|Greek: Makarioi on aphethesan (3PAPI) ai anomiai kai on epekaluphthesan (3PAPI) ai hamartiai;
Amplified: Blessed and happy and to be envied are those whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered up and completely buried. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: "Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: Spiritually prosperous are those whose lawlessnesses were put away and whose sins were covered. (Wuest: Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: Happy they whose lawless acts were forgiven, and whose sins were covered;
|Romans — 3:21-5:21||Romans — 6:1-8:39||Romans — 9:1-11:36||Romans — 12:1-16:27|
Jew and Gentile
|Demonstration of Salvation|
|Power Given||Promises Fulfilled||Paths Pursued|
Restored to Israel
|Slaves to Sin||Slaves to God||Slaves Serving God|
|Life by Faith||Service by Faith|
Modified from Irving L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's Survey of the NT"
BLESSED (spiritually prosperous) ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN: makarioi on aphethesan (3PAPI) ai anomiai: (Ps 32:1,2; 51:8,9; 85:2; 130:3,4; Isa 40:1,2; Jer 33:8,9; Mic 7:18, 19, 20; Mt 9:2; Lk 7:47, 48, 49, 50)
Blessed (3107) (makarios [word study] is from makar which means to be happy but not in the usual sense of happiness based on positive circumstances. Homer, for example, used the word to describe the Greek gods as being blessed in themselves, a state unaffected by the world of men, who were subject to poverty, weakness, and death.
Makarios means possessing the favor of God, experiencing "spiritual prosperity". It describes a state of being marked by fullness from God. And so what Jesus is saying in the "Beatitudes" is "Spiritually prosperous (blessed) are the poor in spirit...", etc (Mt 5:3-note) Blessed are the spiritual paupers, the spiritually empty, the spiritually bankrupt who cringe in a corner and cry out to God for mercy. They are the happy ones. Why? Because they are the only ones who tap the real resource for happiness. They are the only ones who ever know God. Theirs is the kingdom—then and there, here and now.
Blessed connotes the state of “prosperity” that comes when a superior bestows his favor (blessing) on one.
Makarios - 50x in 49v -Matt 5:3-5; 11:6; 13:16; 16:17; 24:46; Luke 1:45; 6:20-22; 7:23; 10:23; 11:27-28; 12:37-37, 43; 14:14-15; 23:29; John 13:17; 20:29; Acts 20:35; 26:2; Ro 4:7-8; 14:22; 1Cor 7:40; 1Tim 1:11; 6:15; Titus 2:13; Jas 1:12, 25; 1Pet 3:14; 4:14; Rev 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14. NAS = blessed(1), blessed(46), fortunate(1), happier(1), happy(1).
Makarios is used 39 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Gen 30:13; Deut 33:29; 1Ki 10:8; 2Chr 9:7; Job 5:17; Ps 1:1; 2:12; 32:1-2; 33:12; 34:8; 40:4; 41:1; 65:4; 84:4-5, 12; 89:15; 94:12; 106:3; 112:1; 119:1, 2; 127:5; 128:1, 2; 137:8, 9; 144:15; 146:5; Pr 3:13; 8:32; 20:7; 28:14; Eccl 10:17; Isa 30:18; 31:9; 32:20; 56:2; Dan 12:12)
Cremer says that makarios "is the gracious and saving effect of God’s favor … , but is enjoyed only when there is a corresponding behavior towards God; so that it forms the hoped-for good of those who in this life are subject to oppression.” He goes on to add that in the NT makarios "is quite a religiously qualified conception, expressing the life-joy and satisfaction of the man who does or shall experience God’s favor and salvation, his blessedness altogether apart from his outward condition … It always signifies a happiness produced by some experience of God’s favor, and specially conditioned by the revelation of grace.
Kenneth Wuest says that when makarios is "used of the state or condition of the believer, we would say that it refers to the spiritually prosperous state of that person who is the recipient of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, who is enabled to minister these blessings to him when the believer yields to Him for that ministry and cooperates with Him in it. For instance, those who are reproached for the name of Christ, are in a spiritually prosperous condition, for the Holy Spirit is ministering to them with refreshing power (1Pe 4:14-note). (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Makarios is used in pagan Greek literature to describe the state of happiness and well-being such as the gods enjoy as distinct from that of men who were subject to poverty and death, denoting a state of being of the gods who were exalted above earthly suffering and the limitations of earthly life. Other secular Greek writers used makarios to describe the state of certain men as supremely blest, fortunate, prosperous, wealthy.
