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Faith of A Mustard Seed

by Barbara Woods-Washington

Barbara Woods Washington

Barbara Woods-Washington

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live” (Romans 1:17). ‘Faith’ in Paul’s Letter, To The Romans.

‘Dikaiosune’— Justice=righteousness with divine law at it’s root. “SEEK FIRST the Kingdom of God and His dikaiosune”. “Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribe you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”

As a Pharisaic Jew, Paul’s conflict with his ‘birthright’ (Old Testament Faith) and his ‘born againness’ (this New Testament Faith for which he is on the run for his life), give rise to ‘new meaning’ of ‘Law’— righteousness is no longer in ‘observance of law’; it is STILL IN GOD (Christ)! But,— it is revealed only through faith for faith! This verse does not end. It must be looked at again, and again and again. What, with three occurrences of ‘pistis/faith’! As my Seminary classmates often said, “hold it, and teach it!”

At the root of ‘apokolupto’ is ‘kalupto’— ‘to hide’; ‘to bury’; ‘to conceal’; ‘to cover’. Matthew uses it to deliver the eminent threat of the waves to the ship in the storm while Jesus lie asleep. It is used by Luke in his ‘Passion Narrative’ of Jesus on the way to the cross when he says to the daughters of Jerusalem, “don’t weep for me; for the day is coming when you will say to the mountains fall on us and to the hills: cover us”.

‘Apokolupto’, then, in New Testament has the sense ‘to reveal’; ‘to uncover’; ‘to show itself’; ‘to make visible’; ‘to unveil’. It is used by the Gospel writers in the verb form, revealed; and is used almost exclusively by Paul in the nominative, Revelation. “To keep me from being too elated over the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh…”. And again, “For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Still again, “Now to him who is able to strengthen you… according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed…”.

Paul’s use of ‘apokalupto’ IS what he had on the road to Damascus— ‘revealed faith’. It is as primitive to religion as it gets. All religion is concerned with the hiddenness of the diety. Relationship, fellowship— all depends upon God making Himself known to (hu)man. ‘Take me back, to the place where I FIRST RECEIVED YOU!’

Key, I believe, to Paul’s use of ‘apokalupto’ is that it is never ‘self serving’. He is so very clear here and in his service that this revelation is BY FAITH FOR FAITH! Like Jesus, he did not seek personal kingdom building, gathering of earthly treasures— Never by faith for Paul!

The discussion on ‘apokalupto’ is incomplete without referencing the New Testament’s closing Book entitled The Apokalupis Ioannou (the Revelation of John). Whole denominations, whole Church traditions, I suspect, have lost their way in this Book. The very nature of the biblical literary form of ‘Apocalytptic Literature’ (Daniel and Ezekiel-OT; Revelation-NT) demands ‘faith for faith’ in it’s study.
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