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Understanding Romans 8, why past tense?

Discussion in 'Christian Scriptures' started by zoidar, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. zoidar

    zoidar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
    Romans 8:16-17


    And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
    Romans 8:28-30

    The question I have is why Paul writes: "He also glorified" (v.30). They are not yet glorfied, right? (v.17) Then why past tense?
     
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  2. Guojing

    Guojing Well-Known Member

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    We are only waiting for our redeemed body at the rapture, so that applies in Romans 8:17.

    But our spirit now is already glorified, that is vs 30.

    We are a trinity just like God, we are a spirit, we have a soul and we live in a body.
     
  3. paul1149

    paul1149 that your faith might rest in the power of God Supporter

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    Robertson refers to the glorification being settled and proclaimed in the divine counsels. It is as good as done, by the God who sees the end before the beginning. It's an example of using the "prophetic past tense" to emphasize certainty. Eg, looking ahead to Christ, Isaiah uses it in ch. 53: "He was despised and forsaken of men..."
     
  4. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

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    Hello @zoidar, most of the verbs (in Romans 8:17, 29-30) are actually in the aorist tense (not the past tense). Here's an interesting article from linguist/theologian Dr. Bill Mounce concerning what I believe to be our most interesting (coolest :cool: ) Greek tense :) Hopefully you will find it useful!

    The Aorist is so much more than a past tense

    [​IMG]
    BILL MOUNCE

    This is one of the basic points we try to make in first year Greek, but in the rush to simplify the language sufficiently for a first year student, sometimes the subtly of this point is missed.

    Just to be clear, I still believe the augment indicates past time. I haven’t gone over to the other camp on this point. And yet the aorist is so much more than “past time,” and in fact time is significantly secondary to the real gist of the tense. Students need to be reminded of this periodically.

    I like Con Campbell’s word picture of the aorist. You are in a helicopter over the parade, looking at the parade as a whole. Buist Fanning talks about seeing the action from the outside as a whole rather than from inside the action (i.e., being part of the parade).

    Because this is the basic genius of the aorist, it can have a phenomenally wide range of usage. You can be looking at the action as a whole but paying special attention to the beginning (“ingressive”) or to the end (“consummative”). It can describes something that simply is regardless of any time reference (“gnomic”).

    But my favorite is to proleptic (futuristic) use of the aorist. Because time is secondary, the aorist can describe a future event and emphasize the certainty of the action. It is not a common usage, but it does show how we need to keep the idea of “time” in its proper place.

    Some times we will go to translate an aorist as a past tense and the result is just silly. Rev 10:7 says, “But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet the mystery of God will be accomplished (ἐτελέσθη), just as he announced to his servants the prophets” (NIV, NRSV is also future). ἐτελέσθη is aorist, but it obviously does not describe a past event. The NASB and HCSB go with the present, “is finished.” The ESV weakens it to the subjunctive, “would be fulfilled.”

    But my all-time favorite is the voice from heaven at Jesus’ baptism. “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased (εὐδόκησα)” (Matt 3:17. NRSV). The aorist is not saying that God “was” pleased with Jesus (perhaps implying he was no longer pleased — that would be heresy), but that the sum total of his life, perhaps culminating in his humble submission to a sinner’s baptist, was pleasing to the Father.

    When I stand before my heavenly Father some day, it is the aorist that I want to hear. “I am pleased with the entirety of your life, Bill. εὖ, δοῦλε ἀγαθὲ καὶ πιστέ.”
    ~The Aorist is so much more than a past tense | billmounce.com
    --David

     
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  5. Athanasius377

    Athanasius377 Out of the deep I called unto thee O Lord Supporter

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    This.
     
  6. renniks

    renniks Well-Known Member

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    Because he was talking about the patriarchs. It's not about us, except as a promise of God's faithfulness.
     
