Westminster Theological Journal 55 (1993) 281-97.

        Copyright © 1993 by Westminster Theological Seminary, cited with permission.   

 

 

  THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH

        IN THE LETTER TO THE ROMANS

 

             Part III: The Obedience of Christ

            and the Obedience of the Christian

                   (continued)

  

          D. B. GARLINGTON

 

 

(2) The Reign of Death from Adam to Moses. Having stated his thesis that

universal sin and death are the effect of one man's disobedience, Paul, in

vv. 13-14, seems compelled to defend what he has written. These verses

commence the "B" section of our passage. Very noticeable, remarks Dunn,

is the speed with which Paul's thought reverts to the law—a further indi-

cation that it was the chief point of tension between Paul the Christian and

the traditional emphases of Judaism.94 In particular, v. 12 appears, to the

Jewish mind, to contain a puzzling proposition. Given Paul's consistent

denial of the existence of the law before Sinai, how could there have been

sin strictly speaking, since, presumably, there was no law according to

which sin could be reckoned? Sin, after all, is disregard of the Torah. It is this

which Paul now seeks to clarify.

His explanation is a return to 4:15b, ou$ de> ou]k no<moj ou]de> parabasij,

where these words are appended to the statement of the previous part of the

verse, o[ ga>r no<moj o]rgh>n katerga<zetai. By claiming, in 5:12, that all have

sinned, Paul has implied that they have rejected God's law and have,

therefore, been the recipients of wrath (death). This, of course, raises a

historical problem: if the law (of Moses) works wrath, and if sin is not

reckoned apart from law, how could there have been sin and death before

Sinai? For a sizable segment of Judaism anyway, the answer was obvious:

the Torah has existed from the dawn of history, and the nations are exposed

to wrath because they have spurned the eternal Torah. As early as Ben Sira

this idea is in evidence: Abraham himself kept none other than the law

(of Moses) during a time of testing (Sir 44:20). Afterward the author of

Jubilees would make the same claim (24.11; cf. 23.10), as does Kidd. 4.4.95

Even more striking in Jubilees is the pre-existence of the law on "heavenly

 

 

94 Dunn, Romans 1.274.

95 See Garlington, Obedience, 38.

 

 

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282                             WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL

 

tablets,"96 "the eternal books always before the Lord'' (Jub. 39.7).97 The

eternity of the law is likewise the conviction of Sir 24:9, 33; Bar 4:1; Wis 18:4;

T. Naph. 3.1-2. The corresponding attitude toward the Gentiles is illustrat-

ed by Ben Sira's assurance (Sir 12:6) that God hates sinners and will inflict

punishment on the ungodly (a]segbei?j). To this may be added Sir 36:1-10,

according to which the sage's fury was called forth by the desecration of the

Jerusalem temple by Gentiles (48:18; 49:6; 50:4). The same hostility is

vividly present in Jub. 22.16; Pss. Sol. 17.21-27.

In rather stark contrast, Paul allows that there is an era prior to and

distinguishable from that of the Torah (v. 13a). A law has been broken, but

it is not the law of the Sinai covenant; it is, rather, some law in existence

before the birth of Israel's nationhood, which effectively obliterates the

distinction between the covenant people and the remainder of humanity;

it is this law which exposes Israel's guilt and places her on a par with the

nations, so that death reigned over all who lived from Adam to Moses

(v. 14). Vv. 13-14, therefore, can plausibly be interpreted as the apostle's

denial of a recognized tenet of Jewish theology: for him there was a period

during which the Torah was not in existence.98 In turn, this would be a

denial of the perspective of Sir 10:19, according to which the non-Jewish

segment of the human race is unworthy of honor because it has transgressed

the commandments. The Gentiles, in other words, are not worthy of death

because they have violated the Torah.99

Even without the aid of these historical documents, it is certain that Paul

is classifying Israel with the Gentiles: before the law, the seed of Abraham

died as well as the uncircumcised, because both were guilty of law-

breaking. Paul thus appeals to the violation of this pre-Mosaic law as being

a great leveler of mankind. In the words of 3:23, all have sinned and fall

short of the glory of God: circumcision exempts no one from involvement in

the effects of Adam's sin. It is just this universalism of sin that sets the stage

for Paul's denomination of Adam as the "type of the coming one," inas-

much as "the universal impact of his one act prefigures the universal im-

pact of Christ's act":100 as Adam is ultimately responsible for the death of

 

 

96 E.g., Jub. 16.29; 31.32; 32.10, 15, 21-26, 28; 33.10. See further R. Banks, Jesus
and the Law in the Synoptic Tradition
(SNTSMS 28; Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1975) 68-69; id., "The Eschatological Role of Law in Pre- and Post-Christian Jewish Thought," in Rec-

onciliation and Hope: New Testament Essays on Atonement and Eschatology Presented to L. L.
Morris on His 60th Birthday
(ed. R. Banks; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974) 176.

97 On the eternity of the law in Jewish literature, see Banks, Jesus and the Law, 67-85 (cf.

pp. 49-64); id., "Law," 173-85; W. D. Davies, Torah in the Messianic Age and/or the Age to
 Come
(SBLMS 7; Philadelphia: Society of Biblical Literature, 1952) e.g., p. 84.

98 The doctrine of the law's eternity later developed into the rabbinic Torah-ontology. See

M. Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in their Encounter in Palestine during the Early
Hellenistic Period
(London: SCM, 1974) 171-75.

99 Contra E. Jüngel, "Das Gesetz zwischen Adam and Christus: Eine theologische Studie

zu Röm 5, 12-21," ZTK 60 (1963) 50-57.

100 Moo, Romans, 346. Cf. Cranfield, Romans 1.283.


            THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH                              283

 

Jew and Gentile, so Christ is ultimately credited with the restoration of

both.101

To summarize, the purpose of vv. 13-14 is twofold: (1) to clarify how on

Paul's understanding of the law there could be sin and, consequently, death

before Sinai; (2) to involve Israel in sin and death, thereby implying that

the people of the law were no more immune to Adam's fall than the nations.

