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Who are declared righteous for life ?


Diakonos
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According to Romans Chapter 4, a person is declared righteous by God through their faith in Christ. The society makes a distinction between the righteousness that was reckoned or credited to Abraham and the righteousness that is counted to the annointed. According to the publications Abraham's righteousness made him a friend of God whereas the annointed are declared righteous for life as God's children and heirs of Christ. However as I read Romans Ch 4 I came across these verses regarding Abraham, especially verses 23 and 24

   

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 But because of the promise of God, he did not waver in a lack of faith; but he became powerful by his faith, giving God glory 
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 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to do.
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 Therefore, “it was counted to him as righteousness.”
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 However, the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake only,
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 but also for our sake, to whom it will be counted, because we believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord up from the dead.
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As I read these verses it struck me that Paul saw no difference in Abraham having righteousness "counted to him" and 1st century Christians having righteousness "counted to them" .As verse 23 shows this is the same declaring of righteousness with the same resulting promise. I tried to research those verses in the Watchtower Library but strangely enough there were no direct references to explain them.

Any thoughts on these verses ?

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I understand Ph.2:9-11 to indicate that every intelligent creation will be subject to Christ.  As Ps 37:29 speaks of righteous ones living forever on earth, so this constitutes one destiny. Obviously, a heavenly hope is held out in the Scripture also (Heb.3:1), so this relates to the other destiny. 

I would agree that this refers to an earth-based destiny. Earlier I made a list of some topics that were more often used during a time when the Watch Tower publications often took a special note of the differences between the spirit-anointed class and those who were not spirit-anointed. As you might recall, Matthew 5:5 was often included in this same type of discussion. I should have included it. I became a publisher in 1962 according to my Publishers Record Card and I remember my firs

We have no inherent right to approach Jehovah due to our sinful nature and his holiness. I think it's just as easy to read that this was the very purpose and meaning of Jesus' mediatorship -- the exact same purpose of the ransom. Only by imputing undeserved righteousness on all Christians, covering over our sins, does Jesus make it possible for all of us to approach Jehovah's throne of Majesty through prayer. This was the argument being made by some of the "murmurers" in 1979. This was the reaso

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21 hours ago, Diakonos said:

As I read these verses it struck me that Paul saw no difference in Abraham having righteousness "counted to him" and 1st century Christians having righteousness "counted to them" .As verse 23 shows this is the same declaring of righteousness with the same resulting promise.

Yes, you got it, Diakonos. Galatians (which is a mini-Romans) makes the same argument, leading up to the punchline:

"You are all, in fact, sons of God through your faith in Christ Jesus. ... Moreover, if you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham’s offspring, heirs with reference to a promise." - Galatians 3:26, 29; cf. Rom. 8:14, 17.

Thus being "declared righteous for life" and "declared righteous as God's friend" is, in biblical salvation terms, a distinction without a difference.

 

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22 hours ago, Diakonos said:

The society makes a distinction between the righteousness that was reckoned or credited to Abraham and the righteousness that is counted to the annointed.

Seems to me that the word "righteousness" is a bit like the word "perfection". It's meaning has a lot to do with whose standard it is meeting, the purpose for which it is required, and the context in which it is used.

With that in mind, obviously Abraham's place in the outworking of God's purpose is different to that of the "anointed", if by that term you are referring to humans who leave the material realm and go to heaven to become "kings and priests" with Christ in his heavenly kingdom.

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47 minutes ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Seems to me that the word "righteousness" is a bit like the word "perfection". It's meaning has a lot to do with whose standard it is meeting, the purpose for which it is required, and the context in which it is used.

With that in mind, obviously Abraham's place in the outworking of God's purpose is different to that of the "anointed", if by that term you are referring to humans who leave the material realm and go to heaven to become "kings and priests" with Christ in his heavenly kingdom.

Exactly

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I see where you are coming from. The standard of righteousness is Jehovah's and his standards do not change. The verses in Romans are applied to Abraham because of his faith in Gods promises. Righteousness was credited to him in the same way as it was credited to 1st century Christians and also to those who have faith in the ransom. According to the authority of the scriptures you cannot have 2 different applications of being declared righteous. I realize that thinking along these lines may seem to muddy the societies teachings however the recent WT study highlights how "the slave" can err in doctrinal matters. As lovers of truth we must rely on the authority of Gods word.

