Romans - Lesson 30

Class discussion on Romans 7:1-6

The class interacts with Dr. Moo regarding the previous lesson on Romans 7:1-6.

Lesson 30
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Class discussion on Romans 7:1-6

Discussion on Romans 7:1-6

A. We are Under the Law of Christ

B. God Wants to Transform us Inside

C. Christians Must Live Out the Word of God

D. We Need to Inhabit the Story

  • 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.

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 7:1-6
Lesson Transcript


A. We are Under the Law of Christ: 

Just to make sure you understand what I am saying, as Christians we are still under law, we are under the Law of Christ. This law in its essence is a republication of nine of the Ten Commandments of the Decalogue. But the Law of Christ obviously goes much further than that. The essence of the Law of Christ involves love for God and love for the neighbor. This is basic to God’s New Covenant law. God’s New Covenant Law also brings us repeatedly back to the example of Jesus. We are told as believers to imitate Jesus in His humility, in His love for others, in His willingness to give up Himself for others. So, the New Testament Law also involves this fundamental principle. In some ways, it is not so much a law, as in a series of commands, but it is fundamentally a reorientation of our thinking and values. 

Is that the “just requirements of the Law” in Romans? 

Dr. Moo: 
I think it is related to that and we’ll talk about that. Especially I think I want to relate it to Romans 12:1-2 and the issue of the renewing of the mind. 

The view I am arguing is one that I admit is not the majority view among evangelicals although it is a fairly widely held view. I am not the only one who argues something like this. 

I have been a Seventh Day Adventist, and the Seventh Day Adventists say that Jesus did rest on the Sabbath, and we’re to follow His example, and He did rest in the tomb after His crucifixion, so we rest. I’m not in that school, I’ve decided to leave that behind, but if we’re talking about law keeping, there are a lot of people who will have some problems if the Sabbath is not a part of that, considering how Christ lived. I know it’s not spoken of, it’s not by command, but in a lot of ways it is implicit.

Dr. Moo: 
And of course, the other key text that comes into play is Hebrews 4 “So there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God.” Again, it has to be interpreted what that means.

I don’t place much stock from the arguments of what Jesus did; we have to remember that Jesus is living before the Cross. Jesus is an Old Covenant member of the people of God, so Jesus is living under the Law, and whatever the Law commanded for the people of Israel in the Old Covenant period of time. So, the fact that Jesus Himself rested on the sabbath, that He offered sacrifices in the temple, and did all the things the New Testament gospels talk about is not surprising at all because He is still an Old Covenant believer, in that sense. It’s some of these other issues; I don’t put any stock in “Jesus rested in the tomb.” I don’t see any connection the New Testament makes there.

Let me turn back to the Matthew 5 text. The reason that the Matthew 5 text interpretation is so important to me - I’m not saying that because He fulfilled the law, therefore, we are not under the law. I think it’s important in the sense of God’s justice. I think Christ fully keeping the law Christ living the perfect life and fulfilling it, is a statement to the universe that God did not make unreasonable expectation of Adam and Eve when He created them and invited them to live life with Him. It’s an issue of God’s justice to me, as to why that interpretation is important.

Perhaps you understand Christ who has completely kept the law and never sinned like it talks about in Hebrews where it says that He was tempted in all ways but yet did not sin, but you just don’t think that is what he is talking about in Matthew 5. 

Dr. Moo: 
That is exactly right. I don’t deny the truth of Christ’s active fulfillment of the Law in His life. I think that is taught, but I don’t think it is taught in that verse.

Why then, back to the sabbath, why then would you strike that from the equation?  When I was a boy, I always heard that the reason why we don’t worship on the sabbath is because Christ rose on the first day. Is that superficial? Why extract that one out of all the rest?

Dr. Moo: 
That is exactly my point, I don’t think we should.

So, you think we’re wrong about not worshiping on it? 

Dr. Moo: 
No, my point is that this view that is very widely held (continuity of the moral law) is that while God’s civil and ceremonial law is not mandatory for believers, His moral law is encapsulated in Ten Commandments. One of the commandments obviously is, you shall worship and rest on the seventh day. Consistency again would lead to the Sabbath Day Adventists view; if that is an eternal moral law, we don’t have the right to change that. I don’t care when Jesus rose from the dead, God tells us to rest and worship on the seventh day, not the day of our choice. If the Israelites were working on the Sabbath, they would get stoned. We don’t have the right to change the day, but nevertheless the day is changed for most of us. 