      His fundamental proposition is stated in v. 13b: a[marti<a de> ou]k

e]llogei?tai, i.e., "is not entered into the ledger against" (Black), so as to

hold one liable in judgment,102 mh> o@ntoj no<mou. By focusing on the nexus

of sin and the law, he states what would have been perfectly acceptable to

the synagogue: since sin by definition is meaningless apart from divine law,

some law must have existed in the period from Adam to Moses. However,

given the conviction that the law has been in the world from the Garden

of Eden, the dictum of v. 13a in part would have been unacceptable. While

it could be agreed that sin was a reality before Sinai, it was at least ques-

tionable that there was an era a@xri no<mou. In making such a claim, Paul

appears to proceed presuppositionally on grounds derived from the Penta-

teuch itself, which gives no indication that Israel's law had any being before

the establishment of her national covenant. Given the order of events in the

biblical record, Paul's assertion that the period a@xri no<mou (a]po>   ]Ada>m

me<xri Mwu<se<wj, v. 14) witnessed sin and the consequent reign of death

stands, and on that basis he is able to reason that before Sinai a law was in

existence, whose transgression accounts for mankind's present plight. It its

what the Bible actually says which provides the force of the strongly ad-

versative a]lla< in v. 14. Far from sin not being reckoned, death is regarded

as the reigning monarch from the creation until the giving of the law--

"incontrovertible proof of the presence of sin in this period." 103

As is true more than once in 5:12-19, Paul's logic is not made explicit,

leaving us to discern his intentions from the broader setting of Romans. In

one regard, his justification of v. 12 is a statement of the obvious, i.e., the

reality of death from Adam to Moses; yet, in another, he appears to beg the

question, viz., the existence of a law prior to and distinguishable from that

delivered to Israel at the time of the Exodus. However, in keeping with his

procedure in Romans to bypass the law and return to creation, Paul builds

on presuppositions already established in 2:14-15. That is to say, by virtue

of bearing the image of God, all humans are in possession of the law written

on the heart, whose function, as confirmed by the co-witness of conscience,

 

101 Paul's typology seems to be inclusive of at least two other ingredients: (1) Adam and

Christ inaugurate respectively the old and new creations; (2) both set a pattern for others to

follow, either disobedience leading to death or obedience leading to life. On Adam as the type

of Christ, see J. P. Versteeg, Is Adam a "Teaching Model" in the New Testament? (Nutley, Nl:

Presbyterian & Reformed, 1977) 8-15 (with further literature).

102 Contra Quek, "Adam and Christ," 73, e]llogei?tai does have to do with individual

responsibility. The other Pauline occurrence of e]lloge<w is in Phlm 18.

103 Black, Romans, 89.



284                      WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL

 

was to regulate the creation covenant and still serves to link mankind to its

Maker (cf. 1:32). Death, therefore, was universal in the pre-Mosaic period

precisely because of the violation of this law, not the Torah.104

The force of his argument resides in the assertion that death reigned even

over those who did not sin e]pi> t&? o[moiw<mati th?j paraba<sewj   ]Ada<m. As

in 8:3, o[moi<wma here means an "exact likeness."105 We may say that

Adam's descendants did not willfully rebuff a clearly revealed command

(the normal meaning of para<basij in Paul), as Israel was later to do. But

more to the point, "the likeness of Adam's tresspass" indicates that they did

not do precisely what Adam did., i.e., eat a piece of forbidden fruit in the

Garden of Eden. Even so, they die because their sin in principle is an act

of apostasy from God. In suppressing the knowledge of God inscribed on the

heart (1:18-23), humanity in the first Adam has rejected God himself and,

as a result, suffers the fate of Adam. It is especially noteworthy that Adam

and Eve ate from "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." "Good"

and "evil" mean not so much "right" and "wrong" as the good of acknowl-

edging God the Creator and the evil of renouncing him (see 2:7-10;

7:13-20; 15:2; 16:19). How this can be true of Israel is opened up by the

idolatry motif of the early portion of Romans as it climaxes at 2:22. In her

rejection of the gospel, Israel has, in point of fact, repudiated the knowledge

of God as revealed eschatologically in Christ.

 

 

5. The Obedient Last Adam and the New Humanity

 

It is by comparison with Adam that Paul's real purpose in 5:12-19

emerges. At the very least, we can say, with Moo, that if the universal

consequences of Adam's sin is the assumption of Paul's argument, the power

of Christ's act to cancel those consequences is its goal.106 But to state it more

fully: corresponding to Adam's disobedience = apostasy, there is the obe-

dience = perseverance of the last Adam, which ensures the obedience =

perseverance of his people and their conformity to his image (8:29). Our

attention now will be given to vv. 15-17 and thereafter to vv. 18-19, the

completion of the sentence commenced in v. 12.

Vv. 15-17 are normally taken to be a qualification of the incompleted

proposition of v. 12, particularly as the concluding portion of v. 14 assigns

to Adam the role of typifying Christ. Therefore, on this view, in vv. 15-17

Paul labors to clarify that there are important respects in which Adam and

Christ differ, notwithstanding their typological correspondence. Christ., in

 

104 Cf. Calvin, Romans, 113; Stuart, Romans, 232. D. Zeller, Der Brief an die Römer (RNT;

Regensburg:  Pustet, 1985) 117, remarks that "In the universal history [Weltgeschichte] of sin

the law is not fundamental."

105 Dunn, Romans 1.276, 316-17; id., Christology, 111; Wilckens, Römer 1.318 nn. 1053,
1054.
Stuart says that
e]pi> t&? o[moiw<mati th?j paraba<sewj   ]Ada<m is equivalent to o[moi<wsij
t&?   ]Ada>m paraba<nti
or w!sper   ]Ada>m pare<bh (Romans, 231).

106 Moo, Romans, 327.

 


THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH                                285

 

short, is distanced from Adam as much as possible.107 Without, however,

denying the element of contrast in these verses, as seen especially in the

abundance of the grace manifested in Christ, C. C. Caragounis has argued

plausibly that their function is not to deviate from the commenced com-

parison of v. 12 and thus preclude a misunderstanding of it. It is, rather, to

draw out more particularly the comparison of Adam and Christ, thus laying

the groundwork for the inference of v. 18, which connects not only with

v. 12 but also with vv. 15-17.108 His exegesis makes good sense, considering

that a type, by the nature of the case, stresses the continuity or similarity

between two entities. It is also supported by the "ABA" construction of

vv. 12-19 as a whole.

If we may follow Caragounis further, v. 15a is a rhetorical question: "But

does not the free gift operate just like the trespass did?" The question,

introduced by ou], implies a positive response, which is affirmed by v. 15b.

Verse 16a carries on with another rhetorical question: "And is not the free

gift transmitted in the same way as sin was transmitted by the one who

sinned?" The answer is again yes, as confirmed by the statement of v. 16b.