Some theological dictionaries define blessed as a "state of happiness" but this is not completely accurate because blessed differs from ''happy'' which describes a person with good ''luck''. "Happy" is from the root hap = luck as a favorable circumstance. In marked contrast makarios describes one who is in the world yet independent of the world because their satisfaction comes from God and not from favorable circumstances
Blessed is the state of the individual who is the recipient of the God's grace (favor) and blessing. In the Old Testament this blessedness may involve material things, but forgiveness is foremost (Ps 32:1). The psalms begin with the acclamation of "How blessed (LXX = makarios) is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked..." (Ps 1:1) and in the original Hebrew is in the plural implying the multiplicity of blessings upon the man whom God justifies. One might translate it "Oh the blessednesses!"
One can be "makarios" and yet be in miserable circumstances. "Blessed (makarios) are you," Jesus said, "when they insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven" (Mt 5:10,11,12-notes). So "blessed are you" does not mean "untroubled are you" or "healthy are you" or "admired are you" or "prosperous are you." It means "between you and God all is well." You are deeply secure, profoundly content, happy in God - even if you are weeping over the pain of a struck body, a perplexed mind, or a heartbreaking relationship.
Whatever the makarios state is, it is true of God. Whatever it means to be blest and blessed, it is true of God and of Jesus Christ. For example, Paul describes God as "He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords." (1Ti 6:15). Thus it stands to reason that the only people who will ever experience makarios fully are those who partake of God and of Christ. There can be no biblical blessedness or happiness apart from Jesus. Only for those who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, who by faith have become partakers in the divine nature (2Pe 1:4-note), the same bliss, the same contentment, the same happiness, the same sense of makarios that is fundamentally an element of the character of God and Christ, is ours. So, when the Scripture speaks of blessedness, it is from a biblical context and does not refer to a superficial attitude based on circumstance.
David's psalm of thanksgiving after his repentance over his sin of adultery w Bathsheba and murder of her husband Uriah (2Sa 11:16,17) which by contrast left him "spiritually destitute" (Read Ps 32:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). Paul thus notes that justification by faith was true both before and after Moses--before, in Abraham, Israel's great patriarch, and after, in David, Israel's greatest king & was always apart from works.
Barclay has this note on makarios writing that
Forgiven (863)(aphiemi from apo = prefix implies separation + hiemi = put in motion, send; See noun aphesis) conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation and means to send from one's self, to forsake, to hurl away, to put away, let alone, disregard, put off. It conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation and refers to total detachment, total separation, from a previous location or condition. It means to send forth or away from one's self. It refers to the act of putting something away or of laying it aside. In secular Greek aphiemi initially conveyed the sense of to throw and in one secular writing we read "let the pot drop" (aphiemi). From this early literal use the word came to mean leave or let go.
Aphiemi in Ro 4:7 is in the aorist tense, expressing the definiteness of the act - when one knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are definitively forgiven in the eyes and mind of God, this is indeed a blessed condition!
Aphiemi is used 143x in 131v (Take a few minutes and hold pointer over the following passages to help give you a better sense of the meaning of this great NT word aphiemi) - Mt 3:15; 4:11, 20, 22; 5:24, 40; 6:12, 14, 15; 7:4; 8:15, 22; 9:2, 5, 6; 12:31, 32; 13:30, 36; 15:14; 18:12, 21, 27, 32, 35; 19:14, 27, 29; 22:22, 25; 23:13, 23, 38; 24:2, 40, 41; 26:44, 56; 27:49, 50; Mk 1:18, 20, 31, 34; 2:5, 7, 9, 10; 3:28; 4:12, 36; 5:19, 37; 7:8, 12, 27; 8:13; 10:14, 28, 29; 11:6, 16, 25; 12:12, 19, 20, 22; 13:2, 34; 14:6, 50; 15:36, 37; Lk 4:39; 5:11, 20, 21,23, 24; 6:42; 7:47, 48, 49; 8:51; 9:60; 10:30; 11:4; 12:10, 39; 13:8, 35; 17:3, 4, 34, 35; 18:16, 28, 29; 19:44; 21:6; 23:34; Jn 4:3, 28, 52; 8:29; 10:12; 11:44, 48; 12:7; 14:18, 27; 16:28, 32; 18:8; 20:23; Acts 5:38; 8:22; 14:17; Ro 1:27; 4:7; 1Cor 7:11, 12, 13; Heb 2:8; 6:1; Jas 5:15; 1Jn 1:9; 2:12; Re 2:4, 20; 11:9. NAS = abandoned(1), allow(5), allowed(2), divorce(2), forgave(2), forgive(23), forgiven(23), forgives(1), gave...permission(1), leave(7), leaves(2), leaving(8), left(38), let(9), let...alone(6), let him have(1), neglected(1), neglecting(2), permit(6), permitted(1), permitting(1), send...away(1), tolerate(1), uttered(1), yielded(1).
