How I’m Almost Persuaded by Michael Bird on Progressive Reformed Justification

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I had meant to include this in my reflection yesterday, but I forgot it. Anyway, this past semester, for a paper I was able to write on Romans, I noticed the eschatological place the Spirit plays in Paul’s thought, especially in using the out-pouring of the Spirit as a sign of the Age. So, when reading Bird’s response to Dunn, this statement really stood out to me:

“Something that Dunn missed out and what might be the vital ingredient here is the role of the Holy Spirit and the power of the new creation for enabling believers to fulfill the law in their deeds and way of life.  (211)”

Agreed. Completely. The Spirit is a symbol that the Age has come, and Paul, seeing this, would have agreed, I think.

The Spirit is missed in must of the arguments on Justification so far, in my opinion, but it was this statement which has really drawn me in.

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

3 thoughts on “How I’m Almost Persuaded by Michael Bird on Progressive Reformed Justification”

  1. Hi Joel

    I would go further – the Spirit is not merely the symbol of the new age but is of its essence. The new creation is life in the Spirit.

    1Cor 6:11 (ESV)
    And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    We need discussion on how we are justified by the Spirit.

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