Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rotterdam Marathon and more gems from Tom Wright on Paul

Just crossed the (yellow) finish line
Back from a weekend in Rotterdam where I ran the Marathon (my 8th) in aid of the Cambridge Development Initiative. I'd never been to Rotterdam before but the Dutch are very friendly and it was a fun weekend. Time a bit disappointing because I got a bad ankle twinge at 36k and had to walk for a while.

And Tom Wright continues to dazzle and illuminate in Paul and the Faithfulness of God. Again may I share a few gems:
  • Those who belong to the Messiah are now, [Paul] suggests, married to him in a friutbearing relationship. The obvious echoes are of the relationship of YHWH with his people.
  • Romans 5-8 is constructed with tight rhetorical skill... It is impossible to think of it as a random train of thought...pausing here and there to change direction or to answer detatched 'objections'.
  • [Paul is] speaking...'to those who know the law' (7.1) .. to tell the story of Israel because it is the story of the world's redemption....The point of Israel's election was not 'for God to have a favourite people'  but for the sin of Adam to be dealt with.
  • If the spirit of the living God dwells within his people, constituting them as a new tabernacle...then the work of this transforming spirit cna and must be spoken of in terms, ultimately, of theosis, 'divinisation'.
  • The indwelling spirit is taking the place, within the church as a whole and within each of the Messiah's people, of that firely, cloudy, pillar, the living an dangerous presence of God himself... The natural consequence...is... theosis... but... a cruciform 'divinisation', involving the constant life of putting to death the flesh and coming alive in the spirit.
  • The pistis Christou of 3.22 is the agape Christou  of 8.35 and the answering pistis of the believer has become, as in 8.28, the answering agape which, by the Spirit, keeps the Shema.
  • Between the beginning of the work of the spirit and its triumphant conclusion, Paul envisages a spirit-filled life which does not in any way contribute to the initial justification, or to the consequent assurance of final justification that the initial justification brings but transforms the life of the person who has already come to faith.
  • To suppose the only real question is whether Paul thought the law a good or bad thing is to guarantee that one will not understand half of the relevant passages.
  • 'Do this', says Torah, 'and you will live'; Paul radically redefining 'do this' around Messiah and spirit, looks ahead and sees that what the Torah could not do...Israel's God has done in the Messiah and will do for all his people. The promise of Torah, the hope of Israel, was 'life'. It was, in fact, nothing other than resurrection.

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