Aphiemi is used 61 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Ge 4:13; 18:26; 20:6; 35:18; 42:33; 45:2; 50:17; Ex 9:21; 12:23; 22:5; 32:32 -x2; Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:6, 10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7; 16:10; 19:22; Num 14:19; 15:25,26; 22:13; Deut 15:2; 26:10; Josh 10:19; Jdg 1:34; 2:21, 23; 3:1, 28; 16:26; Ruth 2:16; 2 Sam 15:16; 16:10, 11; 20:3; 1Ki 19:3; 2Ki 4:27; 23:18; 1Chr 16:21; 2Chr 10:4, 10; 28:14; Ezra 6:7; Job 39:5, 14; 42:10; Ps 17:14; 25:18; 32:1, 5; 85:2; 105:14, 20; 125:3; Pr 4:13; 24:31; Eccl 2:18; 5:12; 10:4; 11:6; Song 3:4; Isa 22:4, 14; 32:14; 33:24; 55:7; Jer 12:7; Ezek 16:39; Dan 4:15, 26)
Aphiemi refers to the act of putting something away or of laying it aside and as used in the present context means that God lets go of the obligation we "owe" Him because of sin against His holiness. It means to remit (to release from the guilt or penalty of) as one would a financial debt (e.g., on the Rosetta stone it refers to the "total remission" of certain taxes). Unfortunately the English word "forgive" does not adequately picture the meaning of the Greek.
In secular Greek literature, aphiemi was a fundamental word used to indicate the sending away of an object or a person. Aphiemi was used to describe the voluntary release of a person or thing over which one has legal or actual control. The related noun aphesis meant described a setting free. .Later it came to include the release of someone from the obligation of marriage, or debt, or even a religious vow. In its final form it came to embrace the principle of release from punishment for some wrongdoing. .
Colin Brown adds that aphiemi means "With a personal object, to send forth, send away (of a woman, to divorce; of a meeting, to dissolve, end), to let go, to leave, dispatch; with an impersonal object, to loose (e.g. a ship into the sea), to discharge (e.g. arrows), to give up. In the figurative sense the verb (aphiemi) means to let alone, permit, let pass, neglect, give up (taking trouble, etc.); in Josephus, Ant., 1, 12, 3, to lose one’s life, die. The legal use is important: to release from a legal bond (office, guilt, etc. and also, a woman from marriage, e.g. Hdt., 5, 39), to acquit (e.g. cancellation of criminal proceedings, Plato, Laws, 9, 86, 9d), to exempt (from guilt, obligation, punishment, etc.; e.g. Hdt., 6, 30). Similarly the noun aphesis (e.g. Demosthenes, 24, 45) means release, pardon, or remission, etc (Brown, Colin: New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
Aphiemi was also used of teachers, writers, and speakers when presenting a topic, in the sense of “to leave, let alone, disregard, not to discuss now. It means “to abandon, to leave as behind and done with in order to go on to another thing.”
The Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, contained many of these ideas. In the Old Testament aphiemi spoke of releasing a prisoner or remitting a debt, but it also came to mean pardon or forgiveness. Aphiemi is used in Lev 16:10 to describe sending the scapegoat into the wilderness.
Trench says that the image underlying aphiemi is that of releasing a prisoner (Isaiah 61:1), or letting go, as of a debt (Deut 15:3). One is reminded of the one goat who was offered as a sin-offering on the Day of Atonement, and of the other goat upon which was placed the sins of the people (symbolically) and which was let go in the wilderness, never to be seen again by Israel, the latter goat typifying that aspect of redemption in which the sins of the human race were put away, never to be charged against the individual again (see Leviticus 16)..
Wuest explains aphiemi from God's perspective noting that "It refers to the act of putting something away. God did that at the Cross when He put sin away by incarnating Himself in humanity in the Person of His Son, stepping down from His judgment throne, assuming the guilt of man’s sin, and paying the penalty, thus, satisfying His justice, and making possible an offer of mercy on the basis of justice satisfied. When a sinner avails himself of the merits of that atoning sacrifice, he thus puts himself within the provision God made. His sins were put away at the Cross, and he comes into the benefit of that when he believes. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans) (Bolding added)
Richards notes that aphiemi "is a verb that occurs 146 times in the NT. It has the sense of "forgive" 49 of these times, 44 of which occur in the Gospels; but it has this meaning only once in Paul's writings (Ro 4:7). It is used in the sense of forgiveness of sins, of debts, and of crimes. The majority of the occurrences of aphiemi convey a meaning other than forgiveness: i.e., dismiss, release, leave, or abandon. (Richards, Larry:. Expository Dictionary of Bible Words. 1985. Zondervan)
In 1Corinthians 7 (1Cor 7:11, 12, 13), Paul uses aphiemi in speaking of a Christian husband’s not sending away (that is, divorcing) his unbelieving wife. Divorce is total marital separation, complete abandonment of the relationship. And so this same Greek word is used here in Romans of forgiveness of sins. When we are forgiven, our sins are put away from us, separated from us, "divorced" from us. In Mt 15:14 the same term is used to speak of separating ourselves from false teachers.