 

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On 11/26/2016 at 8:47 AM, Diakonos said:

According to Romans Chapter 4, a person is declared righteous by God through their faith in Christ. The society makes a distinction between the righteousness that was reckoned or credited to Abraham and the righteousness that is counted to the annointed.

This is interesting as I was just reading about the gift of eternal life and the idea the society has in regards to the anointed. The distinction the society makes between the anointed and regular jws on receiving eternal life is almost on par with this righteousness topic. I would say that the righteousness is a bit more like eternal life than perfection. In John 5:24 we are told that all who hear the words of Jesus and believe, HAVE eternal life. Already a given once one believes, John 6:40 &47. This would be the same thing as Abraham's belief and also that of the 1st century Christians. 

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On 11/27/2016 at 17:08, Diakonos said:

I realize that thinking along these lines may seem to muddy the societies teachings

Not for me. Does it for you? Obviously, Abraham's destiny and that of the first century Christians addressed by Paul differ, as did Jehovah's requirements for them in their time, but their being righteous in God's eyes does not.

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11 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

scriptural proof

Genesis. Chapters 11-25

Despite his righteous standing and his significant role in the outworking of God's purpose subsequent to the event described at Gen. 12:1-3, Abraham did not become one of the spirit-anointed, baptised, born-again followers of Christ addressed by Paul in Rom Chap.4 before he died. Therefore, his destiny differed from those who do.

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19 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Obviously, Abraham's destiny and that of the first century Christians addressed by Paul differ,

How is it obvious Abraham's destiny and that of first century Christians differ?

7 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

Despite his righteous standing and his significant role in the outworking of God's purpose subsequent to the event described at Gen. 12:1-3, Abraham did not become one of the spirit-anointed, baptised, born-again followers of Christ addressed by Paul in Rom Chap.4 before he died. Therefore, his destiny differed from those who do.

He was born in the time before Jesus and Christianity, yes. But how does your conclusion follow that his and Christians' destinies are different?

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Understanding will increase – no need to be argumentative or dogmatic

 

 

(1 Corinthians 13:12, 13) 12 For now we see in hazy outline by means of a metal mirror, but then it will be face-to-face. At present I know partially, but then I will know accurately, just as I am accurately known. 13 Now, however, these three remain: faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love.

 

 

 (Proverbs 4:18) But the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light That grows brighter and brighter until full daylight.

 

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Both earthly and heavenly servants are righteous, but Jehovah can do what he wants with this things.   As with household servants, some can be assigned to serve in the inner chambers, some can serve in the courtyard.

 

 

 (Isaiah 60:21) And all your people will be righteous; They will possess the land forever. They are the sprout that I planted, The work of my hands, for me to be beautified.

 

(Matthew 20:14-16) 14 Take what is yours and go. I want to give to this last one the same as to you. 15 Do I not have the right to do what I want with my own things? Or is your eye envious because I am good?’ 16 In this way, the last ones will be first, and the first ones last.”

 

 

Declared righteous as Friends of God

 

(James 2:18-23) 18 Nevertheless, someone will say: “You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that there is one God, do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder. 20 But do you care to know, O empty man, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father declared righteous by works after he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that his faith was active along with his works and his faith was perfected by his works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled that says: “Abraham put faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as righteousness,” and he came to be called Jehovah’s friend.

 

*** w14 2/15 pp. 11-12 Rejoice Over the Marriage of the Lamb! ***

“THEY WILL BE BROUGHT WITH REJOICING”

14 Read Psalm 45:12, 14b, 15. The prophet Zechariah foretold that in the time of the end, people of the nations would gratefully associate themselves with the remnant of spiritual Israel. He wrote: “In those days ten men out of all the languages of the nations will take hold, yes, they will take firm hold of the robe of a Jew, saying: ‘We want to go with you, for we have heard that God is with you people.’” (Zech. 8:23) At Psalm 45:12, these symbolic “ten men” are spoken of as “the daughter of Tyre” and “the wealthiest of men.” They come to the anointed remnant with gifts, ‘seeking their favor’ and spiritual help. Since 1935, millions of people have allowed the remnant to ‘bring them to righteousness.’ (Dan. 12:3) These loyal companions of the anointed Christians have purified their lives, becoming spiritual virgins. These “virgin companions” of the bride have dedicated themselves to Jehovah and have proved themselves to be faithful subjects of the Bridegroom-King.

