Righteous, Righteousness, Justify, Make Righteous in the New Testament, Part 7
We continue the study of the Greek verb dikaioo here in Part 7, starting with Rom. 8:30. This paper is finished with Part 7.
Romans 8:30 (( (Romans 8:28-30 are discussed in some detail in my paper Ephesians Chapter 1 and 4; Romans 8:16-39 that is on my internet site; Google to Karl Kemp Teaching.) and these whom He predestined, He also called, and these whom He called, He also justified, and these whom He justified, He also glorified. We could also translate He made righteous instead of He justified. The context here perfectly fits understanding dikaioo in a very full new-covenant-salvation sense. This verb covers everything between being “called” to new-covenant salvation and being “glorified” at the end of this age. Dikaioo apparently covers everything from being forgiven, to being set free from spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons, to being born again and made righteous with the imparted righteousness of God by grace through faith. Once we get beyond the wrong idea that dikaioo is greatly limited to the ideas of being forgiven and having a strictly legal, right standing with God, it is very easy to understand dikaioo in a typical full new-covenant-salvation sense here and in many other verses. Note what the BAGD Greek Lexicon, with Frederick Danker being the last editor, said regarding Romans 8:30 and 33, very near the beginning of this study on the Greek verb dikaioo.)); Romans 8:33 (Who will bring a charge against God’s elect [“against those God has chosen” NIV. Paul discussed God’s elect in Rom. 8:28-30 and other places: Ephesians 1:3-14 is an important example: That passage, which is all one sentence in the Greek, is discussed in my paper that is mentioned above under Rom. 8:30.]? God is the one who justifies. Many, including Satan (Rev. 12:10), bring charges against God’s elect, but the charges against true Christians won’t stand. God can justify us (declare us righteous) because He has made us righteous through the all-important atoning death of His Son in the full sense that includes our being forgiven, set free from spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons, born again, and made righteous through the indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit of life. And, the New Testament makes it clear that if we should sin we will be forgiven when we repent. There is nothing here to support the widespread idea that dikaioo often means only that we are forgiven and given a strictly legal, right standing through Christ that doesn’t include being transformed by His grace through faith.
We must understand that, although Paul was speaking in Rom. 8:28 to the end of chapter 8 from the ideal point of view that all the people that God chooses will become true Christians and will stay faithful to the end of the race, he makes it very clear in his writings (and other writers in the New Testament confirm this point; some of the most clear, powerful teaching like this comes from the resurrected Christ in the Book of Revelation in chapters 2 and 3) that we must cooperate with God’s grace by faith on a continuous basis. Believers can become unbelievers. God doesn’t just give us faith or make us continue in faith to the end. (See my papers, A Paper on Faith and Once Saved, Always Saved?) God doesn’t will for any true Christians to fall away, but it happens! God’s will isn’t always done! He doesn’t will for His people to sin at all, and He certainly doesn’t want for us to fall away. He didn’t will the rebellion and fall of Satan and a third of the angels either!)); 1 Corinthians 4:4 ((For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted [“but that does not make me innocent” NIV; “yet I am not justified by this.” In other words, Paul was admitting that although he was not conscious of anything against himself, God is the Judge. I’ll quote the next verse, 1 Cor. 4:5: “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts, and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.”]; but the one who examines me is the Lord. The apostle Paul and his ministry was attacked by many at Corinth, including by some carnal Christians and by false apostles (2 Cor. 11:12-15). Although Paul disliked defending himself, his apostleship, and the gospel he proclaimed, he believed he had to do it for the sake of the Christians at Corinth. 1 Corinthians chapter 4 is a small part of his defense. It also serves to exhort and warn the Christians at Corinth, and all Christians, that we are all going to answer to God for the things we do and say, and God cannot, and will not, reward Christians for things, including ministries, that were done in the flesh (not in the Holy Spirit), things that were not done in accordance with God’s will (cf. 1 Cor. 3:10-15). Now is the time to make things right where the need exists. It will be too late when we stand before God, and we will stand before God. We will not answer for sins that have been forgiven.
