Righteousness by Faith (Part 5)
CHAPTER 9 — Righteousness by Faith and Sanctification
"He who through faith is righteous shall live" (Rom. 1:17, RSV). Righteousness (by faith) leads to life. Here are condition and result, root and fruit. These two things must be clearly distinguished, and they must never be separated. In Romans 3 and 4 the apostle Paul spells out how the believing sinner may be righteous by faith in the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ. In Romans 5, 6, 7 and 8 he shows how faith-righteousness leads to life—life in the Spirit, a life of holiness and eternal glory.
The Christian church has always been beset by two evils: on the one hand, a failure to distinguish between faith-righteousness and holiness; and on the other hand, a failure to appreciate the inseparable unity of these two. All right theology must maintain union without fusion, distinction without separation.
Fusion of faith-righteousness with holiness was the great error of the medieval church. We have seen how Luther broke this synthesis by putting the righteousness of faith outside of man, in heaven (calling it "passive" righteousness), and putting the righteousness of the believer's life on earth (calling it "active" righteousness). All the Reformers and all the great Reformation confessions adamantly excluded holiness of life from the Pauline article of righteousness by faith.
Rome considered the Reformation doctrine to be subversive to holiness. She was forever representing Protestantism as being against holiness in general, when it was only against holiness being included in the article of righteousness by faith before God. It is one thing to be against good works in general, but quite another thing to be against good works in the matter of the believer's righteousness before God. Yet Rome insisted that the Reformers' strictures against good works in the article of righteousness by faith meant that they were against good works in general. This was Rome's fundamental mistake.
When sanctification is injected into the article of righteousness by faith, this ruins both righteousness by faith and sanctification.
The Ruin of Righteousness by Faith
That which is at stake in the purity of faith-righteousness is the glory of Christ and the comfort of troubled consciences.
1. The Glory of Christ. If sanctification (the holy life of the believer) is injected into the article of righteousness by faith, it no longer remains the infinite and finished righteousness of the God-man. It is no longer a righteousness in which the believer had no share, because despite all the pious-sounding talk about Christ's living out His life in the believer, the believer has a part in holy living. What inevitably happens here is that the believer has to share some of the glory of saving righteousness. It cannot be said too often or insisted upon too much that faith-righteousness is a vicarious righteousness. It is entirely outside the experience of the believer and is nothing which can be seen or felt. It is nothing but the doing and dying of the God-man. Adding anything to this substitutionary work and calling it our righteousness by faith before God is blasphemy.
2. The Comfort of Troubled Consciences. Sanctification includes the responsible activity of the believer along with the indwelling presence of the Spirit. Man at his best state is still a vessel of sinful flesh, and therefore to some extent he defiles and contaminates everything he touches. This is why the great evangelist, George Whitefield, used to say, "I cannot pray but I sin; I cannot preach to you but I sin." Everything, including the holy life of the believer, proceeds from the corrupt channel of humanity, and it is so defiled by the human taint that it could never be accepted of God except for the covering cloud of Christ's merit. How thankful we therefore ought to be that God has given us a righteousness which, being at God's right hand, is untouched by human activity—even sanctified activity! But when people are deceived on this point by injecting sanctification into the article of faith-righteousness, they can never stand before God with an easy conscience. In resting their confidence of salvation to life eternal partly on an internal work, they are thrown into terrible uncertainty and perhaps desperation. Luther was right when he called this system of salvation "the slaughterhouse of the conscience."
The Ruin of Sanctification
When sanctification is injected into the article of righteousness by faith, sanctification is ruined for two reasons:
1. Nothing is clearer in Paul than that the righteousness which is of faith is of faith alone, without the deeds of the law (Rom. 1:17; 3:21-22, 28; 4:5-6). It is quite proper to talk about "faith alone" and "without the deeds of the law" in the matter of faith-righteousness. But it is heresy to talk in the same way about sanctification. Living a holy life is not accomplished by faith alone. The responsible activity of the believer is required. Sanctification includes the whole life and the performance of all the duties of a believer. These tasks are not done without an effort, a fight, a battle, a race and a good deal of conflict. The "passive" (Luther) righteousness of faith is a substitutionary work—it was done for us without our doing anything. But the "active" (Luther) righteousness of good works requires believer participation, because the Holy Spirit's indwelling is not another substitutionary work.
