Romans - Lesson 28

Introduction to Romans 7:1-25

In Romans 7, Paul presents examines the Law's significance within the Christian framework. Beginning with his foundational teachings in verses 1-6, Paul anticipates and addresses questions regarding the Law's role in shaping Christian life. Through subsequent verses, Paul reviews the relationship between the Torah and the Christian understanding of divine commandments, contextualizing his discussion within the broader narrative of salvation history.

Lesson 28
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Introduction to Romans 7:1-25

III. The Assurance Provided by the Gospel: The Hope of Salvation (5:1–8:39)

A. The Hope of Glory (5:1-21)

1. From Justification to Salvation (5:1-11)

2. The Reign of Grace and Life (5:12-21)

B. Freedom from Bondage to Sin (6:1-23)

1. "Dead to Sin" through Union with Christ (6:1-14)

2. Freed from Sin's Power to Serve Righteousness (6:15-23)

C. Freedom from Bondage to the Law (7:1-25)

1. Released from the Law, Joined to Christ (7:1-6)

2. The History and Experience of Jews under the Law (7:7-25)

a. The Coming of the Law (7:7-12)

b. Life under the Law (7:13-25)

D. Assurance of Eternal Life in the Spirit (8:1-30)

1. The Spirit of Life (8:1-13)

2. The Spirit of Adoption (8:14-17)

3. The Spirit of Glory (8:18-30)

E. The Believer's Security Celebrated (8:31-39)

  • 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 
Introduction to Romans 7:1-25  
Lesson Transcript


Introduction to Romans 7:1-25

A. Overview Romans 7: 

The fascination and the frustration of Romans. Almost every chapter of Romans throws us into deep water. There are big theological issues, big practical issues in terms of what the Christian life is about, and here is another one now: the debate about Romans 7 and what we are to learn from it. 

There are three basic parts of the chapter: verses 1-6 is the place Paul is giving his basic positive teaching in the chapter. I suspect a lot of people immediately move to the end of Romans 7, that’s what they are interested in, but in fact, from the perspective of Paul’s own argument, it is the beginning of the chapter which makes the basic point he wants to make here. Then having made that point though, in verse 7, Paul makes that move that he often does in Romans. “What shall we say then?” He asks a question that he answers and then explains. 

I talk about this in the commentary; Paul has been preaching the gospel in a lot of different places to a lot of different audiences for twenty-five to thirty years by the time he writes Romans. He kind of knows what questions people are going to have. I have taught Romans in context everywhere from junior high youth groups, to academic PhD seminars at Trinity and Wheaton, to pastors’ conferences, to Campus Crusade leaders in Eastern Europe, a lot of classes at Wheaton and Trinity (some Greek based, some English based), Doctor of Ministry courses; I know what questions you are going to ask. When I say certain things, I pause and wait for the hand to go up. Someone is going to have this issue. That is kind of the situation Paul is in as he writes Romans. One reason the letter is so effective is because he anticipates the kinds of issues people are going to have. He knows the questions they are going to ask. 

So, he raises this question in verse 7: what about the Law then? He has said some pretty negative things about the Law, so what is he actually saying about it. That is why Paul focuses on it in the remaining part of the chapter. Now from 7:7 to 25, this is somewhat a parenthesis in terms of the sequence of Paul’s argument. That section is further divided into two parts: verses 7-12 and verses 13-25 and we will see how those two parts contribute to Paul’s answering the question about the Law.  So that is the overview.


B. The Law is the Torah: 

Let’s remember a very important point as we move into Romans chapter 7. in Paul’s situation, when he talks about Law, he is talking about Torah. The word, nomos, is the Greek word that Paul uses over a hundred and ten times throughout all his letters, and seventy-six of those happen in Romans. In the basic word count you get an idea about what Paul is interested in here. But in his context, he is talking about the Jewish Law, the Torah, the Law of Moses that God gave to His people at Sinai. 

This is an important principle to make. In theology, and particularly historical theology, “law” is frequently used for any commandment of God, anything God tells us to do. The Lutherans are particularly famous for the law-Gospel distinction that shows itself throughout scripture, God addresses us in two modes: first He tells us what we are to do, law, second, He makes promises and intervenes to come to our help, gospel. 