  7. ewq1938

    ewq1938 Age isn't a number. It's a three lettered word. Staff Member Supervisor Supporter

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    It's not past tense in the Greek. It's in the Aorist tense:

    Is characterized by its emphasis on punctiliar action; that is, the concept of the verb is considered without regard for past, present, or future time. There is no direct or clear English equivalent for this tense, though it is generally rendered as a simple past tense in most translations. The events described by the aorist tense are classified into a number of categories by grammarians. The most common of these include a view of the action as having begun from a certain point ("inceptive aorist"), or having ended at a certain point ("cumulative aorist"), or merely existing at a certain point ("punctiliar aorist"). The categorization of other cases can be found in Greek reference grammars. The English reader need not concern himself with most of these finer points concerning the aorist tense, since in most cases they cannot be rendered accurately in English translation, being fine points of Greek exegesis only. The common practice of rendering an aorist by a simple English past tense should suffice in most cases.
     
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  8. MMXX

    MMXX Well-Known Member

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    Something new popped out to me, as often happens even if you've read a particular scripture several times.

    It sounds to me like 8:28-30 is talking about those whom God predestined in the past such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, the Judges and the Prophets.
     
  9. Bible Highlighter

    Bible Highlighter Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Supporter

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    In Romans 8:16-17, it says: that we may... be glorified with Him. For example: I can say:If I ride my bike tomorrow, I may be happy. This is not a gurantee of some past event. The word “may” is in the passage. In addition, the verse says that those who are glorified are those believers who suffer with Him (Christ). So being glorified is not a past tense use for Romans 8:16-17. For if I am being satisified by eating a good meal, that does not mean I am talking in the past tense (even though the verb is in the past tense). The word “be” or “being” changes the verb to a present tense thing.

    In Romans 8:28-30: Paul is writing from an end perspective. He is saying that those believers who end up being justified in the end, they will also be glorified. I believe Paul is referring to a believer not just being justified at one point in their life, but Paul is referring to a believer continually being faithful to the Lord their whole life. Faithful. Think about that word for a moment. For it derives from the word faith. For if we have proper and true faith that God desires, we will be justified in the end when we die. James says we are justified by works and not by faith alone (James 2:24). These works that James mentions is called the “work of faith” that Paul refers to in 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 2 Thessalonians 1:11. For the “work of faith” is a part of the faith. Yes, our faith starts off as a belief and trust in Jesus as our Savior, and the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. That is where faith begins. But it is not where faith ends. The journey of faith continues. Faith manifests itself with the “work of faith” by God working through the believer when they obey God's Word (the Holy Bible). For if we live out our faith by obeying God according to His Word, and we stay faithful unto death, we will be saved. For he that endures to the end shall be saved. This is what Romans 8:28-30 is saying. If we employ the proper faith in this life up until the point we die, we will be justified by the sacrifice of Christ, and His resurrection, and as a result, we will be glorified.

    It will then be a done deal.

    But it's conditional.

    Romans 8:1 says there is no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    So we cannot walk after the flesh or sin but we must walk after the Spirit in order to not be under the Condemnation.

    Romans 8:13 says that if you live after the flesh (sin), you will die, but if you put to death the misdeeds of the body (sin) by the Spirit, you will live (live eternally).

    If we live for sin, we will die spiritually. If we put away sin out of our lives by the Spirit, we will live eternally. We will be justified if we stay faithful until death.

    Look at the context inside of the passage you quote. It speaks in context of those who are glorified as those who love God (See: verse 28, i.e. Romans 8:28). Jesus says if you love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15). So Paul is referring to the believer who loves God by obeying Him and this is the one who will be justified in the end. It's a call to all New Covenant believers to love God and stay faithful to Him. It's a call to all New Covenant believers to stay faithful so that we may be justified, and if we are justified by the Lord in the end, we will be glorified.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  10. (David)DD

    (David)DD New Member

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    UNDERSTANDING is yours and the answer of your question is in John 15 and John 17.