Man is both a creature and a person, and this dual aspect of man must be reckoned with in the doctrine of sanctification. Because man is a creature totally dependent on God, the Scriptures say that God sanctifies him by His indwelling power. But because man is also a person, the Scriptures also say that he must purify and sanctify himself (1 John 3:3; 2 Cor. 7:1). God does not act upon man as if he were only a thing. He does not live in the believer in such a way that He does the obeying and living of the victory-life for the believer. That would dehumanize man. God is just as interested in human freedom as in human salvation. He does not destroy human responsibility. He so acts upon the believer that the believer remains free in his activity in such a way that his acts of believing and obeying the law of God are truly his own. To confuse (fuse) the action of God and the action of the believer is actually a form of pantheism. Pantheism has to be the end result of injecting sanctification into the Pauline article of righteousness by faith.
Once we see that God deals with man not only as a creature but as a person, we will realize that salvation is the restoration of the true freedom, individuality and selfhood of man. It means that all of man's acts become genuinely his own acts even though he is at the same time completely dependent on the power of the indwelling Spirit. This is why the New Testament can quite fusslessly talk about the good works, work of faith, and loving deeds of believers. We run into all sorts of problems when we try to be more spiritual than the Bible. So to avoid a sickly Quietism or a dangerous form of pantheism, let us keep the clear distinction between the righteousness of faith alone and the righteousness of life.
2. Good works are only such when they are not done on one's own account. If sanctification is injected into the article of righteousness by faith, this means that we are saved partly by sanctification (that is, good works). Then the believer is forced to do good works to be saved. These works are then done for his own account; and being done with this ulterior motive, they cannot be "good works." If the works of the saints are to be truly good, the article of righteousness by faith must not be adulterated with the activity of the believer.
There are always two sides on which to fall off the straight path of truth. If fusion of the righteousness of faith with sanctification of life is Rome's special weakness, the separation of faith-righteousness from sanctification is the special temptation which has beset sections of the Protestant movement. While fusion of the two results in legalism, their separation leads to antinomianism. Much of Protestantism today is soft and flabby, permissive and lawless. This is what seems to trouble men like Ziesler.1 He suspects that there is no clear road from the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith to ethics. This is what leads him to propose a new synthesis between the righteousness of faith and the sanctification of life. But we cannot accept this synthesis without giving up Luther's distinction between the law and the gospel.
Those who want to include sanctification in the Pauline article of righteousness by faith reason something like this: "Isn't the gospel God's power for salvation? Isn't deliverance from the power and pollution of sin (sanctification) as necessary as deliverance from the guilt and condemnation of sin (justification)? Why confine the gospel to purely legal categories? Isn't God's work in us accomplished by divine power just as much as His work for us? Don't we also live the victorious life by faith alone? Since the believer lives a righteous life by faith in Christ's indwelling power, why not call it "righteousness by faith"? This kind of argument really says: "Yours is a weak, truncated gospel which is confined merely to what is done external to man. Mine is a full-orbed gospel which is able to actually transform man internally and give him victory over sin." Those who are committed to this way of thinking imagine that witnessing for Christ means witnessing about the new-found love, peace and power in their lives. Celebrating the power of the gospel means celebrating their new life-styles.
The problem with this sort of thinking is not that it makes the power of the gospel too great. In actual fact, the power of the gospel ends up being belittled, because it is identified with the present life of the believer. The Holy Spirits potency to change lives here and now is not in question. But this sort of witnessing forces people to be hypocrites, to be less than honest about their own sin and weakness. The fact of the matter is that the best saints, including holy prophets, apostles and martyrs, make startling confessions about their own sinfulness and weakness (Eccl. 7:20; Ps. 143:2; Isa. 6:3-6; Rom. 7:14-25; James 3:2; 1 John 1:8). For all their sanctified attainments, the best of them are poor, mortal creatures who are still part and parcel of this present, sinful, dying age. Well may they rejoice as they contemplate their righteousness laid up for them in Christ. But at the same time, as they contemplate their own situation, they often exclaim, "Wretched man that I am!" (Rom. 7:24). If there is anything which marks the power of the Spirit in them, it is this: that being so sick, they believe they are whole in Christ; that dying, they believe they have eternal life in Him; that being so sinful, they believe they have perfect righteousness in their Representative at God's right hand. This sort of faith is the chief evidence of the Spirit's work.
