Romans Lesson 11

God’s Plan for Israel (Romans 11:25-26)

Paul refers to the future of Israel as a mystery. The entire section is built on the framework of a series of events in salvation history. These events involve God using Jews and gentiles to accomplish his plan of salvation. Paul revisits the point he made in 11:7-10, namely that God has chosen to harden some Israelites to the truth of the Gospel.  But, this hardening is only “partial.” Elect Israelites—what Paul calls a “remnant” will be saved (Rom 11:5).

Does he mean every Jew? There are several viewpoints about the meaning of these verses. All Israel being saved could refer to a mass conversion of ethnic Jews at the end of history. Another view is that “all Israel” is referring to a remnant of ethnic Jews who are saved both in Paul’s day and throughout history. He implies also that Jews in his own day will be grafted in if they believe (Romans 11:23). He might even be implying that both would happen. Whatever God’s plan, He is not done with Israel, and makes it clear that there is an elect within their numbers. Continue reading “Romans Lesson 11”

Romans Lesson 10

Remember that Paul is addressing the Christian church in Rome, which  now has a larger Gentile membership than Jewish.  He deals with some aspects of conflict between the two groups, and addresses some very thorny issues prior to his visit to Rome. He especially wants to show how it embraces Gentiles without breaking continuity with the Old Testament.

Has Israel been abandoned by God?

In our earlier lessons, we see Paul answering the very profound question, “Why are some saved and not others?”. We see that salvation by grace naturally leads to the doctrine of election. Nothing we do can save us.

Let’s move to Romans 11:1-11. Paul’s first explanation picks up the idea of the remnant, which he introduced in Romans 9:27–29. Isaiah has predicted that “the remnant will be saved” (9:27, quoting Isa. 10:22). Continue reading “Romans Lesson 10”

Romans Study Resumes January 18th

Ladies, we will pick up our study next Wednesday the 18th at 10 a m. You can review by reading/skimming through our posts from the fall. Feel free to bring visitors, always. You can easily scroll through all the summaries here at our blog. We plan to finish by the end of February.

Romans Lesson 9

This was our last class for the fall. We will resume in mid January.

 

 

Romans 10:1-13 : There are Only Two Kinds of Religious Systems in the World

Paul uses these contrasts to explain why salvation history has taken such a surprising turn. Jews, who have so many blessings and to whom so many promises have been made, make up a small percentage of the people of God in the gospel era. Gentiles, on the other hand, have responded to the gospel in significant numbers. Continue reading “Romans Lesson 9”

Romans Lesson 8

Note, our last fall class will be next Wednesday November 9th.

 


By the time Paul wrote Romans, the general makeup of the early church was composed of many gentiles and relatively few Jews. Paul and the other early Christians proclaimed that the messianic salvation had come through Jesus of Nazareth. Why, then, was Israel not being redeemed, as the Old Testament has promised? Why was the church a mainly gentile body? Had the church replaced Israel?

Romans 9:1-5

Why Are Some Saved and Not Others?

We see Paul struggled with this issue emotionally: “I have great sorrow…”. As a whole, Israel had rejected the Messiah. Paul felt anguish over the fact that his fellow Jews (Israel) had rejected Christ. Paul’s offer to “cut himself off” resembles the response of Moses when he found the people of Israel fashioning a golden calf and worshiping it. (Exo  32:30-32). Continue reading “Romans Lesson 8”

Romans Lesson 7

Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones (1899-1981) describes chapter 8 this way: “one of the brightest gems of all… that in the whole of Scripture the brightest and most lustrous and flashing stone, or collection of stones, is the Epistle to the Romans, and that of these this is the brightest gem in the cluster.” It took him 77 sermons to preach through this chapter!

In this chapter, the word “Spirit” appears 21 times. The Spirit, however, is not Paul’s focus. He doesn’t tell us a lot about the Spirit, but tells us what it is that the Spirit does. He connects Christians to the life and hope that we have seen since Romans 5. The Spirit makes us aware that we are God’s own children and that as his children we can expect a wonderful inheritance someday.

In Romans 5:12–21, Paul has taught that believers belong to Jesus Christ and therefore are rescued from the condemnation that all people suffer in Adam.

Rom 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 

Condemnation is a legal term, meaning one is guilty of a crime. It is the verdict. yet, in 8:1, Paul tells us that “those who are in Christ Jesus” need not fear condemnation. If you will remember last week in chapter 7 the phrase “law of sin” refers to a power or authority exercised by sin. We are set free from that law by “the law of the Spirit who gives life.” Continue reading “Romans Lesson 7”

Romans Lesson 6

“If you are burdened by weariness, even a weariness to the point of despair in trying to work for God’s acceptance of you, in trying to get God to forgive you, and trying earn His favor, in trying to condition His grace, then Paul has some remarkably good news for you in this great passage. On the other hand, if you are not burdened by your sin, and a sense of your inadequacy, and if you think that you commend yourself to God, apart from Jesus Christ, then Paul has some ominous news for you in this passage. ” Ligon Duncan

This passage is easily outlined. Verse 1 is Paul’s statement of a principle. Verses 2 and 3 are Paul’s illustration of that principle. And verses 4 through 6 are his application of that principle .