I agree with the argument that in the New Testament evidence in1 Corinthians 16 and Revelation 1; it talks about the Lord’s Day, a day now that celebrates the resurrection of Christ, that is when early Christians were worshipping. So, I think the day has changed, but the implication of that is that the Ten Commandments are not eternal moral law. That is the logic that I am trying to drive here. The very fact that we don’t worship and rest on Saturday means that we are not treating the Ten Commandments as eternal moral law. The view that I’m arguing here I think does more justice to the actual evidence of the New Testament, and the Christian practice, over the years. 

Did you recently publish an article on that in Bulletin of Biblical Research?

Dr. Moo: 
No, the one I did in the Bulletin of Biblical Research was on the new creation. I have argued this view in a number of places.

It seems to me like the 1 Corinthians 9:20 that there is a distinction between God’s law and Christ’s law. 


B. God Wants to Transform Us from the Inside: 

Dr. Moo: 
I think that there probably is. It’s always the case; you start to dig into these verses and look at the commentaries with their different options and views there are verses that support what I am trying to say here. 

Let me hasten to say in a practical sense, people always ask the question as to what difference does it make. Well, first of all, I don’t think it makes much difference at all in the way we actually live. Okay, we are under the New Covenant Law instead of Old Covenant Law so adultery is fine now, right?  Again, my point is nine of the Ten Commandments are explicitly carried over into Christ’s law and applied to us. I don’t think there can be any question about that. In terms of the choices that I would actually make as I live and faithfully try to obey God, I don’t think there is a lot of difference there. 

But the one difference might be this. Secondly, Christianity is fundamentally not oriented toward Law. I am not necessarily calling this legalism, but I think there can be a tendency to bring what I would call moralism into the Christian faith. This is particularly among us who are especially concerned that people live lives of obedience to Christ, that people recognize the very unfortunate directions our culture is going in all kinds of ways, and we need to be different from that. There can be a tendency for us to emphasize that if you are a faithful Christian, you will not be for or involved in a same sex marriage; you will be against abortion; you will take this stand on this particular issue. As a Christian, here are the laws; here are things that you are going to be against and here are the things that you are going to be for. This is clearly necessary and I’m not disagreeing with that at all. But if that becomes our major emphasis, if that is our major tone, then we are missing the more fundamental New Covenant reality of God by His Spirit wanting to transform us from the inside. 


C. Christians Must Live Out the Word of God: 

So that, and I say this in a controversial way to deliberately stir people up, your goal should be that you never need to read your Bible again. Of course, I don’t mean that in just the way it is said. What I mean by that is that your goal should be to know your Bible so well, that it becomes part of you. So that when you are faced with a difficult decision in your life, when you are faced with a temptation, you automatically do what God requires because God’s Word has been built into your life. 

A lot of the most fundamental issues we face in life are not issues for which we can find a verse to support what we are supposed to do. And that is the problem with the moralism approach. You end up with schizophrenic Christians who are very faithful in obeying God on the things they know about. However, they have a large category of their lives in which they have never been taught a Christian law and don’t even think that there is a Christian option there. They don’t even bring their Christianity to bear on how they conduct themselves in the business world, or how they fill out their tax returns, or how they choose the college their kids should go to, or who they marry, or what vocation they should choose. There are huge life issues that a lot of our people don’t even bring Christianity into at all because there is no neat law for it. 

Talk about this - there is a whole world of the sins of omission. We’re really good at understanding commission – I’m not stealing, I’m not doing this; I’m not doing that. But the issue of omission is a whole other world- how many people should I have witnessed to yesterday, how many people should I have shared my wealth with? That is a whole other world as you start to look at that. 

Dr. Moo: 
I don’t know about your churches here, but in the church that I attend, that is an endemic issue, particularly because I happen to live in a pretty wealthy part of the world in the western suburbs of Chicago. I find a lot of believers who say, yes, I need to be faithful in tithing, I’m going to give to my church the ten percent, but after that, the rest of it is for me. Ninety percent is for me to do whatever I want and God has nothing to say about how I use it. 

Malachi says, “Bring to me all the tithes and offerings, and see if I will not open up the windows of heaven and pour out.”  