Aphiemi basically means to send away and was used to indicate the legal repayment or cancellation of a debt or the granting of a pardon. It is used in Scripture to refer to God’s forgiveness of sin. Through the shedding of His own blood, Jesus Christ actually took the sins of the world upon His own head, as it were, and carried them an infinite distance away from where they could never return. That is the extent of the forgiveness of our trespasses.
The Scripture testifies,
On the Cross as He died,
Here aphiemi is translated "yielded up" and has the basic meaning of letting go or sending away, indicating an act of volition. Jesus’ life was not taken from Him by men, but rather He surrendered His spirit by the conscious act of His own sovereign will. As He had explained to the Twelve...
The literal meaning of aphiemi is illustrated in Mark where the disciples
They made a complete break from their former life, yielding up their nets and separating from them. As far as their life’s work was concerned, they abandoned, completely separated themselves from, their father and his fishing business.
Jesus spoke a parable describes "kingdom principles" (Mt 18:23) regarding forgiveness and ends with a stern warning regarding the consequences of an unforgiving spirit (Mt 18:33, 34) by those who had been freely forgiven so great a debt. In this parable He described an insolvent slave who was in debt to his lord and how
When missionaries in northern Alaska were translating the Bible into the language of the Eskimos, they discovered there was no word in that language for forgiveness. After much patient listening, however, they discovered a word that means, “not being able to think about it anymore.” That word was used throughout the translation to represent forgiveness, because God’s promise to repentant sinners is, “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jer. 31:34).
God forgave at the Cross when He put sin away by incarnating Himself in humanity in the Person of His Son, stepping down from His judgment throne, assuming the guilt of man’s sin, and paying the penalty, thus, satisfying His justice, and making possible an offer of mercy on the basis of justice satisfied. When a sinner avails himself of the merits of that atoning sacrifice, he thus puts himself within the provision God made. His sins were put away at the Cross, and he comes into the benefit of that when he believes.
Forgiveness means God buries our sin and does not mark the grave or leave the hatchet handle exposed (so to speak). When God at Calvary paid the penalty of human sin by satisfying the just demands of His holy law, He put away sin (along with its guilt, defilement, and penalty), "bidding it to go away" (aphiemi). This transaction was beautifully memorialized in the symbolism of the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:21, 22 - celebrated as one of the most solemn Jewish holidays by modern Jews who celebrate Yom Kippur on the 10th of Tishri or September) where the scapegoat, figuratively or symbolically laden with all the sins of all the people of Israel (one year's worth of sins!), was led away into the wilderness to bear away their sins, perfectly foreshadowing Jesus' once for all time work as our "Sin Bearer" (1Pe 2:24-note). On the Day of Atonement there was also a second goat which was chosen by lot and was sacrificed symbolizing the need for a substitute to die in the sinner's stead!
LET THE POT DROP!
Aphiemi originally conveyed the sense of to “throw.” For example in a secular Greek writing we read "let the pot drop", where the verb is aphiemi (think about that grudge you on which you are stubbornly refusing to release your grip!!! Let it go, not just with your words, but from your heart. You will experience a freedom that can only be described as supernatural beloved!!!). From this physical meaning we derive the common meaning “leave, let go.” An instance is found in the Rosetta stone for “total remission” of certain taxes.
Thayer says aphiemi means “to send from one’s self, to send away, to let go or give up a debt, to remit, forgive.”
Our English word forgive as commonly used does not give an adequate picture of the Greek verb aphiemi. We say that we have forgiven some one who has wronged us. By that we mean that any feeling of animosity we may have had, has changed to one of renewed friendliness and affection. We do not hold the wrong done against the person anymore. But so far as the act itself is concerned, we cannot do anything about it. It has been done, and it cannot be removed from the one who committed the wrong. But aphiemi includes within its meaning, the act of dealing with the act of wrong doing in such a way that the sinner who appropriates the Lord Jesus as Saviour, has his sins put away. First, they are put away on a judicial basis by the out-poured blood of Christ. He paid the penalty the broken law required, and thus satisfied divine justice. Second, God removes the guilt of that sin from the believing sinner and bestows a positive righteousness, Jesus Christ Himself, in whom this person stands justified forever This is what is in the Bible regarding God's forgiveness of believing sinners. Remember, however that forgiveness does not abolish the consequences of what we have done but it puts us right with God.