So, there is law and gospel throughout the Bible. There is law in the Old Testament and there is gospel in the Old Testament as well, because God comes to the help of His people again and again. There is law and Gospel also in the New Testament; the Sermon on the Mount is Law in this sense. Jesus tells us what we are supposed to do. This is the kind of life that you are supposed to lead. The Sermon on the Mount in that sense isn’t gospel at all because it is making demands of us. If you took the Sermon on the Mount by itself, all of us would recognize that we are in a lot of trouble. We are supposed to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. We are supposed to give to anyone who asks of us, and so on. But there is nothing in the Sermon on the Mount that shows us how God is going to help us to do that. It is the expectation, it’s the law.  

To me, it is endlessly amusing to see people outside Christianity asking about the essence of Christianity? It’s the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ teaching. Which of course is far from the truth of what the essence of Christianity is about.

The point is then, we have come to use “law” in this very broad sense. If we are going to understand Paul correctly, we have to understand that he is talking about Torah. In light of this, go back to 6:14: “Sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” 

How many of you have heard this verse quoted to justify sinful behavior? I have certainly heard it used that way. You confront someone with a pretty obvious sin they are involved in; they say wait a minute! This is a matter of Christianity and I’m not under the law anymore, I’m under grace. Quit bothering me with what I am supposed to do or criticizing me for my behavior; you don’t understand what Christianity is all about. 

This is a fundamental misreading of this text. Paul is saying that you, Roman Christians, are no longer under the Torah, you are no longer under the Law of Moses, but by no means is Paul suggesting that we aren’t under some kind of law. That is something we’re going to explore a little bit as we move through Romans 7 today. 

So, 7:1-6 have sort of been set up by some things that Paul has said. He brings the Law into the discussion here in interesting ways. We have baptism and dead to sin, alive to God in Christ in Romans 6 and yet again in verse 14 and verse 15, Paul brings the Law into the discussion. Why does he do that? In confronting the situation of the Christians in Rome, the whole question of how salvation history works is a central issue for that community and for the Christian church at large.


C. Salvation History: 

If we do a very simply summary here, here are four key points, four highlights, four mountain tops in salvation history: Adam, Abraham, Moses, Christ. 

God creates humanity with Adam and Eve. Adam falls into sin and God decides to begin to reverse the effects of that fall into sin by calling Abraham and making promises to him, making a nation out of him and promising him blessings for his descendants and then the whole history of Israel then begins to evolve. In a significant point in time, God brings His people together at Sinai and gives them a Law that they are to live by as they move into the land God is promising them. 

A fourth point we should insert in here is Exile. Israel created by God, given His Law, nevertheless fails in the mandate God gave Israel to spread the Good News of the Lord all around the world, to be a people for His own possession, to live a holy life according to the Law He gave them. 

So, the people are sent into exile that continues even into the period of the New Testament. Even though the people of Israel are back in their own land again, Israel, nevertheless, they have not received all the things God has promised them after the exile. Now Christ has come as the one whom Paul claims is now taking the people out of their exile. He is bringing them and fulfilling the promises that God gave the people. 

The issue that Paul keeps coming back to is a key issue of division in the early Christian community is how does this stage fit into the New Covenant people of God? Where does the Law fit into this? 

Jewish Christians in Rome apparently are saying that they don’t have to do all of the Law perhaps; maybe the sacrifices have been fulfilled in Christ, but they still have to do a lot of the Law. We are still under it as a New Covenant people of God. Jeramiah said that the Law will be written on our hearts, but it is the Law, the Torah written on the hearts. It is still God’s Law that we need to do. So, they are arguing for a strong sense of continuity between Moses and Christ. 

Whereas the Gentile Christians in Rome are perhaps saying that we should draw a line here; we are Christians, let’s forget all that stuff we don’t need it. All we need to do is to be Christians; maybe we don’t even need the Old Testament itself. 

What Paul is keen to do in Romans is to say that this is a continuous single plan of God; salvation history unfolds in stages, but stages that God has designed from beginning to end. But the era of Moses and his Law is a bit of a parenthesis (and I will develop that idea a little bit further today.) 

This is why the Law keeps being very significant in Romans. It is addressing the needs of the Roman church and reflects the larger most basic theological issue the early church had to face. That is why we have all this about the Law, Torah.