The first question is concerned with the effect produced by each of the two

heads of humanity, while the second focuses on the agents of those effects.109

It is on the basis of these questions and answers that Paul, in v. 18, can

finally complete the analogy initiated in v. 12. That he should intensify his

analogy in these verses is consonant with the fact that although other OT

characters serve to prefigure Christ, the typological relationship between

Adam and Christ is on a plane all its own, inasmuch as both men inau-

gurate the two decisive epochs of human history. For Paul, comments Gop-

pelt, Adam is not merely an illustrative figure, but a "prophetic personality

placed in Scripture by God."110

These verses exhibit several conspicuous features. One is the qal wahomer

argument (again a minori ad majus): if Adam's trespass has brought con-

demnation and death, how much more has Christ's obedience brought

righteousness and life (a return to vv. 9-10 of chap. 5). Another is the

repetition of the phrases "the free gift," "the free gift of righteousness,"

"the free gift in the grace of the one man," "the grace of God," and "the

abundance of grace." Within the horizons set by the Roman letter, these

expressions of the freeness of grace stress that justification and life do not

 

 

107 Lombard, "Typology"; Jüngel,"Gesetz"; Cranfield, Romans 1.272-73; id., "Prob-

lems," 328-29; Elliot, Rhetoric, 230-31; Berkouwer, Sin, 508-9; Barth, Shorter Commentary,

61-63.

108 C. C. Caragounis, "Romans 5.15-16 in the Context of 5.12-21: Contrast or Compar-

ison," NTS 31 (1985) 142-48. Goppelt remarks that Paul places in contrast the accomplish-

ments and consequences of the mediators, not the mediators themselves (Typos, 136).

109 Caragounis, "Romans 5.15-16," 145. "In their acts and in the effect they have on others

Adam and Christ are related to one another as a photographic negative to its positive print"

(Goppelt, Typos, 129).

110 Goppelt, Typos, 130; Bruce, Romans, 131 n. 1.



286                 WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL

 

depend on "covenantal nomism" (4:4-5), only on faith in Christ. As Käse-

mann puts it, the dwrea> dikaiosu<nhj (v. 17) is God's power which takes

the concrete form of a gift: "With an epexegetical genitive the gift is defined

as righteousness which is Christ's work pure and simple."111 These affir-

mations of grace in 5:15-17 are founded on the proposition of 3:24, in which

the grace of justification is connected with the now-revelation of the right-

eousness of God apart from the law (3:21). And it is just this eschatological

slant of "grace" in Paul which is extraordinarily relevant for our passage,

because grace "marks a new epoch and a new dominion of power that is

antithetical to that of the power of sin."112 In other words, the presence of

grace signals a new creation (cf. Gal 5:5; John 1:17).

Second, there is the continued stress on the "one man," Adam or

Christ. Given Paul's placement of Israel in Adam in vv. 12-14, the repe-

tition of "one man" underscores that Christ, not Israel, is wholly respon-

sible for the new creation blessings of righteousness and life. The parallel of

1 Cor 15:45-47 informs us that just as Christ is the "last Adam," so he is

also the "second man." That is to say, he is the eschatological Adam,

beyond whom there is no other, and the second man, before whom there is

only one, the first Adam. "He cannot, therefore, be compared with one

man within Israelite salvation history (such as Abraham or Moses), but can

only be juxtaposed to the originator of the old humanity."113 As Bruce

notes, Moses is conspicuously bypassed, because, as Paul will explain, the

law given through him was never intended to be permanent.114 Therefore,

within the whole scope of salvation history there is room for only two

persons, two beginnings—and Israel, with her Torah, is not included.

Beyond Paul's interaction with Israel, his insistence on the one act of the

one man, either for ill or for good, calls to mind again the principle that like

begets like: Adam and Christ correspond typologically as creators of their

respective races, with each community bearing the image of its creator.115

Whereas the one trespass of the one man has brought about condemnation

and death, the grace of God in the one man Jesus Christ has produced

 

111 Käsemann, Romans, 155. The gift character of righteousness in v. 17 is underscored by

lamba<nontej. Jüngel ("Gesetz," 63) further notes that xa<risma and xa<rij (vv. 15, 16, 17) for

Paul have to do with God's (eschatological) act.

112 Beker, Paul, 265. See as well the remarks on "freedom" (ibid., 269-71).

113 O. Michel, Der Brief an die Römer (MeyerK 4; 14th ed; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht,
1978) 186.

114 Bruce, Romans, 128. "In his masterful view of human history, Moses and Israel's law are

only a chapter of minor importance" (Goppelt, Typos, 130).

115 These communities are comprised of the "all" and the "many" (vv. 15, 18, 19). The two

adjectives are used interchangeably and reflect a Semitic idiom: "many" (an inclusive term)

are "all" who belong to a certain group (e.g., Dan 12:2). On the usage, see Brandenburger,

Adam, 221; B. F. Meyer, "Many (= All) are Called, but Few (= Not All) are Chosen," NTS 36

(1990) 89-97. In the present case, the "many" are the "all" who constitute the old and new

humanities respectively. Especially pertinent to the former is Isa 53:11: the Servant of Yahweh

causes "many" to be righteous.



                     THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH                                                287

 

righteousness and life. The contrasting states of the two humanities corre-

spond to those depicted in vv. 1-11 of this chapter. As in that earlier por-

trait, the condition of the old and new humanities respectively is not to be

restricted to the realm of the forensic, for the simple reason that the cate-

gories in question are comprehensive by definition. The word "condem-

nation" (v. 16) is qualified within this context by "sin" (vv. 12-13) and

"death" (vv. 14, 17), both of which transcend the juridical and have to do

with the consequences of man's apostasy considered in toto. Likewise, the

triad dikai<wma-dikaiosu<nh-zwh<, derived from OT covenantal ideology,

speaks of a renewed relationship with the Creator.

Hence, as we shall argue presently, just as Adam, by his disobedience/

apostasy, was responsible for the disobedience/apostasy of his race, Christ,

by his obedience/perseverance, has restored in his community the creation

image of God and enables it to persevere in that capacity, where the first

Adam and the old humanity failed. In the words of 2:7-10, the new hu-

manity in Christ fulfills the goal originally set before Adam, the quest for

glory, honor, and immortality. These are they who do "good," the specific

"good" of keeping faith with the God of the covenant. In this light, it is not

irrelevant that, in the face of the threat posed by certain (Jewish?) teachers,

Paul desires the Romans to be sofou>j ei]j to> a]gaqo<n, a]kerai<ouj de> ei]j to>

kako<n (16:19). In other words, the potential existed for church members

actually to abandon Christ, if they followed the lead of the deceivers (v. 18),

who play a Satan-like role (cf. 2 Cor 11:3-4, 13-15).

