How did Paul understand the Spirit in relation to the believer?
5. Titus 3:5-7
3. Eph 2:10
The Power of God for Apostolic Ministry
In the context of Israel’s disobedience and subsequent exile, the prophets promised restoration and the establishment of a new covenant. The latter would result not only in forgiveness but also the possibility of obedience to the Law. This new possibility of obedience would result from God’s infusion into his people of an eschatological principle of obedience, which is expressed in various ways. Ezekiel prophesies that God will give them a singleness of heart (11:19), removing the heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh (Ezek 11:19; 36:26); he will give them a new heart (36:26). The prophet also says that God will give his people a new spirit (11:19; 36:26). Jeremiah promises on God's behalf that at the restoration God will put his Law within and write his Law unto the hearts of the people (Jer 31:33). In 32:39, Jeremiah, like Ezekiel promises that God will give the people a singleness of heart, and in 32:40 he says on behalf of God: "I will put the fear of me in their hearts, in order that they not turn away from me.” In the same historical context, the promise of the eschatological giving of the Spirit is made (Isa 32:15; 44:3; Ezek 37:14; 39:29; Joel 2:28), and in Ezek 36:26-27 (see 37:14; 39:29), the eschatological principle of obedience (bestowed at the restoration) is causally connected with God’s giving his own Spirit to the people. (In the other passages predictive of the giving of the Spirit, there is nothing said of the Spirit’s being an eschatological principle of obedience.)
The term "spirit of holiness," (or Holy Spirit) occurs infrequently in the Old Testament (Isa 63:11 [see Isa 63:14]; Ps 51:11), and never with the meaning of eschatological principle of obedience. (The closest parallel to the idea of the "spirit of holiness" as eschatological principle of obedience is, as already indicated, found in Ezekiel: the prophet proclaims that God will give His people a new spirit [11:19; 36:26] and that he will give them his own spirit [36:27; see 37:14; 39:29].) The term “spirit of holiness,” however, does occur in some Jewish texts from the second-Temple period with the meaning of eschatological principle of obedience. Generally, in these texts, spirit of holiness refers not to God as Spirit placed in human beings but to a new human spirit or disposition that leads to holiness created by God. (See Book of Jubilees 1.12-26; 4Q504 [Words of the Luminaries] 5.15-16; 1QS [Rule of the Community] 3:6-8; 4.18-21; 9.3; 1QSb [Blessings] 1.2 1QH-a [Thanksgiving Hymns] 15.6-7; 8; Barkhi Nafshi.) At the end, the time of Israel's final and definitive salvation, God will so spiritually transform his people, that disobedience to the Torah will henceforth be impossible. To have a spirit of holiness is to have this God-given disposition to holiness. (There were other ways to express the idea of Israel's spiritual transformation used in the Old Testament and in later texts.) In some of these texts, the spirit of holiness is a present reality, whereas in others it is a future reality.
The Holy Spirit or spirit of holiness is central to Paul's theology. He holds that the promise of the giving of the Spirit has been fulfilled. Different from the prophecy in the Hebrew prophets, however, Paul asserts that the promise of the Spirit is fulfilled for the church, the new community of God, consisting of Jews and gentiles, and not for the nation of Israel restored to the land.(1)
Expressing himself in various ways, Paul asserts that the Spirit is bestowed upon Jewish and gentile believers by God and indwells them.
According to Paul, the reason that a believer’s hope does not disappoint is that, “The love of God is poured out (ekkechutai) in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who is given to us (tou dothentos hêmin).”(2) By the term “heart,” Paul is referring to the “center” of the human being, his cognitional and volitional faculties.(3) He uses the metaphor of “pouring out” in order to communicate the idea of abundance or overflowing surplus.(4) The implication is that believers do not naturally possess the Spirit; rather, the Spirit comes to a person from without. God has poured out his love into the heart, insofar as he has given the Holy Spirit to believers (The phrase “love of God” is a subjective genitive: God’s love.) In other words, the means by which this love of God is experientially present to believers is by means of the Holy Spirit.(5) The Holy Spirit is a manifestation and proof of the love of God or his saving intention. (6) The hope of eschatological salvation that a believer has for the future is confirmed in the present by the gift of the Holy Spirit. (See the parallel in Sir 18:11: “The Lord. . . pours out his mercy upon them.”) On this interpretation, the use of the preposition dia + genitive describes the manner in which God has poured out his love, that is, through the Holy Spirit. (Given that, according to Paul, the result of having the Spirit is resurrection [Rom 8:11] or eternal life [Gal 6:8], it is clear why the Holy Spirit is a manifestation of God’s love.)
In Rom 8, Paul contrasts two mutually-exclusive modes of being: “in the Spirit” (en pneumati) and “in the flesh” (en sarki).(7) To be “in the Spirit” results from being indwelt by the Spirit: “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, so long as the Spirit of God dwells in you (oikei en humin)” (8:9a). How exactly the Spirit dwells in a believer, however, Paul never explains fully. (It seems also that the Spirit of God who indwells believers is the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead [8:11a].) To be indwelt by the Spirit of God appears to be synonymous with “to have [the] Spirit of Christ” (pneuma christou echein); this is evident from the fact that in the very next sentence, Paul says, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this one does not belong to him” (8:9b) (see Phil 1:19 for a reference to "the spirit of Christ Jesus" and 2 Cor 3:17 for "the spirit of the Lord"). In 1 Cor 6:19 Paul again refers to "having" the Spirit.) If so, then the phrase Spirit of Christ may be a subjective genitive: “Christ’s Spirit.” It is also possible to interpret it as a genitive of origin: the Spirit who comes from Christ.(8) Regardless of his exact meaning, Paul’s intention is both to distinguish Christ from the Spirit and also to assert an inseparable connection between them.(9) Paul then speaks about the fact that Christ is “in” a believer. The phrase “If Christ is in you” (ei de christos en humin) likewise seems to be another synonym for being indwelt by the Spirit and having the Spirit of Christ. So being indwelt by the Spirit of God, having the Spirit of Christ and Christ’s being in a believer all mean the same thing. Why Paul would use such variety of expression is not clear, except to indicate that the relationship between the Spirit and the believer is ultimately inscrutable.(10)
In explanation of the assertion that “The body is one” (1 Cor 12:12), Paul says, “We were all baptized in one Spirit to become one body” (en eni pneumati hêmeis pantes eis en sôma ebaptisthêmen). It seems that Paul is speaking about the reception of the one Spirit by believers, which results in being one body or organic spiritual unity.(11) His point is that the oneness of the body is the result of the one Spirit. Paul conceives the Spirit as that into which believers have been baptized: just as they were literally baptized in water so metaphorically they were also baptized in the Spirit.(12) (Paul’s use of the term “to baptize” may be an allusion to the reception of the Spirit at baptism [see Gal 3:27; Rom 6:3-4].)(13) In other words, sharing in the one Spirit unifies believers into one body, a plurality in a unity. (Paul is probably using of eis not with a local sense but with a consecutive meaning, to describe the result of receiving the one Spirit.)(14) In the same verse, still speaking metaphorically, Paul says, “We were given one Spirit to drink” (pantes en pneuma epotisthêmen); this new image serves to supplement the previous idea of being baptized in the Spirit to become one body. To drink of the one Spirit is intended to communicate both that the Spirit is within a believer and that the Spirit—because the Spirit has entered from without—is not being natural or endemic to a human being. Believers are mortal beings unnaturally possessed by the immortal Spirit.(15)
Paul asks the Galatians whether God grants (epichoregein) them with the Spirit by the hearing of faith or by the works of the Law. What is to be noted is that, for Paul, the defining characteristic of the Galatian believers is the fact that God supplied them with the Spirit on the basis of their faith. To be granted the Spirit implies that the Spirit comes from another and is not possessed innately.
Paul says to the believers at Galatia that, “God sent the Spirit of his son into your hearts” (exapesteilen ho theos to pneuma tou huiou autou eis tas kardias hêmôn). The reason that God has done this is because they are sons (see 3:26) (The conjunction hoti is causal: “because.”)(16) The “place” where God sent the Spirit of his son is the “heart,” which is not really a place, but the cognitional and volitional “center” of a human being.(17) The phrase “Spirit of his son” is undoubtedly synonymous with the Holy Spirit or other terms expressive of the same reality.(18) The phrase could be a genitive of origin, so that Paul means the Spirit sent from God’s son, or even a genitive of apposition: Spirit, who is the son of God. (The similar phrase "the spirit of Jesus Christ" occurs Phil 1:19.) Perhaps both senses are intended.(19) The Spirit in the heart of believer then calls out “Abba, Father.” (Abba is the transliteration of the Aramaic word for “father.") Paul means that the Spirit as a possession of believers residing in the heart testifies to them that they are indeed sons of God, causing them to address God as Father.(20)
Paul simply makes the point in passing that God "gives his Holy Spirit into us" (didonta to pneuma autou to hagion eis humas). The implication is that believers receive the Spirit from God and do not naturally possess the Spirit.
Paul tells Timothy to guard the good deposit that was entrusted to him “with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (dia pneumatos hagiou tou enoikountes en humin).
Paul speaks about the Spirit that has been "poured out" (execheen) upon believers: "by the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Christ Jesus our Savior." Because of Christ's saving work, in other words, God is able to give the Spirit to believers.
Because of the Spirit's presence in believers, there exists a spiritual union between Christ and the believer. Using a spatial metaphor, Paul asserts that Christ dwells within a believer. It seems that, because the Spirit (of Christ) indwells a believer, Paul can say that Christ indwells a believer.
As already indicated, Paul refers to the Spirit of God as dwelling in a believer, which is synonymous with the Spirit of Christ; this is what it means to being "in the Spirit." Being indwelt by the Spirit is the same as Christ's being in a believer (Christos en humin).
Paul exhorts the Corinthians to test themselves to be sure that they are "in the faith," which is defined as Jesus Christ's being "in us" (en humin). He seems to be referring to the fact that the essential mark of a believer is to have or be indwelt by Christ which is the same as being indwelt by the Spirit.(21)
In his prayer for his readers, Paul asks that Christ may dwell in the hearts (katoikesai...en tais kardiais) of his readers, by which he means the Spirit. For Christ to dwell in their hearts is synonymous with the presence of the Spirit of God in the inner man (to pneuma autou eis ton esô anthrôpon). The "inner man" has the same meaning as "heart," both denoting the cognitional and volitional center of a person (on the use of "heart" elsewhere in the letter, see 1:18; 4:18; 5:19; 6:5, 22). Likewise, the Spirit of God is synonymous with Christ. Thus, to be empowered by his Spirit in the inner man is to have Christ dwell in one's heart.(22) The infinitive clause "Christ to dwell...in your hearts" probably relates to the previous infinitive clause "to be empowered through his Spirit" as an epexegetical infinitive, so that the former explains further what the meaning of the latter.(23) (This means that both infinitive clauses are controlled by the clause "in order that he may give you" [hina dô humin].)
