Justification by Faith

By Thomas Hill Green

The Pauline Conception of Justification by Faith is an extract from T. H. Green's lectures on the Epistle to the Romans.

τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν, ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν, ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ.

"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." – 2 Corinthians 5:21.

What is the meaning of the expression 'righteousness of God' (δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ)? Is it (1) the righteousness of which God is the author? (2) that of which he is the subject, which is his attribute, though it may be communicated to us? (3) that of which he is the object, the perfect relation of man towards God? (4) that which he requires, 'integritas quse Deo satisfacit'? Δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ) in man towards other men is that relation in virtue of which he stands fair and square towards them; perfect reciprocity in dealing between him and them; or again, perfect correspondence between the individual and the laws of society. In δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ, for 'other men,' or 'laws of society,' God is substituted. It is the perfect relation between man and God; adequacy to the divine idea; correspondence between man's and God's will, the opposite of ἁμαρτία.

In 2 Corinthians 5:21 (τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν, ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν, ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ.) the perfect relation is represented as subsisting between the Father and the Son, the 'righteousness of God' being fully realised in it. This is opposed to 'sin,' or alienation on our part. Through the Son's being 'made sin for us' (comp. 'being sent in likeness of sinful flesh,' Romans 8:3,) the spirit of adoption is communicated to us, and we are able to partake of that perfect relation which has from eternity subsisted between the Son and the Father. Thus we become 'righteousness of God in him.' Every relation may be regarded as a quality of either of the subjects between which the relation subsists. Thus righteousness as the conscious correspondence of man to the divine idea, is indeed a quality of man, but also, in a way, of God; i.e. the divine idea carries with it the necessity of man's conscious correspondence to it. God, as δικαιος, must make man righteous. On the side of God, there is no change in relation; God is always δικαιος towards man; the question is, how is man to become δικαιος towards God? Thus the 'manifestation of the righteousness of God' means the placing of man in a new condition, which -191- is done by a divine act; so that God is not only 'just,' but a 'justifier.' He is not only δικαιος towards man, but puts man in that condition in which he is δικαιος towards God. Thus δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ, the perfect relation between man and God, comes to be, on man's side, a relation of which God is the author, δικαιοσύνην ἐκ Θεοῦ (Philippians 3:9,) and is thus opposed to ἰδία δικαιοσύνην (Romans 10:3).

There are two ways in which this δικαιοσύνη Θεοῦ on man's side may be realised; (1) ἐξ ἔργων νόμου (by 'the works of the law'), and (2) ἐκ πίστεως (by 'faith'). In this epistle Paul certainly regards (1) as not in itself impossible, notwithstanding Galatians 3:2. If man could fulfill the works of the law, he would be 'just before God,' he would have 'become the righteousness of God.' In one sense, no doubt, Paul regards the 'doing the works of the law' as itself 'carnal'; but this is only on account of that 'carnality' in us which makes the attempted fulfillment of the law a καύχημα ('whereof to glory,' Romans 4:2). That is Israel's 'stumbling-stone' (Romans 9:32). Thus the attempt to follow after the law of righteousness is the way not to attain it. It perpetually defeats itself by breeding the self-conceit which separates from God. If in the epistle to the Galatians the unattainability of righteousness seems at first sight presented as a defect in the law itself, this is not so in the epistle to the Romans. Comp. 7:14, 'the law is spiritual, but I am carnal'; and it is my 'carnality' that makes the law work death to me. It is not the spirituality of the law that is at fault, but its power to overcome my carnality. Hence it is clear that by 'law' Paul does not mean 'ceremonial.' It is the moral law in the highest and purest sense, of which he regarded the Jewish as the most perfect expression. It is the law which commands every man to do good, and promises blessedness to him if he does (2:10), but does not enable him to do it; a law which is common to those who 'have not the law' with those who have it (2:14). The ἄνομοι, are those who are without the law in its specific Jewish form (comp. 1 Corinthians 9:21); but the ἄνομοι in this sense are not ἄνομοι ἁπλως, but have a law in themselves and are condemned by it, as he goes on to show in 2:14 foll. The gentiles are condemned by the fact that they partially do the law, and thus show that it is written in their consciences. The words, 'when the gentiles, which have not the law, do by -192- nature the things contained in the law,' do not imply that they do all the works of the law. They 'show that they have the work of the law' (comp. Galatians 6:4, τὸ ἔργον ἑαυτοῦ), the works which the law enjoins in their principle or unity, 'written in their hearts.' Thus all alike, Jew and gentile, are under the law. The law is wholly just and good in itself, but it cannot give life, and the impotence of it to give life lies in its relation to our flesh; and as thus related, not only is it impotent to give life, but in a sense it causes sin.