    Romans 8:30 Moreover WHOME HE DID PREDESTINATE, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
    Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, THEM HE ALSO CAALLED: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

    Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and WHOM HE CALLED, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
    Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, THEM HE ALSO JUSTIFIED: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

    Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and WHOM HE JUSTIFIED, them he also glorified.
    Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, THEM HE ALSO GLORIFIED.
     
  11. Bible Highlighter

    Bible Highlighter Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Supporter

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    Many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). So if being called does not mean one is chosen, then predestinate does not mean that God forces a person to be a certain way ahead of time in the Calvinistic sense. For Unconditional Election is not true. I believe God chooses (or elects) us ahead of time based on God the Father's foreknowledge according to 1 Peter 1:1-2.

    “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,...” (1 Peter 1:1-2).

    In other words, God can see into the future if we are going to accept the Lord Jesus Christ or not. So God the Father elects or chooses us ahead of time and predestinates us for His purposes. Meaning, God prepares things so that we can walk that life in serving Him by His foreknowledge. God sets up a pathway or destiny for us to serve Him if He can see that we have accepted Jesus as our Savior. Granted, many are called to this path or life in serving the Lord, but few are actually prove that their actions are worthy in being chosen.
     
  12. Shane Patrick Morrison

    Shane Patrick Morrison New Member

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    Great convo!:preach:
     
  13. honey badger

    honey badger i am

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    because its a finished work we have but to enter into ...
     
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  14. TzephanYahu

    TzephanYahu Active Member

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    Hi @zoidar

    Great question.

    In Scripture and Hebraic understanding, prophecy is often spoken about in past tense because of the surety of the event. This literary device has a name in english of Prolepsis.

    This is why the Scripture speaks of us being saved in past tense as well. As we are only saved in part now, not fully. Full salvation will be accomplished at the resurrection.

    As you go through Paul's writings and even through the prophetic books of the OT, you see a lot of proleptic talk, now I've pointed it out to you. And despite what tense is used in Greek, the Hebraic past tense would be the likely be the correct one.

    Why is this a thing though? I suppose it's due to the fact that Yahweh is a God who speaks things into being that were not. So if He says something will be so, then we can trust it is as good as done. So we are saved and glorified! How great our Father is!

    I hope that helps.

    Love & Shalom
     
  15. (David)DD

    (David)DD New Member

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    And after those chosen ones. Another one chosen by the Lord, Apostle Paul and recorded in Acts 9:1-30. and after that many and many.

    Acts 9:14-16 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But THE LORD SAID UNTO HIM, Go thy way: FOR HE IS A CHOSEN VESSEL UNTO ME, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
    Acts 9:14-16 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, TO BEAR MY NAME BEFORE THE GENTILES, AND KINGS, AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
     
  16. klutedavid

    klutedavid Well-Known Member

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    You might be closer to the correct reading of that chapter than you think.

    Paul is discussing the nation of Israel and the revelation of the Christ, in this letter to the Romans.
    The three chapters after chapter eight continues the argument that Paul started in chapter two.

    It is not easy to truly see the subject of Paul's letter to the Romans. I don't think many folk can see this.
     
  17. zoidar

    zoidar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How would translate it to get the meaning clear? Futuristic tense doesn't seem to work.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
  18. zoidar

    zoidar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hm interesting, but how were they "predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son"?
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
  19. pescador

    pescador Newbie Supporter

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    Wrong. He was writing about all those who have accepted Christ as their savior.
     
  20. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Simul Justus et Peccator Supporter

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    Hello again Zoidar, since it's short, let's go verse by verse, beginning where you began with Romans 8:16.

    Romans 8
    16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.
    The only thing that I'm aware of that complicates getting to the true meaning of this verse is whether the Spirit "testifies with" or "testifies to" our spirit. Beyond that minor question (I believe that it is both, BTW), v16 seems pretty straight forward, does it not? Testifies with and we are children are both in the present tense, just FYI.

    So, what is it about v16 that is unclear to you?

    Thanks!

    --David
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
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