Paul says that the mystery of God is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Christos en humin, hê elpis tês doxês). He seems to mean by this that the Spirit’s indwelling is the basis of the believer's hope of being glorified or receiving eternal life (see Eph 1:13). The fact that he refers to this as a mystery implies that this truth was unknown until his day and therefore did not form part of Jewish eschatological expectation. (As already indicated, there were other "mysteries" which Paul revealed as apostle to the gentiles, such as the messiah's death as salvation-historically necessary, the church as one people consisting of both Jews and gentiles and the hardening of Israel so that gentiles may receive the offer of salvation.) In Col 2:2 Paul says that the mystery of God is Christ, in whom is found the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; since Christ is in the believer, then so is this wisdom and knowledge. It is this mystery (consisting) of Christ (genitive of content or apposition) that Paul preaches (4:3).
Although he is somewhat loose and diverse in his expression, there is ample evidence that Paul believes that there is what one could call a spiritual union between the believer and Christ. In other words, he uses participationist language in order to express his soteriology.(24) It is willingly conceded that the notion of spiritual (or mystical) union with Christ is a secondary construct, not occurring as such in Paul's writings; nevertheless, one can justifiably conclude that this construct is implicit in Paul's various assertions about the relation between Christ and the believer. It seems that this union is effected by the Spirit, whom Paul identifies as the "Spirit of Christ" (Rom 8:9b) or "the Spirit of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:19) (see "Spirit of the Lord" in 2 Cor 3:17) and even simply Christ (Rom 8:10a).(25) It is the Spirit who effects this ADD ontological??? participation in or spiritual union with Christ. In addition to saying that Christ is in (en) the believer (Rom 8:10; 2 Cor 13:5; Col 1:27; 3:11) or that Christ dwells in the hearts of believers (katoikesai...en tais kardiais) (Eph 3:17), Paul refers to being in Christ (en Christô) (see Rom 8:1; 12:5; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 2:13), to living in Christ (en Christô) (Col 2:6), and to being found in him [Christ] (Phil 3:9) (eurêthein en autô), all of which are spatial metaphors intended to express the spiritual union that exists between the believer and Christ: the believer is situated Christ. Similarly, the apostle speaks about being clothed with Christ (Christon enedusasthê) (Gal 3:27), and about Christ's being formed in believers (morphôthê Christos en humin) (Gal 4:19). Paul also writes about being called into fellowship (eis koinônian) with Christ (1 Cor 1:9), about being of Christ (tou Christou) (2 Cor 10:7; Gal 5:24), about learning Christ (emathete ton Christon (Eph 4:20), about knowing Christ (Phil 3:8 tês gnôseôs Christou; Phil 3:10 gnonai auton; Col 2:2 eis epignôsin...Christou), and about gaining Christ (hina Christon kerdêsô (Phil 3:8). These also serve to convey the idea of a spiritual union between Christ and the believer. In conclusion, all the data examined can be tidily subsumed under the theological heading of the believer's spiritual union with Christ.(26)
Further to this, in several places in his letters, Paul writes about how a believer participates in Christ's death and resurrection, which results in the death and life of Christ being manifested in the believer. In Rom 6:1-10, the believer is said to be baptized into Christ, into his death, and buried with him; the result is that the old man (ho palaios anthrôpos) is crucified with Christ (6:6) (see also 1 Cor 1:13; 12:13; Gal 3:27). But, just as Christ was raised from the dead, so too the believer, being freed from sin (6:7), now lives in newness of life (6:4; see also 2 Cor 5:17); insofar as he is united with Christ in his death, the believer will be united with him in resurrection (6:5). Similarly, in Gal 2:19-20, Paul explains that because he was crucified with Christ, he no longer lives, but Christ lives in him (see Gal 6:14). For Christ to dwell in Paul is for the Spirit or the Spirit of Christ to dwell in him; this indwelling effects a spiritual identity between Paul and Christ, so that he can describe himself as having died with Christ and no longer living. In Colossians, the apostle describes his readers as having been buried with Christ in baptism and raised with him, being made alive together with him (2:12; 3:1; see also Eph 2:5-6) and as those who have died and whose life is now hid with Christ, who is their life (3:3-4). In spite of such a diversity of expression, the point is clear: there is a merging of identities between the believer and Christ effected by the Spirit, so that the believer is said to participate in the death and resurrection of Christ. Christ's death and burial manifests itself in the believer as the death of the old self (the "old man"), whereas Christ's resurrection manifests itself in the present as a new principle of spiritual life and will manifest itself in the future as the resurrection of the body.
In Pauline theology, there are several experiential effects produced by the indwelling Spirit.
With the eschatological events of the death and resurrection of Christ comes the eschatological Spirit to human beings. Consistent with his Old Testament and second-Temple religious-historical background, Paul holds that the Spirit is indispensable to being able to do the will of God. The believer is controlled and empowered by the Spirit (or other designations), no longer being controlled by the sinful nature ("the flesh"). This is the norm for all believers in Paul's view, not an option, although Paul does allow for the possibility of the Spirit's being hindered. While conceptually they can be distinguished, the spiritual status of being declared righteous cannot be separated experientially from the spiritual transformation effected by the Spirit. Unlike the texts from the second-Temple period, however, for Paul the Holy Spirit is not simply a new human disposition to holiness created by God, but is God or Christ in an individual. In this way, he is in more continuity with the Hebrew prophets. The other difference between Paul and his second-Temple Judaism is that for him the Holy Spirit as the eschatological principle of obedience is given on an equal basis to Jews and gentiles alike.
According to Paul, the purpose of God’s sending his son was “to condemn sin in the flesh,” (8:3b) in order that the requirement of the Law (to dikaiôma tou nomou) might be fulfilled in “us” (8:4a).(27) The phrase “the requirement of the Law” is a genitive of content: the requirement consisting of the Law (see its other use in Rom 2:26: "If therefore the uncircumcised keeps the requirement of the Law..."; see also Rom 1:32: "the requirement of God" (to dikaiôma tou theou). Paul’s use of the singular to dikaiôma (“the requirement”) implies the unity of the Law (In Rom 13:8-10 and Gal 5:14, Paul identifies the essence of the Law as “love” [agapê]).(28) In other words, the purpose of the work of Christ is that the essence of the Law be truly obeyed by believers. Earlier, in Rom 8:2, Paul writes that the principle (literally “law” [nomos]) of the Spirit of life has set “you” (a believer) free from the principle of sin and death. He sees “sin” as a causal principle operating in human beings that results in death, not only physical but eternal (8:2); this is nullified by another causal principle, the law of the Spirit of life (ho nomos tou pneumatos tês zôês), or the Spirit whose purpose it is to make possible eternal life (genitive of direction or purpose). (The inclusion of the adverbial phrase “in Christ Jesus,” modifying the verb “set free,” denotes that it is because of the work of Christ that any of this is possible: The “in” [en] is causal.)(29)
This is the reason for Paul’s confident affirmation in Rom 8:1: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The use of the conjunction gar (“for”) in Rom 8:2 implies that what follows in this verse is the warrant for what is written in Rom 8:1. The reason that there is no condemnation is that “those who are in Christ” have been so transformed that they are now practically righteous as the result of being under the influence of “the law of the Spirit of life.”(30) In other words, they will necessarily be found to be obedient to the “righteous requirement of the Law” at the final judgment. This means that the righteous requirement of the Law is fulfilled because of the Spirit’s indwelling and functioning as a principle of obedience, which is what Paul means by the term “law of the Spirit of life.” This is also implied by Paul’s definition of those in whom the requirement of the Law is fulfilled as those who walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh (tois mê kata sarka peripatousin alla kata pneuma) (8:4b).
This opposition to God is manifested
as not submitting to the Law of God, which is impossible for “the
mind of flesh.” Paul adds that “those who are in the flesh,”
in fact, cannot please God, for obvious reasons. (The phrase "those
who are in the flesh" [8:8] is a synonym for "those who are
according to the flesh" [8:5].) In the end, the flesh leads to death,
because death is the penalty of sin (8:6a; see Rom 1:32; 5:12-14; 6:23).
He adds, "For if you are living according to the flesh, you must
die" (8:13a). The phrase "the mind of the Spirit” or ‘Spirit’
as a basic existential orientation, on the other hand, leads to “life
and peace” (zôê kai eirênê), which
are synonymous terms meaning eschatological salvation (8:6b). (For other
uses of "life" to mean eternal life, see Rom 7:10; 8:2, 10,
11; 2 Cor 2:16; 3:6; 4:10-12; Gal 3:21; 2 Tim 1:1, 10; for other examples
of Paul’s use of "peace" to mean final salvation [excluding
its occurrence as part of an epistolary greeting], see Rom 2:10; 14:17;
15:33; 16:20; 2 Cor 13:11b; Eph 2:17; 6:15; Phil 4:7; Col 1:20; 1 Thess
5:23.) Similarly, Paul makes the following conditional statement, "But
if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will
live" (8:13b). The word "body" in this context is a synonym
for flesh. There is a causal connection, in other words, between obedience
resulting from the Spirit and eschatological salvation.
As in Rom 8, in this passage, Paul contrasts the “flesh” (sarx) with the Spirit as two principles according to which a human being could live.(34) In Gal 5:16, Paul speaks about walking in the Spirit (pneumati peripateite), in Gal 5:18 about being led by the Spirit (pneumati agesthe) and in Gal 5:25 about living by the Spirit (pneumati zômen).
These are all synonyms, denoting coming under the principle or causal factor consisting of the Spirit. Paul says that “walking in the Spirit” will result in not fulfilling “the desire of the flesh” (epithumia sarkos) (5:16). (The second clause in 5:16 "And you will not fulfill the desire of the flesh" serves as the apodosis of the first clause, even though grammatically it is an imperative: "Walk in the Spirit.") The genitive phrase “the desire of the flesh” is a genitive of origin (“The desire originating in the flesh”) or a subjective genitive (“The flesh’s desire”).(35) On either interpretation, flesh is conceived as almost a quasi-substantial entity, one that produces a fundamental, illicit desire in a human being; in other words, the flesh is an evil principle or causal agent. Paul probably uses the singular “desire” to emphasize that all disobedience to God has its origin in this fundamental opposition to God.(36) In Gal 5:17, Paul elaborates further on what he wrote in the previous verse.(37) The Spirit desires what is contrary to the flesh and the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit. In other words, the flesh and Spirit have an intractable antipathy to each other and are mutually exclusive of each other: they do not and cannot co-exist.