 

In Romans 7:1-6 Paul explains how it that we are not under law but grace. The principle is that death sets you free from the legal obligations of the law. He says the law is binding on a person as long as he lives. The law cannot be a solution to our sin problem as we have already violated it and it is permanently binding. How then can we restore our relationship with our heavenly Father? Continue reading “Romans Lesson 6”

Romans Lesson 5

Romans 6:1-14

Paul does not describe believers as Christians. He says we are “in Christ”, we are in union with Him. Because we are in Christ, we were with him in everything he did. Sinclair Ferguson says these are some of the most important verses in the N T.

Paul reverts to the diatribe style of writing, question and answers.

The expressions “”died to sin” and “dead to sin” are found in Paul’s writings only in Romans 6. Note he speaks of sin, not sins. His focus is not on sins that people actually commit but the power of sin itself. Deliverance from sin, not the guilt of our sins is his main focus here. He uses the metaphor of slavery to explain our sinful behavior. We are slaves to sin, before we have been set free by Christ.

In Romans 6:3, baptism points to Christ and what he has done. It points to who we are in Christ. We see in Romans 6:6-7 that because of our identification with Christ, our relation to sin has been transformed. Who we were in Adam has been done away with when we were crucified with Christ.

In v 11 Paul uses the term “in Christ” to describe the relation of the believer to Christ.  It is found 8 times in Galatians, 34 times in Ephesians, 18 in Colossians. This is the heart of Paul’s theology and it is related to both justification and sanctification.

Jesus himself promised his disciples:

Joh 14:20  In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

Joh 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

How does Paul say we are in Christ?

  • In Christ we have died with him Rom 6:3  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
  • Were buried with him: Rom 6:4  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
  • Resurrected with him: Col 3:1  If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
  • Ascended with him:  Eph 2:6  and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
  • We will reign with him: 2Ti 2:12  if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;
  • We will be glorified with him: Rom 8:17  and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Paul is telling us to appropriate our new life, to live out who we are now. We are now in service to a different King. And the reason sin will no longer dominate us is that we “are not under the law, but under grace.”

Rom 6:2  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Although we are “dead to sin,” as Paul has said (cf. v. 2), Rom 6:11  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus, and once we see ourselves this way, we then can break the reign of sin in practice (v. 12).

Barbaranne Kelly has an excellent blog post from a couple of years ago on Romans 5-7, and she asks this: 

How then could we allow sin to reign in us? How then could we take God’s grace for granted? How then could the law of God not be our delight and how could we not desire to obey it?

In the second half of this chapter, Paul will focus on the positive side of our union in Christ.

Verse 16 focuses on a key reality: people are always enslaved to something. And so the question becomes, to whom or to what do you want to be enslaved? Paul has been warning us throughout Romans 6, especially in verses 15–22, that the lifestyle of sin leads to eternal death and condemnation.

“The whole point of Romans 6,” argues John MacArthur, is that “God not only frees us from sin’s penalty (justification), but He frees us from sin’s tyranny as well (sanctification).”

Faith alone justifies, but the faith that justifies is never alone. God’s grace through the power of his Spirit ensures that the same faith that justifies a Christian also sanctifies a Christian. Justification will produce fruit.

What we see in chapter 6 is not so much the method of sanctification as the motive for it. We must leave the life of sin behind and seek to offer our bodies to God so that His righteousness may be lived out in us.

Paul is saying: see yourselves as you are, in Him. The good news of the gospel—of Christianity as a whole—is that we can be linked with him. We’re in him. What’s true of him becomes true of us because of our union with him.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).

Romans Lesson 4

Last week we discussed that the faith that gained Abraham his status of righteousness did not include works (Romans 4:3–8) or circumcision (Romans 4:9–12). Now, we are going to see that it also excludes the law.

Faith versus the Law in Abraham’s Justification (4:13–17) 

Gen 17:5  No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.

Abraham and his descendants received salvation not through the law, but in faith in God’s promise. Paul explains if the law could bring the inheritance of blessing, then faith would have no meaning. Human beings are unable to produce works that would bring about their salvation. In v 14, Paul tells us what the law cannot do, and in v 15 what the law does do. Paul uses the word “transgression”, which means the violation of a specific law or commandment. Paul also emphasizes that Abraham was declared righteous prior to being circumcised, which would indicate to Jews and gentiles that Abraham was the father of all believers, not just Israel.

 

Faith versus Sight in the Experience of Abraham (4:18–25)

Paul speaks generally about Abraham’s faith, never arguing it was perfect or without doubts. However, Abraham held onto his faith, and God credited to him as righteousness. Our faith must also rest in God’s promises.

Romans 5:1-11

Paul turns to the subject of hope.

Rom 5:1  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom 5:2  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Paul explains that believers will have three wonderful blessings, “peace with God (v 1), “access….into this grace in which we now stand” (v2a) and the “hope of the glory of God” (2b).

Note: “Peace with God” is not the same as Peace of God (Php 4:7). Paul is speaking here of the end of our hostility with God, that we have been justified, given eternal salvation. Peace of God refers to the assurance we have in our relationship with our heavenly Father, in regard to the cares of this world.