Third, v. 17, as it epitomizes the intensified analogy of the two Adams in

vv. 15-16, draws on the language of kingship. In the case of the first Adam,

sin became a king; but, in the case of the last Adam, those who have

received his grace themselves become kings through him. Whereas death

reigned through the one man, the new people reign in life through the one.

The language of reigning reminds us that Adam was created to be the king

of creation. Therefore, for the people of God to reign in life means that, in

Christ, they are able to achieve what the first Adam forfeited by sin (cf.

Heb 2:5-9).

The thought broken off in v. 12 is finally completed in vv. 18-19. The

"therefore" (a@ra ou#n) commencing v. 18 likely draws on two sources. The

first is certainly v. 12; but, in all probability, the intervening verses con-

tribute as well to Paul's inference, primarily because the vocabulary of

vv. 18-19 is influenced by those verses (characteristic of the "ABA"

schema), as confirmed by Caragounis' study. Verse 18 is a very terse ellip-

tical sentence stating the relationship between the two Adams. Its meaning

is bound up with unraveling the construction, which involves supplying the

missing elements, drawn from what has been said up to this point. As BDF

(§481) note, the verse would be unintelligible apart from the long exposition

of the preceding verses. Yet within Paul's overall flow of thought its purpose

is again to emphasize "the correspondence between the two contrasting



288                       WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL

 

causes (dia<) and ultimate ends (ei]j) and in between their equivalent ex-

tension (ei]j)." It can be translated something like: "Therefore, as through

one trespass sin abounded to all men so that they were condemned, so also

through one act of righteousness grace has abounded to all men so that they

experience the justification of life." Verse 19 thereafter explains more in

particular what is entailed in this contrast and comparison.

Besides the continued correlation of "one" and "all," by means of which

Paul again calls to mind "a single action which inaugurated a whole ep-

och,"116 the leading terms in v. 18 are para<ptwma and dikai<wma, predi-

cated of Adam and Christ respectively: di ] e[no>j paraptw<matoj ei]j pa<ntaj

a]nqrw<pouj ei]j kata<krima is balanced by di] e[no>j dikaiw<matoj ei]j pa<ntaj

a]nqrw<pouj ei]j dikai<wsin zwh?j. The word para<ptwma, paralleled by

parakoh< in v. 19, retains its meaning from vv. 15 and 17, i.e., Adam's

breach of faith when, desiring to be as God, he ate the forbidden fruit.

Likewise, dikai<wma, matched by u[pakoh< in v. 19, looks back to v. 16. Moo

is right that the parallelism of v. 18 dictates that as para<ptwma refers to

something Adam did, so dikai<wma relates to something Christ did, his "act

of righteousness."117 As Cranfield states it so well: "We take it that by

Christ's dikai<wma Paul means not just His atoning death but the obedience

of His life as a whole, His loving God with all His heart and soul and mind

and strength, and His neighbour with complete sincerity, which is the

righteous conduct which God's law requires."118

Protestant exegesis has tended to assume that the usage of dikai<wma in

v. 18 is distinct from that in v. 16, where it is taken to be "justification," set

within a strictly forensic frame. However, apart from assigning a different

sense to the term than it bears in v. 18 (with no particular hint from Paul),

the interpretation is flawed in not taking sufficiently into account the

Hebraic/covenantal backdrop of the dik- family of words.119 What is in

view in v. 16 is not merely a declaration and a resultant status, but a

commitment to a relationship, evidenced by the holiness of the covenant

and a determination to persevere in it. It is such a wholehearted devotion

to the Creator/creature relationship, in v. 16, which is the effect of God's

free grace in Christ. The conclusion is reinforced by the recollection that

underlying Rom 5:1 is Isaiah 32, Israel's restoration to the covenant, the

result of which is shalom.

Therefore, seeing that the semantic field of vv. 18-19 is largely deter-

mined by vv. 15-17, the inference drawn by Paul in v. 18 is to the effect that

 

116 Dunn, Romans 1.283.

117 Moo, Romans, 354.

118 Cranfield, Romans 1.289. Cf. Leenhardt, Romans, 146.

119 Cf. Wedderburn's criticism of Bultmann, "Structure," 351 n. 5. In Rom 1:32 and 2:26

dikai<wma is the behavior required by the law written on the heart, for which Gentiles are held

accountable; in 8:4 it summarizes the obligation of the Sinai covenant as fulfilled in the

believer, who, by virtue of the work of Christ and the indwelling Spirit, walks not after the

flesh but the Spirit.



                                   THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH                                  289

 

Christ has rendered to God the dikai<wma required of his covenant partners,

offsetting Adam's para<ptwma to and its consequent kata<krima, which is not

merely the sentence of condemnation, but the state of rebellion so fright-

fully depicted in 1:18-32. This being so, the dikai<wma of the Christian in

v. 16 (paralleled by dikaiosu<nh in v. 17) matches that of Christ in v. 18: the

former is the product of the latter.

Noteworthy in Paul's explanation of the effect of Christ's dikai<wma to is the

phrase dikai<wsij zwh?j. As Ridderbos explains, zwh< is the life in which the

salvation given in Christ consists, of which the believer has a present assur-

ance.120 Yet what is the relation of dikai<wsij to the genitive zwh?j? I would

propose that inasmuch as Paul's genitives (and datives) frequently ignore

established conventions, it is plausible to see the present instance as a min-

gling of various types of genitive: qualitative (Käsemann), result (Cranfield,

Sanday/Headlam), direction or goal (Brandenburger), and epexegetical.121

But whatever grammatical tags are applied, Leenhardt's comments are

particularly relevant. The phrase ei]j dikai<wsin zwh?j speaks of "a justi-

fication which introduces us to divine life"; and given the close connection

of present and future eschatological life in Paul, dikai<wsij zwh?j suggests

"equally the idea of a justification which is here and now realized in a life

which concretely practises righteousness, as will shortly be said (6:11, 13,

16, 18, 19, 22, 23). It will be noted that Christ's obedience of which our text

speaks becomes also the believer's obedience, an obedience which leads to

the practise of righteousness (u[pakoh?j ei]j dikaiosu<nhn, 6:16)."122 From

this perspective, dikai<wsij is the life of the age to come actualized in the

present experience of the believer.