'The law is the power of sin' (1 Corinthians 15:56). 'The law is spiritual, but I am carnal' (Romans 7:14) . 'The law was weak through the flesh' (Romans 8:3). The 'flesh,' or 'the body of this death,' is the source or seat of sin and its consequent death. κατὰ σάρκα περιπατεῖν = κατὰ ἄνθρωπον περιπατεῖν (1 Corinthians 3:3). The σαρκικὸς ἄνθρωπος = ψυχικός (1 Corinthians 2:14; comp. 15:44). There is sin without the law (Romans 5:13; 2:12); the result of the law is that sin takes the form of 'transgression' (παράβασις or παραπτϖμα), and thereby becomes 'more exceeding sinful'; the consciousness of it is intensified, and thus openness to the 'righteousness of God,' which is of grace, is produced. From Galatians 3:19 and Romans 5:20 it appears that the law was intended to promote, not to prevent, transgressions. It is in this sense that it is a 'schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.' (In this connection two notions are in his mind, neither of which is expressed by the word 'schoolmaster'; (1) the παιδαγωγός was a slave; (2) his office was not to teach, but to restrain merely). The purpose of it is to 'shut up all alike under sin,' that they may be capable of receiving the promise in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:22-23). This 'historical' view of the function of the law appears in Romans 5:12 foll. From Adam to Moses was a régime of ἁμαρτία which was not yet παράβασις. Adam's 'sin' was indeed a 'transgression,' because committed against a command. It was the occasion by which 'death passed upon all men'; but (death and sin being perfectly correlative, and sin the sole cause of death) it would not have so passed unless all had sinned. Thus before the law 'sin was in the world,' inherent but not 'imputed'; not yet a transgression, because there was no law.

The reason why the law, though spiritual in itself, yet 'kills,' why its only function is to make sin more conscious of itself by giving it definite form and actuality as παράβασις, -193- is to be found in σάρξ ('flesh'), 'the law of sin in our members.' In Romans 8, that which ineffectually strives with the flesh, wishing, but unable to do what it wishes, is νοῡς ('mind'). Not until it has become a principle according to which we walk, or habitually act, according to the state described in Romans 8, is it called πνεῡμα ('spirit'). Yet in Galatians 5:17, a struggle precisely corresponding to that described in Romans 7, and issuing in the same moral paralysis, is spoken of as going on between σάρξ and πνεῡμα. This struggle, however, as presented in Galatians, is between two principles not belonging to this or that man, though this or that man may be a seat of the struggle between them. They correspond to the 'first man' and 'second man' of 1 Corinthians 15. In the individual, the spirit in that state in which it is still paralysed by the antagonism of the flesh (a state from which it emerges through Christ's 'condemnation of sin in the flesh') is called νοῡς. The distinction between νοῡς as human and πνεῡμα as divine is maintained in this sense, that νοῡς in this stage does not yet recognise itself as divine; thus, though a possibility of πνεῡμα, it is opposed to it. 'Flesh' again, with Paul, though to each individual it means his own 'outward man,' his 'members,' is yet a single principle personified in Adam; like the spirit, it is in the individual but not of him.

The most exact expression for that 'which lusteth against the spirit' is φρόνμα τῆς σαρκός (the 'carnal mind'). It is not the body (though Paul associates the evil principle with it), not animal appetite, but the mind, the self-consciousness, which makes these its object and lives for the body, that is enmity against God. This is already death in itself; the law makes it full consciousness of death. The law does this at the same time that it holds out the apparent promise of helping towards the 'righteousness of God.' In this sense the law might be said to deceive. But as this is no fault of the law in itself, but only of the law in relation to the φρόνμα σαρκός in us, it is properly the latter, or sin, that works the deception. Sin is represented as an assailing power gaining a 'vantage-ground' from what seemed to be a defence (Romans 7:8-11).

