  For Paul, Zechariah and Elizabeth would be righteous the same way that Abraham and Sarah were righteous, by faith.  (Romans 4:3)  Paul might also point out that from Luke's narrative Zechariah had no righteousness of his own. 
« Last Edit: August 07, 2022, 09:51:26 PM by DCharlton »
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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Righteous before God?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2022, 11:13:04 PM »
Righteousness before God may be demonstrated in many and various ways.

http://ww1.antiochian.org/node/18597

The Winter Pascha, Chapter 9: The Conception of Mary

The following is an excerpt from The Winter Pascha, by Fr. Thomas Hopko

Conception of the Theotokos
On the ninth of December the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of the conception of the Virgin Mary by her parents Joachim and Anna. On this major festival which finds its place in the Church's preparation for Christmas, the faithful rejoice in the event by which Mary is conceived in fulfillment of her parents' prayers in order to be formed in the womb, born on the earth, dedicated to the Lord, and nurtured in holiness to become by God's grace the mother of His Son the Messiah.

...

The Orthodox Church, particularly in the present time, does not call the feast of Mary's beginning the "immaculate conception," although perhaps in ancient times this title would have been fully acceptable. This is not because the Orthodox consider Mary's conception to have been somehow "maculate" or "stained" (macula means "stain" in Latin). It simply means that the Orthodox do not want to support the conviction that God had somehow to intervene at the moment of Mary's conception with a special action to remove the "stain" of the original sin transmitted by the act of human reproduction because, simply put, the Orthodox do not hold that such a "stain" exists.

The Orthodox Church affirms original sin. Orthodox theology teaches that all human beings, including the Virgin Mary who is a "mere human" like the rest of us-- unlike her Son Jesus who is a "real human" but not a "mere human" because He is the incarnate Son and Word of God-- are born into a fallen, death-bound, demon-riddled world whose "form is passing away" (1 Cor 7:31). We are all born mortal and tending toward sin. But we are not born guilty of any personal sin, certainly not one allegedly committed "in Adam." Nor are we born stained because of the manner in which we are conceived by the sexual union of our parents. If sexual union in marriage is in any sense sinful, or the cause in itself of any sinfulness or stain, even in the conditions of the "fallen world," then, as even the rigorous Saint John Chrysostom has taught, God is the sinner because He made us this way, male and female, from the very beginning.

...

Mary is conceived by her parents as we are all conceived. But in her case it is a pure act of faith and love, in obedience to God's will, as an answer to prayer. In this sense her conception is truly "immaculate." And its fruit is woman who remains forever the most pure Virgin and Mother of God.

Come, let us dance in the spirit!
Let us sing worthy praises to Christ!
Let us celebrate the joy of Joachim and Anna,
The conception of the Mother of our God,
For she is the fruit of the grace of God.




1] The feast is officially called The Conception of the Theotokos. Mary's nativity is celebrated on September 8. A popular tradition among the Orthodox says that the nine-month period is purposely off by one day to illustrate the "mere humanity" of Mary, unlike the "divine humanity" of her Son, whose conception on the feast of the Annunciation is celebrated on March 25, exactly nine months before His Nativity.

[2] See John Chrysostom, On Titus, homily 2.

+ + +

This post heavily influenced by being in the season of Dormitiontide when Orthodox Christians Fast with Lenten intensity as we await the celebration of the Great Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos on August 15; followed in swift succession by the Great Feast of her Nativity on September 8.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2022, 12:05:50 AM by J. Thomas Shelley »
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MaddogLutheran

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Re: Righteous before God?
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2022, 10:29:40 AM »
I don't believe that Paul and Luke had different views on righteousness because they viewed righteousness through Jesus. How were Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon, Anna righteous? They trusted the promise of God that He would send the Christ.

That meshes with Paul that there is no righteousness apart from Christ, so yes, there is no one who is righteous in themselves. All righteousness comes "extra nos". Or, we are nothing but given to.

Sure, the OT folks were good people bit that is not what made them righteous. They trusted the Word of God. In many and various ways God spoke to His people of old through the prophets but now in these last days He has spoken to us through His Son.

Jeremy

Right.  For Paul, Zechariah and Elizabeth would be righteous the same way that Abraham and Sarah were righteous, by faith.  (Romans 4:3)  Paul might also point out that from Luke's narrative Zechariah had no righteousness of his own.

I heard these words read yesterday (Hebrews chapter 11), but I'm a bit embarrassed they never specifically embedded themselves into my memory before now:

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance, and he set out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith, with Sarah’s involvement, he received power of procreation, even though he was too old, because he considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”
13 All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them.


As well as Genesis 15 right before it:

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” 4 But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” 5 He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.

The lectionary for the win.  (Recognizing not everybody is using the 3 year.)
« Last Edit: August 08, 2022, 10:39:20 AM by MaddogLutheran »
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Re: Righteous before God?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2022, 11:22:58 AM »
Heard that same Hebrews lesson yesterday too
 And what you underlined was something I pondered as well. I think it is helpful in considering the gift of faith we have been given from the Lord.

Jeremy

Dan Fienen

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Re: Righteous before God?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2022, 01:38:49 PM »
Could it be as simple that Paul was writing in the absolute and technical sense that none of us can stand before God in our own righteousness and on our own merits but Luke was writing more informally in describing them as "good people" as we generally think of people being good without obvious faults and flaws?
« Last Edit: August 08, 2022, 01:57:22 PM by Dan Fienen »
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Righteous before God?
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2022, 03:06:17 PM »
Could it be as simple that Paul was writing in the absolute and technical sense that none of us can stand before God in our own righteousness and on our own merits but Luke was writing more informally in describing them as "good people" as we generally think of people being good without obvious faults and flaws?

For the most part, δίκαιος refers to human behavior. BDAG say the following about the word:

In Gr-Rom. tradition a δ. pers. is one who upholds the customs and norms of behavior, including esp. public service, that make for a well-ordered, civilized society. Such perspective opened a bridge to Greco-Romans for understanding of Jewish/Christian perspectives: e.g., the description of an eccl. overseer (Tit 1:8). Both polytheistic and monotheistic societies closely associated uprightness, with special reference to behavior toward humans, and piety in reference esp. to familial obligations and deity. In keeping with OT tradition, NT writers emphasize a connection between upright conduct and sense of responsibility to God; δ. like צדיק = conforming to the laws of God and people. General definition ὁ ποιῶν τὴν δικαιοσύνην δ. ἐστιν one who does what is right, is righteous.

One of the things I just discovered is some unclarity of what Paul is quoting in Romans 3:10-13. His first line: "There is no one who is righteous, not even one," doesn't occur in the OT as far as I can find.

There are cross references, but that isn't quite what they say.

Psalm 14:1
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they are abominable in their habits;
There is none, not even one, who does good.

LXX (NETS 13:1)
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
They caused corruption and were abominable in their practices;
there is no one practicing kindness; there is not even one.

Psalm 53:1
The fool said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt and abominable in lawlessness;
There is none who does good.

LXX (NETS 52:2)
A fool said in his heart, "There is no God."
They became corrupt and were abominable in lawless acts;
there is no one who is doing what is good.

The closest I have found is Ecclesiastes 7:20
For there is not a righteous man on earth
Who does good and does not sin.

LXX (NETS)
For as to humanity, there is not a just person in the earth who will do good and will not sin.
"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]