Thursday, August 23, 2012

What is the Righteousness of God?


“The righteousness of God, consequently, to which a saintly Israel constantly appeals in its oppression is an appeal to that attribute according to which, by virtue of His covenant, the Lord is obligated to deliver His people from all of their enemies. It is not so much an obligation which rests upon God because of His people, but it is an obligation which rests upon Him because of Himself. He is not longer free; He freely related Himself to His people, and so He owes it to Himself, to His own covenant and His own oath, to His own word and promise to remain the God of His people despite all their unrighteousness. Hence we so frequently read that it is for the sake of God’s name, of His covenant, of His glory, of His honor, that He gives His people the benefits which He has promised to them. Even though the people may become unfaithful and apostate, He remembers His covenant and keeps it in force forever. The righteousness of God to which pious Israel appeals does not form a contrast to His goodness and salvation but is related to it and stands in close connection with His truth and faithfulness. It confines God to His own word and promise and obliges Him, out of sheer grace, to save His people from all their oppression.”

Herman Bavinck, Our Reasonable Faith: A Survey of Christian Doctrine, p.446-7.

This sounds remarkably similar to some of the points the New Perspective on Paul tries to make about the phrase 'righteousness of God' and its Old Testament background.

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