Paul's portrait of the two Adams, continues Leenhardt, leads him to

stress the factual obedience of Christ as opposed to the factual disobedience

of Adam, "in order to show that Christ creates a humanity of righteous

men, just as Adam had created a humanity of sinners." 123 We may observe,

with Elliot, that in so saying Paul expands a sin-forgiveness typology to a

"deeper death-life typology." "Adam's transgression has made necessary

not just the countervailing entry of expiation for sin in Christ: it has occa-

sioned the cosmic dominion of Death, calling for the creation of life from the

dead in Christ."124 In short, dikai<wsij zwh?j is a compendious way of

expressing what the dikai<wma of Christ has accomplished in all: his lifetime

 

120 Ridderbos, Romeinen, 121.

121 M. Zerwick, Biblical Greek: Illustrated by Examples (4th ed.; Rome: Scripta Pontificii
Instituti Biblici, 1963) 17; N. Turner, A Grammar of New Testament Greek. Volume III: Syntax
(Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963) 214; J. B. Lightfoot, Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul (repr.
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1957) 293.

122 Leenhardt, Romans, 148.

123 Ibid.

124 Elliot, Rhetoric, 231. He continues: "Xa<rij is not simply the cancelling of transgression

... but is a cosmic power that deposes Death and restores ‘righteousness’, that is, the cosmic

right’ of divine will, and brings life to what was dead" (ibid., 231-32). Cf. Beker, Paul, 190-91.

 

 


290                       WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL

 

of conformity to the covenant engenders the same in his people. zwh<,

consequently, cannot be restricted to future eschatological life, because this

is the life imparted at creation, whose raison d’être is the glory of God. Thus;

dikai<wsij zwh?j means the presence of the new creation.

 

Disobedience is of the essence of sin, and the revelation of the new obedience in

Christ is eschatological salvation. Christ has thus been exalted to be the hidden

Ruler of the world. . . . His people, being obedient, participate for the time being

in the freedom from the powers which he has won and will one day share openly

in the kingdom (basileia, v. 17b). Even more plainly than before, the dawn of the

new creation is now proclaimed.125

 

In a manner akin to the parallelism of 5:9-10, v. 19 complements its

counterpart, v. 18, by the use of synonymous terms. Specifically, "trespass"

(para<ptwma) and "act of righteousness" (dikai<wma) in v. 18 are replaced

by "disobedience" (parakoh<) and "obedience" (u[pakoh<). Also, "con-

demnation" and "justification of life" in v. 18 are matched by "sinners"

and "righteous." Here the focus is on what kind of people individuals have

become as a result of the work of Adam and Christ respectively: by his

disobedience, Adam has turned his posterity into sinners, while Christ, by

his obedience, has made his people righteous. The question arises whether

v. 19 is the basis or the explanation of v. 18. The two, of course, are not

mutually exclusive, because the one verse could clarify the other by pro-

viding its basis. But whatever the technical relation of vv. 18 and 19 may

be, it is consonant with the argument developed in this essay to see the two

destinies of condemnation and rightwising as based on the two conditions

into which people are put—"sinners" and "righteous." 126

That Paul should speak of the acts of Adam and Christ as "disobedi-

ence" and "obedience" and of the condition of their respective offspring as

"sinners" and "righteous" comes as no surprise, especially given the con-

notations of apostasy and fidelity connected with the respective terms in the

OT and Jewish literature, which themselves are rooted in Genesis 3.127

Adam's parakoh< is his renunciation of both Yahweh the Creator and his

own identity as his image. By signing a "declaration of independence," he

 

125 Käsemann, Romans, 157. Cf. Beker, Paul, 270-71. On zwh< as a present reality, see further

Käsemann, Romans, 155-58.

126 As suggested by Moo, Romans, 357, though he is disinclined to accept it himself.

127 Cf. Käsemann, Romans, 157. Dunn (Jesus, Paul, and the Law, 61-88), has shown how

"sinner" in particular is a factional or sectarian term, describing others from the vantage

point of the members of a group, who are the "righteous" (e.g., 1 Enoch 91-107; Pss. Sol. 4:1-.8;

T. Moses 7). Normally, the "sinners" would be deemed disloyal to God's covenant. Cf. Dar-

lington, Obedience, 97-98. An illuminating usage of one of the antonyms of "sinner" is ex-

hibited by Ps 32:6, where David calls upon dysH lk, "everyone loyal to Yahweh's covenant,"

to pray (A. A. Anderson, The Book of Psalms [NCB; London: Paternoster, 1972] 1.258). It is not

accidental that MydysH in subsequent Jewish history became the technical term for those who

distinguished themselves by their observance of the law and their opposition to Hellenism.

 


   THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH                         291

 

chose for himself and his descendants the path of autonomy and self-

determination.128 In so doing, he has brought disaster, kata<krima, upon

those who, thanks to him, have become a[martwloi<, apostates from the

primal creation covenant. By contrast, Christ's u[pakoh<, his perseverance

or life-long commitment to do his Father's will, culminating in his "obe-

dience unto death" (Phil 2:8),129 has turned former a[martwloi< into

di<kaioi, covenant-keepers, who now render to King Jesus "the obedience

of faith" (1:5; 16:26) and reign as kings with him (5:17). In short, Christ,

the image of the invisible God, restores the Creator/creature distinction by

rendering to God the allegiance expected of Adam: "Christ . . . shatters

subjection to the Adamic world of sin and death by setting the world before

its Creator again and by setting us in the state of creatureliness."130 Given

the specificity of a[martwloi< and di<kaioi, the important consequence is

that the Christian does not remain a "sinner." In a strictly biblical per-

spective (as distinct from a systematic-theological perspective), rather than

being simul iustus et peccator, the believer says of himself, tunc peccatornunc

iustus ("once a sinner, now righteous").131

Crucial to the interpretation of v. 19 is the verb kaqi<sthmi. Moo, fol-

lowing Oepke, observes that this verb never designates a judgment or con-

sideration which does not conform to the actual state of the people

involved.132 People, in other words, were really made sinners or righteous

through the disobedience and obedience of the two men respectively. How-

ever, he maintains that being made sinners or righteous is to be understood

"in light of Paul's typical forensic categories," according to which "right-

eous" means not to be morally upright, but "to be judged acquitted,

cleared of all charges, in the heavenly courtroom." 133 The many are made

 

128 See Barrett, Adam, 11-13. In Adam one sees the opposite of grace, self-seeking and

self-centered desire (ibid., 15; see further pp. 16-1,7, 20).