15 The remnant of the bride class have been particularly grateful to these “virgin companions” for their zealous help in preaching “this good news of the Kingdom” throughout the inhabited earth. (Matt. 24:14) Not only do “the spirit and the bride keep on saying, ‘Come!’” but those hearing say, “Come!” (Rev. 22:17) Yes, the “other sheep” heard the members of the anointed bride class say “Come!” and have joined the bride in saying “Come!” to earth’s inhabitants.—John 10:16.

16 The anointed remnant love their companions and are happy to know that the Bridegroom’s Father, Jehovah, has granted these other sheep on earth the privilege of joining in the jubilation over the heavenly marriage of the Lamb. It was foretold that these “virgin companions” would be “brought with rejoicing and joy.” Yes, the other sheep, who hope to live forever on earth, will share in the universal rejoicing when the marriage of the Lamb takes place in heaven. Appropriately, the book of Revelation represents the members of the “great crowd” as “standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” They render Jehovah sacred service in the earthly courtyard of his spiritual temple.—Rev. 7:9, 15.

“YOUR SONS WILL TAKE THE PLACE OF YOUR FOREFATHERS”

17 Read Psalm 45:16. “The virgin companions” of Christ’s heavenly bride will have further cause for rejoicing when they see the marriage become fruitful in the new world. The Bridegroom-King will turn his attention to the earth and will resurrect his earthly “forefathers,” who will become his earthly “sons.” (John 5:25-29; Heb. 11:35) From among these he will appoint “princes in all the earth.” Doubtless, Christ will appoint others from among faithful elders of today to take the lead in the new world.—Isa. 32:1.

18 During his Millennial Reign, Christ will become a father to others also. In fact, all earth’s inhabitants who receive everlasting life will gain it because they exercise faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. (John 3:16) He thus becomes their “Eternal Father.”—Isa. 9:6, 7.

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Declared righteous as Sons of God – raised in perfection as spirit  creatures

 

 (Romans 8:16, 17) The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 If, then, we are children, we are also heirs—heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ—provided we suffer together so that we may also be glorified together.

 

(Romans 6:1-7) 6 What are we to say then? Should we continue in sin so that undeserved kindness may increase? 2 Certainly not! Seeing that we died with reference to sin, how can we keep living any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 So we were buried with him through our baptism into his death, in order that just as Christ was raised up from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in a newness of life. 5 If we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united with him in the likeness of his resurrection.

 

*** w98 2/15 pp. 14-15 Jehovah Brings Many Sons to Glory ***

The Witness of the Spirit

10 All 144,000 anointed Christians have had absolute evidence that they have God’s spirit. In this regard, Paul wrote: “You received a spirit of adoption as sons, by which spirit we cry out: ‘Abba, Father!’ The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. If, then, we are children, we are also heirs: heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ, provided we suffer together that we may also be glorified together.” (Romans 8:15-17) Anointed Christians have a filial spirit toward their heavenly Father, a dominant sense of sonship. (Galatians 4:6, 7) They are absolutely certain that they have been begotten by God to spiritual sonship as joint heirs with Christ in the heavenly Kingdom. In this, Jehovah’s holy spirit plays a definite role.

11 Under the influence of God’s holy spirit, the spirit, or dominant attitude, of anointed ones impels them to respond in a positive way to what God’s Word says about the heavenly hope. For instance, when they read what the Scriptures say about Jehovah’s spiritual children, they spontaneously acknowledge that such words apply to them. (1 John 3:2) They know that they have been “baptized into Christ Jesus” and into his death. (Romans 6:3) Their firm conviction is that they are God’s spiritual sons, who will die and be resurrected to heavenly glory, as Jesus was.

