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Romans - Lesson 27

Class Discussion on Romans 6:1-23

This lesson is a class discussion on the last lesson which covered Romans 6:1-23.

Lesson 27
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Class Discussion on Romans 6:1-23

Discussion on Romans 6:1-23

A. Student Question in Regards to Being Who We Are

B. Student Question Regarding the Spirit of God

C. Student Question Regarding Slaves verses Children of God

D. Student Question Regarding the Power of Sin Over Us

E. Student Question Regarding the Old Nature Being Common to the Christian

F. Student Question About Being Given Everything to Walk this Life With Christ


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  • 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.
  • Class discussion on Romans 7:1-6
  • In Romans 7:7-12, Paul explores the Law's role in intensifying sin and contrasts it with Christ's liberation. His narrative prompts reflection on individual experience and collective identity, enriching understanding of Christian faith.
  • The class discusses the previous lesson on Romans 7:7-12.
  • This lesson covers interpretations of Romans 7:13-25; whether Paul's description is of pre- or post-conversion struggle with the Law.
  • In Romans 8:1-22, discover the Spirit's transformative power over sin, leading to a life free from condemnation, intimacy with God, and anticipation of future glory amid present sufferings.
  • Explore the theological insights on environmental stewardship, emphasizing Christian responsibility in light of Romans 8:19-22.
  • Gain insights into Romans 8:23-27, understanding destined glory despite present suffering. The Spirit intercedes, bridging current and promised futures, offering assurance amid weakness.
  • Romans 8:28 offers profound insights into the nature of God's providence and the believer's journey of faith. Beyond its surface meaning, the verse challenges misconceptions about 'good' and underscores the transformative power of God's grace. It invites believers to trust in God's unfailing love amidst life's trials, anchoring their hope in the assurance of His sovereign care and redemptive purposes.
  • Romans 9:1-5 highlights Paul's profound concern for Israel's salvation and the theological complexities surrounding God's promises. Reviewing salvation history, you'll learn that God's offer of salvation for both Jew and Gentile, fits within the Old Testament narrative.
  • Paul discusses Israel's role in God's plan, emphasizing grace over race. He illustrates divine choices and sovereignty, sparking debates on salvation.
  • Discover diverse views on election, Israel's struggle with faith, and the significance of overcoming theological narrowness in Romans 9:30-10:21. Gain insights into law versus faith in attaining righteousness and the importance of engaging deeply with Scripture for a comprehensive understanding.
  • Gain insights into faith versus works, Christ as the culmination of the Law, and the inclusivity of righteousness through Him. Embrace unity in Christ, transcending cultural divisions, and embodying love and holiness.
  • Gain insight into contrasting righteousness by law vs. faith in Romans 10:5-13. Accessibility of salvation through Christ bridges Old and New Testament teachings, emphasizing unity and continuity.
  • Gain insights into Romans 10:14-21, emphasizing faith, preaching, and Israel's reception of the message. Dr. Moo highlights Paul's use of Old Testament quotes and God's ongoing relationship with Israel, revealing the significance of faith and salvation.
  • Gain insight into Romans 11:11-15. Paul discusses Jewish rejection, Gentile salvation, and Jewish inclusion, aiming to provoke Jewish envy. The phrase "life from the dead" hints at spiritual renewal or future resurrection.
  • Gain insights into the Olive Tree analogy in Romans 11:16-24. Understand humility, faithfulness, and the purpose of warning passages in Scripture.
  • Discover the mystery of Israel's salvation in Romans 11:25-32. Paul reveals unity of Jews and Gentiles, challenging arrogance and emphasizing God's inclusive love.
  • Gain deeper understanding of Christian-Jewish ties, navigate theological challenges, address Israel-Palestine tensions, and embrace God's inclusive grace.
  • Gain deep insights into Romans 12:1-2: True worship extends beyond rituals, urging sacrificial living and transformation in response to God's mercy.
  • In Romans 12:3-8, Paul stresses humility, unity, and diverse gifts within the body of Christ, urging faithful stewardship for the edification of the body of Christ.
  • Gain insights into love's complexity in Romans 12:9-21. Paul urges sincere affection, alludes to Jesus' teachings, and prompts contemplation on love and judgment.
  • Gain insights into balancing submission to authorities with obedience to God. Understand the context of Paul's exhortation to Roman Christians and the complexities of submission, emphasizing humility, unity, and love in the Christian life within God's sovereignty.
  • In Romans 14:1-15:13, you learn about the division in the Roman Christian community, the concept of adiaphora, the balance between liberty and love, and Paul's emphasis on mutual acceptance and avoiding spiritual harm through personal conviction and respect for others' practices.
  • In Romans 15:14-16:27, you explore Paul's extended conclusion, his ministry to the Gentiles, his request for prayers regarding his journey to Jerusalem, the roles of Phoebe and Junias in ministry, and the diversity of the early Christian community.