There follows a list of “the works of flesh” (ta erga tês sarkos): “sexual immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing and similar things.” These works are the manifestations of the principle of the flesh. To walk in, live by, be led by the Spirit leads to the production of “the fruit of the Spirit,” which Paul lists in 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control. The use of the metaphor of “fruit” lays stress on “divine empowerment,” the result of the influence of the Spirit on the human being.(38) If he walks in the Spirit, a person does not carry out the “desire of the flesh” (epithumia sarkos), which is a way of describing the fundamental attitude of defiance to God (5:16). If the “desire of the flesh” is carried out, the result is “the works of the flesh,” as delineated in Gal 5:19-21. Another of Paul’s ways of expressing that this new principle of obedience is operative in the lives of believers is to say that they have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (tên sarka estaurôsan sun tois pathêmasin kai tais epithumiais) (5:24).(39) This is a metaphorical way of describing how the Spirit has rendered the “flesh” ineffective.(40) The “passions” and “desires” of the flesh are probably synonyms; each denotes the experiential results of the flesh’s fundamental defiance of God, “the desire of the flesh.”(41)
In 2 Cor 3:18, Paul probably says believers as having unveiled faces contemplate the glory of the Lord (3:16). The middle voice of the verb katoptrizein normally means to behold in a mirror (see Philo, Leg. 3.101).(42) (The other interpretive alternative is "to reflect as a mirror," but this seems less likely in spite of efforts to prove the contrary.)(43) The contrast is between those whose minds are still veiled when they read the Torah ("Moses") and those whose faces are unveiled (3:14-16)(44) (Paul switches his veil imagery from Moses who covers his face to prevent people from seeing the fading glory to contemporary Jews who have veils over their minds.) What those with unveiled face metaphorically behold in the mirror is the "glory of the Lord" (hê doxa tou kuriou); it is the image of the glory of the Lord that believers look upon. In order to understand Paul's point, the meaning of the phrase "the glory of the Lord" must be determined.
Throughout 2 Cor 3:7-18, Paul uses the term glory to refer to the splendor or magnificence that each covenant had. When he says that the old covenant (3:14) came in glory he is referring to the fact that Moses' face shone after descending from Mt. Sinai (Exod 34:28-35) (3:7). Paul argues the new covenant must have even more glory than the first covenant since it is "the ministry of righteousness" and not the ministry of condemnation. It seems, however, that in 2 Cor 3:18, Paul makes an important shift with respect to the meaning of glory.(45) (Paul is very loose in his argumentation in his midrash on Exod 34:28-35.) It does not refer to the splendor or magnificence that either of the ministries or covenants has, but seems to be a soteriological concept referring to Christ's glory to which believers are promised a share: Christ's present glory is the believer's future glory. (In this case, "the Lord" seems to be Christ, and the phrase "the glory of the Lord" is a subjective genitive: Christ's glory.) This is consistent with Paul's frequent use of the noun "glory" (doxa) and verb "to glorify" (dozazein). According to Rom 2, those who do good seek for "glory, honor and immortality" (2:7) or "glory, honor and peace" (2:10). In Rom 8:16-18, Paul sees the believer as the co-heir of Christ, destined to be "glorified with him." To be glorified with Christ is a way of expressing final salvation (see Rom 8:30). Christ has inherited a "glory," in which the believer will share (see also Rom 8:18, 21; 9:4, 23). Similarly, in 2 Thess 2:14 Paul writes,"In order that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." The term glory refers to final salvation consisting of the resurrection (see 2 Thess 1:5 "to make you worthy of the Kingdom of God"). In Phil 3:20-21 Paul writes about how Christ will transform "our body of lowliness" to become like "the body of his glory" (to sôma tês doxês autou). Finally, in 2 Cor 4:17 he can refer to his future eschatological salvation as "an eternal weight of glory." In conclusion, it seems that the phrase "the glory of the Lord" refers to a believer's eschatological salvation culminating in resurrection, which he shares with the exalted Christ. (The phrase "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus" in 4:6 probably refers to God’s making his greatness known insofar as God provides for human beings the possibility of salvation, which is made possible through Jesus ["in the face of Jesus"].) If this is not Paul's meaning then it is difficult to explain how the believer who looks upon the image of the glory of the Lord as in a mirror is transformed into the image of the glory.
The question that now needs to be answered is why Paul uses the metaphor of a mirror rather than simply saying that believers behold the glory of the Lord. It is probable that Paul's intention is to communicate that this glory is still only indirectly, partially or even imperfectly understood by those who have yet to experience it. Any mirror reflects a only a small part of the world and the bronze mirror--the kind that Paul has in mind—was known its distortion of that world.(46) (Corinth was a renowned manufacturer of bronze mirrors in the ancient world.) In other words, Paul wants to express the idea that "the glory of the Lord" is not wholly understood by believers. As he writes elsewhere, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor 2:9). In 1 Cor 13:12, Paul uses the same mirror metaphor to express the idea that believers now know only partially and not as they would know if they could see "face to face," by which is meant to behold directly the reality that is reflected in the mirror.
Paul adds that those with unveiled faces who are looking at the image of the glory of Christ as in a mirror are being transformed into that very image. It is clear that Paul expects the mortal bodies of believers to be transformed at the resurrection to become like the incorruptible body of Christ (1 Cor 15; Phil 3:21). But in this passage he is speaking of an on-going transformation that is happening in the present. This eschatological salvation that culminates in the resurrection also includes a pre-resurrection spiritual transformation. The nature of this transformation is likely what Paul describes in 2 Cor 4:16: “The inner man is being renewed day by day.” He is referring to the fact that although his body ("outer man") is gradually wearing out—no doubt hastened by his excessive suffering— his spirit or non-corporeal part of his being is being transformed by the Spirit. When Paul writes in Rom 8:29 that the ultimate destiny of those whom God has foreknown is "to become conformed to the image of his son" he no doubt means that this transformation is already in process (see Gal 4:19). This ongoing transformation into the image of Christ will culminate in the resurrection of the dead and the transformation of the perishable into the imperishable, the mortal to the immortal (1 Cor 15:53). What Paul describes, in other words, is the process of sanctification. It must be stressed that Paul connects the present indwelling of the Spirit with the future ressurection from the dead: "But if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you" (Rom 8:11).The phrase “from glory to glory” means with ever-increasing glory, and refers to the progressive approximation of the believer to the image of Christ, who has been glorified by God.(47) The means by which the spiritual transformation is occuring is identified "as from the Lord the Spirit." It is the Spirit who is responsible for the spiritual transformation of believers and it seems that Paul identifies the Spirit with the Lord (Christ). (This intepretation assumes that "the Lord" and "Spirit" are in apposition.)(48)
Eph 3:16-17 is a difficult to interpret, because it is so densely theological. In this passage, Paul says that it is his prayer that God, out of his glorious riches, would strengthen the Ephesians with power by means of the Holy Spirit in the inner man, or, in other words, that Christ would dwell in their hearts.(49) Paul portrays God metaphorically as having glorious riches, which means resources for righteous living that are available to human beings. The phrase “riches of glory” (to ploutos tês doxês) is probably a genitive of quality (see Eph 1:18).(50) These “glorious riches” in power strengthen human beings, enabling them to live as they ought, to be as they were designed to be. This strengthening of human beings occurs through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Paul uses two words to express the idea of power: the instrumental dative dunamei “in power” and the verb “to be strengthen” (krataiôthênai). By placing the adverbial phrase “through his Spirit” (dia tou pneumatos) after the adverb and the verb (“in power to be strengthened”), Paul is able to specify more exactly the means by which God strengthens in power: by the Spirit.
Paul explains that God saved believers by the washing of rebirth and the renewal of the Holy Spirit. The phrase "washing of rebirth" (loutros paliggenesesias) is unique in Paul's writings, but no doubt refers to baptism and its transformative effects (see Rom 6; 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:27). For Paul baptism and the Spirit are inseparable from one another, and neither is separate from faith. (The metaphor of rebirth does occurs, however, in John 3; 1 Pet 1:23.) Doubtless, for Paul, this rebirth is effected by the Spirit, so that the terms "rebirth" and "renewal of the Holy Spirit" (anakainôsis pneumatos hagiou) are synonymous. To be renewed is to be transformed spiritually, which Paul describes in various ways.
Paul interprets the work of the Spirit in a believer as a circumcision of the heart. In Rom 2:28-29, Paul differentiates between two types of “Jews”: “the outward Jew” (ho en tô phanerô Ioudaios) and “the inward Jew” (ho en tô kruptô Ioudaios). The former is the person who is circumcised physically (en sarki peritomê) but does not obey the Law, whereas the latter has the circumcision of the heart (peritomê kardias), and obeys the Law.(54) Paul further characterizes physical circumcision as “by the letter” as opposed to the circumcision of the heart, which is “by the Spirit.” This reference to the Spirit seems to point to believers as those who are truly circumcised and for this reason are Jews in the true sense.
To be circumcised “by the letter” is to be circumcised in literal fulfillment of Law, whereas to be circumcised “by the Spirit” is to be spiritually renewed by the work of the Spirit. Paul assumes that Jews who are only circumcised physically as a result are not true Jews, insofar as they do not obey the Law. Those who are circumcised of the heart by means of the Spirit, by contrast, obey the Law and are for that reason true Jews. No doubt within the group described as those who are circumcised by the Spirit Paul would include uncircumcised gentile believers.(55) A gentile circumcised “by the Spirit” is a true Jew, although he may not appear outwardly to be a Jew. If so, the Law that the uncircumcised gentile keeps is not identical to the Mosaic Law because circumcision is an integral part of the latter. Implicitly, Paul would be differentiating between the Law understood as “love” (agapê) (Rom 13:8-10; Gal 5:14) and the Mosaic Law.(56)
Paul makes statements about the spiritual transformation of the believer without explicitly referring to the Spirit’s role in this. Given what Paul says elsewhere, however, the transformation that he describes must occur by means of the Spirit. Before examining individual passages, it should be noted that, using different expressions, Paul refers to God as a source of power that is made available to believers (especially in Ephesians): "The surpassing greatness of his power (to huperballon megethos tês dunameôs autou) towards us who believe...according to the working of the strength of his might (kata tên energeian tou kratous tês ischuos autou) (Eph 1:19); "To be strengthened through his Spirit (krataiôthênai dia tou pneumatos autou) in the inner man" (Eph 3:16); "According to the power working within us" (kata tên dunamin tên energoumenên en humin) (Eph 3:20; "In the strength of his might" (en tô kratei tês ischuos autou) Eph 6:10); "Through faith in the working of God (tês energeias tou theou) (Col 2:12). Regardless of the term or combination thereof that Paul uses, this power operative within believers should be understood as the effect of the indwelling Spirit.