St. Paul's view in this passage clearly is that the φρόνμα σαρκός does not 'remain in them that are regenerate.' (See the ninth Article.) Comp. Romans 8:2 with 7:23. It is crucified with Christ (Romans 7:6; Galatians 5:24). 'The law of -194- sin and death,' from which 'the law of the spirit of life set him free,' is the same as the 'law of sin in his members.' The essence of the Pauline view is so to identify the believers with Christ as to regard their death unto the flesh in order to live after the spirit as already complete in Christ's death. The difficulty of this view has led men to regard Christ's death as for us but not in us. Christ died for us, not we in him and he in us. But Paul never presents Christ's death as a substitution for ours in the sense that we need not die as well. Christ's death is for us in two senses. (1) We being dead under the curse of the law, the Son of God, in order to save us from the consciousness of being apart from God, had in some way to put himself in that condition too; to put himself under the curse of the law and thus die too. How he could do this, how he could share our flesh without sin, how he could even be made sin in principle or possibility without actual sin, is a great difficulty. But such is the Pauline view. (2) Death, which the law produces, becomes death 'to the law' that we may 'live unto God.' It only becomes so because the Son of God has shared it. The man, dead through the law, dead as conscious of alienation from God, finds that the Son of God has partaken of this death. The death then takes a new form. Instead of being separation from God, it becomes the emptiness which is ready to be filled with God; the crucifixion of personal desire and pretension in order to the reception of communicated life.

Is not this, it may be said, a juggling with the double meaning of 'death'? How can moral death be the beginning of spiritual life? It must be remembered that the 'moral death' which Paul describes in the seventh chapter as the result of the action of the law in relation to the flesh, is not a state of habitual indulgence in sin. It is a state in which the consciousness of sin is at its height, but the habit of wrong-doing at its minimum. To a man in this state, to whom the flesh presents itself as an impassable wall between himself and God, the Son of God is presented 'in the flesh.' within the wall, and at once the wall is broken. The Son has shared his flesh and his death, and thus 'condemned,' or broken the power of, sin in what seemed its necessary seat, the flesh. Death, caused by the flesh and the law, becomes death to the flesh and the law. Sometimes he is spoken of as dead to them, sometimes they are spoken of as dead to him. -195-

It is essential to the deliverance that this death is not the individual's own act, but the act of the Son of God putting himself in his place; but this is a substitution within the man, not without him. The Son's putting himself in man's place means that he becomes the 'quickening spirit,' which is Christ in him (Romans 8:9, foll.; 1 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 1:16; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 1:27).

Thus death, according to Paul's experience, has two sides; death under the law or in the flesh becomes death to the law and the flesh; but only through Christ's participation in it. Through that participation, through God's putting his Son in our place, the death becomes a resurrection, the beginning of a new life. The Son is the spirit. His presence in the flesh, his revelation in the man, means that a new mind takes the place of the 'mind of the flesh,' even within the flesh. Thus as we are in Christ and he in us, the 'righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us'; the righteousness of God, the perfect relation between us and God, which we might have attained under the law, if we could have fulfilled the law, but which we did not attain because the attempt to fulfill the law, as an external ordinance, defeats itself, is communicated to us in principle, and we have now to re-enact it in our conduct in a new way, namely as knowing that God 'worketh in us.' This knowledge renders the life in the spirit, though the walk to which it leads consists of acts outwardly like those enjoined by the law, wholly different from the life under the law. ' It is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me.' The life, already perfect in Christ, the sanctified life, or spiritual walk, already complete in that consciousness of adoption which comes of the recognition of Christ as dying under our conditions, i.e. in the flesh and under the law, complete in it as the necessary effect in the cause, is to be gradually exhibited in our walk. This is our 'sanctification.' We cannot 'walk after the spirit,' that is, in consciousness of the communicated mind of God, so long as his will is presented to us externally as 'a letter.' We receive this life in principle by appropriating or 'putting on' (Galatians 3:27) Christ through faith. The annihilation of personal pretension, which is effected by the operation of law on the conscience, becomes, by the manifestation of the Son of God, bearing the curse of the law, the reception of God, reconciliation with him, the -196- establishment of his righteousness (i.e. the consciousness of a perfect relation with him) in us. This is our 'justification.'

