Romans - Lesson 6

Class Discussion on Romans 1:16-17

In this lesson, the class discusses the previous lesson on Romans 1:16-17. 

Lesson 6
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Class Discussion on Romans 1:16-17

Discussion on Romans 1:16-17

1. Righteousness, Faith and Justification

2. The Righteousness of God

3. Imputation

4. Righteousness, Justice and Justified

5. Christ’s Faithfulness

6. The saved will Live Their Lives by Faith

7. Faith maintains our Relationship with God

Class Resources
  • This lesson offers a deep dive into Paul's Letter to the Romans, revealing its pastoral aims, Paul's intentions to visit Spain, Jerusalem, and Rome, and its relevance to early Christian dynamics and theological inquiries about the Law in Christ's time.
  • This lesson offers a fresh view of Paul's theology, focusing on Romans. It emphasizes the first-century context, highlighting Gentile inclusion and unity in Christ, challenging traditional views. Gain insights into Paul's message and its relevance today.
  • Explore the book of Romans for modern faith conflicts: balance tradition with contemporary practices, learn from history, and grasp Paul's ministry and Gospel's complexities.
  • Follow along with Dr. Moo as he begins a thorough review of Romans 1:2-5. You will learn how Paul emphasizes Jesus' earthly life, resurrection, and his appointment as the Son of God in power. This lesson examines the interconnectedness of faith and obedience, underscoring that while faith initiates salvation, genuine faith inherently entails obedience to Christ as Lord, maintaining a balanced Christian life.
  • By delving into Romans 1:16-17, you'll understand the Gospel extends beyond individual salvation, encompassing God's reign over creation and His establishment of justice. The Gospel challenges worldly powers, offering hope and transformation to all who embrace it.
  • Listen along as the class discusses questions and answers revolving around Romans 1:16-17.
  • In Romans 1:18-28, you learn that all people are held accountable by God, having knowledge of Him through natural revelation but some turn away. This passage highlights the manifestation of God's wrath against sin, the exchange of truth for falsehoods, and the absence of excuses for humanity's actions, ultimately emphasizing God's fair judgment.
  • Listen in as the class and Dr. Moo discuss aspects of Romans 1:18-28.
  • The lesson discusses Romans 2:1-11, it highlights the use of the diatribe device and the transition from focusing on Gentiles to Jews. It underscores the Jewish belief in their special status and their potential misunderstanding of God's judgment. The lesson reviews the focus of the text on key themes such as judgment, righteousness, and the relationship between faith and good deeds.
  • In this lesson, you'll review the significance of the Law, notably the Law of Moses, in God's judgment. Paul stresses that mere knowledge of the Law isn't sufficient for righteousness; obedience is key. The primary message is that salvation ultimately relies on God's grace and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as human efforts and consciences alone cannot secure salvation. This lesson highlights the importance of understanding these concepts in interactions with people of different religious beliefs.
  • The key takeaway in this lesson is that while being a Jew comes with a great heritage, it doesn't guarantee salvation. Obedience to God's law is crucial, and reliance on religious heritage or rituals won't save you. The lesson emphasizes the universal human condition of being under the power of sin, and people cannot be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the Law or by the works of the Law. Only through faith in Christ are we made righteous.
  • This lesson explores the New Perspective on Paul, emphasizing that the Law was for Jewish covenant status, not just salvation. It promotes a holistic faith view, balancing vertical and horizontal aspects, Spirit-led obedience, and 1st-century Judaism diversity, enriching Pauline teachings in the church.
  • In exploring Romans 3:21-26, you'll gain insights into the relationship between righteousness, faith, and salvation. Paul highlights God's righteousness, which is accessible to all through faith in Jesus Christ. By weaving together themes of righteousness, faith, and inclusivity, Paul challenges conventional Jewish and Gentile perspectives, emphasizing the continuity of God's salvation plan while underscoring the centrality of faith in Christ for all believers.
  • In this lesson, you will gain insights into the potential challenge in translating Romans 3:23-24, particularly the term "all" and its connection to the debate on universalism in evangelicalism. Dr. Moo stresses the importance of coherence in biblical interpretation and explores the themes of God's righteousness, faith, and grace in justification. The lesson reviews the cultural background of redemption, drawing parallels with the Greco-Roman slave market and emphasizing the need to understand both the problem of sin and the Gospel solution.
  • Embarking on this lesson, you'll gain insight into the historical development and contemporary challenges surrounding the doctrine of justification. Through exploring classic Reformation principles and contemporary reassessments, you'll understand the tensions between Protestant and Roman Catholic perspectives, particularly regarding the infusion of righteousness and the role of grace.
  • The lesson explores the intricate connection between faith and works, justification, and sanctification in contemporary theological discourse. It delineates divergent views on justification, with scholars like Piper advocating for the preservation of biblical distinctions amidst modern theological trends. The lesson examines key questions regarding the meaning, basis, time, and means of justification.
  • Students in Dr. Moo's class ask multiple questions about justification.
  • By studying Romans 3:27-4:25, you gain insight into Paul's theology, where faith, exemplified by Abraham's righteousness, transcends works and ethnicity, emphasizing the universal scope of salvation through Christ.
  • Hear the questions the students ask regarding Romans 3:27–4:25. And discover Dr. Moo's answers to the questions posed.
  • In Romans 5 – 8, you gain insights into profound theological concepts like justification, identity in Christ, and the tension between present reality and future hope, guiding you to embrace your changed identity and hope for future transformation amidst life's trials.
  • Students as deep questions about Romans 5-8. Hear what Dr. Moo presents as answers to their questions.
  • Through Romans 5:1-11, you'll review the contrast between the Old and New Realms, understanding the essence of living in grace, finding hope amid suffering, and experiencing the assurance of eternal security rooted in Christ's sacrifice and God's love poured into believers' hearts by the Holy Spirit.
  • In Romans 5:12-21, Paul contrasts Adam's sin with Christ's redemptive grace, emphasizing humanity's hope and victory over death through union with Christ, while various interpretations of original sin underscore the universal need for redemption and Christ's pivotal role in restoring humanity to God.
  • Listen to the thorough questions the students ask regarding Romans 5:12-21.
  • The students ask excellent questions of Dr. Moo in this insightful discussion on Romans 6:1-14.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain a deeper understanding of the theological implications of Christ's death and resurrection as explained in Romans 6. You will explore different interpretations of Paul's language regarding the old self and the new self, considering the implications for the Christian life. Ultimately, you will be challenged to recognize your identity in Christ and to actively live according to that identity, rejecting the slavery of sin and embracing servitude to God.
  • Hear the questions the students ask of Dr. Moo regarding Romans 6:1-23.
  • In diving into Romans 7, you'll explore the Law's role in Christian life. Paul's discourse clarifies the distinction between law and gospel, emphasizing the Torah's significance in understanding divine commandments.