I believe the apostle Paul was totally confident that he would be justified (found righteous and declared righteous by God) because he knew that he was teaching the truth and that, at least for the most part, he was living in line with the truth, including his motives, by the saving grace of God in Christ by faith. Paul would have repented and been forgiven for any sin(s) he was conscious of, and I’m confident that he knew that God would confront him with any serious need to repent.)); 1 Corinthians 6:11 ((I’ll quote I CORINTHIANS 6:9-11. In this context (1 Corinthians chapter 6), the primary thing the apostle Paul was doing (as he so often had to do when writing to the Corinthian Christians, not all of them, but many of them) was warning his readers with the need to repent (where repentance was required) and to walk in the righteousness of God by the enabling grace of God by faith. He told them, for one thing, that the unrighteous, whether they call themselves Christians or not, will not inherit the kingdom of God. The only other option is the lake of fire.
Or do you not know the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, (10) nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (11) Such were some of you [before they became Christians]; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified [or, you were made righteous] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. All three of these words (“washed,” “sanctified,” and “justified”) include the transformation from being sinners (see the partial listing in verses 9 and 10) to those who are living for God in His truth, holiness (sanctified), and righteousness (justified; made righteous). Paul was warning those Christians at Corinth who were not, for whatever reason, living in a “washed,” “sanctified,” “justified” or “made righteous” state with the need to repent with a high priority. The apostle here (as in Gal. 5:19-21, for example) makes this transformation a requirement for inheriting the kingdom of God. The fact that Paul listed “you were justified” last here serves to further confirm that he was using “justified” or “made righteous” in a full sense that includes being set free from spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons, and being born again and made clean, holy, and righteous by the saving grace of God in Christ. Even more important for discerning the meaning of “justified” or “made righteous” here is the fact that the words “and in the Spirit of our God” clearly apply to “justified” or “made righteous”; they undoubtedly also apply to sanctified; and apparently also to “washed.”)); Galatians 2:16 ((nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus [The apostle Paul frequently makes the point that we cannot be justified (or saved) by works of the [Mosaic], because, apart from the grace of God in Christ, we cannot keep God’s moral Law. Christians are enabled and required to keep His moral law by grace through faith (Rom. 8:4; 2:26-29; 1 Cor. 7:19). We can only be justified “through faith in Christ Jesus,” which includes having faith in the gospel of new-covenant salvation, a salvation that brings forgiveness AND sets us free from spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons and makes us alive and righteous by the indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit of life. They could be forgiven under the old covenant through the sacrificial offerings, except for the sins that were defiant (committed with a high hand), but the old covenant was not given to solve the spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons problem.], even we [In this context Paul was speaking to Peter (Peter is included in the “we”) who, at Antioch, had wrongly backed off from full fellowship with Gentile Christians who had not been circumcised and adopted other ceremonial laws of the old covenant.] have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified [future]. Paul’s exhortation to Peter described here is clear: If Peter and Paul (both Jews) had fully submitted to the gospel of new-covenant salvation in the shed blood of Christ and the outpoured Spirit of God, which they had, how could Peter “compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (Gal. 2:14). The apostle always made it clear that the only way to be found righteous and declared righteous by God is to be forgiven and made righteous with the imparted righteousness of God through new-covenant salvation. Christians will be justified (will be found righteous and declared righteous), because they have been forgiven and actually made righteous by the imparted righteousness of God through Christ. No smoke and mirrors will be needed. As the apostle said in Rom. 2:13, it is the doers of the Law who will be justified. As I mentioned, Romans 8:4; 2:26-29; and 1 Cor. 7:19 speak of Christians keeping God’s [moral] law, clearly excluding the ceremonial law, by grace through faith.