To the legal consciousness, to the man who has been living under the law without fulfilling its requirements, there seems to stand a long score against him in the account of God. He is under 'condemnation.' Till the score has been blotted out, he cannot be reconciled to God, and hence cannot receive the spirit, which is the sole possible source of new life. The score is blotted out by the death of Christ, regarded as a sacrifice (Romans 3:25; 5:1, 9 foll.; 2 Corinthians 5:19). Is the sacrifice his suffering, as a penalty, or his perfect obedience? Because salvation is of grace, every condition of it must be the act of God; must be of him working for us and in us, not of ourselves. There is a condition on our part, namely faith; but this is the negation of self-assertion, the simple receptivity of God. To Paul, humanity in its perfection, or as it is to be, is gathered up in the Son of God, the second man, as in its temporary corruption it was gathered up in Adam. Thus in the work of the Son the whole work of our salvation, as a transition from death to life, from sin to righteousness, has been completed. In him all died (died as the consequence of sin and under the penalty of the law) unto sin and unto the law, and all live, live in the spirit, as he is the spirit; live in freedom, as having the mind of God for an inward principle, not an outward restraint. This death and life in principle or in idea have to be actualised in our walk; but the possibility of such actualisation in our walk depends on their previous achievement in principle, on the deliverance from the burden of that exclusive personality which brings with it the sense of responsibility, while at the same time it finds itself powerless to do that for which it feels itself responsible. Man cannot get to God till he knows that God has already come to him; cannot escape the bondage which consists in the consciousness of God as an external lawgiver, until God presents himself to him as under the law which seems to separate him; cannot fulfill the law in loving his neighbour until he knows that God has loved him and his neighbour with an equal and prevailing love.

The difficulty in this conception of the work of Christ is that it seems to imply, since man is bound in sinful flesh and liable to the penalty of the broken law, that the Son of God, in order to that identification of man with himself which is -197- his reconciliation with God, should also take the fleshly nature, which is the principle of sin, and bear the penalty of the law, that is, endure the consciousness of an alienation from God, which was in itself impossible. The difficulty is essentially the same as that which meets the philosophers, who regard humanity as a manifestation of God. Admitting that the sin of humanity means its incompleteness, and is in perpetual process of disappearing, yet how should the complete manifest itself in the incomplete? How should God empty himself of himself in order to a perpetual refilling? The great point is to have an expression of the fact, though the how and the why be unanswerable. The theological conception involves the further difficulty which arises from the idea of the manifestation of God in humanity as having taken place once for all at a certain time and place. Yet this way of conceiving the idea has, as a matter of fact, been the source of its power over mankind. Paul puts the paradox without mincing in the words, 'he became sin for us, who knew no sin.' That is, he became sin in its principle and source, that is the flesh, who knew no actual sin, had not the consciousness which comes of broken law (Romans 7:7). Hence the crucifixion of his flesh was 'death unto sin.' 'He that is dead,' through the extinction of that which is the seat or source or organ of sin, is so set free from sin that he is constituted righteous. This indeed is involved in the 'dying' of 'one for all.' In Romans 8:3, the expression is modified; 'in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin.' Thus man, being in sin and consciousness of God's wrath (which means his own alienation from God), finds the Son of God putting himself in the same condition; finds God coming near him in his sins; so far from 'imputing his trespasses' he finds that he is putting his Son into the state which results from these, in order to deliver man from them; and thus, as in the Son, he is delivered from condemnation. He is saved from the evil conscience, which means conscious separation from God, and is the true penalty of the broken law. The perfect obedience of Christ becomes his, so that he starts fair for the new walk, conscious of God, not as angry with him for breach of the law, but as helping him. 'Christ is the end of the law.' 'Much more by the obedience of one shall the many be made righteous.'

This is the main notion of the 'substitution' of Christ in -198- Paul; a substitution not external to us, but which holds just so far as we are in Christ and Christ in us. But as there is a more external view of the penalty for the broken law, so there is of the death of Christ which delivers us from that penalty. To the legal conscience, the penalty of non-fulfillment is regarded as apart from the act or state of non-fulfillment, as suffering of some sort superadded. To remove the apprehension of this suffering it is that the propitiatory sacrifice is instituted. From this point of view, in order to attain 'the righteousness of God,' there must not only be perfect obedience (this we attain as partakers of Christ's obedience), there must also be satisfaction for sins that are past. This is undoubtedly the requirement of the legal conscience.