The point is this: If the best saint is still encompassed with original sin and a thousand infirmities, if he is still a feeble, dying mortal, how can he be an exhibition of the full power of the gospel? We might well look one of these victory-life witnesses in the eye and say, "For all your splendid piety, you too are still a poor, sinful, dying wretch; and excuse me for saying so, but you don't look a whole lot different from anyone else [since the sons of God are not yet finally manifested—Rom. 8:19]. If you are number one exhibit of the extent of the power of your gospel, I'm not too impressed that it is so powerful after all!"
This raises the question: Does the new life (holiness) of the believer have any place at all in the total Christian witness? Is it ever legitimate to speak of the changed life through the indwelling power of the Spirit, of the love, peace and joy which abounds in the believer by the power of the Spirit? Yes, the subjective experience, when kept under the umbrella of the gospel, may have a legitimate place in the total Christian witness. Let us explain this by answering three questions: What is the gospel? What is justification by faith? What is the nature of Christian holiness?
What Is the Gospel?
To those who ask whether the gospel is the message of deliverance from the pollution of sin as well as deliverance from the guilt of sin, we must not only answer Yes, but we must go further. The gospel is the good news that God has in Christ delivered us from the guilt, power and presence of sin. In Christ, humanity has been rescued, restored and promoted so that it sits down glorified at God's right hand. In Colossians 2:15 Paul declares that Christ has not only wiped out our sins, but that He has utterly vanquished every power arrayed against us. Death, sin and Satan have all been alike defeated. All the promises of the Old Testament—promises about what God would do at the end of the world—have already been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The eschatological new creation has already taken place in Him; the life of the age to come has already broken into history in His person and work. The good news is also that Christ has won for us the gift of the Holy Spirit in all His fullness and eternal glory. If the death of Christ signifies the removal of all the curses of the covenant, the resurrection (and ascension) of Christ means that all the blessings of the covenant have already been secured for us by our Representative.
So let us be clear that the gospel is not just the announcement that a few blessings have been secured for us by Jesus Christ, but that absolutely all blessings have been won for humanity in and through Him.
What Is Justification by Faith?
As we have already argued, justification is a judicial word and is therefore a verdict of the divine court. It is also an eschatological verdict—meaning that it is the decision of the day of judgment which the believer possesses in the present by faith.
While the declaration of the Judge is either "I condemn him" or "I justify him," we must see what is at stake in the divine decree. It is more than a matter of a bare verdict. As Girdlestone points out, the question of inheritance is at stake in this matter of justification.2 While we must think of a court scene in the matter of justification, we must not think of the court scene only in terms of a lawbreaker in the dock. C. S. Lewis points out that if we follow the thinking of the psalmist, we must not think of the penitent believer as a prisoner in the dock, but we must think of him as the plaintiff who has a good case; and like a good Jew, he presses for heavy damages against the enemy.3
Let us put it this way: Satan is our enemy. He has robbed us of our inheritance and has subjected us to cruel bondage and death. We have lost our fellowship with God, the presence of the Holy Spirit, clear minds, free wills, sanctified emotions, a strong body, a glorious environment and eternal glory. Satan, of course, argues that we have forfeited all right to these things because of our sins (see Zech. 3).
Justification is a verdict in our favor on the grounds that Christ has taken away our sins and given us a perfect righteousness to stand before the law. Satan's case is quashed; and in the verdict of the court, the believer is not only forgiven, but he is given the inheritance. What is this inheritance? It is a life of purity and holiness, fellowship with God, the gift of the Holy Spirit, a life that measures with the life of God, a disease-free body and mind, a share in Christ's glory and a seat with Him on His throne. In short, God's justification is a "justification of life" (Rom. 5:18)—that is, a verdict of eternal life and glory. ("He who through faith is righteous shall live.") This is why Paul declares that the justified "rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rom. 5:2) and that "whom He justified, them He also glorified" (Rom. 8:30).
In this light, justification is not only a part of salvation, but it is full salvation; it gives us absolutely everything which God has to give. All aspects of salvation—deliverance from the power of sin, a holy life, deliverance from corruption to incorruption, the glorified body and a restored environment—are implicit in the verdict of justification and flow from it.
What Is the Nature of Christian Holiness?