Keep in mind that Paul was only given one message to proclaim to the world: All people (Jews and Gentiles) are sinners and therefore need to submit to new-covenant salvation in Christ. That is the only way to become righteous in a full, adequate sense. However, we must understand that Paul was not saying that all the Jews who lived in the days before new-covenant salvation became available would be rejected on the day of judgment. Those believers will be saved through Christ.)); Galatians 2:17 ((But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ [Dikaioo is used here of seeking to being found righteous and declared righteous by God at the present time and at the end of this age because they were actually righteous in, and through, new-covenant salvation in Christ, which included the not “[being] found sinners” that Paul mentioned next in this verse. The apostle was not speaking of a justification that dealt only with being forgiven and having a strictly legal, right standing because they had become Christians.], we ourselves [referring to Peter and Paul] have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! Paul is saying that if Peter was right to back off from full fellowship with the Gentile Christians, then it must be true that Peter and Paul were sinning when they were fully fellowshipping with the Gentile Christians: “For prior to the coming of certain men from James [at Jerusalem to Antioch], he [Peter] used to eat with the Gentiles [the Gentile Christians]; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision [those who insisted that Gentile Christians must be circumcised and follow other ceremonial laws of the old covenant]. The rest of the Jews [Jewish Christians at Antioch] joined him [Peter] in his hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabus was carried away by their hypocrisy” (Gal. 2:12-13).
Paul made the further strong point to Peter that, if they were sinning when they were fully fellowshipping with the Gentile Christians before certain men from James came to Antioch, they would have to draw the ridiculous conclusion that Christ was responsible for their sin of leaving the old covenant with its ceremonial laws behind. It took quite a while before these issues were settled in the early church, but God had revealed these things to the apostle Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. (God had dealt with the apostle Peter regarding these issues too; he was the first one sent to Gentiles to share the gospel with them [Acts 10-11; 15:7-11].) These issues were settled to some significant extent at the Council of Jerusalem (AD 49) that we learn about from Acts chapter 15.)); Galatians 3:8 (The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles [or “the nations”] by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” As Paul continues he shows that he is speaking of full new-covenant justification in this context that includes receiving “the promise of the Spirit by faith” (3:14), so I believe it is clear that Paul intended “justify” in the full new-covenant-salvation sense that includes being forgiven and set free from spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons, and being born again and made righteous with the imparted righteousness of God through the indwelling new-covenant Spirit of righteousness, holiness, and life. As Paul continues with this epistle, he makes it clear that we are called and enabled to walk with the victory over all sin as we walk by the Holy Spirit (especially see Gal. 5:16, 24). Of course the apostle Paul taught that all Christians, not just Gentile Christians, are justified (saved) through this same new-covenant salvation. Note what the BAGD Greek Lexicon (last edited by Danker) said regarding Gal. 3:8 (above in this paper, very near the beginning of this study on the Greek verb dikaioo.)); Galatians 3:11 ((Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident, for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH,” [quoting from Hab. 2:4, as in Rom. 1:17]. As in Rom. 1:17, I believe the apostle intended these words with the meaning, But the one who is righteous by faith shall live [shall live with the eternal life of God; he will not be condemned]. (This translation fits the order of the words in the Greek.) The apostle was quoting from Habakkuk to back up the idea that the way (the only way) we can become righteous [dikaios] is by faith in Christ (not “by the Law”), and being righteous by faith results in being justified [dikaioo] (being found righteous and declared righteous because they are righteous by grace). Again, the verb dikaioo is being used in the full new-covenant-salvation sense that includes being