129 It is artificial to restrict Christ's obedience to his death. His u[pakoh<, just as his

dikai<wma, is his perseverance in the whole of God's demand, although, from another per-

spective, his obedience may be identified with his "dying" (2 Cor 4:10) or his "baptism"

(Mark 10:38), i.e., the whole course of his suffering. Cf. Godet, Romans, 226; Cranfield, Romans

1.291; Bruce, Romans, 127; Michel, Römer, 191; R. N. Longenecker, "The Obedience of Christ

in the Theology of the Early Church," in Reconciliation and Hope, 142-52. Paul's insistence that

Christ was obedient unto death implies clearly that the cross was but the climax of a whole life

of obedience. Barrett shows how point for point in Phil 2:5-11 Christ's whole obedience

corresponds positively to the disobedience of Adam (Adam, 16).

130 Käsemann, Romans, 156.

131 Beker, Paul, 216.

132 Moo, Romans, 358; A. Oepke, TDNT 3.445. According to Oepke, "Pronounced right-

eous, they will then normally be righteous as well." Oepke is careful, however, not to exclude

the judicial sentence of God, "which on the basis of the act of the head determines the destiny

of all" (ibid., 446). Cranfield's suggestion (Romans 1.291 n. 1) that kaqi<sthmi in the passive

may have been chosen by Paul as the true passive equivalent of gi<nomai makes good sense in

this context. Cf. Dunn, Romans 1.284; Käsemann, Romans, 157; Wilckens, Römer 1.328;

Brandenburger, Adam, 233.

133 Moo, Romans, 359. Cf. Berkouwer, Sin, 498-99; Bultmann, "Adam and Christ," 159.


 

292                     WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL

 

"sinners" and "righteous" because God considers them to be such by

virtue of the acts of Adam and Christ. Moo thus approves of an underlying

notion of imputation.134

This construction, nonetheless, begs at least two important questions:

(1) Are Paul's categories typically forensic? and (2) What would Paul have

understood by "forensic"? Since it is impossible to give anything like a full

reply, it must suffice to say, in addressing the first question, that Paul's

thought-forms can only artificially be restricted to the forensic. They are,

in fact, cosmic in breadth, as derived from the creation, in which a relation-

ship was established between God and his image-bearers, or, as de Boer

puts it, Paul's framework is cosmological-apocalyptic.135 This applies not

least to the vocabulary of righteousness. If righteousness by definition is a

commitment to the covenant relationship, and if, as many have argued,

righteousness on the divine side is ultimately God's fidelity to his creation,

then the many in Christ have been made righteous in the sense that the

primal creation bond has been renewed: the image of God has been re-

stored, and a basic change of attitude has taken place in those who have

been reconciled to God through the death of his Son.

As to the other question, even if there are forensic features in Paul's

theology—which is not at all being denied—what are we to understand by

"forensic"? I would submit, as intimated in the second article in this series,

that the term is to be taken within the parameters of the Hebrew court-

room. It is commonly recognized that lying behind Paul's use of dikaio<w

is the Hebrew qdc, particularly in the hiphil. Yet, if we may draw again on

J. A. Ziesler's findings, while this verb is normally forensic, it is forensic in

the Hebrew sense, i.e., a "restoration of the community or covenant relation-

ship," which means that it cannot be separated from the ethical altogether:

"The restoration is not merely to a standing, but to an existence in the relationship.”136

 

134 As do Morris, Romans, 240; Murray, Romans 1.204-6; id., Imputation, 86-90; Ridderbos,

Romeinen, 122; E. E. Ellis, Paul's Use of the Old Testament (Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1957) 60;
A. A. Hoekema, Created in God's Image (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1986) 162-67; Versteeg,

Adam, 23; R. B. Gaffin, "Adam," in New Dictionary of Theology (eds. S. B. Ferguson et al.;

Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 1988) 5.

135 De Boer, Defeat of Death, 163. See further Goppelt, Typos, 209-37; Elliot, Rhetoric, 230-32;
cf. Scroggs, Adam, 57-74. Without setting apocalyptic over against salvation-history, our exe-

gesis is in harmony with the heart of Beker's work, viz., that the apostle's teaching centers on

the apocalyptic triumph of God in Christ. Apocalyptic categories, Beker maintains, are not

a provincial idiosyncrasy of Paul's; they are, rather, interwoven with profound Christological,

anthropological, and ethical issues (Paul, 172). In this connection, Beker maintains that Paul's

interpretation of the death of Christ is remarkably apocalyptic, inasmuch as the major apoca-

lyptic forces for him are those ontological powers which determine the human situation within

the context of God's created order and which comprise the field of death, sin, the law, and the

flesh (ibid., 189).

136 J. A. Ziesler, The Meaning of Righteousness in Paul: A Linguistic and Theological
Enquiry
(SNTSMS 20; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972) 20 (italics mine). Cf. J. F
Reumann, Righteousness in the New Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982) 16. The argument
gains in force if, as many think, Isa 53:11 stands behind the present text: the Servant of Yahweh

 


         THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH                              293

 

To put it in more traditional terms: "in his summing up, Paul includes in

one statement both justification as a forensic acquittal from guilt, and ac-

tual salvation from sin."137 In brief, we have been reconciled to God

through the life and death of his Son (Rom 5:1-11), making us "righteous"

in the pointedly Hebrew sense of a renewed devotion to the Lord and his

covenant.

The verb kaqi<sthmi is placed by Paul in both the aorist and the future

tenses. The former speaks of every person born into the world "in Adam";

the latter of those who enter the new creation "in Christ." Wedderburn's

observation is much to the point: "the characteristics of the old age are put

in the aorist even though that old age is not wholly done away with, and

the characteristics of the new age are put in the future even though the

firstfruits of that age are already with us."138 Katastaqh<sontai thus corre-

sponds to basileu<sousin in v. 17 and to z&opoihqh<sontai in 1 Cor 15:22.

Syntactically, the future may be taken as "logical," indicating, to adapt

Murray's observation, that "this act of God's grace is being continually

exercised and will continue to be exercised throughout future generations

of mankind." 139 However, in light of Wedderburn's comments, the tense

can be labeled "eschatological," as long as it is kept in mind that the

eschaton has already begun with Christ's present reign.

