June 13, 2007

Aman and Logizomai

What a fruitful morning, studying Genesis 15.6! Abraham "believes in the LORD," as the NKJ has it, and it is accounted to him for righteousness. The word for "believes" is Aman, from which we get the word "Amen." Abraham doesn't suddenly convert from atheism at this moment, but he says "amen" to God's Word. He regards the Word of YHWH as trustworthy.

And then, it is accounted, reckoned to him as righteousness. That word in Hebrew (Chashab), which is a bookkeeping term, can even mean "invented," which is exactly what God does for us: He invents a righteousness that is not our own and imputes it to us. Incredibly, under Jehoiada the high priest, there was no need for bookkeeping in the repairs of the temple: "Moreover they did not require an account from the men into whose hand they delivered the money to be paid to workmen, for they dealt faithfully" (2 Kings 12.15). What joy there would be if everyone in the church dealt both honestly and wisely with money - we would need no controllers and treasurers and budgets, for all would deal faithfully!

Thus, my final insight so far this morning: the LXX uses logizomai for Chashab - reckoning, counting. Which is what 1 Cor. 13.5 has, except in the NKJ it comes out, "Love ... thinks no evil." But the force of it is, "Love does not keep track of wicked things." It seems like most marital problems that people have involve an inability to forgive. Trying to sort out these problems, one is subjected to an endless litany of the evils of the spouse. And the response is another recitation of faults and transgressions. These lists are impossible to deal with. There is only one thing to do, and that is what God does - forgive. Keep no record of wrongs. It destroys marriages, friendships, life itself. Keeping track of wrongs turns once cheerful people into bitter, miserable people who sit in corners lashing out at the world. I suspect that is what hell is like - an eternal cacophony of grievances spiraling deeper and deeper into misery and torment.

How joyful then, that the words for forgiveness in the New Testament - luw and aphiemi - mean "loose" and "destroy." We in bondage are set loose, our sins destroyed in the death of Christ, and we are free. So free that we might even be able to set others free, and no longer keep track of the wicked things they do.

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