forgiven, being set free from spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons, and being born again and made righteous with the imparted righteousness of God through the outpoured, indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit of life. Paul has already spoken of receiving the outpoured Spirit in this chapter of Galatians in verses 2, 3, and 5, and he went on to speak of the giving of the Spirit in verse 14. What the old covenant that was based on the Mosaic Law could not accomplish, God has accomplished through new-covenant salvation in the Sacrifice of His Son. When we learn who Jesus is and what He has done for us, it would be SHOCKING if we could not have total victory over sin and demons, and all the more so knowing that God hates sin! However, I’m certainly not saying that this is always easy, and it certainly isn’t automatic, and the world, the flesh, and the devil and his hosts are against us, but God’s grace is sufficient.)); Galatians 3:24 ((I’ll read GALATIANS 3:23-24: But before faith [the faith; the definite article is included in the Greek.] came [that is, before new-covenant salvation became available through the incarnation, sinless life, atoning death and resurrection of Christ], we were kept in custody under the law [the Mosaic Law of the old covenant], being shut up to the faith [new-covenant salvation] which was later to be revealed. (24) Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ [“So the Law was put in charge to lead us to Christ” NIV] so that we may be justified by faith. The apostle was using “justified” here in the typical, full, new-covenant-salvation sense that includes receiving the Spirit who imparts life and enables Christians to walk in the righteousness of God by grace through faith in Christ: See Gal. 3:21-22. When we become Christians, God declares us righteous and makes us righteous in our hearts and lives. (When God declares us righteous, He is, at the same time, declaring the overthrow of spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons.) And, having been made righteous, God is able to find us righteous and declare us righteous at the end.)); Galatians 5:4 (I’ll quote GALATIANS 5:4-5. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law [The two preceding verses (5:2-3) show that in this context the apostle was rejecting the teaching of the Judaizers and warning his Gentile Christian readers that they must not submit to their “gospel” that included, for one primary thing, the insistence that Gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved. From Paul’s point of view that would be “a different gospel.” See his strong words in Gal. 1:6-9 about “a different gospel.” The “gospel” of the Judaizers did not deny the need to believe in Christ, but they confused the issue by insisting on the need for Gentiles to be circumcised, etc. Paul totally rejected their “gospel.”]; you have fallen from grace. The apostle Paul said that if they accepted “a different gospel” for the true gospel that he had brought to the Galatians, they would fall from grace, from the saving grace of God in Christ – they would lose their salvation. Paul spoke of the error of accepting the “gospel” of the Judaizers in very strong terms, and we need to be very careful that we (especially ministers) “accurately [handle] the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15); however, we need to go very slow with saying other believers aren’t true Christians because they differ with us on non-crucial points of doctrine. God is the Judge!
The apostle made it very clear that we cannot “be justified” by law. (In this context Paul, and the Judaizers, were concerned with the Mosaic Law, which was the foundation for the old covenant.) For one primary thing, the apostle frequently made the point that we cannot be justified (or saved) by the Law because we cannot keep the Law. The only way “to be justified,” according to the gospel that Paul was sent to proclaim, is through faith in Christ, with a strong emphasis on God making us righteous through the Sacrifice of His Son and the outpoured, indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit of life. Paul mentioned the all-important Spirit again in the next verse (Gal. 5:5).
The Judaizers undoubtedly would have objected that God gave the Law on a permanent basis and that they were including Christ in their “gospel” and not just teaching “be justified by law,” but the apostle Paul didn’t leave any room for them to change the gospel. He insisted that they were teaching a different gospel: It didn’t line up with the gospel he had received “through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal 1:12, with 1:11).