To be sure, the righteousness of the people of Christ flows from their

union with him. As Paul puts it so succinctly elsewhere, in him we have

become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21; note how vv. 19-20 correlate

reconciliation with righteousness, as does Romans 5). And it is precisely

Paul's doctrine of believers e]n Xrist&? which undergirds the parallelism of

5:19 (and the whole Adam/Christ typology): as in Adam all die, so in

Christ shall all be made alive (1 Cor 15:22). Because Paul contemplates a

union with either Adam or Christ, it can be through their respective acts of

disobedience and obedience that the "all" and the "many" become sinners

or righteous. No more than in 2:13 does Paul envisage a scenario in which

one attains to righteousness on one's own. If like begets like, the di<kaioi are

those in whom Christ has been reproduced. To state it in other terms, the

condition of being di<kaioi is the gift of God. Rom 6:22-23 puts it just this

way. Paul tells the Romans, "you have your fruit unto sanctification, whose end

is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal

life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Eternal life is the eventuation of a process of

sanctification, not as something earned ("wages"), but as the product of

 

"causes many to be righteous" (qydc qydcy). See Ziesler, Righteousness, 19. As in all the

Isaianic Servant songs, Isaiah 53 occurs in the broader setting of the restoration of the remnant of

Israel to its pristine covenant (creation) relationship.

137 Dodd, Romans, 83.

138 Wedderburn, "Structure," 352-53. Likewise Brandenburger, Adam, 234; Porter, "Orig-

inal Sin," 15 ("Christ is the first fruit of what is still expected, hence the form of expecta-

tionthe future form—is used").

139 Murray, Romans 1.206.

 


294                       WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL

 

grace from start to finish. Besides, as was clarified in the previous essay,

ultimately obedience and disobedience are reducible to faith and

unbelief. 140

 

6. Christ, not the Torah, the Source of Life

 

We may round off our exposition by offering some brief comments on

vv. 20-21, which lie outside the Adam/Christ discussion proper and form

the transition into chap. 6. In these verses Paul returns again (from 3:19-20;

4:15) to the function of the law as a revealer of sin and thereby a worker of

wrath. It can be inferred that he does so to combat that aspect of Jewish

theology which asserted that Sinai restored a proper relationship between

God and Israel (the true humanity) through the mediation of the Torah,141

and, accordingly, that membership in Israel would insure ultimate salva-

tion from the effects of Adam's sin.

Various Jewish sources give voice to the conviction that the law eo ipso

insures life. Ben Sira uses the actual phrase "the law of life" (Sir 17:11;

45:5), while the author of Baruch commends to his readers "the command-

ments of life" (Bar 3:9). These commandments are no less than the very

embodiment of Israel's wisdom: "All who hold her fast will live, and those

who forsake her will die" (Bar 4:1). See also 4 Ezra 14.30; Pss. Sol. 14.2; cf.

4 Ezra 7.129.142 Hand in hand went the equally strong conviction that the

law was eternal and unchangeable (e.g., Sir 24:9, 33; Bar 4:1; Jub. 16.29;

31.32; 32.10, 15, 21-26, 28; 33.10; Wis 18:4; T. Naph. 3.1-2; 4 Ezra 9.26-37).

Over against these traditions, Paul's stance is altogether conspicuous. For

one thing, the verb pareish?lqen in v. 20 implies that the law is not eternal:

its entrance onto the stage of history was occasioned only by the advent

(ei]sh?lqen, v. 12) of sin.143 More startling yet is the law's actual function--

to intensify the problem created by Adam, i.e., to cause sin to reign in

death. "Trespass" (para<ptwma) and "sin" (a[marti<a) are retained from

the foregoing discussion, signifying that Adam's idolatry has not, as sup-

posed, been rectified by the Torah, because it preeminently is the stimulus

of "trespass" and "sin." Israel herself, therefore, continues to participate

in the first man's apostasy, as evidenced most conspicuously, I would say, by

her rejection of the Christ. In fact, in her case, it is possible to see Paul's

 

140 "The difference between faith and unbelief is exactly the theme of the story of Eden.

Men align themselves with Adam, the type of the Man of wickedness [2 Thess 2:3] ... or with

God" (Barrett, Adam, 14).

141 Scroggs, Adam, 38, 53; Kaylor, Community, 234 n. 21. de Boer notes that particularly in

forensic apocalyptic eschatology the law was the God-given solution to the sentence of death

meted out to Adam and his descendants for repudiating God (Defeat of Death, 167).

142 See further Brandenburger, Adam, 248 n. 2; C. H. Cosgrove, The Cross and the Spirit: A

Study in the Argumentation and Theology of Galatians (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1988)

90-91.

143 Cf. Jüngel, "Gesetz," 45-47: whereas the precursor of the Gospel is the promise to

Abraham, the forerunner of the law is sin. See Rom 4:13-15.

 


     THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH                              295

 

point as quite a specific one: it was the very possession of the Torah which

engendered the spirit of idolatry. The nation, in other words, preferred to

view the law as God's definitive answer to sin, rather than see it as only a

means to an end, to prepare Israel for the "coming one" (v. 14), whose act

of obedience would put an end to sin forever. For her "sin" has abounded

all the more because of her misunderstanding and misapplication of the Torah.

It is precisely in this connection that v. 21 assures the readers that the

reign of sin in death was with the eventual view that grace might reign

through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. "Sin and

death held sway both before and after the Torah; they did not originate

with the Torah, nor are they solved by it. The Torah intensifies sin (and by

implication death) but in a final sense it is not a decisive factor in the

human equation."144 The decisive factor is Christ, the te<loj of the law

(Rom 10:4; Gal 3:21-25), whose coming is prepared by the sin intensifying

function of the law itself. It was precisely in pointing to Christ that God's

grace to Israel was embodied in the law:145 he, not the Torah, is the head

of the cosmos;146 he is the new Creator and the only source of eternal life.

 

          IV. Conclusions

 

The obedience of Christ, according to the theology of Romans 5, is

specifically his fidelity to God the Creator and his perseverance in the

course set before him by his Father. Christ thus fulfills the role originally

assigned to Adam as the progenitor of the human race: he is the actual

ei]kw>n tou? qeou?, the one who projects onto the field of space and time the

likeness of the invisible God (Col 1:15). And since Christ is the realization

of true humanity, only he can be the mediator of humanity (1 Tim 2:5).147

Henceforth it is his imprint which is placed on the new world created in his

image. Over against the first Adam and all who have entered the world in

him, Christ alone is incomparable; he is the last Adam, the second man,

and the preeminent one of all creation; he is obedient where another son

of God, Israel, failed, whose history can be characterized as an era of

condemnation and death (2 Cor 3:7, 9).