The 'righteousness of God,' as equivalent to the perfect relation between man and God, can undergo no change ex parte Dei. On the part of man's consciousness it is interfered with (a) by the sense of merited condemnation, (b) by the supposition that God is careless of sin, owing to the apparent 'remission of sins that are past' (πάρεσις τῶν προγεγονότων ἁμαρτημάτων, Romans 3:25). Of course those who experienced the first could not also be liable to the second, and except in this passage the latter notion does not appear. From the first man is relieved by the appearance of the Son of God as taking upon him our sins. This implies not only his being 'made of a woman,' and thus taking on him flesh which is sin in principle, but also his being 'made under the law,' and thus bearing its penalty in his death. He thus relieves the conscience from the sense of having so deserved God's wrath as that communion with him was impossible. As relieving conscience from this burden, his death is a 'propitiatory sacrifice.' Then the question (for us moderns) arises, did Christ, in his death, really undergo God's wrath, as represented by the quantum of suffering adequate to what is due for the sins of all men? or did he merely relieve the smitten conscience from tLe sense of God's wrath by bringing God near to it in reconciliation even under its sinful conditions? Once put the question in this distinct form, and we must admit that the latter is the only moral view; but to Paul it did not present itself in this distinct form. The latter view expresses the spirit of his doctrine; and against the former it may be truly urged that his whole conception of the scheme of the world implies that 'while we were -199- sinners God loved us,' and that his wrath against us was only on the part of our conscience, and that Paul nowhere speaks of the Son as meeting his Father's anger, nowhere quantifies the penalty due to sin. On the other hand he certainly did regard Christ in the crucifixion as bearing the curse of the law, and so bearing it as that henceforth we should be exempt from it (Galatians 3:13; Romans 3:25, 26). He holds it, further, to have been such a payment of the penalty required by the law as vindicated God's righteousness against the second supposition mentioned above. 'For God to have justified man (i.e. given man such a consciousness of a satisfactory relation to God as can alone set him free to walk after the spirit) without a previous payment of penalty due for past sins, would have been incompatible with justice': such is clearly the drift of Romans 3:26. Upon this the religious moralist will rightly say that the penalty of sin is inevitably borne in the consciousness of alienation from God which it produces; that there is no other penalty but this, which is untransferable; and that the only deliverance from this lies in the transformation of that consciousness of alienation from God (through the abandonment of personal pretension) into the consciousness of his Jove. Such a transformation Paul had himself experienced according to chapters 7 and 8, the condition of it to him having been the manifestation of God in Christ under the circumstances which seemed to separate from God, his manifestation in the flesh and his death to sin in the flesh. Thus, though he did think of the death of Christ as a death in which the penalty of sin was paid, his essential thought of it was as of a death 'unto sin,' in which we ideally partake, while at the same time, by the new consciousness of God's mind towards us which it gives, it enables us gradually to actualise this ideal death unto sin as a new 'spiritual walk'; and his thought of the death of Christ as a payment of the penalty passes into the latter thought, which is what really gives his doctrine its great moral value.

As there are passages which convey the notion that Paul represents God as treating Christ as other than he is, so there are passages which convey the notion that he represented him as treating man as other than he is, as imparting to him a righteousness which he has not (e.g. Romans 4:5). God, it is supposed, punishes Christ in the -200- character, which does not really belong to him, of a sinner, that he may be enabled, compatibly with his justice, to treat man as being what he is not, namely righteous. We most nearly approach the Pauline notion of imputed righteousness when we say that it is a righteousness communicated in principle, but not yet developed in act. Just as God makes Christ sin in principle, so he makes us righteous in principle, with the difference that in the former case the principle could not be actualised, in the latter case it is evermore being actualised. The subjective side of justification is the deliverance from condemnation (Romans 3:1), from the sense of hopeless alienation from God, which is effected by the thought of God having lovingly come near us in our sins, a deliverance which is the condition of the 'new walk.' Its objective side is identification with Christ, our participation ideally (in the sight of God) in his death unto sin, of which the condition on our part is merely faith; in other words, that we do not refuse it, but open ourselves to it. The distinction which popular theology draws between 'justification' and 'sanctification' does not, in that form, occur in Paul. Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:30, δικαιοσύνη καὶ ἁγιασμὸς καὶ ἀπολύτρωσις ('righteousness and sanctification and redemption'). He constantly indeed implies a distinction between righteousness realised, and righteousness in principle, but mainly by a difference of tenses. The same terms are applied indifferently to one and to the other: comp. Romans 5:9, δικαιωθέντες with δίκαιοι κατασταθήσονται of 5:19; and 8:24, ἐσώθημεν, with 5:9, σωθσόμεθα (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:2 and Ephesians 2:5). The meaning of 'faith' as the condition of justification on the side of the believer varies from the simple hearing (ἀκοὴ πίστεως, Galatians 3:2) or receiving of the gospel, which is the beginning of the Christian life, to that faith in the Son of God by which the Christian lives ( Galatians 2:20 ): just as there is the difference between the communication of Christ in principle and in actuality, so there is a difference, in the case of faith, between the initial act of the Christian life and the faith which is said to 'work by love' (Galatians 5:6). In all its shades of meaning it still expresses the attitude of moral receptivity, but varies according to the object received through it, viz. Christ's death, or the whole spiritual life of Christ.

