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RE: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: What is meant by justification?

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  • Trent Sebits
    The following is a short essay written by Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon on justification that I found informative. Trent Sebits Although the Judaizing controversy
    Message 1 of 24 , Mar 5, 2007
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      The following is a short essay written by Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon on
      justification that I found informative.

      Trent Sebits

      Although the Judaizing controversy of the 50's forced the doctrine of
      Justification rather clearly to the fore in some of St. Paul's epistles,
      this aspect of Christ's atonement is hardly the key to all Pauline
      theology that later Western polemics made it out to be. Indeed, the
      theme of Justification is hardly to be found in the Thessalonian
      letters, which were written prior to the Judaizing controversy, and even
      in some later epistles Jystification does not rise to dominance. If
      Justification (dikaiosis) were the major topic of Paul's thought, we
      would surely expect him to use the word more than twice (Romans 4:25;
      5:18, but also dikaioma in 5:16). While the verb "to justify" (dikaioo)
      is used 15 times in Romans and 8 times in Galatians, it appears only 4
      other times, in fact, in the rest of Paul's writings (1 Corinthians 4:4;
      6:11; 1 Timothy 3:16; Titus 3:7).

      To gain a more balanced sense of St. Paul's theological perspective, it
      is instructive to compare those numbers with the 62 times that Paul uses
      the noun "church" (ekklesia). Simply from the perspective of vocabulary
      frequency, it is obvious that Paul spent far more time and effort on
      ecclesiology than on Justification.

      This is not to say, of course, that Justification is a minor theme in
      St. Paul. On the contrary, this aspect of the Christian's relationship
      with God pertains to the heart of Paul's theology of revelation. The
      revelation of God in Christ is the disclosure of the righteous God
      foretold in biblical prophecy.

      All through the Bible, and not only in Paul, after all, it is the God of
      righteousness who brings deliverance to His people through His great
      deeds of mercy and fidelity to His covenant. The culminating work of His
      redemption is the act by which this righteous God makes man himself
      righteous, "because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that
      were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His
      righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier (dikaon kai
      dikaiounta) of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:25-26).

      This divine deed, by which God justifies man, is entirely of grace; it
      is nothing that man can merit or deserve, because "all have sinned and
      fall short of the glory of God" (3:23). The sheer gratuity of God's
      justifying act is the basis of Paul's contention that those that are
      justified in Christ have no need to justify themselves by the observance
      of the Mosaic Law. Thus, the doctrine of justification, which Paul
      elaborated in response to the Judaizing controversy of the 50's, laid
      the basis for an essential step in the development of ecclesiology. It
      enunciated the principle that would, in practice, separate Judaism from
      the Church. It is the trauma of that growing separation that we see in
      Paul's epistles and in the Acts of the Apostles.

      The verb "to justify," dikaioo, when it is used in the Septuagint,
      normally means a declaration of righteousness. This is exactly what we
      would expect in the Old Testament, under a covenant that could not make
      men righteous, and with sacrifices of bulls and goats that could never
      take away sins.

      This is not the case in the New Testament, however, where God's
      justification of man in Christ is not a mere pronouncement, as though
      somehow a guilty party has been declared "not guilty" by a forensic
      declaration. No, what the creating God says, He accomplishes.
      Justification in the New Testament is an ontological reality, not a
      legal fiction. What the creating God declares, He makes come to pass.

      And how does God make man righteous? By identifying him with Christ, His
      own beloved Son, through the inner working of divine grace. It is man's
      identification with Christ that renders a man just before God, for
      Christ alone is the righteous One.

      By Adam's sin, after all, we human beings were not simply "declared"
      sinners, but "made" sinners. So too, St. Paul reasons, in Christ we are
      "made" righteous: "For as by one man's disobedience many were made
      (katestathesan) sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be
      made (katastathesonatai) righteous" (Romans 5:19).

      Man, with no righteousness of his own, receives the righteousness of
      God. The believer is justified by receiving into his very being the
      revelation of God's righteousness in Christ: "I also count all things
      loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for
      whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish,
      that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own
      righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in
      Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith" (Philippians
      3:8-9).

      This "righteousness which is from God" is an internal fact, an
      alteration of man's soul, the very action of justifying grace, by which
      the believer himself becomes righteous, because God "made Him who knew
      no sin to be sin for us, that we might become (genometha) the
      righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

      Fr. Patrick Reardon is pastor of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church
      in Chicago, Illinois, and a Senior Editor of Touchstone: A Journal of
      Mere Christianity <http://www.touchstonemag.com/> . He is also the
      author of Christ in the Psalms, and Christ in His Saints (both books are
      published by Conciliar Press).