Dr. Douglas Moo, from Wheaton College Graduate School, offers an exegetical examination of the book of Romans. This course was recorded during a D.Min. seminar at the Carolina Graduate School of Divinity in May 2012.

Please note that the audio mp3 file numbers on downloaded files are two greater than each lecture number beginning with number 15.

Dr. Douglas Moo 
Class Discussion on Romans 1:16-17  
Lesson Transcript


Class Discussion on Romans 1:16-17

Looking back over the verses now, any questions? Comments? 

These have been some dense verses with a lot of theology and significant words that Paul is deliberately throwing out to the Romans to signal a lot of the things that he is going to be talking about in more detail as the letter moves along.

A. The word Righteousness as an attribute, status, and act

I noticed when you looked at the righteousness of God, you like all three of those in varying contexts (referring to slide titled The “Righteousness of God”

There is some element of all three; and certainly Paul uses all of three of them in places. For instance, we will see in Romans 3:25-26, the status is involved, in other words, God’s act of “putting people in the right,” means that we have the status of righteousness as a result. For instance, in Romans 4, Paul will talk about Abraham achieving righteousness by faith and there this is pretty clearly the status idea.

B. The Righteousness of God

In 2 Corinthians 5:21, that “righteousness” mentioned there, what do you do with that?

That is a tough one, a very tough verse.  In 2 Corinthians 5:21, the phrase “righteousness of God” has been very much debated recently. It is the one place that Paul uses this same phrase, outside of Romans. This is a very distinct phrase here. Obviously, Paul uses the language of “righteousness” a lot of times, he uses the language “righteousness from God” at times. We’re talking about this one distinct phrase, “the righteousness of God.”  

In 2nd Corinthians 5:21,” … that we might become the righteousness of God in Him,” there I tend to think that the idea of status is probably to the fore.  It might still have the act of putting us in the right, but the emphasis is more on status; that we might become people who have a righteous status from God in Christ.