(Gal. 5:5) For we [“We” includes the apostle Paul and those who were committed to, and living in line with, the true gospel], through the Spirit by faith [Paul put a very strong emphasis on the Righteous, Holy Spirit of life who enables us to be born again and walk in the righteousness of God with the victory over sin (especially see Gal. 3:21 and 5:16, but also 3:2, 3, 5, 14; 4:6, 29; 5:17, 18, 22, 24, 25; and 6:8). The Mosaic Law could not provide the outpoured, indwelling new-covenant Spirit. There is no new-covenant salvation apart from the Spirit. And the apostle put a very strong emphasis on faith, not works of the Law (very much including circumcision), or other works of the flesh.], are waiting for the hope of righteousness. With this translation it is very easy to misunderstand what the apostle was saying. The “hope” Paul was speaking about here is the “hope of glory” (Col. 1:27, but also see Col. 1:5; Rom. 5:2; Titus 3:7; and there are other similar verses.) Our hope is not for “righteousness.” Christians who are walking by the Spirit by faith have righteousness now through the indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit (cf., e.g., Gal. 3:21; 5:16, 22-24; Rom. 1:17; 5:21; 6:18, 19). Those who have righteousness have the hope of glory, of heaven, of the fullness of eternal life. And the “hope” referred to here is a sure hope; there is no doubting, unlike with the English word “hope,” which leaves much room for doubting. For example, I hope it doesn’t rain on our parade. I’ll quote the Amplified Bible (I believe it communicates Paul’s intended meaning well.): “For we [not relying on the Law] through the (Holy) Spirit’s [help] by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing and good for which our righteousness and right standing with God – our conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action – causes us to hope.”)); 1 Timothy 3:16 ((By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He [the Son of God; the Lord Jesus Christ] who was revealed in the flesh [starting with the virgin birth of the Son who was always with the Father.], Was vindicated [The Lord Jesus was shown to be righteous and vindicated because He was righteous.] in [“by” (margin of NASB)] the Spirit [Apparently Paul meant that the Lord Jesus “was vindicated,” after He was rejected by Israel (and the world) and crucified (in His all-important atoning death), “by the Spirit” when the Spirit raised Him from the dead (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 3:18). The Spirit was also vindicating the Lord Jesus by all of the glorious, miraculous things that were taking place among the Christians, very much including their being born again, and transformed, and the gifts of the Spirit.], Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.)); Titus 3:7 (I’ll quote TITUS 3:5-7. I consider these verses to be very important, including very important for this study. He saved us [God the Father saved us from the pitiful state of being in spiritual death and in bondage to sin and demons, far from being ready to stand before Him in judgment.], not on the basis of deeds [works] which we have done [works which we have done on our own without the enabling grace of God in Christ] in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration [“Regeneration” speaks of being born again by the Holy Spirit of life. “Washing” undoubtedly has some reference to water baptism. (Water baptism without repentance and faith has no reality. I am not saying, nor do I believe, that believers cannot be saved apart from water baptism [I’m confident that many have been, including those like the Salvation Army who do not practice water baptism], but the New Testament speaks of putting off sins in water baptism [Acts 2:38; 22:16]; it speaks of dying to the old man and being buried in water baptism Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12]; etc.) There is some emphasis here on our being cleansed spiritually by this washing.] and renewing [renewal] by the Holy Spirit [The Righteous, Holy Spirit of life makes us righteous and holy new creations as we walk by the Spirit on a continuous basis, in accordance with the gospel of new-covenant salvation, by grace through faith. Being “renewed by the [Righteous] Holy Spirit” has much overlap in meaning with being regenerated by the Righteous, Holy Spirit of life.], (6) whom [the Righteous, Holy Spirit of life] He [God the Father] poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior [very much including through the all-important atoning death and resurrection of the Son of God who became a man (the God-man) to save us, to totally overthrow and remove Satan and all who follow him at the right time, and to bring about God’s new heaven and new earth with its New Jerusalem at the right time.], so that being justified [better, having been justified or having been made righteous (Greek aorist participle passive of dikaioo). In this context “having been justified” includes having received the “washing of regeneration” and participating in the “renewal by the Holy Spirit.” I believe we should understand “justified” here in the same full sense that is typical in the writings of the apostle Paul in a context like this one: We have been forgiven, declared righteous, set free from spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons, born again (regenerated) and renewed by the Holy Spirit, which includes being made righteous and holy by the Righteous, Holy Spirit of God.] by His grace [through faith] we would be made heirs [“heirs” who have already been born again and made righteous in our hearts and lives, and who will inherit the fullness of eternal life and glory at the end of this age.] according to the hope of eternal life. “Hope” does not infer doubt, like the word typically does in English, but the fullness of “eternal life” that the apostle is speaking about here is still future.)); James 2:21 ((Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? James said that Abraham was justified “by works” here in 2:21. He also spoke of being justified by works in 2:24 and 2:25. (We will discuss 2:24 and 2:25 as we continue.)