A life of holiness on the part of the believer is not that which saves him either in whole or in part, but holiness is what the gospel of free justification saves the believer to. Holiness is part of the free salvation which we receive in the verdict of the Judge. It is just as much a part of salvation (inheritance) as is the redeemed body which will be bestowed on believers at the great resurrection.
Let us put it this way: Holiness is the King's highway, and only those who are justified have the right to walk this way of new obedience. Whether we read the Old Testament or the New Testament in this matter, the truth remains the same: obedience to the law of God has no relevance or significance except for those who have been elected to covenantal fellowship with God. A person who is not justified can only go through the motions of obedience, and he is an absolute stranger to holiness as far as God is concerned. But "he who through faith is righteous shall live—that is, he shall find the way of life and walk the way of holiness.
In this light, sanctification is not an optional extra for believers. Although they are not saved by it, they cannot be saved without it. Since holiness is what they are saved to, they know that a stranger to holiness is a stranger to salvation. "He who through faith is righteous shall live," but if a person is dead to holiness, it is clear that he is not righteous by faith. All who are righteous by faith live. However, a "dead" person or a dead church cannot be revived by preaching sanctification, but only by preaching the gospel of righteousness by faith.
Now let us look more closely at the nature of Christian holiness. In Paul we see that it has three characteristics: it is eschatological, it is holistic, and it is corporate.
1. It Is Eschatological. We have already seen that justification in Paul is thoroughly eschatological (that is, it is the verdict of the final judgment received in the present by faith). The life which issues from the verdict of the Judge is also eschatological. When Paul says, "He who through faith is righteous shall live," it is clear that "shall live" refers to eternal life. He could just as truly have said, "He who through faith is righteous shall be saved." (In Matthew 19:16-25 the terms "eternal life," "life" and "saved" are used interchangeably.) Salvation, of course, is eschatological—it is what God has promised to bring His people at the last day (Isa. 25:9; Heb. 9:28). In Romans 5:9 Paul says, "Since, therefore, we are now justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved from the wrath of God" (RSV). The eschatological connotations here are self-evident.
In Romans, Paul moves from justification to glorification (Rom. 5:1-2; 8:30). That is to say, justification results in glorification because it is the Judge's verdict awarding the life of eternal glory to the penitent believer. This is the meaning of the introductory scripture, "He who through faith is righteous shall live." But in Romans 8, Paul moves from the future life of glory to the present life of holiness without even "changing gears" (see Rom. 8:9-25). This is a most important indication of the nature of Christian holiness. It means that sanctification is glorification begun in the here and now, while glorification is sanctification completed in the there and then. Holiness is the beginning of eternal life; it is the life of heaven begun in the present. Sanctification, therefore, is eschatological—it is the life of the age to come which is begun to be experienced. True, it is only the first fruits of the life of glory (Rom. 8:23), but it is nevertheless the beginnings of that life. It is the pledge and assurance that the "full payment" is about to be manifested, so much so that the New Testament community stands on tiptoe in anticipation of the great consummation.
Thus, when Paul says, "He who through faith is righteous shall live," under the head "shall live" he includes both sanctification and glorification, because they are actually one.
Sanctification and glorification (the life of the new age) are especially identified with the work of the Holy Spirit. The outpouring of God's Spirit is eschatological. It is what the Old Testament promised would happen at the end of the world (see Joel 2). At Pentecost, Peter declared that this event was being fulfilled in the outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2:16-20). Here was proof that the great day of God had drawn nigh. No wonder men were stirred and pricked in their hearts as they were confronted with the terrors of the day of judgment with their hands stained with the blood of God's Son!
In Romans 8, Paul easily oscillates between talking about the Spirits work of changing the believer at the last day and the present indwelling of the Spirit by which the believer mortifies the deeds of the body. It is sometimes difficult to tell whether Paul is talking about future glorification by the Spirit or present sanctification by the Spirit (e.g., Rom. 8:10-11). All this means that the gift of the Spirit is eschatological: it is what is given to the believer in the verdict of justification. The Spirit resurrects the dead and transforms from corruption to incorruption, from mortality to immortality. Although the final manifestation of the Spirits power is yet future, the believing community already partakes of the "firstfruits" of glory in the Spirit's sanctifying presence. The New Testament church regards the present gift of the Spirit as the evidence that the full work of the Spirit in glorification is about to be manifested.