We have been given access to God for a friendship with him, and can anticipate with certain anticipation our future in glory with God.

Romans 5:12-21

Before the law was given, man died for breaking laws that would have been generally understood as God’s will. The coming of the law brought death for transgressions of specific commands from God.

With the bringing of the law, people are directly responsible for specific transgressions. We are more accountable when we have more knowledge. The parallel Paul wants us to see and rejoice in is that just as Adam’s sin is imputed to us because we were in him, so Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us because we are in him.

Two Adams

Federalism is essentially one person acting on behalf of another. Since Adam sinned, his sin is the sin of all humans.1https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/our-first-federal-head (1Co 15:45)

Paul is arguing that Adam is the covenantal head of the original creation, Christ is the covenantal head of the new creation. Note that this infers that Adam was a real person and existed as the first human being. According to Paul, not only the sinful nature but also the guilt of sin was transmitted (“imputed”) to Adam’s seed, all of humanity. The culpability of humanity on account of Adam’s transgression cannot be understood apart from federalism. Humanity in general and individuals in particular are held accountable for and are guilty of sin in that they participated in Adam, their federal head, who acted for them.

“We cannot point the finger at [Adam] in self-righteous innocence, for we share in his guilt. And it is because we sinned in Adam that we die today.”– John Stott

Original Sin

What original sin refers to is this fallen sin nature that is part of the punishment for the first sin. When Adam and Eve acted against God, they didn’t act as private individuals.2https://www.ligonier.org/podcasts/ultimately-with-rc-sproul/original-sin-ultimately-podcast

Types

Rom 5:14  Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

Adam is a type (pattern) of the one to come. A biblical type may be described as how God provides a shadow ahead of real salvation history events in the N T. 3https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/types-and-shadows

Types in redemptive history can be more than simply people. This is important because we can say that the Ark was a type of the Temple and the New Creation in which man and animal are redeemed to dwell together.

An example would be Joseph, who was hated by his brothers, suffered at their hands and eventually was exalted. Joseph was a type of Christ.

David is another example

Eze 34:23-24  And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken

Adam  is a type of Christ in that he was a representative of humanity. His federal headship of man is contrasted with Christ’s obedience and atoning death for his people.

As Adam’s transgression resulted in condemnation for all those in Adam, so one man’s righteousness resulted in justification for all those in Christ. The translation “made righteous” (Romans 5:19) could be misleading because to be justified is for God to declare one to be righteous, not to make one righteous personally.4https://tabletalkmagazine.com/article/2019/04/federal-headship/

Imputation

WSC Q. 33. What is justification? A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.

The imputation of Christ is seen as a shadow in the O T sacrificial system. The sins of the people were transferred to an animal (the scapegoat) by the high priest on the Day of Atonement, just like our sins transferred to our scapegoat, Jesus Christ.

It is helpful to see what the Roman Catholic Church believes about justification. They teach that righteousness is infused, not imputed and that the believer is actually made righteous, not declared righteous.

“In reality, the Roman view of the gospel, as expressed at (the Council of) Trent, was that justification is accomplished through the sacraments. Initially, the recipient must accept and cooperate in baptism, by which he receives justifying grace. He retains that grace until he commits a mortal sin. Mortal sin is called “mortal” because it kills the grace of justification. The sinner then must be justified a second time. That happens through the sacrament of penance, which the Council of Trent defined as “a second plank” of justification for those who have made shipwreck of their souls.

The fundamental difference was this. Trent said that God does not justify anyone until real righteousness inheres within the person. In other words, God does not declare a person righteous unless he or she is righteous. So, according to Roman Catholic doctrine, justification depends on a person’s sanctification.” 5https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/what-does-roman-catholic-church-believe-about-justification

As reformed believers, we can have assurance of salvation since it does not depend on us, on our works, but only on the atoning work of Christ, and like Abraham, our righteousness is credited to us by faith. We believe God’s promises!

Council of Trent (1545–1563)  Rome’s response to the Reformation

“If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.”

“CANON XI.-If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.”

 

The footnotes below include the full articles, and offer further clarification to our discussion. I encourage you to read through them to increase your understanding.

Footnotes

Romans Lesson 3

In Chapter 2, Paul is addressing the  religious Jew did not believe he could be under God’s judgement as he saw himself moral and religious. In Romans 3:1-8, we find Paul dealing with objections and confusion about Paul’s argument that Jews have no special advantage for salvation. Both Jews and gentiles have access to revelation about God, and both failed to respond appropriately. We will see him address the privileges of Jews, and God’s righteousness in condemning them.

In Romans 3:1-4, God equates scripture with the very words of God. In v 4 he quotes Ps 51:4, David’s confession. Paul uses numerous O T verses to show that both Gentiles and true Israel are part of God’s plan of salvation.

In Romans 3:7-8 he notes that even though sin can lead to God’s glory being seen, it still deserves punishment.

Romans 3:7-12

Paul emphasizes that we are not just sinners but under the power of sin. These verse are drawn from Psalm 14:1-3. Continue reading “Romans Lesson 3”