Dr. Moo: 
That is the sort of problem I see with a mentality that gets too oriented toward Law. It is so easy for us to slip into that. Part of it is needed. We need to tell our people that if they are believers, they need to take a stand; this is implied in the Gospel imperative. We need to be specific in those ways. But, at the same time, I would also argue that our ministry needs to be more fundamentally oriented toward getting people to live out the Word, to create this as their world and value system, which becomes fundamental and internalized in a way that enables them to lead effective Christian lives in all of the dimensions of their existence. 

Would you argue that in preaching the best way to guard against every week saying this is what you do and this is what you don’t do is to preach verse by verse through a book of the Bible primarily so that you aren’t constantly riding your hobby horse but you’re covering grace, you’re covering Law. 

Dr. Moo: 
You’re not embarrassed to spend a Sunday preaching on a doctrine where people leave saying, how am I supposed to put this into practice tomorrow. You say, I have no idea; my concern is to get you to think this way and then there are going to be all kinds of ways you are going to see that that affects decisions you make and the specific practical things you do.


D. We Need to Inhabit the Biblical Story: 

I like to use the illustration of the J.R.R. Tolkien books; I am a huge fan of those books. One of the attractions of Tolkien and also C. S. Lewis, is that they create an alternative world and the more you read that, the more you understand what that world is like and how it works. That is where reading scripture is so important, not that you can know what is in a chapter. But we read and read and reread the Bible so that that story of about who God is and what He is like, what He is doing, is a story that we inhabit. When we begin inhabiting that story, then everything else flows out of that. We see ourselves as people located in this place as an alternative reality to the world around us. This is a powerful fundamental way in which we recreate the biblical story in our lives. I don’t like all the stuff that Stanley Hauerwas of Duke University does, but I do agree with him on this point of emphasizing of inhabiting the story. I think it is really a fundamental matter that sometimes we can miss in our concern for more specific things that we’re doing. 

In our discussion yesterday about death to the law, death to sin, we commented that in our conversion, we had immediate stuff we knew we needed to change. Christ’s Law immediately became a power in our life, informing us of what we would do differently if we were to be a follower of Christ, that He does speak that Law to our hearts and minds through the Holy Spirit. 

Dr. Moo: 
This is God writing the Law on our hearts according to the prophecy of Jeremiah involved of course, the work of the Spirit in our lives, those internal changes made. But there are probably some things we don’t recognize right away either. When we began learning the story a little more, we begin to see what God is really after in our lives, oh, there is an area in my life I didn’t realize I was going to have to deal with. That’s a healthy thing, obviously.

At the same time, you have schizophrenic Christians on the other end of the spectrum, that are so legalistic. My church in fact split over that years ago before I was a pastor there. This group was so extreme that they left the church and went independent.

Dr. Moo: 
Was it Voltaire in a typical French comment on the British said, oh those English, 365 religions and only one sauce? It’s the typical French view of English cooking of course, bland and boring, but also, a comment on the fact that the English people kept splitting and splitting and splitting The ultimate outcome is going to be every Christian in America is his own church. We can’t get along with each other so we split about all kinds of things. That’s another issue.

You’re absolutely right, though, legalism can become something that is just disastrous for effective Christian living. Partly because as we all know, a lot of the rules that people like to impose are of their own making rather than a clear derivation of scripture.

Would you be comfortable in saying that Christ’s Law is not codified, but it is revealed to the individual? 

Dr. Moo: 
Revealed to the church I would be more comfortable with. When you say revealed to the individual, I worry that that is going to lead to a relativism, where people say, well, God has not revealed to me that is wrong. I’m sleeping with my girlfriend, but God hasn’t told me that’s wrong. It feels good; we love each other; we’re Christians; we go to church. We have to be very careful to avoid relativism at the other end, where people are each going their own way. As long as we say revealed to the church, it's the same law that God reveals to all of us. It might take effect in our lives in different ways, but there is a single will of God for us that we have to identify. 

So, this is where the principle of binding and loosing, if we bind certain things then this is contrary to God’s law, or this is not contrary, and this power is given to the church. 

Dr. Moo: 
I’m not sure I would bring the binding and loosing language into it quite in that way. I’m not sure what to make of those passages.

It’s an interpretation I’ve heard.

Dr. Moo: 
It’s possible. I see that more in terms of the right first given to the apostles by Jesus in their teaching, in their preaching about truth. What they bind, they bind in terms of the Word of God in having this effect, rather than law or rules per se.