James spoke of being justified by faith and works in James 2:14-26 (though he didn’t specifically use the words justified by faith): I’ll quote James 2:22-23: “You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected [brought to completion; “was completed” ESV’ “made complete” NIV]; (23) and the Scripture was fulfilled, which says, ‘AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS’ [Gen. 15:6], and he was called the friend of God.” James meant that the Scripture (Gen. 15:6) was fulfilled, and Abraham was demonstrated to be righteous and his faith was demonstrated to be true faith (and not dead faith) by his works.
James said that faith without works is dead (James 2:26; cf. 2:20). He used “justified” here in 2:21 of being found righteous and declared righteous by God. James clearly did not use “justified” of being found righteous or declared righteous apart from works, but he did not teach justification or salvation apart from faith in Christ now that new-covenant salvation had become available. (See James 2:1, for example.) It is true, however, that James didn’t say much in this epistle about some of the glorious details of new-covenant salvation in, and through, the Lord Jesus that we learn from the apostle Paul and others. For example, James didn’t mention the atoning death of Christ or His resurrection in this epistle, and he doesn’t have the same emphasis on the all-important work of the Spirit of God and the enabling grace that has become available through new-covenant salvation.
As I mentioned above under dikaiosune when we discussed James 2:23, the apostle Paul would have agreed with James that faith without works is dead, but that he and James used a few words differently and that Paul’s presentation of the gospel of new-covenant salvation was better suited to take the gospel to the world because of revelation he had received as the apostle to the Gentiles. This does not mean that James was wrong in what he said here: James was dealing with the important need to understand that faith that doesn’t produce righteous works is not genuine, saving, faith.)); JAMES 2:24 (You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. What I said under James 2:21 applies here. James said that we cannot be justified by faith alone, because that faith (without works) would be dead (2:26) and useless (2:20). “Justified” here, as in 2:21, speaks of being found righteous and declared righteous by God because they have actually become righteous, doing righteous works. WE MUST UNDERSTAND, OF COURSE, THAT THE RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT ABRAHAM HAD (OR RAHAB) WAS NOT THE FULL NEW-COVENANT RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT DID NOT BECOME AVAILABLE UNTIL THE LAMB OF GOD HAD BEEN CRUCIFIED, RESURRECTED, AND ASCENDED TO THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER, AND HAD POURED FORTH THE PROMISED NEW-COVENANT SPIRIT STARTING ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST (cf. Acts 2:33). As I have mentioned on occasion, it is necessary to understand that Abraham, Rahab, and everybody else that has a place in heaven will have that place through the grace of God in the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God (Rev. 21:27).
James would have agreed that Abraham needed to be forgiven on occasion, and that being forgiven is super important, but Abraham’s being forgiven is hardly included, if included at all, in what James meant by Abraham’s being justified here. As I pointed out when we discussed the Hebrew words for righteous, righteousness, justify, make righteous, etc. in my paper on Isaiah chapter 53, these words were not used in the Old Testament (probably not even one time) of people’s legal status after they were forgiven through sacrificial offerings, or without them. This did not mean, of course, that forgiveness was not, or is not, extremely important under both the old and new covenants.)); JAMES 2:25 (In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way. See Joshua chapter 2. See above under James 2:21 and 24. Rahab had faith: Hebrews 11:31 says: “By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she welcomed the spies in peace.” And I’ll quote MATTHEW 1:5-6, where Matthew is giving part of the “genealogy of Jesus the Messiah” (Matt. 1:1): “Salmon who was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king.”