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 
Romans 
nt620-27 
Class Discussion on Romans 6:1-23  
Lesson Transcript

 

Class Discussion on Romans 6:1-23

A. Student Question with Regard to Who We Are: 

Is there an implied empowerment here, a promise of empowerment?  In other words, if you reckon yourself, then God will empower you to make that a reality? Or is there some assumption that ontologically we’ve been changed by virtue of coming to Christ and we already have that power?  

Dr. Moo:   
I think the emphasis is more on the latter idea. I am not sure I like to call it ontological. That brings in questions that aren’t easy to answer. What does ontological mean in this sense? I would prefer to keep the language Paul tends to use of relationship, influence, lordship, and domination. 

Student: 
Is he saying by virtue of the fact that you’re in Christ, you’re involved with the Spirit, your nature has been changed, that you have the power to do this, so do this? 

Dr. Moo: 
That is exactly right. As it is often put, become what you are; this is a broadly fair way of putting how Paul views the Christian life. It is not become what one day you might be; there is a certain element to that because there is the not yet side of our experience. But basically, in a place like Romans 6, Paul is saying here is what God has made you; He has put you in this new position. Now, you need to live out that new position. Take advantage of the power you really have. 

Student: 
Presupposing that he is going to have to bring the Spirit into this issue, because just to say you’re this, do that, when you’re fighting the old things, when you’re fighting the world, it’s hard to believe you can just do it by yourself.

Dr. Moo: 
There is no single text of scripture that gives us a full accounting of these things. When we deal with a scriptural text, for example if I’m preaching Romans 6, I’ve got to adhere to what is there. Maybe I tell people that there is more to be said about the Christian life than this, we’re going to look at other texts and then go to Romans 8 eventually bring in the Spirit there. But that is not what Romans 6 is doing, let’s get the truth of Romans 6.

Student: 
Wouldn’t you have to stop and say there is something that makes this possible, and it’s coming up in Romans 8?

Dr. Moo: 
You might want to do that in a sermon on Romans 6, yes. As long as we don’t do what so often we tend to do and that is to use a single text as a jumping off point to talk about all kinds of other things. My own view is that we need to discipline ourselves as preachers to stick to what the text before us is doing. We need to make sure that people don’t get the wrong impression by sticking only to the text, of course. Sometimes, we need to guard against misunderstandings that people might have. Sometimes, people are going to have questions that we want to try to answer to help them understand the text. Ultimately, I would hope that if I would be preaching through Romans, maybe Romans 5-8, so ultimately, they will hear about the Spirit. And so, I don’t need to worry about bringing that in here. I might even like people to leave saying where the power comes from to do this. And I will say to them come back in two weeks!

 

B. Student Question Regarding the Teaching about the Indwelling Spirit of God: 

We are talking baptism which is something that they have already experienced. At some point, maybe not through Paul, but somebody else, they had teaching on the subject, which probably would have included teaching on the indwelling of the Spirit. So, is there power within the union with Christ, that there is resurrection power?

Dr. Moo: 
Exactly right. Ultimately, the Spirit has to be brought in. But another way to put the matter, it is interesting that Paul doesn’t bring the Spirit in here. Why didn’t he see this problem? I think the answer is well, no, here is some stuff that even apart from the Spirit is powerful and provides us with the foundation and the situation and condition to do what he is telling us to do. 

Ultimately, yes, the Spirit is going to be important, too, but again, in a sense, we have to respect Paul’s choice and put ourselves under scripture and say that he doesn’t bring the Spirit in here and so perhaps I shouldn’t make too big a deal about the Spirit here, either. He seems to be saying that what I am teaching here: a new relationship with Christ, no long tied to the old man, no longer being dominated by Adam, that has power in itself to give us the foundation for making these choices that we need to be making.

