Faith of a mustard seed

Last updated on November 26th, 2014 at 09:37 am

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

The ‘Thesis’ statement of Romans, part 1; the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th occurrences of ‘pistis/faith’ in this letter/book. “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”

What is clear in the historical context of this scripture is ‘The Law’ has fundamentally moved from being ‘God’s Law— Mosaic’, as in ‘THE TEN’ which were ‘COMMAND’ed and written down in ‘MENT’ from Mt. Sinai. ‘The law’ is now ‘works’, ‘deeds’— an occupation, a pre-occupation with the making and maintaining of laws that constrain (hu)man to a particular mode of action and are now far too many to count— and counting! With all of the prescriptions and prohibitions now contained in ‘this law’, Paul no longer sees righteousness= justice in ‘this law’. He no longer sees salvation in ‘this law’. Paul no longer sees God in ‘this law’. Thus he states this as a very basic premise of his theological treatice: “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law…”

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) declared unconstitutional the section (4) of the 1965 Civil Rights legislation which required States most known for Voter discrimination to petition The United States Justice Department (USDOJ) before making changes to Voting laws. John Lewis, who championed the victory in 1965 alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all, said “The Supreme Court put a dagger in the heart of the law.” To add insult to the injury, it was the Governor of Alabama whose voice was raised on the news in Tennessee concerning this stating how far the state of Alabama had progressed since the ‘water hosing fury’ and the ‘dog biting violence’ unleashed upon peaceful, non-violent, law abiding protesters in 1965; not to mention here the reason why SHELBY CO ALABAMA brought the suit vs HOLDER (USDOJ) to the SCOTUS. While Lewis gives genuine expression to the feeling that Black America has, I am all up in the text of Romans speaking loudly and even more clearly that righteousness= justice; salvation; God is NOT in ‘THIS LAW’.

At the risk of oversimplifying, this ‘new thing’ that Paul is phrasing in ’emancipation proclamation’ here: “the Righteousness of God”= “the Justice of God”, I think, is mostly a statement about God no longer being in what ‘The Law’ had become in his time (least wise in mine). So, now, Justice of God comes, regardless of the law of (hu)man, separate from, disassociated from, apart from the law of (hu)man.

There is no longer the need to look to the law of (hu)man— “God Void” in it’s very nature! Made by MEN ONLY for the benefit of THESE (one% and the same) men! Is Paul saying throw out the Law which Christianity appears to have done? No. Never. Only to carefully distinguish THE LAW OF GOD; the Righteousness= Justice of God from the law of (hu)man — void of righteousness= justice!
Here is where faith enters— THE TEN will GET YOU IN. “…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all (anybody, everybody) who have faith.”

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