Just vs. Righteous

Discussion in 'Languages' started by arapahoepark, Aug 18, 2012.

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  1. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I was just wondering for those who know the original languages, what is the difference between just and righteous in the Greek, yet I think they're related. I ask since I saw somewhere that the Latin translates righteousness as justice...and it seems a little far fetched to translate it like that and hence we have denying imputed righteousness and stuff.
  2. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Those are two words often used to translate the same Gk. word.

    A "just" man is "righteous," righteous in someone's eyes, by some standard. A "just" man is not in trouble with the law, but in conformity with it, as judge (or Judge) determines, or has no need to determine. A person not subject to trial is presumed "just" or "innocent." A "justified" man has been cleared by the judge.

    I would say that it is often the case, in Scripture and in life, that a "righteous" or just man is simply this: a forgiven man. Certainly, this is true with David, the later David especially, after his sin with Bathsheba. That was an horrific event, but it also shows how that David was already (in one sense) atoned for. See 2Sam.12:13, where in response to David's confession Nathan tells him that God has already put away his sin: "You shall not die." Ps.51 is throughout an acknowledgement of personal unrighteousness, and a vindication of God's righteousness, but at the end speaks of the sacrifice of righteousness. And Ps.32:11 has David calling to his fellow "righteous" to rejoice with him; and vv1-2 are a statement of the forgiveness from God, and the non-imputation of sin/guilt (which is deserved). See also Ps.130:3-4.

    There is an external righteousness that is of only limited worth. Only a spiritual judgment is of eternal value. David's external righteousness was completely overthrown by his depraved act. If he were not a child of God by grace and election (in other words, a man like Saul) his repentance would likewise have been limited to externals. That he could repent from the heart showed the work of grace in him, and he was forgiven. God treated David as if he were righteous, imputed his sin to Christ, and Christ's righteousness to him.

    As for the translation of "righteousness" as "justice," there could be times when such a rendering is fit. The "righteousness" of God could, if it refers to a display or exercise of divine attribute, be properly translated as the "justice" of God, a reflection on the divine nature itself. But there would also be times when it would better convey the nuance of the original with a word such as "justification" or "justified;" that is, a righteousness from God, or a verdict by God.

    Divine righteousness is a "big" term, that has many applications: subjective, objective, active, passive, etc. Doing theology is the art of harmonious integration of original inspired expression in an analytic enterprise, so that we may understand the parts and the whole of God's revelation. We believe Paul isn't self-contradictory, nor is he contradictory with other biblical authors; there is one Mind behind all that inspiration. Translation, therefore, is a big job, and a big deal. It must be done with care, and respect for the human author, that the present reader may be effectively taught by the apostle or prophet himself, ultimately by Holy Spirit himself.
  3. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Rev. Buchanan, when the Bible speaks of Joseph as a 'just' man, is the word referring to the sense you spoke of above, of conformity to the law (the person is not in trouble with the law, or is fine when judged by it)?

    (I ask because it relates to something you and Richard said the other day regarding the typical aspect of the death penalty in the OT, about how Joseph had the option of 'putting Mary away privately' as a 'just' man -- hence, as one who was in conformity with the law?)
  4. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

  5. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    There is much reference to the "just" and "righteous" man v. the "unjust" and "wicked" in the Psalms, Proverbs and other books of the OT, showing how mixed the covenant people were, and can be.

    If a man's or woman's life is truly characterised by justice and righteousness in God's eyes, then it will also be true that he or she is justified, because where there is true sanctification there is also justification.
  6. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I find the summary of the book rather... different...someone messed up on Amazon lol:
    "According to the authors of this book, who explore evolutionary theory from a clear Christian perspective, the common view of conflict between evolutionary theory and Christian faith is mistaken. Written by contributors representing the natural sciences, philosophy, theology, and the history of science, this thought-provoking work is informed by both solid scientific knowledge and keen theological insight. The three sections of the book address (1) relevant biblical, historical, and scientific background, (2) the scientific evidence for an evolving creation, and (3) theological issues commonly raised in connection with evolution, including the nature of Gods creative activity, the meaning of the miraculous, and the uniqueness of humankind. Woven through the volume are short meditations designed to direct readers toward worshipping the God of providence."
  7. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    That's both funny and disappointing. It's the right book, but the wrong description. You can look inside, though, and see the table of contents.
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