In Rom 6:1-23, Paul describes the spiritual transformation that believers have experienced. Although thematically a unity, Rom 6:1-23 can be divided into two literary units: Rom 6:1-14; 6:15-23.(60) The phrase “What, then?” (ti oun) functions as a transition between the two units.(61) In Rom 6:1-14, Paul explains that there is no danger that his “good news” will lead to unfettered disobedience among believers. In Rom 6:1, he begins by asking, “What shall we say then?” (ti oun eroumen) (see also Rom 3:5; 7:7; 9:14), which is a rhetorical clue that Paul is about to refute a false inference from something that he has just written. In this case, Rom 5:20b “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” might be taken to imply that it is beneficial for a believer to remain in sin because then grace would continue to increase, which would be a good thing, since the more grace the better (see also Rom 3:1-9, 27-31; 4:1-12). In other words, the question that Paul is addressing is whether “we,” or those who are declared righteous by faith, can continue to sin habitually (“remain in sin”). Paul is likely dealing with a real objection to his views put forth by his opponents, who argue that, unless the Law functions as a means of being declared righteous synergistically in conjunction with faith’s appropriation of the forgiveness of God, a person can sin and even ought to sin. (The accusation to which Paul is responding is echoed in Rom 6:1, 15; 7:7, 13.) Paul’s rejoinder to this accusation is to deny the very possibility envisioned. A key to the proper understanding of this passage is to recognize that, for Paul, “sin” (hamartia) means a power or principle of disobedience operative in human beings, similar to its use in Rom 3:9; 7:4; Gal 3:22 (As such it is equivalent in meaning to “flesh” [sarx]).(62) In Rom 6:2, Paul exclaims, “May it never be” (mê genoito), which is his preferred rhetorical means of denying emphatically an assertion (see Rom 3:4, 6, 31; 6:15; 7:7, 13; 9:14; 11:1, 11; 1 Cor 6:15 Gal 2:17; 3:21; 6:14). He explains that “we,” i.e., those who have been declared righteous, “have died to sin.” The phrase “to sin” (tê hamartia) is probably a dative of disadvantage: “to the disadvantage of sin.”(63) The meaning is that the believer’s death has negatively affected the capacity of “sin” to control him. By his use of the metaphor “to die,” Paul stresses the decisive and irreversible break with the very possibility of continued disobedience.
In the same way that a believer is identified with the death of Christ, so also is he identified with his resurrection. Paul writes, “In order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (6:4b). According to Paul, the purpose of being buried with Christ is that those who have died with Christ will live (“walk”) “in newness of life” (en kainotêti zôês) (6:5). Walking in newness of life is the necessary correlative to dying to sin; it denotes a new life of obedience to God that results from dying to sin. Christ’s own resurrection is metaphorical of this “newness of life.” Thus Christ’s literal death and resurrection are manifested metaphorically in the dying to sin and the reception of new spiritual life of those in spiritual union with him. No doubt Paul would attribute this new reality to the indwelling Spirit. The phrase “through the glory of the Father” (dia tês doxês tou patros) denotes the means by which Christ was raised from the dead. In this case, “glory of the Father” is synonymous with God’s power. (This is the only occurrence of the idea that Christ was raised by the “glory of the father”; normally, Paul says that God raised Jesus from the dead; see Rom 8:11; 10:9; 1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor 4:14; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:20; Col 2:12; 1 Thess 1:10.)
Paul says that the grace of (his) apostleship is for the purpose of (eis) the obedience of faith of the gentiles (Rom 1:5). The phrase “obedience of faith” has three possible meanings that are the most consistent with Paul’s theology. It may be interpreted as a genitive of apposition or definition (or epexegetical genitive), so that Paul's meaning is "the obedience that consists of faith." If so, then Paul sees faith as an expression of obedience.(77) It is true that sometimes Paul writes as if faith or belief is a type of obedience (see Rom 10:16 "But not all have obeyed the good news"; 11:30-31 "to be disobedient to God" [by rejecting Christ]; 15:18 "for the purpose of the obedience of the gentiles, in word and deed"). Nevertheless, it seems that, in general, Paul opposes faith and obedience (expressed as "works"). Thus it improbable that Paul intends that this be taken as a genitive of apposition or definition. Another alternative is to understand the phrase "obedience of faith" as a subjective genitive, so that it means faith's obedience, the implication being that obedience belongs to faith as its natural and expected possession or correlation. It is also possible that the phrase represents a genitive of origin and therefore means "the obedience originating in faith." On this interpretation, obedience is inseparably tied to faith as its basis: faith inevitably produces obedience. It is difficult to choose between both remaining possible interpretations; on either reading, however, faith and works are inseparable from each other. Paul assumes that his gentile converts who have faith will also be characterized by obedience to God.(78)
After discussing how they are saved from God’s wrath by grace and not from works, Paul says that believers are God’s “workmanship” created for the purpose of doing good works that God has prepared in advance for them to do.(79) It is clear that in Paul’s view is that a believer is not simply saved from divine wrath but also spiritually transformed. The term poiêma (“workmanship”) is used in the LXX to denote what God created (Ps 64:9 [63:10]; 92:4 [91:5]; 143:5 [142:5]; Eccl 3:11; 8:9, 17; 11:5; see Rom 1:20). Used of believers, it refers to them as spiritual creations of God, the implication being that they did not create themselves.(80) The idea of a believer as God’s workmanship is elaborated in the participial phrase that follows: “created in Christ Jesus.” The verb “to create” (ktizein) is sometimes used in the LXX to describe God’s creative activity (see Gen 14:19, 22; Deut 4:32; 32:6; Pss 33:9 [32:9]; 89:12 [88:13]; 148:5; LXX Hos 13:4). The use of the passive voice (“created”) again implies that those who were created did not create themselves but that God created them. The adverbial phrase “in Christ Jesus” may represent the instrumental use of the preposition “in” (en), so that God’s spiritual creation of believers is because of Christ Jesus, or more exactly, because of the soteriological benefits of his death and resurrection. It is also possible that the adverbial phrase “in Christ Jesus” is to be interpreted as metaphorically locative, thereby indicating the “place” where God’s transformation occurred. This is consistent with Paul’s previous description of believers as being seated in the heavenlies “in Christ Jesus.” The purpose or goal of being “created in Christ Jesus” is “for good works” (epi ergois agathois) (The use of the preposition epi + genitive can denote purpose or goal.)(81) These good works God created in advance for those “created in Christ Jesus” to do. (Probably the form of the relative pronoun is hois by attraction to ergois agathois and should be understood as "which good works.") Paul sees salvation as issuing in obedience without exception. No doubt, in Paul’s mind, it is the Spirit who makes the believer into “God’s workmanship.”
Twice in his extant letters, Paul describes the state of the believer as being a “new creation” (kainê ktisis).(82) The implication is that there has been a spiritual transformation of the believer. The individual as a new creation is the corollary of the new eschatological age made possible by Christ (see Gal 1:4; Eph 2:1-7).(83) In the Old Testament, Israel’s eschatological hope is sometimes described as a new creative act (Isa 43:18-19; 65:17); the same idea occurs in the second-Temple period (1 En 72:1; 2 Bar 32:6; 44:12; 57:2; Jub. 1:29; 4:26).(84) Paul, however, has applied to the individual believer what was applied to nation.(85) As Paul uses the term, new creation denotes the eschatological salvation experienced by the individual as a present reality.
In Gal 6:15, Paul writes that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision matters, but what does matters is “a new creation.” Although he does not explain this statement, he probably means in part that what alone is important is the spiritual transformation effected by the indwelling Spirit, the new life brought about by the Spirit. Whether a person is a Jew or a gentile is inconsequential compared to whether a person has the Spirit in his heart (Gal 6:15). In the previous verse, in the context of the exclusion of boasting, he writes that through the cross of Christ the world has been crucified to him and he to the world. (Paul uses datives of disadvantage.) This is an adaptation of the idea that of his sharing in Christ's crucifixion insofar as he is in spiritual union with Christ (see Rom 6:6; Gal 2:19-20). (The prepositional phrase di' hou probably has for its antecedent "the cross" rather than "Christ," although it makes little difference to Paul's meaning.)(86) Paul means that his relation to the world and its relation to him has been terminated.(87) Paul uses the term "world" (kosmos) with the negative sense of created reality standing in opposition to God, which includes that in which human beings seek to boast (see Phil 3:7-8); it stands in opposition to the new eschatological age in which believers are new creations.(88) (see the use of "world" in Jas 1:27; 4:4; 1 John 2:15). No doubt, Paul would say that his death to the world by his spiritual union with Christ is an effect of the indwelling Spirit.
Similarly, in 2 Cor 5:17, Paul writes, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” To be in Christ is a Pauline way of describing what it means to be a believer with all that is implied thereby. If a person is a believer then he is said to be a “new creation.”(89) In 2 Cor 5:17b Paul adds that for the one who is a new creation “Old things have passed away, behold everything is new.” He does not explain what he means by “old things” (ta archaia), but in light of what he says in his other letters, it would be the flesh, sin and the Law. Although he does not say so explicitly, it is probable that Paul would identify this newness and the disappearance of the old as the result of the Spirit.
Paul’s Judaizing opponents apparently accused him of making Christ “the servant of sin,” insofar as he taughts. that gentiles who become believers do not have to obey the Law. They interpret Paul as teaching that morality is optional for gentile believers. This accusation stands behind Paul’s rhetorical question: “But if, seeking to be declared righteous in Christ, we ourselves are found to be sinners, then also [does this mean that] Christ is a servant of sin?” (2:17).(90) As expected, Paul rejects the charge that he has made Christ into a servant of sin, but his reason for rejecting the accusation may have come as a shock to his Jewish opponents: “For if what I have destroyed these things I build up again, then I establish myself as a transgressor” (2:18). Paul’s argument is that he (and other Jews who support him and his gentiles converts) cannot be accused of being sinners insofar as they violate the Law because the Law no longer has validity and therefore cannot be violated. This is what he has destroyed. Instead, Paul says that he has “died to the Law, in order that I might live for God” (2:19) (tô theô is a dative of advantage). (By his use of the first person “I,” Paul doubtless means to be speaking paradigmatically also; the same is true of his used of “I” in Gal 2:18.)(91) To die to the Law is to no longer be under the authority of the Law; this is the condition of “living for God,” which is the new way of serving God (see Rom 7:1-6).(92) The idiom “to live for God” means living in a new relationship to God, effected by the Spirit, which leads inevitably to obedience to God apart from the Law.(93) (It is safe to say that Paul’s Jewish opponents would see no difference between “living for God” and being under the Law, but Paul would beg to differ.) In Pauline theology, to be a believer, and therefore to have died to the Law, is necessarily “to live for God”: there is no neutrality.
6. 1 Thess 5:4-5; Rom 13:12-13; Eph 5:8-9
Paul uses the metaphor of being in the light or the day (as opposed to the darkness or the night) to describe the state of the believer. Being in the light or the day is to be in a state of understanding and obedience to God. Paul tells the Thessalonians that they are "not in the darkness," but are "sons of the light and sons of the day" (5:4-5a). Since they are not "of the night, nor of the darkness" (5:5b) they are exhorted to live accordingly (5:6-8). To the Romans, Paul says to "put off the works of darkness" and put on "the armor of light" (13:12-13). Similarly, he tells the Ephesians that they were "of the darkness," but are now "light in the Lord." The "fruit of light," he adds, consists of "all goodness, righteousness and truth," meaning obedience to the will of God (Eph 5:8-9). If asked why believers were no longer in the darkness but in the light (or some equivalent pair of terms), Paul would on doubt explain that it is the Spirit who effects this transformation.