Conclusion Regarding the Meaning of Dikaioo. The only uses of dikaioo that I found in the New Testament that fit the idea that “justified” means to be forgiven and given a strictly legal, right standing with God are two verses in Romans chapter 4 (Rom. 4:2, 5), which, as we have discussed, was a VERY SPECIAL chapter and NOT AT ALL representative of a new-covenant-salvation use of dikaioo. Dikaioo is used in Luke 18:14 in a context that is not directly dealing with new-covenant salvation. As I mentioned when we discussed this verse in some detail in its context above under dikaioo, it could be argued that the use of this Greek verb fits the greatly limited idea that the tax collector was forgiven and given a strictly legal, right standing with God because he had faith in God that had nothing to do with what the tax collector had done or would do (works), BUT I DON’T BELIEVE JESUS INTENDED TO COMMUNICATE THAT IDEA IN THAT PARABLE. For one thing, it doesn’t seem that dikaioo is used anywhere else in the New Testament with that meaning in a context that doesn’t directly deal with new-covenant salvation.
7. BRIEF CONCLUSION FOR THIS PAPER. These three Greek words are used 210 times in the New Testament. It is very significant that the only uses I have been able to find in the New Testament where dikaios, dikaiosune, and dikaioo fit the widely accepted idea that these words only mean that we are forgiven and given a strictly legal, right standing with God through faith that has nothing to do with being transformed by the grace of God in Christ in a new-covenant-salvation context are the uses in Romans chapter 4 (which clearly is a VERY SPECIAL chapter because of what the apostle Paul was doing in that chapter) and in a far lesser sense Gal. 3:6, where the apostle Paul was quoting Gen. 15:6, as he was in Rom. 4:3. And it is quite significant that I didn’t find any uses of these three Greek words in non-Christian-salvation contexts where the meaning was limited to being forgiven and having a strictly legal, right standing with God that didn’t have anything to do with how they lived, their works. We discussed Luke 18:14, which could be taken that way, but I don’t believe that Jesus intended it be taken that way.
It is important for me to repeat the point that we are not going to get very far with being forgiven and having a strictly legal, right standing with God while we continue on sinning against Him. Even if I misunderstood a verse or two, which is possible (but I don’t believe I did), it seems clear to me that many New Testament verses of key importance are being misinterpreted through a misunderstanding on the meaning of these three Greek words.
If what I say in this paper on the meaning of these three Greek words is right, and, as I mentioned, it seems clear to me, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION, OF FOUNDATIONAL IMPORTANCE! There is a GIGANTIC DIFFERENCE between the meaning in a new-covenant salvation context that we are forgiven, set free from spiritual death and bondage to sin and demons, born again and made righteous and holy through the indwelling Righteous, Holy Spirit of God and the widely accepted meaning that we are forgiven and given a right standing with God in a strictly legal sense, or that Christ’s righteousness is put down in our account in a strictly legal sense that doesn’t have anything to do with our being transformed by the powerful saving grace of God in Christ.
We cannot have faith for righteousness, holiness, and victory over sin unless we understand, clearly understand in our hearts (faith is of the heart), that God has called us to this salvation. The three Greek words that we have studied in this paper are some of the most important, most often used words that God used in the New Testament to call us to new-covenant salvation in its fullness.
This isn’t an easy topic to discuss. I’m sure I could have worded some things better, but I believe I have communicated well enough to make some super-important points.
May God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit be glorified and the people of God be edified through this paper!
Copyright © by Karl Kemp
The last few years I have done a lot of writing. I have written four books ("Holiness and Victory Over Sin: Full Salvation Through the Atoning Death of the Lord Jesus Christ"; an e-book, "Righteousness, Holiness, and Victory Over Sin," which serves as a good introduction for the paperback book; "The Mid-Week Rapture: A Verse-by-Verse Study of Key Prophetic Passages"; and "Introduction to The Mid-Week Rapture." The e-books are easier to read and should be read first, but the paperback books contain a lot of information not contained in the e-books. All the books are available at amazon.com.
I have written a large number of papers, most of them dealing with foundational Christian issues. Most of them are available at karlkempteachingministries.com. I also have been doing some radio broadcasts the past 5 years.