      ________________________________

      From: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jeremy
      Sent: Monday, March 05, 2007 8:33 AM
      To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: What is meant by justification?



      Right on!
      I just came across this quote in another article I was reading this
      morning:

      "Justification is a word used in the Scriptures to mean that in Christ
      we are forgiven and actually made righteous in our living.
      Justification is not a once-for-all, instantaneous pronouncement
      guaranteeing eternal salvation, no matter how wickedly a person may
      live from that point on. Neither is it merely a legal declaration
      that an unrighteous person is righteous. Rather, justification is a
      living, dynamic, day-to-day reality for the one who follows Christ.
      The Christian actively pursues a righteous life in the grace and power
      of God granted to all who are believing Him."

      - What Orthodox Christians Believe. (Ben Lomand, CA: Conciliar
      Press), 1988. Pg. 7. -

      John

      --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      <mailto:LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com> , "Randy Asburry"
      <r.asburry@...> wrote:
      >
      > Please forgive my tardiness to this thread, but last week entailed
      fighting
      > a nasty head cold and then playing catch up, and I am just now reading
      > through the emails.
      >
      >
      >
      > Perhaps this little gem from Bp. Kallistos Ware on justification and
      > sanctification can be helpful (from his little book How Are We
      Saved: The
      > Understanding of Salvation in the Orthodox Tradition, p. 66-67):
      >
      >
      >
      > "By this time it will be abundantly clear that, when we Orthodox
      speak about
      > salvation, we do not have in view any sharp differentiation between
      > justification and sanctification. Indeed, Orthodox usually have
      little to
      > say about justification as a distinct topic; I note, for example,
      that in my
      > own work The Orthodox Church, written thirty years ago, the word
      > 'justification' does not appear in the index, although this was not a
      > deliberate omission. Orthodoxy links sanctification and justification
      > together, just as St. Paul does in 1 Cor. 6:11: 'You were washed,
      you were
      > sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
      and in
      > the Spirit of our God.' The references to justification in the opening
      > chapters of Romans (for example 3:20, 24, 28), we understand in the
      light of
      > Romans 6:4-10, which describe our radical incorporation through
      baptism into
      > Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Salvation, as already
      stated, is
      > not a single event in our past life but an ongoing process of growth
      in
      > Christ. It is not simply to turn our face in the right direction and
      to take
      > the first step on our journey, but it is to continue walking until
      by God's
      > grace we attain our journey's end. We Orthodox, then, "see
      'justification'
      > and 'sanctification' as one divine action.one continuous process",
      to use
      > the words of the Common Statement issued by the Lutheran-Orthodox
      Dialogue
      > in North America. As Bishop Maximos Aghiorgoussis says:
      Justification is not
      > a separate act of God but the negative aspect of salvation in
      Christ, which
      > is freedom from sin, death and the devil; whereas sanctification is
      the
      > positive aspect of God's saving act, that of spiritual growth in the
      new
      > life in Christ communicated by God's Holy Spirit. The two aspects,
      negative
      > and positive, form a single undivided reality."
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > + + + + +
      > Rev. Randy Asburry
      > Hope Lutheran Church
      > St. Louis, MO
      > <mailto:r.asburry@...> mailto:r.asburry@...
      >
      > "...we on our part shall not omit doing anything, in so far as God and
      > conscience allow, that may serve the cause of Christian unity."
      (Augsburg
      > Confession, Preface, 13; Tappert, 26).
      >
      >
      >
      > _____
      >
      > From: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      <mailto:LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > [mailto:LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      <mailto:LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf Of Anastasia
      > Theodoridis
      > Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 9:24 AM
      > To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      <mailto:LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
      > Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: What is meant by
      justification?
      >
      >
      >
      > >> 2. The word "justification" is not eschewed by Orthodox
      theologians.
      > >> See the commentaries by these Orthodox theologians, e.g., St John
      > >> Chrysostom, St Ambrose, and St Augustine.
      >
      > >But why? That's what I'm trying to get at.
      >
      > Dear Andrew,
      >
      > In a nutshell: because the Orthodox do not view salvation in
      *primarily*
      > forensic terms, but in broader terms, inter-personal ones, instead.
      The
      > legal element (including justification) is certainly neither lacking
      nor,
      > heaven forbid, denied; it's just not the emphasis.
      >
      > love in Christ,
      > Anastasia
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >






      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Laura
      Hello everyone, I joined LLE a few weeks ago and haven t properly introduced myself yet. My name is Laura Frizelle. I live in Eagle River, Alaska and am
      Message 2 of 24 , Mar 9, 2007
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        Hello everyone, I joined LLE a few weeks ago and haven't properly introduced
        myself yet. My name is Laura Frizelle. I live in Eagle River, Alaska and
        am currently a LCMS Lutheran and have been seriously inquiring into
        Orthodoxy since last August. I am reading lots and participating as much as
        I can in the local Antiochian parish down the road where my boys also attend
        preschool and kindergarten.

        The articles and quotes that you all have shared on justification have been
        good. Thank-you all. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the
        following:

        I read an interesting essay by Dr. David Scaer from Concordia Theological
        Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana yesterday. The title is "Sanctification in
        the Lutheran Confessions" and you can find it in the July 1989 Concordia
        Theological Quarterly.

        Many things that he said in the essay in regard to justification and its
        relationship to sanctification flowing in one continuous stream out of
        Christ for us and in us sounded a lot like the Orthodox perspective on
        justification that you have been talking about recently on this forum.

        Scaer sees that justification and sanctification are all wrapped up
        together.

        Of course what Scaer says here includes no notion of cooperation or synergy,
        but I thought it remarkable that he is almost criticizing the way that
        Lutherans tend to go overboard parsing God's saving work into scholastic
        categories. Subjective and objective, passive and active, the first, second
        and third uses of the law. etc...

        Also it is interesting that he says, "Lutheranism is the only one among
        WESTERN religions that offers a doctrine of justification which is not
        intrinsically moralistic."

        by this does he mean that the East also has it right???
        HMMMM? ;-)

        I quote Dr. Scaer further:

        "Doctrines should not be regarded as separate entities brought together to
        construct a whole, but perspectives on Christ's person and work (ie.,
        Christology). Justification, the chief article in Lutheranism, is only an
        extension of Christology into the life of the believer in regard to the
        certainty of salvation. God justifies the sinner for Christ's sake. In
        turn sanctification is an extension first of justification and then
        Christology. "

        and

        "When justification becomes an item which is now seen through the rear-view
        mirror as something which has happened and sanctification or the Christian
        life is seen as something which is viewed through the windshield as a
        current or future action, sanctification is bound to deteriorate into
        moralism (phariseeism)."

        "The Christian is alive to Christ and dead to sin and the law. By faith
        Christ is now living in him and he is no longer living, but Christ is living
        in him. In this moment the separate articles of Christology, justification,
        and sanctification have indeed become one cloth and one substance......The
        Christian or sanctified life is Christological, first of all because Christ
        lives in us by faith; secondly it is Christ who is doing these works in us;
        and thirdly these works are clearly recognizable as those which Christ alone
        can do and which He in fact does in us."

        "The Spirit directed life is a completely Christological life, because the
        Spirit who was responsible for his conception is the same Spirit whom Christ
        sent into the world."

        "The law and Gospel which stood in antithetical relationship for the world
        in sin find their perfect harmony and unity first in Christ who has
        fulfilled the law and given ust the Gospel, but also now in the sanctified
        life of the Christian. The good works which Adam could do before he sinned
        and could never do as a sinner, we can now do in Christ and as Christ did.
        This is Luther's understanding of good works in the Small Catechism and in
        doing this he showed us how Christology, justification, and sanctification
        belong together."


        Being in Christ, justified and sanctified all together---is this not what
        theosis is?

        Last August a Lutheran pastor who converted told me that the juridical
        paradigm that Lutherans and all other western churches emphasize over others
        is just one paradigm. Orthodoxy emphasizes healing and restoration. That
        doesn't mean that the juridical paradigm doesn't exist in Orthodoxy, it
        does. Christ will come to judge the living and the dead.

        But when you think about who God is and why he created us in his image and
        likeness--for communion with the Holy Trinity, each person unique, yet
        completely united in perfect love-- (In contrast to the Lutheran unspoken
        notion that he created us to be his happy and efficient workers-- alles in
        ordnung! How does the small catechism put it? Our chief duty is love,
        serve and obey...)

        What does God see when he looks at us? Which paradigm fits our relationship
        with him the best?

        For me, the next BIG questions was, "Who is man? What is sin? What do the
        Orthodox believe happened in the garden of Eden? Does sinful man have any
        ability to choose or seek God?"