The opposite of forgiveness is obviously unforgiveness which is linked closely to bitterness one of the most dangerous of all plagues to healthy Christian living. It will eat away at the vitality of your spiritual life until your once-vibrant testimony is in shambles. Unforgiveness and bitterness is like “cancer to the soul”, and as Bryon Paulus the director of Life Action Ministries explains, is the number one problem his revival teams encounter in American churches. The cure for this spiritually toxic plague is one of the most beautiful words in any language --forgive. Note that the essence of the word is in the last part, give. To for give means to give someone a release from the wrong that he has done to you. It means to give up any right of retaliation.
God’s forgiveness, which must coordinate with His justice, is based upon the payment of the penalty by a substitute. Jesus Christ, His Son, paid the penalty for our sin by dying on the cross...Looking at Calvary, God is now free to forgive those who come to Him through the blood of Christ.
When God forgives He forgives completely. This kind of forgiveness is “Judicial Forgiveness”. It is one of five kinds of forgiveness in the Bible. A failure to distinguish these kinds of forgiveness causes great confusion, unnecessary guilt and needless fear.
Easton's Bible Dictionary gives a nice synopsis on forgiveness of sins describing it as
THE HIGH COST OF UNFORGIVENESS AND DESIRE TO "GET EVEN": Even animals know the value of not trying to get even. Dale Carnegie once noted that the only animal the grizzly would allow to eat with him was the skunk. Grizzly bears in Yellowstone Park often come to eat at the place where garbage is dumped. This huge bear can fight and beat almost any animal in the West, but it lets the skunk share its meal. Carnegie said that the grizzly surely resented the skunk and could have easily killed the little creature in any fight. No doubt the bear would have liked to have gotten even with him for his intrusion. But he didn’t. Why? Because he knew the high cost of getting even. Most animals are not dumb. They are much smarter than many humans who allow their stomachs to churn all day, their minds to storm all night and their souls to turn black with hatred as they plot revenge.
TRUE FORGIVENESS TO SOME PEOPLE IS SIMPLY "TOO MUCH"! - Marie de Medicis, the Italian-born wife of King Henri IV of France, became the regent for their son Louis after her husband's death in 1610. In later years her relationship with Louis soured and they lived in a state of ongoing hostility. Marie also felt a deep sense of betrayal when Cardinal Richelieu, whom she had helped in his rise to political power, deserted her and went over to her son's side. While on her deathbed Marie was visited by Fabio Chigi, who was papal nuncio of France. Marie vowed to forgive all of her enemies, including Cardinal Richelieu. "Madam," asked Chigi, "as a mark of reconciliation, will you send him the bracelet you wear on your arm?" "No," she replied firmly, "that would be too much." True forgiveness is hard to extend because it demands that people let go of something they value (Ed: The very essence of the verb for forgiveness - Aphiemi = a sending away, letting it go, dropping it, canceling the debt they owe you!) -- not a piece of jewelry, but pride, perhaps, as sense of justice, or desire for revenge. (contrast Ro 12:17-note, Ro 12:18, 19, 20, 21-note) -- Daily Walk, May 27, 1992.
Illustration - The Forgiveness Flower - A girl was asked what forgiveness is. She gave the following beautiful answer: "It is the odor the flowers give off when they are trampled upon." For the merciful Christian (Jas 2:13, Mt 5:7-note), this odor reaches far, far away, even up to the judgment seat of Christ (2Cor 5:10) so that the Christian need not shrink back when he gets there. One day when Stan Mooneyham was walking along a trail in East Africa with some friends, he became aware of a delightful odor that filled the air. He looked up in the trees and around at the bushes in an effort to discover where it was coming from. Then his friends told him to look down at the small blue flower growing along the path. Each time they crushed the tiny blossoms under their feet, more of its sweet perfume was released into the air. Then his friends said, "We call it the forgiveness flower." This forgiveness flower does not wait until we ask forgiveness for crushing it. It does not release its fragrance in measured doses or hold us to a reciprocal arrangement. It does not ask for an apology; it merely lives up to its name and forgives-freely, fully, richly. What a touching example of outrageous forgiveness!
Related Resources: Forgive/Forgiveness
AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED: kai on epekaluphthesan (3PAPI) ai hamartiai:
Covered (1943) (epikalupto from epí = over + kalupto = cover) literally means to conceal, hide, cover or cover over (as a shroud). Figuratively or metaphorically it means to cover over sins, i.e., forgive, pardon. Peter uses the derivative noun epikalumma (1Pe 2:16 = figurative "covering" = a strategy for concealing something, a pretext, Lxx - literal cover in 2Sa 17:19).
BDAG says that epikalupto means first "to hide from view by covering’, then by fig. extension as synonym for ‘forgive’ cover up."