Describing it as if it were a piece of clothing, Paul tells the Colossians that they have taken off “the old man” (ho palaios anthrôpos). (The participles following the imperative “Do not lie to one another” and are genuine participles, descrbing the spiritual state of the readers.)(95) The term “the old man” is the equivalent of “flesh.” Instead, Paul says that the Colossians have put on “the new man” (ho neos anthrôpos), which describes the spiritual transformation that they have experienced, no doubt by the presence of the Spirit (see the parallels in Sir 6:31; 27:8; Wis 5:18). He adds that “the new man” is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator (see 2 Cor 4:16). In other words, the person who lives by the Spirit (or a synonymous phrase) has a continuously renewing knowledge consisting of being conformed to the image of God (an allusion to Gen 1:26; see Eph 4:24); what is being described, it seems, is a new understanding of reality that is progressively moving towards what originally human beings should have known, were it not for the interference of sin on the mind (see Rom 1-2).(96)
In spite of his belief that they are transformed by the Spirit, Paul still believes that it is possible for believers to choose to hinder their spiritual development and so remain spiritually immature. He refers to this condition as being "fleshly" (sarkikos), being an "infant in Christ" (nêpios en Christô) and "living in a merely human way" (kata anthrôpon peripatein ) (1 Cor 3:2-3). To be fleshly is to be characterized by the flesh, which for Paul describes the human being as a willing instrument of sin (see The Human Being as "Flesh"). The phrase "infant in Christ" describes a new believer; the designation "in Christ" indicates that a person is a Christian, whereas being an infant denotes that he or she has only recently believed in Christ. Paul expects new believers to be spiritually immature, but it is possible, although unnatural, for them to remain spiritually immature when they should have matured. The Corinthians to whom Paul is writing have been believers long enough that they should no longer be like new believers. He uses the metaphor of milk and solid food to distinguish the spiritually immature believer from the spiritually mature: "I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able." When the Corinthians first believed Paul fed them spiritual milk because they were infants in Christ; but now, after several years, he expects them no longer to be spiritual infants. Unfortunately, however, Paul still cannot give them advanced teaching, what he calls spiritual "solid food," since they are still spiritual infants. For the Corinthians "to live merely in a human way" describes living as if they do not have the Spirit (see 1 Cor 2:10b-11: "For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God"). The fact that most of the Corinthian believers are "fleshly" explains why they are so factious, relating to their leaders as if they were spiritual teachers in whom they could take pride: "For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly" (1 Cor 3:3). Paul refers to the opposite of the "fleshly" believer as the "mature" (teleios) (1 Cor 2:6; 14:20; Phil 3:15) or the "spiritual" (pneumatikos) (Gal 6:1).
For Paul, the category of "fleshly" (sarkikos) is not the same as that of "soulish" (psuchikos). In 1 Cor 2:14-16 Paul explains that the person without the Spirit does not and cannot receive the things of the Spirit insofar as he or she does not have the Spirit, which he calls the "mind of Christ" (nous Christou). He writes, "But a soulish human being does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him or her; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct him [Isa 40:13]? But we have the mind of Christ." By contrast, the person whom Paul calls "fleshly" has the Spirit but has hindered the Spirit in the Spirit's transformative work, thereby remaining immature.
The unnatural possibility of hindering the Spirit explains why Paul exhorts the Thessalonians not to quench the Spirit (1 Thess 5:19) and the Ephesians not to grieve the Spirit (Eph 4:30). It is possible, therefore, to have the Spirit and still to be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18), because to be filled with the Spirit means to be yielded to the Spirit.
In Rom 8:16, the Spirit testifies to the believer's spirit to the fact that he or she is a son (child) of God in the soteriological sense. Paul also says that the Spirit metaphorically functions to seal believers (sphragizein). To seal something is to set the stamp of one's ownership on it, so that metaphorically believers have the stamp of God's ownership on them insofar as they have the Spirit ( 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30) (see the parallel in Rev 7:3; see also Ezek 9:4; 44:5; Ps. Sol. 15:6, 9; 4 Ezra 6:5-6). Moreover, Paul refers to the Spirit metaphorically as a guarantee (arrabôn) (2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:14). The point is that the Spirit is the first installment of all the benefits of eschatological salvation, and so functions as a guarantee that the rest will come. It should be noted that in Rom 8:11, he writes that, if the Spirit dwells in "us," the Spirit will raise "us" from the dead in the same way that the Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. In this way, the present indwelling of the Spirit is the guarantee of future resurrection. What Paul describes in these passages is part of the experience of the believer, and by definition is not fully communicable.
In Romans 15:18-19, 1 Corinthians 2:4 and Galatians 3:5, Paul claims that he and other believers performed signs and wonders by the power of the Holy Spirit; the signs and wonders were confirmations of the good news. He does not give any details about these signs and wonders, but from what Luke says in Acts these signs and wonders in part consist of healings (Acts 14:8-20; 19:11-12).
In 2 Cor 4:7 Paul explains that at work in him and the other apostles is a power (dunamis) that is of God and not from himself. He writes, “We have this treasure in clay containers in order to show that the all-surpassing power is of God and not of us.” Paul is referring to the power that he experiences in his apostolic activity, which is probably a reference to the Spirit who indwells and empowers him. In his view, God’s design is that all—including the clay containers themselves—should know that the power manifested in Paul and his co-workers comes exclusively from God insofar as that power is the Spirit at work in them. When the apostles operate as common and fragile human beings, it is clear to all that it is the Spirit that is responsible for their success. What Paul says in 2 Cor 4:7 relates to his earlier statements in 1 Cor 1–3, made in the context of his handling of the Corinthians’ dispute over their leaders. His statement that he and his colleagues are comparable to clay containers recalls his interpretation of the roles played by the leaders in the Corinthian church: “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted and Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who causes the growth” (1 Cor 3:5–7). In Paul’s view, all who have leadership roles in the church are nothing more than mere instruments through whom God works, so that no distinctions can be made among them. They make no contribution to the outcome—the growth; only God does this.
Later in 2 Cor 13:4 Paul refers to how, although they are weak, because of their identification with the suffering and death of Christ, Paul and the other apostles nevertheless also share in the power of Christ, the same power that raised him from the dead. According to Paul, it is that same power that is directed towards the Corinthians: "For indeed he [Christ] was crucified because of weakness, yet he lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in him, yet we will live with him because of the power of God directed toward you." He no doubt is referring to the power of the Holy Spirit who works through the apostles, who paradoxically appear incapable of producing such results on their own. (See also Paul's reference to operating "in the power of God" in 2 Cor 6:7 and his statement that he is a servant of the good news "according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of his power" in Eph 3:7.) Similarly, in Col 1:29 he refers to God's "working" (energeia) that is operative in him as an apostle: "For this purpose also I labor, striving according to his working, which mightily works within me in power." No doubt, he understands the term "working" to be a synonym for "power" (dunamis), which explains why he uses the adverbial phrase "in power" (en dunamei). Paul also uses the compound phrase "according to the working of his power" (kata tên energeian tês dunameôs autou) to refer to the power behind his apostolic activities calling: "Through the good news, of which I was made a servant, according to the gift of God’s grace that was given to me according to the working of his power" (Eph 3:7).
According to Paul, the Spirit gives spiritual gifts to believers to be exercised for the benefit of the whole church. Paul compares the church to a body with different parts (i.e., different gifts), each working in harmony with the other parts for the good of the whole body (1 Cor 12:1-11; Rom 12:3-8); these gifts are not natural abilities but supernatural, Spirit-given abilities.
There are two passages in his letters where Paul provides lists of spiritual gifts (charismata). With the exception of the charisma of prophecy, the two lists are different, which leads one to think that possibly there are other gifts of the Spirit not listed in either passage.
In 1 Cor 12:4-11, Paul explains the nature and purpose of spiritual gifts, and gives a list of some of these. He is perhaps responding to the Corinthians’ request for such a clarification. Paul explains that there is a diversity of gifts (charismata), but only one Spirit, a diversity of ministries, but one Lord and a diversity of operations but one and the same God is at work (12:4-6). His purpose is to stress the unity that exists amidst the diversity of spiritual activities. Paul also points out the manifestation of the Spirit in each person is for the benefit of all, the common good (12:7). There is also an Trinitarian formula in 1 Cor 12:4-6 insofar as Paul implicitly identifies the Spirit (pneuma), the Lord (Jesus) (ho kurios) and God (ho theos). Paul then provides a partial list of spiritual gifts (charismata), the ways in which the Spirit is operative in believers. He does not define these gifts, so that we must determine their nature simply from the names that he gives to them. In some cases this is simple, but in others it proves to be more difficult.
A word of wisdom is a communication with wisdom as its content. Wisdom, in Paul's understanding, is of divine origin, being given by revelation; it especially pertains to word of the cross (see 1 Cor 1-2). It seems that the spiritual gift of a word of wisdom is being enabled by the Spirit to understand in part the mind of God. To have a word of wisdom to have an insight into the nature of reality that is of some practical use to the church.
The gift of a word of knowledge must differ from a word of wisdom, since it is a distinct gift. It seems that this gift consists in receiving useful information from God that is otherwise unknowable. This information is useful in some manner.
A gift of faith is to be differentiated from the faith that all believers have; as a gift, faith is the ability to know God's will and then with certainty and confidence to believe that this will be realized.
Gifts of healing are the Spirit’s multiple grantings of the ability to heal human beings. Since Paul uses the plural (healings), it seems that he conceives of each healing is a distinct gift of healing; each instance of healing requires its own gift.
The gift of workings of miracles are giftings to do extraordinary things. Again, since the plural is used, each miracle is a separate gift of the working of a miracle.
A gift of prophecy is a Spirit-inspired message given to a specific person to be delivered to a group. Paul gives more information on prophecy in the (Corinthian) church in 1 Cor 14. It is clear from what he says that prophecy is for the purpose of the edification of believers (14:3-5): they hear what is given to the prophet by the Spirit and are built up in their spiritual lives. (Prophecy was a common phenomenon in the early church [e.g.’s Acts 2:17; 13:1; 21:10].)
The nature of a gift of discernment of spirits is difficult to determine, because the meaning of “spirits” is unclear. Either the gift consists in the ability to know the spiritual states of another (human spirit) or to recognize the activity of demonic spirits. It is probable that the gift consists in the ability to discern both types of spirits. The purpose of the gift is to be able to discern truth from error and good from evil.