        The answers to these questions opened my eyes and my heart in a big way.

        God wants us to see his face in everyone, especially the very least of our
        neighbors. I believe when he looks at humanity, and each of us as
        individuals, in his mercy and because of Christ, he sees the potential for
        love and communion with us more than he sees our rotten sinfulness.

        I believe healing and restoration is the better paradigm to describe the
        Holy Trinity's work for us and in us. Overemphasizing the juridical aspect
        of salvation causes many of us to color God, the Father especially, with
        worldly misunderstanding of justice and contempt because true righteousness
        is not experienced by many of us in our daily life and discipline that flows
        out of pure love is rare.

        I think that the Lutheran distinction between Law and Gospel sets us up to
        think ...law bad....gospel good.
        Our Lutheran tendencies toward minimalizing, sola-izing, and reductionism
        get us into lots of trouble.

        'Nuff said for now!

        Peace, Love and Joy in Christ Our Lord!
        Laura
      • Laura
        correction, you probably caught it already, but... Dr. David Scaer said in his essay Sanctification in the Lutheran Confessions published in the July 1989
        Message 3 of 24 , Mar 9, 2007
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          correction, you probably caught it already, but...

          Dr. David Scaer said in his essay "Sanctification in the Lutheran
          Confessions" published in the July 1989 issue of Concordia Theological
          Quarterly

          "Lutheranism is the only one among WESTERN religions that offers a doctrine
          of ...sanctification...which is not intrinsically moralistic."

          Do you think he means to say that the Eastern Orthodox also have it right,
          meaning not moralistic?

          Do any of you who are already Orthodox view deification as moralistic?

          Peace,
          Laura
        • gshenricus
          Just for giggles and grins, I went to try and dig up that article from Dr. Scaer which you posted a portion of. I found out that I will have to order the
          Message 4 of 24 , Mar 9, 2007
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            Just for giggles and grins, I went to try and dig up that article
            from Dr. Scaer which you posted a portion of. I found out that I
            will have to order the entire issue which I have done. If there is
            away to post the entire article so that all (Orthodox and Lutherans
            alike) may understand what Dr. Scaer is saying, I will do so (that is
            if the moderator allows it).

            However in the meantime here is anothe article from Dr. Scaer from a
            CTQ issue in 1985, called "Sanctification in Lutheran Theology" which
            everyone here might find of interest as well. Here is the link:
            http://www.ctsfw.edu/ctq/text/aprjul85scaer.pdf

            Enjoy

            Pr. Gregory Hinners
            LCMS pastor & unworthy servant

            --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, Laura <lfrizelle@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > correction, you probably caught it already, but...
            >
            > Dr. David Scaer said in his essay "Sanctification in the Lutheran
            > Confessions" published in the July 1989 issue of Concordia
            Theological
            > Quarterly
            >
            > "Lutheranism is the only one among WESTERN religions that offers a
            doctrine
            > of ...sanctification...which is not intrinsically moralistic."
            >
            > Do you think he means to say that the Eastern Orthodox also have it
            right,
            > meaning not moralistic?
            >
            > Do any of you who are already Orthodox view deification as
            moralistic?
            >
            > Peace,
            > Laura
            >
          • Laura
            Thanks Pastor Hinners, I printed off the Scaer paper you linked in your message. I look forward to reading it. Father Harold Dunaway and his wife Khouria Barb
            Message 5 of 24 , Mar 10, 2007
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              Thanks Pastor Hinners,

              I printed off the Scaer paper you linked in your message.
              I look forward to reading it.

              Father Harold Dunaway and his wife Khouria Barb are going to get together
              with me after Bright week and we are going to read over these Scaer papers
              and the latest issue of Good News on Teaching which is, from what I can tell
              so far, a summarization of the Lutheran doctrines of Justification and
              Sanctification.

              It will be good to get an Orthodox critique of these Lutheran doctrines to
              figure out more precisely what the differences are so that I can better
              renounce them if and when I convert.

              Also I am simply looking forward to spending time with Fr. Harold and Kh.
              Barb. They converted from Campus Crusade for Christ back in the 70's with
              Fr. Peter Gilquist, Fr. Jack Sparks (who is also a part of the local parish
              here) and the other large group of evangelicals, about 2000 in all I think.
              These are dear, dear saints who I am growing to love and cherish more and
              more every time I see them.