Epikalupto - Used only in Ro 4:7 in the NT but 19x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) - Ge 7:19, 20 (Literally of flood waters covering the mountains) Ge 8:2; Ex 14:26; Nu 4:11, 13; 2Sa 15:30; 1Kgs 19:13; Job 16:18; Ps 32:1; 44:19; Pr 28:13; Je 3:25; 14:4; Ezek 1:11, 23
The Septuagint (LXX) (Greek translation of the Hebrew OT) uses epikalupto in Ps 32:1-note (and Paul quotes from the Septuagint not the Hebrew). This same Greek word is used in the Septuagint of Pr 28:13 but in an opposite sense for we read that "He who conceals (epikalupto in this case covers over so as to keep secret) his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion." (Commentary)
Vines writes that epikalupto is "the equivalent to the Hebrew word for “to atone.” It signifies, not merely a covering, but the removal of guilt under the covering; this involves the removal of divine wrath from the sinner. The English word “atonement” is not to be split into its parts as if it stood for “at-one-ment.” “At-one-ment” is the effect of atonement. The atonement stands for the sacrifice itself of Christ " (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson )
><> ><> ><>
A Unique Offer - Several years ago a group of Christian missionaries met in Delhi, India, with representatives of other religions to discuss their beliefs. In the course of their talks, a member of a major non-Christian religion said to a missionary, "Tell me one thing your religion can offer the Indians that mine can't."
The missionary thought for a moment and replied, "Forgiveness! Forgiveness!" Unlike the followers of all other world religions, those who put their hope in Christ have full assurance that their sins are forgiven.
British Bible teacher and lecturer David Pawson says, "I have talked to the most devout Muslims who pray five times a day, have journeyed to Mecca, have fasted during Ramadan, and are more devout than many Christians. But when I ask, 'Do you know if your sins are forgiven?' they've said, 'We don't. We just have to hope for the best.'"
In Colossians 1:14 (note), Ephesians 1:7 (note) (and here in Ro 4:7), Paul gave us the basis on which forgiveness rests--the redemption Christ secured through His death on the cross. But Christ is not merely the founder of a major religion. He is the "image of the invisible God" by whom all things were created (Col 1:15, 16-notes). The forgiveness He offers, therefore, is an offer from God Himself. - D J DeHaan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Have you accepted the gift of forgiveness? (Ro 6:23-note).
Amplified: Blessed and happy and to be envied is the person of whose sin the Lord will take no account nor reckon it against him. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
NLT: Yes, what joy for those whose sin is no longer counted against them by the Lord." (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: Spiritually prosperous is the man to whose account the Lord does not in any case put sin. (Wuest: Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: happy the man to whom the Lord may not reckon sin.'
BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT: makarios aner ou me logisetai (3SAMS) kurios hamartian : (Isa 53:10, 11, 12; 2Co 5:19, 20; Philemon 1:18,19; 1Pet 2:24; 3:18)
Quoting the Septuagint of Ps 32:2 How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
Blessed (3107)(makarios) - Note that in the Greek there is no verb "is" and no definite article "the", so that the text reads literally "Blessed man". We who have believed are that man. Hallelujah! Remember that you may not always feel "blessed" in this present life, but in God's eyes you are (and you will be) eternally blessed! And all God's people shout "Glory! Amen! Maranatha!"
Sin (266) (hamartia) originally conveyed the idea of missing the mark as when hunting with a bow and arrow and then came to mean missing or falling short of any goal, standard, or purpose. Scripturally the "mark" is God's will and God's will is most clearly revealed in His Word. In a practical (and sad) sense sin can be thought of as missing the true and ultimate purpose God has for each of us in this present life. To miss God's purpose is to miss out on the best thing this life has to offer. And thus it behooves us to arise each morning with an eternal mindset, and make a holy holistic (body and mind and soul) presentation to God (Ro 12:1-note) and then go forth in His power, for His glory, redeeming every moment He has so graciously allotted to us in this short life (Eph 5:16-note).
And so in Scripture sin often describes our thoughts, words and deeds that miss our God ordained purpose, because these thoughts, words and deeds fall short of God’s perfect standard of holiness. Sin is lawlessness (1Jn 3:4-note), unrighteousness (1Jn 5:17-note). Sin is also characterized by the following passages - Jn 16:9 = do not believe in Jesus; Jas 4:17 = knows right thing to do and does not do it; Ro 3:23 = falling short of the glory of God.
Augustine had these words engraved on a plaque, and hung at the foot of his bed, so that every night he could look at them. Here was another young man with a checkered past. Until his dying day, the last thing his eyes fell upon were these words of David:
Lord (2962) (kurios) means lord, master, owner or the one who has absolute ownership power. Jesus is referred to some ten times as Savior and some seven hundred times as Lord. Jesus is supreme in Authority. Note also that the Greek noun Kurios translates Jehovah (LORD in OT) in Septuagint (LXX) 7000 times (see also Jehovah = Jesus)
Martin Luther puts "Lord" in an interesting perspective noting that "The life of Christianity consists of possessive pronouns. It is one thing to say, "Christ is a Saviour"; it is quite another thing to say, "He is my Saviour and my Lord." The devil can say the first; the true Christian alone can say the second.
