Thursday, June 17, 2010

Preachers and Morality continued . . .

In the previous post, posted below, Preachers and Morality, Nick at NICK'S CATHOLIC BLOG commented with a rebuttal. He argues using a very narrow use of the word logizomai in connection with righteousness and works that are accounted to the believer. Since his comment is somewhat extensive, and my response includes links to Scriptural references, I am posting them below. Nick’s commentary is sincere and kindly. It is quoted in lavender with my response following.

This is a very worthy topic, worth serious consideration and study.

To read the original post either scroll downward or to view it in another window click on the link Preachers and Morality.

Nick said:

In my study on this topic of imputed righteousness, the Greek term “logizomai” is the English term for “reckon/impute/credit/etc,” (all terms are basically equivalently used) and when I look up that term in a popular lexicon here is what it is defined as:

QUOTE: “This word deals with reality. If I “logizomai” or reckon that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers to facts not suppositions.”

The lexicon states this term first and foremost refers to the actual status of something. So if Abraham’s faith is “logizomai as righteousness,” it must be an actually righteous act of faith, otherwise (as the Lexicon says) “I am deceiving myself.” This seems to rule out any notion of an alien righteousness, and instead points to a local/inherent righteousness.

The Lexicon gives other examples where “logizomai” appears, here are some examples:
Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude [logizomai] that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Rom 4:4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted [logizomai] as a gift but as his due.

Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon [logizomai] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom 8:18 For I reckon [logizomai] that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Notice in these examples that “logizomai” means to consider the actual truth of an object. In 3:28 Paul ‘reckons’ faith saves while the Law does not, this is a fact, the Law never saves. In 4:4 the worker’s wages are ‘reckoned’ as a debt because the boss is in debt to the worker, not giving a gift to him. In 6:11 the Christian is ‘reckoned’ dead to sin because he is in fact dead to sin. In 8:18 Paul ‘reckons’ the present sufferings as having no comparison to Heavenly glory, and that is true because nothing compares to Heavenly glory.

To use logizomai in the “alien status” way would mean in: (1) 3:28 faith doesn’t really save apart from works, but we are going to go ahead and say it does; (2) 4:4 the boss gives payment to the worker as a gift rather than obligation/debt; (3) 6:11 that we are not really dead to sin but are going to say we are; (4) 8:18 the present sufferings are comparable to Heaven’s glory.
This cannot be right.

So when the text plainly says “faith is logizomai as righteousness,” I must read that as ‘faith is reckoned as a truly righteous act’, and that is precisely how Paul explains that phrase in 4:18-22. That despite the doubts that could be raised in Abraham’s heart, his faith grew strong and convinced and “that is why his faith was credited as righteousness” (v4:22). This is also confirmed by noting the only other time “credited as righteousness” appears in Scripture, Psalm 106:30-31, where Phinehas’ righteous action was reckoned as such. This is confirmed even more when one compares another similar passage, Hebrews 11:4, where by faith Abel was commended as righteous.


Thanks for taking the time to comment and for sharing your efforts on this subject.

I checked your quote at Bible Study Tools, which is at the very end of the reference and appears to be arbitrarily inserted by this group. I could not find anything like it in Thayer’s Lexicon nor in Kittel. Perhaps you would like to study this word further in these and also in BAGD. You’ll find that logizomai is a very comprehensive word.

Regardless, let’s take the $25.00 in the bank book analogy as legitimate, (by the way, just because you have recorded something in your bank book does not necessarily mean that it is actually in the account). Let’s go with this analogy, only let’s go with the money actually being in the account and not merely in our bank book. The question is not one of whether or not the accounting is correct. The question is regarding first, by whose accounting is it accounted as present, and secondly, by whose deposit it is present.

This is the point that you are choosing to ignore. The righteousness with which Abraham and St. Paul and I are credited or reckoned is God’s own righteousness, the righteousness of Christ. The works whereby this righteousness is reckoned are Christ’s works, God’s works enacted by Christ. The imputation or reckoning is God’s reckoning on account of the faith that He, the Holy Spirit, works in me through the Word, Jesus, connected with the Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Supper. The very faith on account of which I am reckoned as righteous is mine not as my own work but as faith that God has worked in me. Here is a sampling of Scriptures that state this: Ephesians 2, Galatians 2:16-21, Galatians 3:22, and Philippians 3:4-12 .

The very faith by which we are accounted as righteous is accounted to us. It is ours only as that which God has given to us and worked within us, not as something which we have attained to by our own reason and strength nor as something that we have produced within ourselves. “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4. Whatever I hold up to God of my own doing is not upright, or as St. Paul declared, dog crap, skubalon. Only in accord with the righteousness of Jesus through the faith of Jesus given to me in Baptism am I and my life accounted as righteous.

Far from being a loss, this is great news. For this sets me free from the struggle and strife of trying to be righteous. Rather than striving to be righteous, by faith I then hear and believe the declaration of God that I am righteous, for Christ’s sake, and I thereby live by faith. Faith takes the work and the struggle out of life, for it is not I who live but Christ who lives in me. Truly His grace is sufficient for me.

1 comment:

Nick said...


Thanks for your response on this very important subject. Before I give my thoughts, I'd like to clarify something you said. You said here that my claim is based on "a very narrow use of the word," but my investigation leads me to conclude this is the primary use of the word by far (over all 40 occurrences in the NT).

The primary difficulty I'm having with your comment is that I don't see how you're *deriving* your definition of Logizomai. I'm deriving my definition both from the lexicon and passages that use the term itself. None of the passages you listed use Logizomai.

In fairness, or better yet for conscience's sake, I cannot 'blindly' go with a definition of Logizomai that entails 'alien righteousness' when I see no Biblical evidence of the term being used to project an alien status.

This, to me, requires a solid argument from the Bible, and that's why I've been extremely careful to use the Bible as my main guide here. The Bible, especially Paul's Epistles, are what I use to come to my conclusion on "impute," and since Paul uses the term approximately 30 (out of 40 NT occurrences) times, I know that must be a primary focus in this study. If you can show from Scripture how you're deriving your definition of Logizomai, I welcome the input.