Ep39-Honor, Shame, and the Righteousness of God - The Problems of Theism & The Love of God Ch 8

We talk about the New Perspective on Paul and what his culture was like to help put his ideas on grace back into context.

Topics Discussed:
• Moral Obligation and Honor and Shame
• Paul’s Doctrine of Justification as God’s Honoring Covenant



“I want to focus on Paul’s thought for two reasons. The biblical documents are foundational for the LDS canon and accepted as authoritative. Paul’s views are therefore also foundational for LDS. However, I also want to focus on Paul’s thought because it is insightful and profound regarding the loving relationship offered by God to us. His polemic of justification by grace is a statement of God’s willingness to accept us just as we are without judgment the very moment that we turn to him in faith. In other words, Paul’s doctrine of justification by grace is the simple statement that God loves us without imposing judgment on us in the sense that God accepts us into relationship with him as a matter of his grace.”

“The critical notion in justification by faith is the movement of “entering into relationship,” where God’s offer of relationship and willingness to accept us as we are is universal as a matter of grace.”

“the new perspective on Paul constitutes a crucial corrective to Protestant and Catholic views.”

“In addition, recent studies in the anthropology of the ancient Mediterranean cultures posit that Paul’s thought assumed a culture of “honor and shame” valuations and within which he functioned. ”

This new views aligns with the views of John and...“it also brings Paul’s thought into alignment with LDS views of grace and exaltation.”

Moral Obligation and Honor and Shame

In this system...“Honor is a sacred value that can be ascribed only to persons. Shame is personal dishonor that profanes what is sacred in a person.”

“subjective guilt arises when I feel that I have done something wrong, whether what I have done is, in fact, wrong or not.

Objective guilt arises when I have done something that is wrong, whether I feel that I have done so or not.”

“honor arises in different ways such as: (1) virtue and excellence demonstrated by honorable deeds or (2) honor of precedence which arises from status and power to enforce compliance with claimed honor.6 The latter honor of precedence arises from either being born into a family of certain class and recognized status (such as noble birth) or through delegation from a person who has the power to enforce acknowledgment of honor (such as a king) or because the assertion of the benefactor to grant such honor is unimpeachable because of that person’s honor and reputation”

Explain Client-Patron relationship and give an example...then how it relates to God

How does a 'Mediator' relate to this?

“The covenant relationship between Yahweh and Israel is a species of patron-client relationship in the honor-shame system”

“According to Paul, God honors our works of righteousness and shames us for the dishonorable works that we do.”

Paul’s Doctrine of Justification as God’s Honoring Covenant

Paul viewed the Christians as taking the place if Israel as God's covenant people....but still honors his covenant.....explain

“Justification is not a legal fiction of imputing righteousness where there is none or a commercial transaction of transfer and infusion of moral goodness; rather, justification is the declaration that God will honor and protect us as his own sons and daughters when we commit to honor him by our faithfulness to his covenant. Before Christ, the honor was bestowed on Israel on the basis of national origin and position within the Jewish community; after Christ, honor is granted by the Father to those who are faithful to Christ as the mediator.”

“For Paul, the “righteousness” that is imputed to us is not our own righteousness nor the result of any righteous act that we do, but solely God’s. The notion of “imputed righteousness” doesn’t work in English because “righteousness” has ethical implications within its primary semantic field entailing that a righteous person possesses properties that must be personal in nature or which belong solely to the person who is accountable for righteous acts. However, the righteousness that consists in being honorable by keeping one’s covenant is not the kind of righteousness that results from one’s own righteous acts. Rather, it is the righteousness of honor that arises from being honored.”

“One is declared to be righteous/justified by being honored by God by being accepted as a client in the covenant relationship, and God is thereby honored because the terms of the covenant require the client to proclaim God’s honor.”

“ As Paul stated: “It is the person who serves Christ in these things that will be approved by God and respected by everyone” (Rom. 14:18). Thus, justification by grace consists of being accepted into the patron-client relationship defined by covenant through the brokerage or mediation of Jesus Christ”

“ For Paul, honor is glory that is given to another as a gift as a matter of grace. It connotes a certain virtue and sacred value conferred by a patron on a servant/client.”

“if we assert that we are honored by God because he is honorable, or that we are loved by God because he is loving, we recapture better a sense of what is asserted. Honor and respect are not properties of the one honored and respected, but of the one who confers them. God loves his children—not because they have earned or merited his love—but because he is loving.”

“ The crucial point of Paul’s theology of justification by grace is that those who are “in Christ” are justified by faith in Christ, for to be “in Christ” is to be a part of the corporate body that God has accepted as being in right-relationship with him through the covenant given by grace that is brokered by Christ as mediator.”

“Faith” is a much richer term in Hebrew (emunah) and Greek (pistis) than it is in English. It means interpersonal faithfulness, loyalty, trust, and belief in the sense of committed conviction shown by one’s entire way of life. Faith as discussed by Paul entails the type of loyal faithfulness and lifelong commitment that is inherent in patron-client relationships. It is the type of faithfulness demanded when one enters into the covenant relationship.”


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