Not - Note that not is actually a combination of two different Greek words, "me" (3361) conveying relative negation and "ou" (3756) conveying absolute negation. This double negative emphasize the Lord not taking a sin into account. The NIV picks up this sense rendering it "will never count against him".
Take into account (3049) (logizomai [word study]) means to think about something in a detailed and logical manner think about, reason about, put together with one’s mind, ponder, draw conclusions through the use of reason.
By the marvelous provision of imputation, our sins were debited to the account of Jesus, the Son of man, whereas His perfect righteousness was credited to our account.
Amplified: Is this blessing (happiness) then meant only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
NLT: Now then, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it for Gentiles, too? Well, what about Abraham? We have been saying he was declared righteous by God because of his faith. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: Therefore, does this spiritual prosperity come upon the circumcised one or the uncircumcised one, for we say, There was put to Abraham’s account his faith, resulting in righteousness? (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: Is this happiness, then, upon the circumcision, or also upon the uncircumcision--for we say that the faith was reckoned to Abraham--to righteousness?
IS THIS BLESSING THEN UPON THE CIRCUMCISED OR UPON THE UNCIRCUMCISED ALSO: O makarismos oun houtos epi ten peritomen e kai epi ten akrobustian: (Ro 3:29,30; 9:23,24; 10:12,13; 15:8-19; Isaiah 49:6; Luke 2:32; Galatians 3:14,26, 27, 28; Ep 2:11, 12, 13; 3:8; Col 3:11)
WHO IS BLESSED?
This blessing (3108) (makarismos from makarizo = to bless from makarios) means blessedness or extolling as blessed. It is a state of spiritual prosperity implying favorable circumstances. In Gal 4:15 the idea is a frame of mind produced by favorable circumstances. In the present context makarismos is blessedness of a person indwelt by Holy Spirit because of faith in Jesus Christ.
BDAG - pronouncement of being in receipt of special favor,
The blessing is being reckoned righteousness by God apart from works.
The Greek construction of this question is phrased in a way that expects an affirmative answer.
Makarismos - 3x (not found in Septuagint) - Usage: blessing(2), sense of blessing(1).
Circumcised (4061) (peritome [word study] from perí = around + témno = cut off) refers literally to cutting and removal of the foreskin. (referring to physical not spiritual circumcision; see related topic Scriptures on Circumcision)
Circumcised - The Jews. Paul again raised the question of the Jews’ special position. He also directly confronted the teaching that the rite of circumcision was a requirement for salvation as the following examples sadly illustrate. As Paul has already pointedly explained the majority of those Jews while physically circumcised remained tragically spiritually uncircumcised (Ro 2:28, 29-note)!
The Jewish apocryphal Book of Jubilees declares "This law is for all generations for ever, and there is no circumcision of the time, and no passing over one day out of the eight days; for it is an eternal ordinance, ordained and written on the heavenly tables. And every one that is born, the flesh of whose foreskin is not circumcised on the eighth day, belongs not to the children of the covenant which the Lord made with Abraham, for he belongs to the children of destruction; nor is there moreover any sign on him that he is the Lord’s but (he is destined) to be destroyed and slain from the earth." (See also Circumcision - The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia)
The covenant that Jehovah made with Abraham was an unconditional covenant which Abraham entered by faith, not by physical circumcision (Related resource: Covenant: Abrahamic versus Mosaic; Abrahamic vs Old vs New). Many Jews believed that salvation was based on their obedience to God in being circumcised, and that their eternal security rested in that rite (they missed the truth of Jas 2:10, Gal 3:10)
In his commentary on the Book of Moses, Rabbi Menachem ("wishfully" in my opinion) wrote, “Our Rabbins [rabbis] have said that no circumcised man will ever see hell”.
Circumcision was considered such a mark of God’s favor that it was taught that if a Jew had practiced idolatry his circumcision must first be removed before he could go down to hell. Since it is humanly impossible to remove circumcision, presumably that would be accomplished by a direct act of God.
The Jalkut Rubem taught that “Circumcision saves from hell”
The Midrash Millim taught that “God swore to Abraham that no one who was circumcised should be sent to hell”
The book Akedath Jizehak taught that Abraham sits before the gate of hell and does not allow that any circumcised Israelite should enter there
Why does Paul raise this question here? The Jewish objection he may be addressing would go as follows -- "It is true that both pre-law Abraham and under-law David received righteousness. But both of them were also circumcised. Since circumcision is the sign of the covenant between God and us Jews (Ge 17:9-14) is it not possible that this was the ground of our justification?"