We cannot understand the importance which Paul attaches -201- to the 'hearing of faith' and the 'imputation of righteousness,' except in relation to the Judaic conception of a righteousness to be attained by works. We must suppose a man seeking 'glory, honour, and immortality,' by the works of the law, fearing tribulation and anguish if he fail to do these works. Such a man finds that he cannot do them; the motions of sin remain quickened into clearer consciousness by opposition to the law; he thinks of God as his enemy; there lies on him. the load of great transgression, the due penalty of which must prevent his starting fair on the new life; to him Christ's death appears as the penalty paid, he has only to abandon his own pretension and accept God's promise by faith, and he is set straight with God, justified, reconciled. To such an one the 'hearing of faith' is a relief from the sense of wrath. Or again one may think of the case in relation to the zealot for the law, who believed himself to be fulfilling the law, and prided himself on partaking in the exclusive privilege (in the sight of God) of the chosen people. To such an one the ἀκοὴ πίστεως, the adoption of the belief in the Messiah crucified by the privileged people, meant an abandonment of the old fleshly religion (fleshly because exclusive and self-assertive), and the acceptance of a religion as a gift of God to all men. Hence the 'hearing of faith,' as the central act of the new spiritual life, had to Paul an importance it can hardly have to us. To us the important thing is the new walk itself, which to Paul is the appropriation or the realisation in ourselves of the life of the risen Christ.

But then, if we take 'faith' in the fuller sense as the 'faith that works by love,' which love is the fulfilling of the righteousness of the law, what becomes of the antithesis between faith and works? The true contrast between faith and works is twofold.

(1) The distinction (valid for Paul rather than for us), between the acceptance of the gospel as the message that God has sent his Son to save all, and the view of the zealot for the law. (2) The distinction (valid for all time), between the individual working as from himself, and working as from God that worketh in him. The former is the only 'working' opposed by Paul to the true fulfilling of the righteousness of the law, which is called νόμος πίστεως, i.e. the fulfillment of the law as from God that worketh in us. Just as Paul talks of the life in the spirit as the fulfillment of the δικαίωμα -202- νόμος, so he speaks of justification as δικαίωσις ζωῆς; that setting right of the individual with God (a change on the part of the individual, not of God), which is the condition of the life that consists in consciousness of communion with God (Romans 5:18). The same notion occurs 5:10, the walk according to the spirit being a communication, according to Paul, of the risen life of the Son. Thus faith, as the subjective condition of such justification, which in its turn is the condition of the spiritual walk, is the fulfilling of the law (3:31).

The next point to be considered is the account given of the new life, its gradual fulfillment and realisation, in chapter 8. In this chapter justification is especially presented as δικαίωσις ζωῆς, 'justification of life.' The principle of this new life is the presence of Christ as the 'new man,' in antithesis to the Adam or 'old man,' in the individual and in his personal self-consciousness, i.e. his spirit. It is the life in which the self-consciousness recognises itself as a communication of God practically, in the new walk which is the fulfillment of righteousness. The principle of self-consciousness is what he calls the 'inward man' (ἔσω ἄνθρωπος, 7:22), and 'mind' (νοῡς, 7:25). Really it is the spirit of God, but at that stage in which it is described in Galatians 5:17, as still struggling with the flesh, weak, and impotent to overcome it. Hence, as the consciousness of the individual is weak, Paul generally calls it not 'spirit' (πνευῡμα) , but 'mind' (νοῡς). The condition of its seeing that it is the communication of God is the manifestation of God in his Son. This manifestation delivers the spirit from its bondage, and starts it on the new life, of which the main manifestations are (1) freedom, (2) love. Apart from the eighth chapter of the Romans, the passage which gives Paul's views in the most concentrated form is 2 Corinthians 3:17, foll. 'The Lord is the spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is' (i.e. where the Lord is manifested as the spirit) 'there is freedom.' Comp. Galatians 4:4-5, 'God sent forth his Son … that we might receive the adoption of sons,' and John 15:15, 'the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; I have called you friends.' In Galatians 5:13, the connection of freedom and love is brought out; 'use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.' Comp. the whole of 1 Corinthians 13. The aspects of spiritual freedom may be gathered up by contrasting -203- them with the different forms of bondage to which it is opposed. (1) What Paul speaks of in Galatians 4:3, as bondage to 'the elements of the world' (τὰ στοιχεῑα τοῡ κόσμου). As instances of this bondage he gives the observance of days and months and times and years; and to submit to Jewish ceremonialism he denounces as equivalent to returning to nature-worship. (2) Bondage which consists in fear. It is produced by the law, as a system of moral commands presented from outside, with no strength to obey in those to whom it is presented. The deliverance from this bondage of fear is the communication of the divine spirit presented as an inward principle, not as external (as it had been presented by the law). (3) Bondage of ignorance; the bondage of the slave who 'knows not what his lord doeth'; who has no spiritual insight into the mind of his master.