              Praise Him in the Highest!
              Laura
            • Laura
              You know what would be the coolest? To have Dr. Scaer, his wife Dorothy, Dr. Weinrich, Roland Zeigler, Fr. Sparks, Fr. Harold and Kh. Barb all together for
              Message 6 of 24 , Mar 10, 2007
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                You know what would be the coolest?

                To have Dr. Scaer, his wife Dorothy, Dr. Weinrich, Roland Zeigler, Fr.
                Sparks, Fr. Harold and Kh. Barb all together for Happy hour and BBQ then a
                big long conversation about theology. If I could choose the topic it would
                be, "What does it mean to be created in the image and likeness of God?"
                Even better...to have Bishop JOSEPH there too. WOW!!! That would be
                amazing!

                Dr. Scaer and Dorothy came up to Alaska a few years ago to speak at a
                conference and we got the privilege to host them. We also spent a day on a
                glacier cruise with them and driving from Homer, to Seward and back to Eagle
                River. They were the most warm, down to earth people you would ever want to
                host. We have a very modest home and we had two boys 3 and 1 at the time. I
                was so nervous, but they set me at ease immediately.

                Our oldest son warmed up to Dr. Scaer faster than any other adult he had
                met, even his own Grandpa! Dr. Scaer constantly held Ian's hand and helped
                him cross streets. He kept him engaged in conversation about everything
                they saw.

                Dorothy impressed me so much too. The first thing she said to our littlest
                guy, James was, "How can I help you?"

                It is painful to meditate on the loss that we all suffer from Christ's
                church being so divided. I know that the Holy Spirit is working how he
                wills and God's plans are not our plans, but we get in the way of his plans
                so much! We are so full of pride and resist being united here on Earth. If
                only the Reformers and the Patriarch of Constantinople could have gotten
                over their pride and cultural barriers way back when....sigh!

                Heaven is going to be amazing!!

                In Christ,
                Laura
              • Reader Christopher
                ... doctrine ... right, ... Anastasia has often said something to the effect of, Works are not how we earn salvation, they are salvation. Salvation is not
                Message 7 of 24 , Mar 12, 2007
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                  --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, Laura <lfrizelle@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > correction, you probably caught it already, but...
                  >
                  > Dr. David Scaer said in his essay "Sanctification in the Lutheran
                  > Confessions" published in the July 1989 issue of Concordia Theological
                  > Quarterly
                  >
                  > "Lutheranism is the only one among WESTERN religions that offers a
                  doctrine
                  > of ...sanctification...which is not intrinsically moralistic."
                  >
                  > Do you think he means to say that the Eastern Orthodox also have it
                  right,
                  > meaning not moralistic?
                  >
                  > Do any of you who are already Orthodox view deification as moralistic?
                  >
                  > Peace,
                  > Laura
                  >


                  Anastasia has often said something to the effect of, "Works are not
                  how we earn salvation, they are salvation." Salvation is not just
                  being forgiven our debts, but in being conformed to the likeness of
                  Christ. St. Anthony the Great defined union with God as doing what God
                  does. The important thing to remember, and it is riddled throughout
                  the prayers before Communion, is that we are unworthy and have not
                  conformed ourselves to Christ's image - and yet we dare to approach
                  because Christ allowed the sinful woman, the woman with an issue of
                  blood, the persecutor, etc. to come to him. He do not question God's
                  love and care for us because of our unworthiness and His ability to
                  purify us of our sins by His presence, we question our own ability to
                  receive "without condemnation" Christ in all His glory.

                  The whole matrix of justification/sanctification seems to me to be a
                  grasping at 'security' in God being good to me. The whole point is in
                  getting God to be good *to me*, and not upholding His goodness,
                  regardless of what I get out of it. Questioning our salvation is
                  different than questioning whether God loves me.

                  Christopher
                • Laura Frizelle
                  Thanks Reader Christopher, Well said. For a long time now I have felt like Lutheranism is lacking or confused in the area of teaching sanctification and so far
                  Message 8 of 24 , Mar 12, 2007
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                    Thanks Reader Christopher,

                    Well said.

                    For a long time now I have felt like Lutheranism is lacking
                    or confused in the area of teaching sanctification and so
                    far it seems like E.O. has a better, more holistic even more
                    biblical view in the area of how works relate to salvation.

                    I guess like anything, we sinners can get this wrong and
                    twist sanctification or theosis all up whether we are
                    Lutheran or Orthodox, but I look forward to being part of a
                    church that doesn't dodge good works and out of Romophobia
                    or whatever.

                    Peace in Christ,
                    Laura
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