Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Link Between John and Paul on Justification

In John 16:10, Jesus says the Spirit convicts the world of righteousness/justice because he (i.e. Christ) goes to the Father. Pryor unpacks the logic of Jesus' words in vv.8-11...

...the Paraclete will establish the guilt of the world and not that of Jesus: guilt for unbelief, guilt over their incorrect understanding of God's justice (for Jesus has been glorified), and guilt over who really was condemned (not Jesus but the ruler of this world).
(John Evangelist of the Covenant People, 67).

Jesus' return to the Father (i.e. his resurrection) establishes that God has justified his Son. God has the final word on who is in the right, and his word is manifest in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The world's approximation of Jesus is therefore wrong, as the Spirit continually bears witness. Notice how closely Jesus' words in John parallel those of Paul in 1 Tim 3:16...

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated [i.e. justified] by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

According to Paul, the resurrection is Jesus' justification by the Spirit. Moreover, our justification as believers is located in the resurrection of Jesus (cf. Rom 4:25).

It appears that both Paul and John envisage resurrection as an enacted verdict of God.


Michael F. Bird said...

John Pryor's book on John is, I think, one of the most under read gems of Johannine scholarship.

Jeffrey Bruce said...

I agree. I read bits this book for a Johannine lit class in college and have been using it for our small group Bible study.

It's a nice supplement to the popular commentaries, as he tends not to go with the "standard" interpretation.