With Paul, freedom is specially the antithesis of that sort of bondage which is presented in the epistle to the Corinthians, viz. the freedom of those who have the spirit, 'searching all things, yea, even the deep things of God' (1 Corinthians 2:6, foll.) This knowledge of God, which consists in the communication of the spirit, is the open vision of God in contrast with the veiled vision of Moses, which the Jews had, whose glory was 'to be done away' (2 Corinthians 3:7, foll.) Still the word κατοπτριζόμενοι (2 Corinthians 3:18) conveys the notion of a limited vision. The face to a believer is unveiled, but there is a contrast between the beholding the face of God as 'through a glass' (1 Corinthians 13:12) and the vision that is to be.

This brings us to the next great point to be noticed about the spiritual life, not yet fully realised even in the ideal man. Though in many places Paul speaks of adoption as already complete, yet sometimes, as in Romans 8:23, he speaks of it as incomplete; 'waiting for the adoption.' There still remains a deliverance of the body to be achieved. The spirit till then is merely a 'first fruit' (ἀπαρχή, 8:23), or 'pledge' (ἀρραβών, 1 Corinthians 1:22). Again in 2 Corinthians 5:2, foll., he speaks of the distress of the body, the deliverance of which consists in being ' clothed upon with the house that is from heaven.' In 2 Corinthians 4:7, he says, 'we have this treasure in earthen vessels'; and in 1 Corinthians 15. he speaks of the resurrection of the body wrought through the spirit, which is Christ. Till the final deliverance, the attitude of the Christian -204- is one of hope (Romans 8:24). In Galatians 5:5, the 'hope of righteousness' represents the 'waiting for the manifestation' of Romans 8:19, and the 'waiting for the adoption' of Romans 8:23; 'we look for righteousness as the object of our hope.'

The delivery from the 'bondage of corruption' (Romans 8:21), must not be confused with that from bondage to the flesh (φρόνημα σαρκός, the self-seeking principle). There seem to be three senses of the word 'death' in Paul, two moral and one physical, (a) Death in sin, Romans 7:9, etc. (b) Death unto sin, or with Christ, 2 Corinthians 4:10; Romans 6:8, 11, etc. (c) Death of the body, which is indeed the result of sin, but from which death unto sin does not, at least immediately, save us (Romans 8:10). So conversely with the word 'life,' which implies (a) being alive without the law (Romans 7:9): (b) alive unto God etc. (Romans 6:11, 13; Galatians 2:20): (c) future (physical) life ( Romans 6:8; 8:11.)