 

C. Student Question Regarding Whether Our Status as Slaves versus Children of God: 

You talked about the image of slavery, but I have always considered it to be like an illustration as well. For example, dying to sin with the old master but now having a new master, but other than Paul calling himself a slave of the gospel or slave of Christ, isn’t this the only place in the New Testament where Christians as a whole are considered slaves of God? Aren’t there more places in the New Testament that talk about being children of God, rather than being slaves of God? How much emphasis should we put on being slaves of God? 

Dr. Moo: 
The language of adoption gets used in Paul; John uses the idea of children quite a lot. Is the language of slavery is broadly descriptive of Christians? Part of the problem there is how you translate some of the Greek words: slave or servant. That is a very tricky translation question. That is part of the problem of knowing how to handle some of the passages where certain language is used that could go either way; are we called slaves or are we called servants. 

Student: 
Aren’t we safe to say the adoption or children language is used much more often than the slavery/servant language?

Dr. Moo: 
If you bring slavery and servant together, I’m not so sure. Slavery, yes, I think the answer there is yes. But again it’s a matter of recognizing that, and I know this is a frustration for a lot of us. As we preach through books of the Bible, people will hear all of this. But people are transient; how much time do we have with a given individual?  So that is a frustration all of us face in thinking about a long-term biblical ministry in terms of trying to build this truth into people’s lives over a period of time. But even if slavery isn’t used a lot, it is used here, and that is the image I am bound to be working with if I am faithfully proclaiming Romans 6. It isn’t the full truth but it is a significant part of the truth that needs to be heard.

 

D. Student Question Regarding the Power of Sin Over Us: 

In baptism, we die to sin because we have taken on Christ. Christ lived a completely obedient life, was tempted in all ways like we are, but yet did not sin. The power of sin is no longer there over us because we have accepted that in Christ.  Are you saying it also becomes an empowering thing that we no longer sinning? Because we are in Christ, we are no longer in sin; we are dead to sin, so we are no longer sinning?

Dr. Moo: 
No, I am certainly not saying that. I think Paul is very clear about the reality that Christians will never be free from the temptation to sin and will inevitably commit certain sins until the resurrection of the body. I am not saying that being dead to sin means that Christians will no longer sin. I think Paul teaches otherwise.  

Student: 
With regard to continuing in sin, that can mean all sorts of things to all sorts of people.  “I’m not continuing in sin; this is just part of the sin nature.” How do you draw a balance there to say, you really are continuing in sin. 

Dr. Moo: 
This is where I think again, probably especially from a pastoral view, we wish we had some quantification in Scripture that we don’t have. I think what Scripture does say is that those who have come into genuine relationship with Christ have died to sin’s power, are brought into union with Christ; His new life affects and empowers our life so that the genuine believer will be moving away from sin. There will be an obvious upward trajectory in the genuine believer’s life. We see the non-Christian starting here at a certain point, full of sins. From the moment of conversion, there is an obvious movement away from those habits, away from those sins. 

The problem we have is two-fold: one, we recognize that line will never be a neat straight line. It is sort of like the stock market having its ups and downs, but for those of us who have portfolios we’re counting on for retirement, we hope that the ending point will be up there, even if it has its ups and down. So in the Christian life, once a person comes to Christ, they are brought into union with Christ, they have died to sin, and they are no longer slaves to sin, in the language Paul is using here, there needs to be an upward trajectory in that Christian’s life. 

I think the problem we face as pastors, is how steep does that line have to be? How do we quantify it? We often deal with people who have made some progress but maybe perhaps with certain sins, they haven’t made any progress at all or haven’t made a lot of progress. So how much upward progress does a person need to show in order, in a sense, to validate the reality of their Christian confession? 

Scripture does not give us any neat answers to that. I think what we need to do on the one hand is preach the truth that we have in the New Testament here that if you are a genuine believer, this must be happening in your life. If it isn’t, you need to go back and ask whether you had any genuine conversion experience at all. This needs to be part of our preaching to gathered congregations even that are claiming to be believers. If this isn’t happening and you are not seeing movement, if you’re not becoming holy in the way God wants you to, one of the questions you have to ask is am I a Christian at all.

Then when we deal with particular people, this needs to become an issue, too. When someone come to us, the second time they have committed adultery, or whatever, why has this happened again? I am not claiming that you can’t be a Christian, but ask yourself the question why is this happening? Have you died to sin? Are you Christ’s or not? We can’t necessarily judge that ourselves, but we have to encourage other people to do some fairly serious self-evaluation.