Ray Stedman tells a true story to illustrate the need for Paul's teaching. He writes "I will never forget the young man who came into my study one day, Bible in hand, and announced that he had been reading the Bible. He didn't know a lot about it, but he said, "Would you circumcise me?" I blinked three or four times, then said, "Why?" He said, "I've been reading in this Bible that if you want to know God you have to be circumcised. I want to know God, so I want to be circumcised." I had the joy of telling him what circumcision meant, that it was simply a sign of something that was already true by faith. That boy became a Christian and is still in our congregation and growing in the Lord." (Read full sermon text The Father of Faith)
Paul's question is whether the blessing of justification granted to Abraham is limited to Abraham’s natural descendants.
FOR WE SAY FAITH WAS RECKONED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS: legomen (1PPAI) gar elogisthe (3SAPI) to Abraam e pistis eis dikaiosunen:
Paul anticipated what his Jewish readers would be thinking - If Abraham was justified by his faith alone, why did God command him and his descendants to be circumcised?
Paul's response not only addresses those concerned with circumcision, but also by way of application speaks to the millions (even billions) who still cling to some other kind of religious ceremony or activity (e.g., church membership, raised in a Christian family, physical baptism, etc) as their basis for righteousness. Remember that all other world religions (and sadly even many who think they are "Christians" - cp Mt 7:21-note, Mt 7:22, 23-note) practice a religion of "DO" whereas only the true Christian rests his or her faith on the truth that it is all "DONE" (cp Jn 19:30, 17:4). Unfortunately even genuine believers can fall into the "Miry Martha Maze" (Lk 10:38, 39, 40, 41, 42) of "DOING" thinking "God will love me more" or "God will accept me more" (etc, etc) because of my DOING! God is interested in our BEING (abiding), not in our our DOING. Abiding will lead to DOING (Jn 15:5, Ep 2:10-note), but we are so quick to reverse the order. Whether subtle or overt, that is legalism and it will bind you not free you. Only Christ frees us (Jn 8:36) and we must now daily choose to abide in His Word (and thereby in Him [Jn 1:1, 2, 14] as we hear and then obey [Lk 11:28] in the power of His Spirit - Ezek 36:27a, Ep 5:18-note, Php 2:13-note) and walk forth by faith in His Word (2Cor 5:7, Gal 5:16-note).
Faith (4102) (pistis [word study]) is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, but in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it.
As pistis relates to God, it is the conviction that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things well as the Provider and Bestower of eternal salvation through Christ. As faith relates to Christ it represents a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation and entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Stated another way, eternal salvation comes only through belief in Jesus Christ and no other way.
Wayne Grudem defines faith that saves one's soul - Saving faith is trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God. This definition emphasizes that saving faith is not just a belief in facts but personal trust in Jesus to save me... The definition emphasizes personal trust in Christ, not just belief in facts about Christ. Because saving faith in Scripture involves this personal trust, the word “trust” is a better word to use in contemporary culture than the word “faith” or “belief.” The reason is that we can “believe” something to be true with no personal commitment or dependence involved in it. (Grudem, W. A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine Zondervan) (Bolding added)
Logizomai - 40x in 39v - Luke 22:37; John 11:50; Acts 19:27; Rom 2:3, 26; 3:28; 4:3-5, 8-10, 22-24; 6:11; 8:18, 36; 9:8; 14:14; 1Cor 4:1; 13:5, 11; 2Cor 3:5; 5:19; 10:2, 7, 11; 11:5; 12:6; Gal 3:6; Phil 3:13; 4:8; 2Tim 4:16; Heb 11:19; Jas 2:23; 1Pet 5:12. NAS = consider(6), considered(2), counted(1), counting(1), credit(1), credited(9), credits(1), dwell(1), maintain(1), numbered(2), propose(1), reason(1), reckoned(2), regard(4), regarded(3), suppose(1), take into account(3), thinks(1).
Righteousness (1343) (dikaiosune [word study] from dikaios [word study] = being proper or right in the sense of being fully justified being or in accordance with what God requires) is the quality of being upright. In its simplest sense dikaiosune conveys the idea of conformity to a standard or norm. In this sense righteousness is the opposite of hamartia (sin), which is defined as missing of the mark set by God. In this sense righteousness is the opposite of hamartia (sin), which is defined as missing of the mark set by God.
Dikaiosune is rightness of character before God and rightness of actions before men. Righteousness of God could be succinctly stated as all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, all that He provides through faith in Christ (Click here to read Pastor Ray Pritchard's interesting analysis of righteousness in the Gospel of Matthew).