Wednesday, 11 July 2018

ergazomai ... or logizomai

Writing his letter to the Romans, Paul asks this question that forms the basis of who we are ...

He asks in Romans 4 are you what you are because you were able to work for it yourself, or because you are so reckoned?

Where do you find your identity?

"Can you work it out?"

"Can you work the precepts of the law and get it?"

"Can you work and try and work and try and work and try ... the law to the extent that it will work out your own righteousness?"

"Can you work (ergazomai) it out?"

He asks "have you become righteous because you could do so by doing, or simply because you believed?"

Lets read it out ...

Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace,
but of debt.

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly,
his faith is counted for righteousness. Rom 4:4-5

We'll focus on the words translated here as work (ergazomai) and reckoned (or counted - the same Greek word) (logizomai).

Work or reckon?

Anything you can do?

And this is our question today also!

Can I toil the law and attain my own righteousness, or simply believe.

Sounds pretty simple.

But just think about it ...

It's not complicated. It's simple!

The Word is clear. If you work, you are in debt!

If I could work out my own righteous standing by following a set of rules, then what Jesus did on the cross is not finished.

If I could somehow contribute towards my own salvation, healing, provision, well-being, etc. then the work of Jesus is incomplete.

... but there is even more in the words themselves ...

Greek word constructs

Notice the two Greek words ergazomai or logizomai, both ending with -omai?

These are verbs. By adding -omai to the noun a thematic middle voice verb is formed with the 1st person singular ending -ομαι (-omai, essentially and by implication meaning "I am").

What does this mean?

Work, work, work - By adding (-omai) (I am) to the noun ergon (work, toil, labour or effort), the verb ergazomai (I am work or to be in labour) is formed.

Reason, reason, reason - By adding (-omai) (I am) to the noun logos (Logic, reason, word or The Word - Jesus), the verb logizomai (I am logic or I am reasoned) is formed.

Can you see the beautiful wordplay here?

Logizomai is used more than 11 times just in Romans 4. Most scholars agree that it always carries with it the nuance of factuality. So, Rom 4:3, for instance  might be paraphrased like this: "Abraham believed God and God fact-implying-reasoned his faith as a righteousness."

So, how do I attain my righteous position?

I receive!

I believe!

I reckon! (logizomai)

Well, let's read it ... and we'll look at some original words again in brackets ...

Now to him that worketh [ergazomai - sees himself to work, labour, do work, to trade, to make gains by trading, "do business", to do, work out, exercise, perform, commit, to cause to exist, produce, to work for, earn by working, to acquire of one'sown accord] is the reward not reckoned [logizomai - to reckon, count, compute, calculate, to take into account, to make an account of, metaphorically to pass to one's account, to impute, a thing is reckoned as or to be something, i.e. as availing for or equivalent to something, as having the like force and weight, to number among, reckon with to reckon or account] of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh [ergazomai] not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted [logizomai] for righteousness. Rom 4:4-5

So, what is the question?

It's really a question of "who I am"!

It is really a question of ergazomai or logizomai.

Reckon yourself as He (the Logos, Jesus) is so are you in this world, and you have logizomised!

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