A gift of tongues is the ability to a speak divinely-inspired communication in another language not understandable by the speaker nor the hearer.
A gift of tongues is the ability to a speak divinely-inspired communication in another language not understandable by the speaker or the hearer.
In 1 Cor 12:12-26, Paul stresses the spiritual co-dependency of the members of the church. Using a metaphor, he compares different people with different gifts within the church to the parts a body, each of which contributes to the well-being of the whole body. His reasons for saying this could be that the Corinthians are putting too much stress on the gift of tongues (see 1 Cor 14). In making this point, Paul explains that all believers were baptized into one body and given one Spirit to drink (12:13). He means that in baptism the believer becomes part of Christ and receives the Spirit, as if the Spirit were something ingested, like a drink. He also says that the church is an organic unity so that each part is affected by the others: when one suffers the others do also, and when one rejoices so likewise do the others (12:26).
Paul explains that those "in Christ" are like the many parts of a single body; he stresses that each part does not have the same function (12:4-5). He then says that there are many gifts (charismata), but one grace, i.e., one source in God as gracious.
As in 1 Cor 12: this gift is the ability to speak a Spirit-inspired message to a specific person or persons at a specific time (This is the only item in common between 1 Cor 12 and Rom 12.)
The gift of service is the ability to meet some particular practical need in the church.
The gift of teaching is the ability to communicate spiritual truths to one or more believers in such a way the teaching is effective, i.e., produces results.
The gift of encouragement is the ability to encourage one or more people to continue in obedience to God.
The gift of sharing is the inclination and ability to share materially with those in need in a much greater capacity than the non-gifted but still generous believer.
The gift of leadership is the capacity to provide leadership to the church is a particular situation.
The gift of mercy it is the ability to show compassion in a practical way to the extremely needy and genuine unlovely.
The two additional spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Cor 12:28-30—doing helpful things (antilêmpseis) and administrations (kubernêseis)—should be added to the other two lists. The former is the ability to do small and practical helpful acts for others. The latter is the ability to provide administrative assistance to the operations of the church.
There are two passages where Paul provides lists of ministries or offices, some of which clearly are the result of the regular exercise of one of the gifts.
The remainder of this list does not consist of offices or ministries but of spiritual gifts; but the context requires that these gifts be translated as those exercising these gifts, so that the regular exercising of these gifts has become a type of ministry.
In this passage, Paul says that to each grace (charis) has been given, as Christ has apportioned it. Quoting Ps 68:18, he says that, upon his ascension, Christ gave gifts (domata) to human beings. Christ gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists and some pastors and teachers. Paul's use of Ps 68:18, it should be noted, is another example of a pesher-like interpretation; in fact, Paul adapts the text to suit his purposes. Originally, Ps 68:17-18 probably describes the victory of the Israelites in the name Yahweh and how the ark of the covenant, representing God's presence, was brought back to the Temple (ascending on high), having been removed to provide supernatural support for the war effort (see Ps 24:7-10; 1 Sam 3:4-8). The Israelites took prisoners during this conflict and received from them gifts, i.e., tribute paid to the Temple by Israel's defeated enemies. Paul interprets the text as describing Christ descent to the lower parts of the earth (Hades) before ascending to heaven. When he ascended to heaven, Christ gave (as opposed to received) spiritual gifts to human beings. The apparent arbitrariness of Paul's interpretation is not disturbing to anyone familiar with first-century Jewish exegesis.
Some of the offices or ministries to which Paul refers in 1 Cor 12:28-30 and Eph 4:7-12 (apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists and pastor/teacher) may be designations for those who habitually exercise the corresponding spiritual gift. This seems to be the case with prophet and teacher, since prophecy and teaching are said to be spiritual gifts. It is also possible that apostle, evangelist and pastor/teacher are the result of the exercise of one or more of the spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Cor 12:1-11 and Rom 12:3-8.
Paul speaks about praying in (the) Spirit, which seems to mean to pray in the power of the Spirit (Eph 6:18); he also says that the Spirit prays on our behalf according to the will of God, although we do not know what He is saying (Rom 8:26-27). In 1 Cor 14, however, praying in spirit means to speak in tongues, and is set in opposition to praying with mind (14:14-16).
The Spirit reveals truth to believers, in particular that the good news is really the wisdom and power of God (see Rom 1:16). In response to the Corinthians' attempt to make the good news into a type of wisdom (sophia), in 1 Cor 1:18, Paul says that "the word of the cross" or the message about the death and resurrection of Christ, sets up a division between two classes of human beings: those who are perishing and those who are being saved. The former considers "the word of the cross" as foolishness, whereas the latter accept it as the "power of God." This leads him in 1 Cor 1:19 to quote Isa 29:14 to make the point that God has always sought to overturn human wisdom. In 1 Cor 1:20-25, Paul goes on to explain that it was God's intention to make foolish the wisdom of the wise through “the word of the cross.” To the Jew, it is a scandal because the Messiah was not supposed to be crucified; to the Greek it represents foolishness, because no one could imagine God's using the message about a crucified man to save those who believe it. One could call God’s plan to use the “the word of the cross” to save those who believe divine irony: in order to destroy all human pretension and autonomy, God nullifies what the world considers wisdom. (Yet it should also be noted that in 1 Cor 1:24b, Paul calls Jesus the power and wisdom of God; what he means is that from a divine perspective—in opposition to human standards of wisdom—the word of the cross is a type of wisdom. Moreover, it is also the power by which people are saved.)(97)
In 1 Cor 2:6-16, Paul says that he does have a wisdom that he speaks among the "perfect" (en tois teleiois) (1 Cor 2:6) (see 1 Cor 1:24b), but this is not wisdom by the standards of this age nor the leaders of this age who are passing away. (The use of the term teleioi to denote is Paul's accommodation to the Corinthians' own terminology derived from Hellenistic philosophy.(98) The Corinthians imagined themselves as fully wise and so "perfect.") The wisdom that he imparts is not recognized as such by those who are considered wise, powerful and well-born in this age, the pre-eschatological and disobedient period of human history (see 1 Cor 1:20, 26). He calls his wisdom “a wisdom in mystery” (hê sophia en mustêriô), meaning a hidden or inaccessible wisdom, not understood by the "rulers of this age" (2:7-8). What God has prepared soteriologically for those who love him is only known by means of the revelation of the Spirit (2:9). (Although he intends to quote from Scripture to make this point, it is not clear which Old Testament passage Paul has quoted; the closest text to it is Isa 64:4 [LXX 64:3].) He says that this hidden wisdom comes to human beings only by a revelation, by means of the Spirit of God (2:10). He adds, "The Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God" (2:10). In this context, the depths of God seem to refer to God's ultimate salvation-historical purposes, in particular, the death and resurrection of Christ (see Rom 11:33); these depths the Spirit reveals to believers. This explains how it is that believers come to accept the good news, which is foolishness by human standards: the Spirit who reveals to them the truth of the good news, and without the Spirit there would be no such understanding. Paul explains by analogy that just the spirit of a man in him (to pneuma tou anthrôpou to en auto) knows the things of a man (ta tou anthrôpou), so the Spirit of God knows the things of God; thus, because they have the Spirit of God believers in them believers have access to an understanding of God's salvation-historical purposes inaccessible to others. Paul's statement that believers have not received "the spirit of the world" [to pneuma tou kosmou], but the Spirit of God, is probably intended to stress that the Spirit of God does not originate in the world or this age (2:12). If so, then Paul is not identifying two "spirits" operative among human beings, even though one finds such a conception in 1QS 3-4; T. Judah 20; T. Asher 1:3-9.(99) Paul's point is that what a believer knows about "the things freely given to us by God," by which he means salvation in the present and in the future, is because of the indwelling Spirit, who originates from God.
Possibly making use of the Corinthians' own terminology (because Paul never uses this "soulish" / "spiritual" dualism again), Paul differentiates between the "soulish man" (ho psuchikos anthrôpos) and the "spiritual" person (ho pneumatikos anthrôpos ). (The Corinthians may have used such terminology to differentiate themselves as "wise" and "perfect" from their inferiors, the "soulish men," which would have included Paul himself.) The former is "soulish" because he has not "received" the Spirit; as such he does not accept revelation that comes from the Spirit: "The soulish man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him." Such matters, Paul says, are "spiritually discerned" (pneumatikos anakrinetai), by which he means that they understood because of the Spirit's revelatory work. Finally, Paul concludes with another quotation from Isaiah (Isa 40:13), making the point that no one can instruct the Lord (Yahweh). He adds, however, that the Christian has at least partial access to a knowledge of God's salvation-historical purposes, because he has the mind of Christ. Given the context, it seems to mean that to have the mind of Christ is to have the we have the Spirit.
Paul describes the nature of the ministry to which he and his associates have been called. Responding to his critics, he says that they do not behave deceitfully and do not falsify the word of God (see 2 Cor 2:14-17). (What was meant by the charge that Paul falsified the good news, however, is not explained.) Rather, they commend themselves to the consciences of all people in the sight of God by clearly setting forth the truth (2 Cor 4:1-2). He insists that he and his colleagues do not preach themselves, but the Lord Jesus Christ, contrary to his critics (2 Cor 4:5). (It is not clear what Paul's critics mean when they accuse him of preaching himself, but they may be accusing him of commending himself too much [see 3:1; 5:12].)(100) Paul concedes, however, that the good news that he proclaims is not evident as such to those who do accept it and so are in a state of perishing. He expresses this using the metaphor of a veil over the eyes: "And even if our good news veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing" (2 Cor 4:3). The idea is that, just as the veil over the eyes prevents seeing, so metaphorically those who reject his message have a metaphorical veil over their understanding. The use of the metaphor of the veil hearkens back to 2 Cor 3:14-16, where, on his midrash on Exod 34:29-35 (Moses' veiling his face when coming down from Mt. Sinai), he states that Jews who read the Torah but do not find Christ there have a veil over their hearts, or understanding: "But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart" (2 Cor 3:15). Paul explains further that it is "the god of this world," by which he means Satan, who is the cause of the fact human beings do not recognize the truth of what Paul proclaims as good news: "The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving in order that they might not see the light of the good news of the glory of Christ" (4:4). He referring to the fact that Satan is actively involved in deceiving the human race (see Cosmic Exaltation of Christ). He prevents human beings from understanding and believing the good news that consists of the glory of Christ, by which Paul means the salvation that Christ makes possible. (In the context of 2 Cor 4, the phrase "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God" is functionally equivalent to "the light of the good news of the glory of Christ" [4:4], both referring to the salvation that God makes possible through Christ; see 2 Cor 4:4, 6; 3:18a). It is only by an act of God that understanding occurs, which Paul expresses as follows: "For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the one who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God" (4:6). Just as God spoke and created light in the darkness (Gen 1:3), so God shines ligh tinto the darkness of the human hear, bring ing understanding that the good news that Paul and others proclaim is indeed true. Perhaps in the background stands Isa 9:2 "The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them" or Paul may be interpreting Christ as the Servant who brings light to the nations: "I will also make you a light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth" (Isa 49:6; see 42:6, 16; 60:1-2).(101) No doubt, when interpreted in light of 1 Cor 1:10-2:16, the means by which God brings light to human beings is the Holy Spirit.