We might now point out in what sense the present experience of the believer may be included in the total Christian witness. It should be quite clear that the changed life of the Christian is not the gospel, because the gospel is the good news of a perfect and finished work—that is, God's awesome, infinite act of redemption in the Christ event. Neither is the changed life of the Christian the full manifestation of God's power, for it is evident that the saints are still encompassed with many infirmities and much remaining inbred sin. We submit that any believer who is enlightened about God's holiness and his own falling short of God's glory is going to be very reluctant about putting his own life forward as an exhibit of God's power. Besides, other sinners are generally helped and encouraged more by the believer's humbly confessing his sinnerhood and expressing confidence in God's continued forgiveness than by a parade of super-piety.
A believer's life, however, should adorn the gospel and provide credible evidence that God does give a foretaste of the life of the age to come in present Christian experience. The believer may legitimately testify, "He who puts his faith in the righteousness of Christ gains eternal life and begins to live as those who are alive from the dead." Holiness is the legitimate fruit of the righteousness of faith and the proof that faith is the genuine article (James 2:14-18).
2. It Is Holistic. In chapter two of this series ("The Relation of Righteousness and Salvation") we pointed out that biblical salvation does not mean salvation of a part of man but the salvation of the whole man. To the men who wrote the Bible, man is an indivisible, dynamic whole. The idea that man is two entirely separate and distinct substances called "body" and "soul" is a Greek idea that has often been imported into the biblical text. When the Bible talks about "heart," "mind," "soul," "flesh," "body," it is not speaking of the parts of human nature in an analytical way. The Hebrews always conceived of life as a dynamic whole. Thus, these are terms which view human life from a variety of perspectives. God is seen as the Maker and Lover of the whole man. The Old Testament promises that on the last day, God will restore human life to perfect soundness. It will be restored to its proper relationship with God, with society and with the material world. The environment itself will be rescued from the general state of disruption caused by sin. The whole man will once again enjoy all of God's gifts in a restored community in fellowship with God. Salvation is often spoken of in quite materialistic terms.
The New Testament does not abandon this Old Testament concept of salvation and opt for a "spiritualized" Grecian concept. (The apostle Paul was often in conflict with this super-spirituality of the Greeks, which depreciated the body and the material order.) New Testament salvation is just as "materialistic" as the Old Testament salvation. Christ came bodily to earth, went about doing good (which included healing sick bodies and feeding hungry people), shed His blood on a Roman cross, rose bodily from the grave, and ascended to heaven bearing the form and substance of human flesh. The salvation event has taken place in His work of atonement. We have it now by faith alone, but He will bring this salvation to us upon His return. This will include the resurrection body and a redeemed environment (Rom. 8:19-25).
Christian sanctification, being the first fruits or beginnings of this great salvation, must in the very nature of the case be holistic. We have often done damage to the Christian message by trying to be more spiritual than the New Testament. A lot of pietistic-type holiness sounds too much like the sanctification of the "soul-box"—a sort of mystical inward piety that has very little to do with concrete, daily existence. The medieval church, with her vast separation between sacred and secular, clergy and laity, higher nature and lower nature, has not been alone in being stuck in the mud of this "Grecian"-type piety.
Let us think of this whole matter of doing what the Bible calls "good works." (That is what sanctification is—good works. At any rate, that is what Luther so often called it.) Too frequently the idea obtains that "good works" are concerned with the performance of extraordinary works, or at least "spiritual"-type works. The medieval church moved good (spiritual) works away from the arena of ordinary life, which is largely occupied with eating, toiling for daily bread, marrying, building houses and doing menial tasks. Good works were especially associated with saying prayers, singing hymns, taking vows and forgoing such things as eating, marrying and engaging in daily toil.
Luther did much to restore biblical holiness by teaching that good works do not mean doing special things, but doing ordinary things in faith and gratitude to God. Man is a creature. God has made him to be a worker. Life is made up largely of doing very ordinary things. But it is very essential for a believer to know that the cheerful, creaturely performance of common tasks is well-pleasing to God. All such work is to be sanctified and viewed as a very sacred matter. It is necessary that this work be done in faith, for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. That is to say, a believer must say to himself: "God has made me to be a worker to help look after the created order and to serve my fellow men. I believe that doing these humble, creaturely tasks is well-pleasing to God. It is my appointed task, and I will therefore do this work with gratitude. God will accept my serving these people or looking after these animals or caring for this business enterprise as my faithful service to Jesus Christ."