 

E. Student Question Regarding the Old Nature Being Common to the Christian

I have always had a tendency to think of the old man as this baggage that you’re carrying around, like this backpack, the Bunyan thing, it’s fallen off now. But you have kind of put that to an end; you’re saying, we were in Adam, but that’s gone. This is the spiritual reality that you are facing and we are going to suspend the empowerment side. We don’t have to worry about this monkey that has now fallen off our back.  The old man has always been a monkey on my back. I am not sure if that is common to the Christian.

Dr. Moo: 
I think this is fairly common because this view (Old Man vs. New Man) is very widespread, the idea that we are fighting this battle between the old and new nature. To me this suffers from the problem that we are not taking seriously enough the definitive change that happens when we come to Christ. Our old man has been crucified with Christ. This is pretty strong imagery we have to deal realistically with. 

In response to that then you have people arguing this view. I remember very well reading a book by David Needham in the late 80’s or early 90’s. He was real unhappy with that two-nature view and was arguing this view. I remember the precise moment where I realized Needham’s argument was becoming imbalanced. He used the illustration saying that because I am a totally new creature in Christ, when I go to a beach, I am not even tempted to look at those girls in their bikinis. At that moment, he lost me; because I said that I’m still tempted to look. I still have to fight that battle and most of the Christian men that I know are still fighting that battle. 

There’s is something wrong with this view that treats temptation as something that isn’t going to happen anymore to the Christian. This doesn’t ring true to my experience; more importantly of course, it doesn’t ring true to scripture. You have the imbalances going both ways. As long as we are talking about natures inside of us, here is the problem we have; we cannot do justice to all these texts of scripture. 

Let me use an illustration of Martin Lloyd Jones a preacher at West Minister Chapel in London who has published a lot of his sermons. He has seven or eight volumes on Romans 5-8. He uses an illustration that I have always found to be quite apt at this point in Romans 6. Picture the typical English countryside with their stone fences. There are two adjoining fields, each surrounded by a high stone fence. All of us as humans begin in one of those fields, we start there. It is a field whose walls are far too high for us to climb over, and it is a field that is dominated by Satan who has his way with us.

What happens when we are converted, Lloyd Jones says, is that God picks us up and takes us out of that one field by his grace and puts us in the adjoining field, a field dominated by Christ. So there is a definitive new situation that we are in; not an internal change, not something that is subtracted from us or added to us. It is a new environment, a new position we are placed in. But, Lloyd Jones says, and this is where I think the illustration is particularly helpful, we can still hear Satan calling across that wall. Our old master still is trying to get our attention. There are things in us that still are interested in listening to our old master, Satan, calling to us from that field. We are no longer in his field, for we have been definitively transferred to a new place but we can still hear his voice. 

I would add to Lloyd Jones illustration to say that perhaps the key to the Christian life then is to move further and further away from that wall that separates the field so Satan’s voice becomes fainter and fainter. So, that’s what the Christian life involves then, a deliberate use of God’s resources to move away from a place where we can continue to hear and respond to Satan who wants to exercise his mastery over us, who wants to continue to disrupt our new life that we are leading over in this other field.

 

F. Student Question About Being Given Everything to Walk this Life With Christ: 

Does that fit in with 2 Peter where he talks about that we are given everything that we need to promote life and godliness and that we are also invested with this new nature?  The monkey on the back that is constantly trying to reach out and grab me, that’s the way that I’ve always looked at the old man. But this is really nice; that could be a real deliverance.

Dr. Moo: 
There is truth in that imagery obviously in terms of the reality of the battle we still have to fight; the reality of temptation, the reality of sin, if we view it as a monkey trying to reach out and affect us rather than one on our back. The imagery of the back suggests that it is still a fundamental part of me. That’s the problem I have and it seems to me to push too far towards the lack of change in us. 

It is a finely balanced thing here it really is, to try to unpack the reality of our already/not yetsituation as Christians. We need to tell people don’t be surprised when you are tempted to sin. Don’t think because you have sinned, you are not a Christian. On the other hand, there is a very obvious reality that a union with Christ is going to produce a new life and if that new life is not seen, if there is no upward graph in your life, you have to ask whether you are a Christian at all. I don’t think we ask that question often enough sometimes of people. Not standing in judgment over them but proclaiming what scripture says. Union with Christ, belonging to Him has necessary implications in the way a person lives and if a person is not changed in the way they live, then you have to raise the questions about the reality of their experience.