In 1 Cor 14:1-25, Paul explains more fully the phenomenon of speaking in tongues (or other languages). In so doing, he seems to distinguish between a private and a public use of speaking in tongues.
Paul takes exception to the Corinthians’ over-inflated estimation of the gift of tongues; he tells them that he considers prophecy to be the superior gift. (It is possible that they expressed their view in their letter to him that the gift of tongues was the greatest of the spiritual gifts.) In 1 Cor 14:1, he tells the Corinthians to pursue love (agapê), but at the same time to seek spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. Then in 1 Cor 14:2-12, he contrasts the gift of tongues unfavorably to the gift of prophecy, and in so doing he explains the nature of this spiritual gift more fully. He says that the one who speaks in tongues speaks directly to God and is not understood by others; conversely the one who prophesies speaks to other human beings (1 Cor 14:2-3). The one who speaks in tongues builds himself up, but the one who prophesies builds the church up; Paul's preference is for prophecy (1 Cor 14:5). It should be noted that in 1 Cor 14:5, Paul says that he would like that all the Corinthians speak in tongues as he does, but in 1 Cor 12:30 he asks rhetorically (expecting a negative response) whether all speak in tongues. It seems that Paul distinguishes between speaking in uninterpreted tongues privately and speaking in tongues publicly accompanied by an interpretation. The former is available to all, whereas the latter is a specific ministry not available to all. The Corinthians apparently were all speaking in tongues together during their meetings, some without interpretations, which Paul condemns as inappropriate. Nevertheless, in spite of its inferiority to prophecy as a public spiritual gifting, speaking in tongues non-publicly is still a benefit to the individual doing so, which is why he writes that "The one who speaks in a tongue builds himself up" (ho lalôn glôssê heauton oikodomei) (14:4). Although he does not say so, Paul would probably see the benefit of speaking in tongues to be twofold. First, the one who does so is directly connected to God, which is intrinsically beneficial spiritually, even if one does not know what one has said. Second, the one who speaks in tongues privately may receive an interpretation of what he or she has spoken in an unintelligible language.
In 1 Cor 14:6-12, Paul argues further that anything that is spoken in intelligible speech is preferable to the speaking in tongues at a public gathering; Paul names four such things: revelation, knowledge, prophecy or teaching; it is not clear how these four things differ, except that the latter three seem to be spiritual gifts. (It is uncertain, however, how "revelation" [apokalupsis] differs from the other three.) Paul's concern is to ensure that whatever is said at a public gathering is intelligible to all present there. In 1 Cor 14:13-17, he recommends that the Corinthians pray for the gift of interpretation, so that the message spoken in tongues may edify others. Paul then says that when he prays in a tongue, his spirit prays, but his mind remains unfruitful, that is, inactive. He explains that a person can pray or sing "in spirit" or "in mind." He means that a person can pray or sing using an intelligible language ("in mind") or using an unintelligible language ("in spirit"), that is, speak or sing in tongues. Paul says that he will both pray and sing "in spirit" and "in mind," but he will not do the former at a public gathering in the presence of the outsider (those who come to the meetings who are not [yet] Christians). How Paul is using the anthropological terms "spirit" and "mind" is difficult to determine. It seems that he is saying that the human spirit under the influence of the Spirit speaks directly to God in an unknown language, which the human spirit itself (in its function as mind) does not understand. What is said in tongues is not something that the human spirit, as mind, cannot say on its own. Paul says that, although he speaks in tongues more than any of the Corinthians, he prefers to speak in intelligible speech in the church (1 Cor 14:18-19).
In 1 Cor 14:20-25, Paul begins by telling the Corinthians to be mature, the practical application of which is that they should stop speaking in tongues in their meetings unless there is someone to interpret. He then quotes Isa 28:11-12 (Paul calls it "the Law," by which he means the Scriptures), thus beginning a new thought. It is difficult to know how Paul using the Old Testament in this instance and to what end. In the original context, Isaiah prophesies to Israel that God will speak to them through the lips of foreigners (lit. "stammering lips") and through those of other languages; the point is that God would speak to the Israelites in judgment through the invasion of the Assyrians, whose language they will not understand. Even after being invaded, however, the Israelites will still not recognize the judgment of God, so that they will not heed Isaiah’s words. Paul quotes this passage as applicable to the situation of the early church. Obviously, what drew him to this text was the reference to the other languages, or tongues; he then gives this text a new application that is analogous to the first situation: the foreign languages through which God speaks in judgment to Israel are no longer the language of foreign invaders, but the languages spoken by (gentile) believers under the inspiration of the Spirit. The gift of tongues is a sign to unbelievers who see the reality of the Spirit's activity, and are confronted by evidence of the existence and power of God. Witnessing this activity of the Spirit demands a response from unbelievers, but, because they do understand what is being said, they all too easily dismiss what they are witnessing as insanity, and thereby bring condemnation on themselves. Paul's view is that the Corinthians ought not to force unbelievers to witness the exercise of the gift of tongues, because they will be too easily inclined to reject what they are witnessing as foolishness. Rather, it is preferable for the Corinthians to prophesy in their meetings, so that when an unbeliever enters, he or she will hear God’s communications in intelligible speech; the result will be repentance and faith.
Based on this idea that Holy Spirit dwells in each believer, in 1 Cor 3:16 Paul can call a church the temple of the Holy Spirit: "Do you not know that you are a Temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (en humin)?" Paul is using a metaphor: a temple is a building made up of many parts and indwelt by a deity; so similarly a local church is made up of many parts, each of which is indwelt by the Spirit, so that the whole resembles a temple.
In 1 Cor 6:14-18, by means of a series of rhetorical questions, Paul instructs the Corinthians "not to be unequally yoked" with unbelievers. He is using another agricultural metaphor, the use of animals to pull a plow: two incompatible animals put under the same yoke will not work together; the same is true for believers and unbelievers. Then in 6:19 he makes a statement similar to one made in 1 Cor 3:16-17: the body of each member of the Corinthian church is the temple of the living God, meaning that God now dwells not in the Temple in Jerusalem, but in the bodies of believers. He writes, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?" Likely, that which makes the church the Temple of God is the Holy Spirit who indwells the body of each believer (see 1 Cor 3:16). This is why the body must be kept pure from sexual immorality.
(1) On Paul’s View of the Holy Spirit, see D. J. Lull, The Spirit in Galatia. Paul’s Interpretation of Pneuma as Divine Power (SBLDS 49; Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1980); David A. Brondos, Paul on the Cross (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006) chap. 6.
(2) For parallels in language to Rom 5:5, see Pss 22:5 (LXX 21:6); 25:3, 20 (LXX 24:3, 20); 119:116 (LXX 118:116). See G. Nebe, "Hoffnung" bei Paulus: Elpis und ihre Synonyme im Zussamenhang der Eschatologie (SUNT 16; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1983) 123-36.
(3) On this passage, see O. Michel, Der Brief an die Römer (12 ed.; MeyerK; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1963) 133; H. Schlier, Der Römerbrief (HTKNT 6; Freiburg: Herder, 1977) 149-51; C. K. Barrett, The Epistle to the Romans (BNTC; London: A&C Black, 1967) 104-105; C. E. B. Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans (ICC n.s.; 2 vols.; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1975, 1979) 1.261-63; J. Dunn, Romans 1-8 (WBC; Dallas: Word, 1988) 252-53.
(4) D. J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996) 304-305. verb “to pour out” (ekchein or ekchunnein) is used to describe the giving of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:17-19 = LXX Joel 3:1-2; 2:33; 10:45; Titus 3:6.
(5) Schlier argues that Paul uses the aorist participle tou dothentos to indicate that the Holy Spirit was given at a particular point in the past, which he identifies as primarily the time of baptism. But it would also include other bestowals of the Spirit (Der Römerbrief, 149).
(8) Barrett, The Epistle to the Romans, 158-59. J. Lagrange comments, "L’Esprit est L’Esprit du Christ parce qu’il descend dans l’âme par l’union au Christ" (Saint Paul Épitre aux Romains [Paris: LeCoffre, 1916] 198).
(10) Fee argues that Paul shifts from speaking about the Spirit of God in 8:9a to Spirit of Christ in 8:9b is that "the argument is now returning momentarily to an emphasis on the work of Christ and his relationship to the Spirit, which will be quite the point of v. 10" (God’s Empowering Presence, 548).
(14) A. Robertson and A. Plummer, First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (ICC; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1911) 272; Barrett, C. K. Barrett, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (2d ed.; London: Black, 1971) 288; contrary to F. Lang, Die Briefe an die Korinther (NTd 7; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1986) 171; H. Conzelmann, 1 Corinthians (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1975) 212.
(16) E. Burton, The Epistle to the Galatians (ICC; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1921) 221; H. Schlier, Der Brief an die Galater (14 ed.; MeyerK; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1971) 197; F. Mußner, Der Galaterbrief (HTKNT 9; Freiburg: Herder, 1974) 274-75; H.-J. Eckstein, Verheißung und Gesetz. Eine exegetische Untersuchung zu Gal 2,15-4,7 (WUNT 86; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1996) 241.
(24) See W. Wrede, Paul (London: Green, 1907); A. Schweitzer, The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle (New York: Seabury, 1968) ; E.P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977), Part Two. See the summary in T. Donaldson, Paul and the Gentiles. Remapping the Apostle’s Convictional World (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997) 10-13.
(26) See Schweitzer, The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle, 121-22; H. Windisch, Paulus und Christus. Ein biblisch-religiongeschichtlicher Vergleich (UNT 24; Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung, 1934) 229-52.
(27) On this passage, see P. von Osten Sacken, Römer 8 als Beispiel paulinischer Soteriologie (FRLANT 112; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1975) 226-60; G. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 515-42; J. A. Ziesler, "The Just Requirement of the Law (Romans 8:4)," AusBR 35 (1987) 77-82.
(30) J. Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (NICNT; 2 vols.; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1959, 1965) 282-83; Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 282-83; H. Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975) 280-88; Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 534-37; T. Schreiner, The Law and Its Fulfillment (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993) 150-54.
(33) Dunn plays down the contrast between flesh and Spirit in this passage (Romans 1-8, 424-25). By the term "those who are according to the Spirit" Paul is not referring to an ideal type but to actual believers.
(35) J. Gundry Volf argues convincingly that in Gal 5:19–21 Paul does not have a parenetic interest but apologetic: He defends himself against the charge that his “antinomian” views leads to moral laxity, insofar as without the Law the “works of the flesh” are no longer identifiable (fanera,) (see 2:17; Rom 6:15) (Paul and Perseverance: Staying in and Falling Away [Louisville: Westminster/Knox, 1990] 141–54).