Does Paul really keep these meanings apart, e.g. in Romans 8:10, 1 Corinthians 15:22? The body, as the 'natural body' (σϖμα ψυχικόν), or the 'earthly man' (ἄνθρωπος χοῒκὸς), is the seat and source of sin, which is the cause of death, of death to the body in which sin has its seat (Romans 5:12; 7:24). In 1 Corinthians 15:22, all, it is said, die in Adam, because all sinned in him. But Adam stands for the 'earthly man,' and this, again, is equivalent to the sensuous nature, or the body. 'Physical death' and 'sin,' being alike the results of the 'fleshly' or 'bodily' nature, came to be blended; though strictly, according to Romans 5:12, physical death and sin are not coordinate results of the flesh; sin is the direct result, and through it physical death. The crucifixion of Christ's body is regarded as, in idea and principle, the deliverance from the fleshly nature or 'earthly man' for all men, and thus from the consequences of that nature, (1) sin, (2) physical death. As in him, by faith, we are already, by imputation, the 'righteousness of God' (2 Corinthians 5:21), henceforth 'the spirit is life because of righteousness' (Romans 8:10); i.e. because we have become the 'righteousness of God' in Christ, the communicated Spirit, which is at once Christ's and ours, acts in us as a source of life, of 'walking according to the spirit'; a 'justification of life,' in virtue of the life within us of the risen Christ or the spirit, is being wrought in us. Christ's rising thus primarily -205- means for us deliverance from sin, as appears from 1 Corinthians 15:17. But, though death is the result of sin, Christ's condemnation of sin in the flesh, though a deliverance from the 'fleshly mind' (φρόνημα σαρκός) , does not as yet carry deliverance from death. The figure in 1 Corinthians 15:56, representing sin not as the cause but as the 'sting' of death, gives us a formula to express the continuance of physical death after deliverance from sin, which is lacking so long as sin is represented as the cause of death (cessante causa, cessat et effectus). Death remains, but without its sting. But the destruction of death, even though its sting has been drawn, is part of the work of Christ yet to be fulfilled (1 Corinthians 15:26).

Paul's idea of death is affected by two Jewish notions; (a) that without the body there is no life in the full sense, no participation in the kingdom of God; (b) that the death of the body is the penalty of sin. The second gives place to the truer notion, that φρόνημα σαρκός, the self-seeking reason, or reason as taking an end to itself from the lower nature, is sin in principle; but the Jewish idea is not quite lost. In Paul it derives a meaning from the fact that the body seems the channel of communication with the world of human society, through which the disorganisation of that society caused by sin is brought home to the 'regenerate' individual. Thus a death of the body, caused by sin, seemed to be constantly going on. Of course it is not really through the body, as the animal organism, that this sin makes itself felt by the saint; nor is the dissolution of the body in any way the result of sin; but this does not affect the essential truth of Paul's view of the necessary incompleteness of the saint so long as he is in the world. The first view survives in the notion that the work of the quickening spirit is not complete without the raising of the body. Paul's doctrine on this point commends itself to the conscience of most Christians, because by the 'unbodied spirit' they understand something out of relation to the world. Some constituents of human worth, they think, would be wanting to such a spirit. The glorified body represents to them those relations, which make us what we are as men, in some higher form.

'Moral life' is a process in which we become less and less mere parts of the world, determined by natural influences, but not thereby less related to the world. That -206- relation to it which consists in understanding, and love determined by understanding, gradually takes the place of that which consists in animal affection. The 'glorified life' must be thought of as the completion of this process. A renewed 'embodiment,' if it means anything, would be but a return to that condition in which we are but parts of nature, a condition from which the moral life is already a partial deliverance.

The resurrection of the believer, with Paul, is constantly assimilated to the resurrection of Christ. It is part of the same 'quickening' work. Hence arises a difficulty. While the resurrection of Christ is only the quickening of his body, since Christ was subject to no 'deadness in sin' from which to be quickened, on the other hand our resurrection in and with Christ is essentially a rising again from sin, and the quickening of the body yet to be achieved is merely a sequel of this. According to 1 Corinthians 15:17, had Christ's body not been quickened, the effect to us would have been, not the non-resurrection of the body, but the absence of spiritual resurrection; we should have been 'yet in our sins.'

How is this to be explained? In the case of Jesus, according to Paul's notion, since the 'quickening spirit' or 'spirit of holiness' already constitutes his personality, the spiritual quickening is ipso facto complete. For him, as perfectly holy, having 'known no sin,' just as for the Christian, so far as he is perfectly holy, there only remained the quickening of the body. But that quickening of the body was the effect, and at the same time the ratio cognoscendi, of the indwelling spirit. In so far as the raising of Christ's body was at once the effect and sign of his perfect spiritual life, this spiritual life is spoken of as a resurrection; it is identified with its most striking effect. In participating in the spiritual life of Christ, as the ideal Christian does, we are said to share his resurrection. There still has to be achieved that final effect of the quickening of the spirit, namely the deliverance from the 'bondage of corruption.'

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Thomas Hill Green
British philosopher and social theorist,
an early leader of the British Idealists.
Elected a Fellow of Balliol College, Uiversity of Oxford, 1860, Whyte's Professor of Moral Philosophy, 1878, he died at the young age of 45.



Green, Thomas Hill. Works of Thomas Hill Green, "Miscellanies and Memoir," vol. 3 of 3. K. L. Nettleship, ed., London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1888 pp. pp. 159-189.