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On Becoming the Righteousness of God: Another Look at 2 Cor 5:21

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image of Novum Testamentum

At the end of 2 Corinthians 5, in which he is defending his style of ministry, Paul appeals three times to the gospel which he proclaims (vv. 14-15, 18-19, 21). These summaries are worded in ways that indicate the implications of the gospel for his ministry. At the same time, however, what is true of Paul should be true of all believers: they, too, should be living for the one who died and was raised for them (v. 15) and passing on the message of reconciliation to others (vv. 18-19). In the final summary, Christians are said to "become the righteousness of God" (v. 21). Käsemann's understanding of δικαιoσυνη Θεoν here as a reference to God's active power of salvation fits the context well: "in Christ", believers become what he is, and God's righteousness is manifested through them.

Affiliations: 1: Cambridge


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