The obedience of Christ, then, is to be assessed as his commitment to the

relationship (covenant) between Yahweh and Israel (Gal 4:4). Conse-

quently, since Jesus is the very embodiment of the covenant (Isa 42:6), his

"obedience" is nothing other than his "righteousness," i.e., his loyalty to

 

 

144 Kaylor, Community, 111.

145 Berkouwer, Sin, 509.

146 Cf. Elliot, Rhetoric, 232-33. Heb 2:5-9 makes the same point: the world to come has not

been subjected to angels, the mediators of the law (Deut 33:2 LXX; Ps 68:18; Acts 7:38; Gal

3:19), but to Christ.

147 See Scroggs, Adam, 100-111; T. F. Torrance, The Mediation of Christ (Grand Rapids:

Eerdmans, 1983).

 


 

296                      WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL

 

his God. This is his dikai<wma to (Rom 5:18), or the "doing of the law" com-

mended by Lev 18:5. In thus "doing the law," Christ has assumed the

mandate of fallen Adam and has attained to glory, honor, and immortality

(Rom 2:7-10), as confirmed by the Gospel narratives of his wilderness and

Gethsemane experiences, according to which he, another Adam, resists the

most powerful solicitations to worship "the god of this world." Paul's last-

Adam Christology, therefore, as that of the Gospels and Hebrews, sets forth

our Lord as the man of faith par excellence, who learned obedience through

what he suffered.148

Paul, however, does not contemplate the obedience of Christ as an end

in itself. It is, rather, a means to an end, because it is through the one man

that obedience has been disseminated to all. At heart, human obedience is

the acceptance of one's identity as the image of God and the consequent

obligation of creaturely service. The obedience of the Christian is thus the

antipode of his former disobedience—his rejection of the Creator/creature

distinction. In short, the believer has been delivered from the slavery of his

former existence (Rom 6:15-23; 8:2) and enabled to persevere in the faith-

commitment originally incumbent on the first Adam.

Christ . . . shatters subjection to the Adamic world of sin and death by setting the

world before its Creator again and by setting us in the state of creatureliness.

Since the Adamic world is present: and seems to prevail, this has to be continually

reaccepted in faith. Received blessing brands us but it also sets us in conflict…

and contradiction. It places us before the need to persevere and in the possibility

of relapse.149

 

In Rom 7:14-15; 8:18-25 Paul will discuss the "conflict and contradic-

tion" to which the believer is exposed as a result of his deliverance from the

Adamic world and press upon his readers the need of the renewal of faith.

Nevertheless, as one "definitively sanctified," the Christian in principle

possesses an entirely new disposition and outlook on life, the evidence of

which is his transformation by the renewal of his mind (Rom 12:2) and the

putting to death of the deeds of the body, commensurate with his walk by

the Spirit (Rom 8:2-14).

To state it in covenantal categories, the people of Christ have been made

righteous (Rom 5:19). If Christ, the obedient Servant of Yahweh, is the

covenant to the nations, then the covenant ideal embodied in him is im-

parted to those who are united to him: he is the righteous king who brings

to pass the new Israel's devotion to the covenant (Isaiah 32). As remarked

 

148 While I think that Paul's phrase  pi<stij  ]Ihsou? Xristou? does not signify the faithfulness

of Christ himself, many of the points made by recent writers about his covenant fidelity are

well-taken in themselves. For example, R. B. Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ: An Investigation of

the Narrative Substructure of Galatians 3:1-4:11 (SBLDS 56; Chico: Scholars Press, 1983) (with

literature); S. K. Williams, "The ‘Righteousness of God’ in Romans," JBL 99 (1980) 272-76;

M. D. Hooker, "PISTIS XRISTOU," NTS 35 (1989) 321-42.

149 Käsemann, Romans, 156.


 

THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH                                 297

 

many times by now, righteousness,, in the first instance, is commitment to

the covenant relationship. From a slightly different point of view, right-

eousness is, again, perseverance, inasmuch as perseverance in biblical

thinking entails two elements: (1) reliance on the person of the God of the

covenant; (2) a resolution to do his will, though, during the course of this

"present evil age," that will is imperfectly performed. Thus, the righteous-

ness of the covenant has reference to both a personal relationship and the

ethical standards ("house rules") demanded by that relationship.

Particularly with respect to the latter, we are not to forget that outside

Romans 5 conformity to the image of Christ is integral to Paul's last-Adam

Christology. Believers not only have put off the "old man," i.e., Adam with

his corrupt (apostate) practices, they have put on the "new man," i.e.,

Christ, the last Adam (Eph 4:22; Col 3:10; cf. Rom 13:14; Gal 3:27). It is

these newly created ones—God's elect, holy and beloved—who are de-

picted in Col 3:12-17 as a community of love and harmony: in them is to

be seen the realization of the creation ideal, because “Jesus Christ has

restored ‘those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of right-

eousness’ to their proper role as truly human beings.”150 By virtue of being

clothed with the image of Christ, who himself is the image of the invisible

God (Col 1:15), those who were once wholly characterized by the vices

catalogued, e.g., in Col 3:5-9, are now those in whose hearts the peace of

Christ reigns. Or, in the words of Rom 5:17, they themselves have been

made to "reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ."

It is the peculiar character of the Christian's obedience as derived from

the obedience of Christ which brings us full circle in our consideration of

u[pakoh> pi<stewj in the letter to the Romans. We began by arguing that the

phrase is two-sided, denoting simultaneously the obedience which is faith

and the obedience which flows from faith. Thereafter it was proposed that

it is the obedience of faith, defined primarily as perseverance, which forms

the link between present justification by faith and future judgment accord-

ing to works. Romans 5, however, provides the most vital link of all—

Christ. "In Paul's view," writes M. D. Hooker, "Christians owe everything

to the fact that they are in Christ: they are nothing and they have nothing,

except by virtue of being in him. Christian faith is always the response to

what God has done in Christ and to what Christ is. It seems, then, that they

need the faithfulness of Christ—for how are they to have even faith, except

by sharing in his?" 151 The bottom line, therefore, is Christ. If the Christian's

righteousness is a dikaiosu<nh e]k pi<stewj, his must be a pi<stij which sets

its sights exclusively on Jesus Christ, the last Adam and Creator of a new

humanity.

 

Toronto Baptist Seminary

130 Gerrard Street East

Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 3T4

 

150 Wright, "Adam," 372.

151 Hooker, "PISTIS XRISTOU." 337-38.

 

This material is cited with gracious permission from:                  

            Westminster Theological Seminary

            2960 W. Church Rd.

            Glenside, PA  19038

www.wts.edu

Please report any errors to Ted Hildebrandt at:  thildebrandt@gordon.edu

            Thanks to Larissa Boehmke for proofing this article.