12 Being begotten to spiritual sonship is not a cultivated desire. Spirit-begotten ones do not want to go to heaven because of distress over present hardships on earth. (Job 14:1) Rather, Jehovah’s spirit has engendered in truly anointed ones a hope and desire uncommon to humans in general. Such begotten ones know that everlasting life in human perfection on a paradise earth surrounded by a happy family and friends would be wonderful. However, such life is not the principal desire of their hearts. Anointed ones have such a strong heavenly hope that they willingly sacrifice all earthly prospects and attachments.—2 Peter 1:13, 14.

 

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What passing over from death to life means

 

(John 5:24) 24 Most truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes the One who sent me has everlasting life, and he does not come into judgment but has passed over from death to life.

 

*** w08 4/15 p. 30 par. 8 Highlights From the Book of John ***

5:24, 25—Who are those ‘passing over from death to life’? Jesus is speaking about those who were once spiritually dead but who upon hearing his words put faith in him and discontinue walking in their sinful course. They ‘pass over from death to life’ in that the condemnation of death is lifted from them, and they are given the hope of everlasting life because of their faith in God.—1 Pet. 4:3-6.

 

Review what we know

 

*** it-1 pp. 605-606 Declare Righteous ***

In the Christian Congregation. With the coming of God’s Son as the promised Redeemer, a new factor existed upon which God could base his dealings with his human servants. The followers of Jesus Christ who are called to be his spiritual brothers, with the prospect of being joint heirs with him in the heavenly Kingdom (Ro 8:17), are first declared righteous by God on the basis of their faith in Jesus Christ. (Ro 3:24, 28) This is a judicial act of Jehovah God; therefore before him as the Supreme Judge no one can “file accusation” against his chosen ones. (Ro 8:33, 34) Why does God take this action toward them?

First, it is because Jehovah is perfect and holy (Isa 6:3); hence, in harmony with his holiness, those whom he accepts as his sons must be perfect. (De 32:4, 5) Jesus Christ, God’s chief Son, showed himself perfect, “loyal, guileless, undefiled, separated from the sinners.” (Heb 7:26) His followers, however, are taken from among the sons of Adam, who, because of sin, fathered an imperfect, sinful family. (Ro 5:12; 1Co 15:22) Thus, as John 1:12, 13 shows, Jesus’ followers were not, to begin with, sons of God. By his undeserved kindness, Jehovah God arranged a process of “adoption” through which he accepts such favored ones and brings them into a spiritual relationship as part of his family of sons. (Ro 8:15, 16; 1Jo 3:1) Consequently, God lays the basis for their entry into or their adoption to sonship by declaring them righteous through the merit of Christ’s ransom sacrifice in which they exercise faith, acquitting them of all guilt due to sin. (Ro 5:1, 2, 8-11; compare Joh 1:12.) They are, therefore, “counted,” or credited, as being completely righteous persons, all their sins being forgiven and not charged against them.—Ro 4:6-8; 8:1, 2; Heb 10:12, 14.

This declaring of such Christians righteous, therefore, goes much farther than in the case of Abraham (and other pre-Christian servants of Jehovah), previously discussed. Indicating the scope of Abraham’s justification, the disciple James wrote: “The scripture was fulfilled which says: ‘Abraham put faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as righteousness,’ and he came to be called ‘Jehovah’s friend.’” (Jas 2:20-23) So, because of his faith, Abraham was declared righteous as a friend of God, not as a son of God because of being “born again” with heavenly life in view. (Joh 3:3) The Scriptural record makes clear that prior to Christ’s coming neither such sonship nor such a heavenly hope had been opened up to men.—Joh 1:12, 17, 18; 2Ti 1:10; 1Pe 1:3; 1Jo 3:1.

It can be seen that, though enjoying the status of righteous persons before God, these Christians do not possess actual or literal perfection in the flesh. (1Jo 1:8; 2:1) In view of the prospect of heavenly life for these followers of Christ, such literal perfection in fleshly organism now is not actually needed. (1Co 15:42-44, 50; Heb 3:1; 1Pe 1:3, 4) However, by their being declared righteous, having righteousness “counted,” or credited, to them, God’s requirements of justice are satisfied, and he brings the adopted ones into the “new covenant” validated by the blood of Jesus Christ. (Lu 22:20; Mt 26:28) These adopted spiritual sons in the new covenant that is made with spiritual Israel are ‘baptized into Christ’s death,’ eventually dying a death like his.—Ro 6:3-5; Php 3:10, 11.