I think there is text that talks about what some call interchange in Christ. In our union with Christ, our sin is taken by Christ, and His righteousness is given to us. There is this exchange that goes both ways when we come to faith and are joined to Christ. Our sin is attributed to Him, and His righteousness is attributed to us. I think that is probably what 2 Corinthians 5:21 is talking about.

C. Imputation

What do you think of N.T. Wright when he says that the passage refers to the apostles, that “we the apostles” … I don’t know anyone that agrees with Wright on that one.

That passage in 2 Corinthians 5:21 has become involved in recent debates about justification, particularly in terms of the traditional idea of imputation. Wright is one of those, as you’ve probably read in his book, that doesn’t like that idea. He thinks there is something else going on in 2 Corinthians 5.  Whether imputation is there or not, let’s put that to the side for the moment, Wright’s interpretation pretty clearly isn’t right, and he has been followed by almost nobody in his peculiar way of trying to read that text. 

D. Righteousness, Just, and Justified 

To use words that I understand, is the second bullet point saying imputedrighteousness and the third saying imparted righteousness?

No, those would not be the right categories to use here.  Both the second and the third are talking strictly about a forensic idea, in other words, it is the realm of the law court, the realm of God as judge that we are in when we use language of righteousness, just, and justified.

The third puts the emphasis more on the act by which God puts us right, in the forensic sense. The second, the status we have in having been put right by God.  Think about the act as the activity resulting in a status. My argument is that this phrase of Paul here in 1:17 and 3:21-22, focuses on that act of putting us right. There are implications for the status, but the focus in on the activity of God, which I think is more in keeping with the way the Old Testament is using the phrase.

E. “Our faith” versus “Christ’s Faith or Faithfulness”

In Romans 1:16-17, looking at it from your PowerPoint, in verse 16 it says, “first to the Jew and then to the Gentile.” Then, in verse 17 it says, “it is by faith from first to last.”   Do you think this is a parallel there?  “The first” being the Jew, “the last” being the Gentile?  Or could that be an eschatological meaning of endurance, from the start of your faith to the end?

I think it is more the latter, myself. This has been a phrase that has received a lot of attention recently.  Some of you will know that one of the important currents of interpretation that I talked about in the commentary has gained a lot of steam since then.  N.T. Wright may have talked about this in his book on justification so you may have encountered it there. 

The current in certain academic circles is to think that the word “faith” in Paul often refers to Christ’s faith or faithfulness, not our faith as humans. The NET Bible translates the phrase that way - “the faithfulness of Christ” - and this is largely due to the influence of Dan Wallace, who has written an important Greek syntax and is an important Greek Scholar. He argues pretty strongly that is what the phrase must mean. The NET Bible has that rendering, “the faithfulness of Christ” in a number of places. The Common English Bible published about a year ago, is receiving a lot publicity these days and it does the same thing; it is reflecting that current of interpretation.

Here, interestingly, the Greek has a phrase that you can translate “from faith to faith,” and there is a fairly strong current opinion that says this means “from Christ’s faithfulness to our faith in response.” We will see that this might be echoed in Romans 3:21-22 as some argue. I don’t think that is the right way to go, but that is the more popular current interpretation that I might refer to in the commentary, just a couple of people were arguing back then, but it has become more popular since then.

I guess I saw “first to last” more simplistically, where Paul was saying “Look, even the Jews back in Abraham’s day were being saved by faith, just like we are today.”

Dr. Moo:
Yes, and that could well be what it intends here also.  What has to be said is that “from first to last” is the NIV’s attempt to get the idea of the phrase. If you just do a more standard, straight forward rendering of the Greek, it would be “from faith to faith.”

F. The Saved will Live Their Lives by Faith

The reason I ask this is because in Habakkuk it says, “the righteous shall live by faith,” and if you start living by faith, then you get your justification (couldn’t understand the rest of the comment – sorry)

Yes. It gets complicated here; clearly Habakkuk is not talking about how a person gets saved. Habakkuk is saying people who are righteous, people in a right relationship with God will live out their lives by faith. When they see God doing these strange things, using the Chaldeans to judge his people, the Jews, they will continue to have faith that God is doing the right thing, that He is indeed the God who is the Lord of history, and so on.

G. Faith Maintains Our Relationship With God:

That could be interpreted in the strength of relationships, that it begins with faith, it continues in faith, and concludes in faith. And with it, there is the thread of obedience that works through (fades out)

I agree. I tend to think that the NIV has basically got the right interpretation of this phrase here; it is a righteousness that is by faith from first to last. We never progress from faith to something else. It is always faith that maintains this relationship with God that gives us access to His righteousness.