Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 04:2 (Autumn 1991)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“The Obedience of Faith in the Letter to the Romans. Part II: The Obedience of Faith and Judgment by Works,” D. B. Garlington, Westminster Theological Journal 53, 1991, pp. 47–72.

This is the second of two articles on the meaning of the phrase “the obedience of the faith” in Romans. (See review of Part I, JOTGES 4 [Spring 1991]: 89-92.) The first article suggested that Paul’s use of the phrase “obedience of faith” in Romans meant “believing obedience” (adjectival genitive)-a deliberately ambiguous expression which could denote both the obedience which is faith and the obedience which is the product of faith. This second article builds on this interpretation and focuses on the relation of the obedience of faith to final vindication on the day of judgment. Specifically, how can the NT passages be reconciled, which on the one hand, declare present justification to be secured by faith alone, while other passages (Rom 2:13; Matt 12:36–37; Jas 2:24; 2 Cor 5:10) describe a future justification by works?

The article consists of three divisions: first, an examination of Paul’s dialogue with Israel in Rom 1:1–3:8; second, an examination of Rom 2:13: “The Justification of the Doers of the Law”; and third, an explanation of what it means to be a doer of the law in Romans 2.

To be a doer of the law is to love others, because it is love that fulfills the law (Rom 13:9–10; Gal 5:13–14). Israel’s misguided devotion to the law led them to hate those outside the law and thus to violate the very spirit of the law. In this sense, they were not “doers of the law” (pp. 66–67). Love is the supreme characteristic of the Christian faith. In a word, the “obedience of the faith” is love: “Hence if we ask what is the obedience of faith that results in eschatological justification, the answer is love, which fulfills the law” (p. 67).

Yet there must be a perseverance in this love, because “embodied in the obedience of the faith” is “the work of endurance consequent upon entrance into Christ” (p. 67). Quoting Jas 1:12, “Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him,” Garlington comments: “Co...

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