Although Jehovah forgives their sins of fleshly weakness and imperfection, nevertheless, a conflict exists in these Christians, as illustrated in Paul’s letter to the Romans (7:21-25). It is between the law of their renewed mind (Ro 12:2; Eph 4:23), or “God’s law,” and “sin’s law” that is in their members. This is because their fleshly bodies are not perfected, even though they are counted righteous and their sins are forgiven. This conflict contributes to the test of their integrity toward God. They can win this conflict by the help of God’s spirit and with the assistance of their merciful High Priest, Christ Jesus. (Ro 7:25; Heb 2:17, 18) To win, however, they must constantly exercise faith in Christ’s ransom sacrifice and follow him, thus maintaining their righteousness in God’s eyes. (Compare Re 22:11.) Thereby they ‘make their calling and choosing sure’ for themselves. (2Pe 1:10; Ro 5:1, 9; 8:23-34; Tit 3:6, 7) If, on the other hand, they take up the practice of sin, falling away from the faith, they lose their favored standing before God as righteous persons because they “impale the Son of God afresh for themselves and expose him to public shame.” (Heb 6:4-8) Such ones face destruction. (Heb 10:26-31, 38, 39) Thus, Jesus spoke of the sin that has no forgiveness, and the apostle John distinguished between the sin that “does not incur death” and the sin that “does incur death.”—Mt 12:31, 32; 1Jo 5:16, 17.

Jesus Christ, after maintaining his faithfulness until death, was “made alive in the spirit,” given immortality and incorruption. (1Pe 3:18; 1Co 15:42, 45; 1Ti 6:16) He was thus “declared [or pronounced] righteous in spirit” (1Ti 3:16; Ro 1:2-4) and sat down at the right hand of God in the heavens. (Heb 8:1; Php 2:9-11) The faithful footstep followers of Christ await a resurrection like his (Ro 6:5), looking forward to becoming recipients of “divine nature.”—2Pe 1:4.

Other Righteous Ones. In one of Jesus’ illustrations, or parables, relating to the time of his coming in Kingdom glory, persons likened to sheep are designated as “righteous ones.” (Mt 25:31-46) It is notable, however, that in this illustration these “righteous ones” are presented as separate and distinct from those whom Christ calls “my brothers.” (Mt 25:34, 37, 40, 46; compare Heb 2:10, 11.) Because these sheeplike ones render assistance to Christ’s spiritual “brothers,” thus demonstrating faith in Christ himself, they are blessed by God and are called “righteous ones.” Like Abraham, they are accounted, or declared, righteous as friends of God. (Jas 2:23) This righteous standing will mean survival for them when the “goats” depart “into everlasting cutting-off.”—Mt 25:46.

A parallel situation may be noted in the vision recorded at Revelation 7:3-17. Here, a “great crowd” of indefinite number are shown as distinct from the 144,000 ‘sealed ones.’ (Compare Eph 1:13, 14; 2Co 5:1.) That this “great crowd” enjoys a righteous standing before God is indicated by the fact that they are described as having “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”—Re 7:14.

The “great crowd,” who survive the “great tribulation,” are not yet declared righteous for life—that is, as worthy of the right to everlasting life on earth. They need to continue partaking of the “fountains of waters of life,” as guided by the Lamb, Christ Jesus. They will need to do this during the Millennial Reign of Christ. (Re 7:17; 22:1, 2) If they prove loyal to Jehovah through a final test at the end of the thousand years, they will have their names permanently retained in God’s book of life, Jehovah thus declaring, or acknowledging, that they finally are righteous in the complete sense.—Re 20:7, 8.

 

(Underscoring, bold and large print – mine)

 

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7 hours ago, Eoin Joyce said:

 

Genesis. Chapters 11-25

Despite his righteous standing and his significant role in the outworking of God's purpose subsequent to the event described at Gen. 12:1-3, Abraham did not become one of the spirit-anointed, baptised, born-again followers of Christ addressed by Paul in Rom Chap.4 before he died. Therefore, his destiny differed from those who do.

after reading the scriptures you used as proof, I find no reference to Abraham's destiny being different. Please elaborate. Your reference does speak about Abraham and his life but nothing about a different destiny.

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