Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God

Exegetical Insight (Chapter 13)

dikaiosuvnh is one of the great words in Christian theology. Basically it means, “the character or quality of being right or just.” It is a word used to describe God. He is in the ultimate sense the Just One (Rom 3:5, 25). It is also used to describe the righteous life of the believer, i.e., a life lived in obedience to the will of God (Rom 6:13, 16, 18, 19, 20; Eph 6:14, etc.).

But the most important use of dikaiosuvnh in the New Testament is to describe the gracious gift of God by which through faith in Jesus Christ one is brought into a right relationship to God. Such a relationship is apart from law, i.e., apart from the works of the lawąwe can do nothing to obtain it. However, the “Law and the Prophets,” i.e., the Old Testament Scriptures, testify to it. It was all a part of God’s redemptive plan that we should have been put into a right relationship with him through his Son.

Luther was right when he wrote: “For God does not want to save us by our own but by an extraneous righteousness, one that does not originate in ourselves but comes to us from beyond ourselves.”

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and dikaiosuvnh.

Walter W. Wessel