(36) Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 432: "basic perspective of life in the flesh." As Mußner points out, Paul’s use of "flesh" is functionally equivalent to the idea of the "evil inclination" in early Judaism (Der Galaterbrief, 375).
(41) It should be noted that this passage, like Rom 8:12-14, also contains both imperatives and indicatives in a paradoxical arrangement: Paul tells the Galatians that they have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (5:24) (They “live by the Spirit” [5:25]), implying that there is a necessary connection between the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit. But then he exhorts them that “if we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided (stoichein) by the Spirit,” implying that the human will is not excluded in the process. Nevertheless, it is fundamental to Paul’s theology that, even though they have wills, ultimately believers have no free wills, but are compelled to be obedient by the indwelling Spirit.
(42) H. Windisch, Der zweiter Korintherbrief (9 ed.; KEK; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1924) 127-28; F. Lang, Die Briefe an die Korinther (NTD 7; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1986) 275; C. K. Barrett, A Commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (BNTC; London: A & C Black, 1973) 124-25; G. D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994) 316-17.
(45) J. Jervell understands 2 Cor 3:18-4:6 as an interpretation of Gen 1:27, but this seems too tenuous (Imago Dei: Gen 1,26f. im Spätjudentum, in der Gnosis und in den paulischen Briefen [FRLANT 58; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1960] 173-76). See also R. P. Martin, 2 Corinthians (WBC; Waco: Word, 1986) 71-72.
(49) On parallels with the DSS, see H.-W. Kuhn, “The Epistle to the Ephesians in the Light of the Qumran Texts,” Paul and Qumran. Studies in New Testament Exegesis (London: Chapman, 1968) 117-18. See 1QH-a 15.17, 19; 20.35; 1QM 10.5. See C. Arnold, Ephesians: Power and Magic: The Concept Of Power in Ephesians in Light of Its Historical Setting (SNTSMS 63; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989) 88.
(54) The metaphor of “circumcision of the heart” to mean a inner disposition to obedience occurs in Lev 26:41; Deut 10:16; 30:6; Jer 4:4; 9:25-26 (see 6:10 “uncircumcised of ear”); Ezek 44:7; Jub. 1:23; 1QS 5.6 (“To circumcise in the community the foreskin of his inclination and a stiff neck”); 4Q504 frg. 4, 11.) (See the discussion in Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, 114).
(55) There are examples from second-Temple sources of an eschatological distinction to be made between righteous Jews and their wicked counterparts; see, for example, 1 En. 5:4-5; 90:25-27 (Animal Apocalypse); 91:12 (Apocalypse of Weeks); 98:12; Pss. Sol. 3:11-12; 14:9-10; 15:12). So Paul’s statement that the circumcised may forfeit the benefits of the covenant by disobedience is not unique. What is unprecedented is Paul’s use of the gentiles as those who may receive what disobedient Jews have forfeited. Needless to say, this would have a undeniable “shock value” for his readers.
(56) Paul has also been interpreted as speaking hypothetically, in order to underline his point that circumcision is of no value without keeping the Law. His argument is that, if it were possible for them to obey the Law, gentiles—by definition, the uncircumcised—who obeyed the Law would be considered as if they were circumcised, or members of the covenant people. Paul’s aim in using this unreal hypothetical situation is to refute the presumption of Jewish national privilege. See E. Käsemann, Commentary on Romans (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980) 73-76; S. Westerholm, “Letter and Spirit,” NTS 30 (1984) 229-48, esp. 235; Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 169-71; A. van Dülmen, Die Theologie des Gesetzes bei Paulus (SBT 5; Stuttgart: Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1968) 72-82; R. Bell, No one seeks for God (WUNT 106; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1998) 184-209; T. Eskola, Theodicy and Predestination in Pauline Soteriology (WUNT 2d s. 100; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1998) 129-36.
(59) As Lohse points out, the phrase “the putting off of the body of flesh” may be an allusion to the ritual of the putting of the mortal body in the mystery religions (Colossians and Philemon [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971] 102-103). In this usage the phrase “body of flesh” “characterizes the human body in its earthly frailty wherein it is subject to suffering, death, and dissolution” (102). (This is the same meaning that the phrase has in 1:22.) In the initiation rite into the mysteries, this mortal body is ritually put off, which is symbolized by the removal of the initiand’s clothes and his taking a purificatory bath. Lohse suggests that possibly the false teachers understood circumcision as the rite by which “the putting off body of the flesh” occurs. If so, then Paul may be polemicizing against them by using the same phrase, but intending something different by it (similar to the phrase “body of sin” in Rom 6:6).
(60) Schlier, Der Römerbrief, 205; Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 350-51; Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 1.296; Michel, Der Brief an die Römer, 148. Other commentators place the division between 6:11 and 6:12 (Käsemann, Commentary on Romans, 172; Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, 1.226; Dunn, Romans 1-8, 305-306.
(61) On this passage, see the extensive treatments by Tannehill, Dying and Rising With Christ, 7-43; H. Frankmölle, Das Taufverständnis (Stuttgarter Bibelstudien; Stuttgart: Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1970); Schnelle, Gerechtigkeit und Christusgegenwart, 74-88; P. Silber, Mit Christus Leben. Eine Studie zur paulinischen Auferstehungshoffnung (ATANT 61; Zürich: Theologischer Verlag, 1971) 191-249; Von Osten Sacken, Römer 8 als Beispiel paulinischer Soteriologie, 177-88.
(63) See C. F. D. Moule, “Death ’to Sin’, ’to Law’, and ’to the World’: A Note on Certain Datives,” Mélanges bibliques en homage au R. P. Béda Rigaux (ed. A Deschamps and A de Halleux; Gembloux: Duculot, 1970) 367-75; Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 357.
(66) Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, 396-406; Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 360. A Schweitzer, however, interprets Paul as teaching that baptism does effect a dying and rising with Christ ex opere operato (Paul and His Interpreters Paul and His Interpreters: A Critical History [London: A & C Black, 1912] 225-26.
(67) Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 360. Other uses of the phrase “to baptize into” (baptizein eis) occur in the New Testament. In Mark 1:9, Jesus is said to have been baptized into the Jordan River (ebaptisthê eis ton Iordanên) so that the preposition eis indicates the place where Jesus was baptized. In Matt 3:11, the phrase eis metanoian indicates the condition of baptism or what baptism expresses: “I baptize you with water for the condition or as an expression of repentance (egô men humas baptizô en hudati eis metanoian). Similarly, in Acts 2:38, Peter says that his hearers are to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ “for the purpose or result of forgiveness of your sins” (eis aphesin tôn hamartiôn humôn). Paul himself writes to the Corinthians that “we were baptized into one body” (eis hen sôma ebaptisthêmen) (1 Cor 12:13), which is similar to his statement that believers have been “baptized into Christ.”
(68) R. Scroggs, “Romans 6:7. ho gar apothanôn dedikaiôtai apo tês hamartias,” NTS 10 (1963-64) 104-108. Tannehill argues unconvincingly that by the phrase “our old man,” Paul refers to “a collective entity which is destroyed in the death of Christ” (Dying and Rising With Christ, 24-30). He holds that “old man,” body of sin” and “Adam” are all terms for the “old aeon” (27). See Barrett, The Epistle to the Romans, 124-25.
(69) Schlier, Der Römerbrief, 197; Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 309-10; Dunn, Romans 1-8, 320; see also Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 375-76; Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, 115-17. This is contrary to Michel who holds that sw/ma means the physical body as standing under the domination of sin (Der Brief an die Römer, 155).
(70) According to Dunn, the presence of mêketi and the use of the present tense “implies that the possibility of the believer’s continuing to serve sin is very real” (Romans 1-8, 320). This seems to be the opposite of what Paul is saying. Similarly, Paul is saying more that what Schlier asserts: “Der Leib der Sünde ist in der Taufe vernichtet worden und der Getaufte damit der Notwendigkeit zu sündigen enthoben. Er ist nicht mehr ihr Sklave. Er kann nicht sündigen” (Der Römerbrief, 198). The point that Paul makes is not that it is possible not to sin but that it is impossible to continue in sin.
(76) Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 325. Kertelge attempts to connect this ethical meaning righteousness with the salvation-historical use of the term as the “neue Macht” of God in the previous chapters of Romans (“Rechtfertigung” bei Paulus, 263-75). This seems to create too much confusion. Similarly, Käsemann, commenting on Rom 6:13, writes, “For him, as the context shows, unrighteousness is ungodliness, while righteousness is the power of God which has come on the scene with Christ and with justification, which effects new life in anticipation of bodily resurrection, and which sets us in its service” (Commentary on Romans, 177). Why righteousness does not simply mean godliness is unclear. It seems that Käsemann works with notion that righteousness in all its appearances in Paul’s letter must mean the eschatological power of God manifested in history.
(77) See Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 1.66-67; Nygren, Commentary on Romans, 55; R. Dabelstein, Die Beurteilung der ‘Heiden’ bei Paulus (BET 14; Frankfurt a.M: Lang, 1981) 109-11; L.T. Johnson, Reading Romans. A Literary and Theological Commentary (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2001) 24.
(78) G. Davies, Faith and Obedience in Romans [JSNTSup 39; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1990] 25-30; Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 51-52. See also D. Garlington, The Obedience of Faith: A Pauine Phrase in Historical Context (WUNT 2. s. 38; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1991).
(82) See H. Schlier, Der Brief an die Galater (14 ed.; MeyerK; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1971) 282; M.V. Hubbard, New Creation in Paul's Letters and Thought (SNTSMS 119; Cambridge University Press, 2002).
(83) See R. Tannehill, Dying and Rising With Christ, 63-65. Tannehill writes, "The world has a structure which determines the life of every individual, and so human life as a whole, and man can only escape from this through an event which breaks into the all-encompassing world of sin and opens up the possibility of a new existence in a new world" (64).
(84) E. Sjöberg, "Wiedergeburt und Neuschöpfung in palästinenischen Judentum," ST 4 (1950) 44-85; id., “Neuschöpfung in den Toten-Meer-Rollen,” ST 9 (1956) 131-36; H. W. Kuhn, Enderwartung und Gegenwärtiges Heil. Untersuchungen zu den Gemeindeleidern von Qumran (SUNT 4; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1966) 48-52; 75-78.
(85) Contrary to Tannehill, Dying and Rising With Christ, 68-69, Martin, 2 Corinthians, 152 and B. Eastman, The Significance of Grace in the Letters of Paul (SBL 11; New York: Lang, 1999) 39, it seems that Paul is thinking primarily of the individual as new creation, although it is true that the individual could not be a new creation without being in spiritual union with Christ (and indwelt by the eschatological Spirit), which is a function of the new eschatological age.