It is this faith which makes ordinary work pleasing to God through Jesus Christ. It sometimes takes more faith to be a Christian as an accountant, a mechanic or a housewife than it does to be a gospel-preaching missionary. It is a sin of unbelief to suppose that doing ordinary, creaturely tasks is less the Lord's work than being on the forefront of evangelical witnessing.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Paul declares that sanctification embraces the whole man—spirit, soul and body. There is a family of words which belongs together: health, whole, wholesome, hale, holy. To be holy means to be healthy in the true sense of the word. It means to be a whole person. Dualism destroys man's wholeness. Therefore it is an unholy teaching and must bear unholy fruit. Too often we as Christians have acted as if the body and the environment did not matter in the Christian life. But on what grounds do we think that the good Lord, who made all things, is pleased when we overeat, under exercise and fail to avail ourselves of information on how to care for His creation over which He has made us stewards (see Gen. 1:29-30). The "social gospel" of liberalism is a predictable reaction to a dehumanizing, world-hating kind of spirituality which talks of saving souls as if God were only interested in saving some metaphysical aspect of human life.
Righteousness of faith always leads to righteousness of life. And righteousness (as we have already seen) means a right relationship in three dimensions: 1). with God, 2). with others and 3). with the created order. Human life is set within a variety of relationships. Sanctification means the sanctification of all of them.
3. It Is Communal. In the Bible, salvation is not only holistic, but it is especially the salvation of the community. This aspect of redemption has often been overlooked. Holiness means not only to be whole in ourselves, but whole in our relationship with others.
God does not save people as so many separate islands in isolation from others. When God dealt with Adam, He dealt with the covenantal head of the race; and when He gave us Christ, He gave Him as the new Head of the new race. The Old Testament speaks far more about the salvation of Israel, the covenantal community, than about the salvation of individuals. Individuals were certainly included in God's saving acts, but only individuals within the community which was the object of His supreme regard. Paul reminds his readers that "all Israel shall be saved" (Rom. 11:26). Israel is Jesus Christ and all those in Him. The new covenant is said to be made "with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah" (Heb. 8:8). Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25). The New Jerusalem is the mother of every believer, and each believer belongs to that eschatological community which stands on tiptoe, waiting for the coming of the Lord (Gal. 4:26). All who are baptized are baptized or incorporated not only into Christ, but into His body (Gal. 3:27; 1 Cor. 12:13). There is no salvation apart from or outside the redeemed community.
So too, the consummation of salvation is corporate. ". . . apart from us they [who have died in faith] should not be made perfect (Heb. 11:40, RSV). The crown of righteousness will be given "at that day" to all who love Christ's appearing (2 Tim. 4:8).
The New Testament knows of no individual, private eschatology which takes place at death. The New Testament saints dwelt on Christ's coming, not their going, as the "blessed hope." Salvation is eschatological, holistic and corporate.
This being so, it means that sanctification must be life within the redeemed community, the body of Christ. In this community all believers are priests, as Luther says, not for themselves but for others. Every spiritual gift of the Spirit (charismata) is given for the edification of the body, never for the edification of one's self.
If we look at Paul's exhortations to live holy lives, we will see that most of these passages are written in the context of life within the brotherhood of the believing community. For instance, the appeal for humility has special application to seeing our place as one member in the body—a member who equally shares the fruits of Christ's humiliation on our behalf. The exhortation to be long-suffering is in the face of living with redeemed sinners who are not always easy to live with. The command to forgive one another presupposes the sinnerhood of the congregation. The church, as Luther says, is an inn for the sick and for the convalescents. She is not the palace where the whole and the perfect live. The church is to be full of the forgiveness of sins. All must live by daily and continual forgiveness, and each must proclaim to his brother, "Your sins are forgiven." The church on earth, enfeebled and defective, is the object of God's supreme regard and is the environment ideally suited for the nurture and development of Christian character.
1 J. A. Ziesler, The Meaning of Righteousness in Paul (New York. Cambridge University Press, 1972).
2 Robert B. Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976).
3 C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms (Huntington, N. Y.: Fontana Books, 1958), pp.15-16.