Romans - Lesson 41

Romans 9:32–10:4

You'll gain insights into the relationship between faith and works, particularly in the context of Jewish and Gentile believers. The lesson highlights the stumbling block of Christ for the Jews, emphasizing the importance of faith over works. Additionally, it explores the role of Christ as the culmination of the Law, clarifying that the Law was intended to point toward Him, not serve as a final authority. The text also examines how the Law historically functioned to separate Jews from Gentiles but emphasizes that through Christ, righteousness is available to all who believe, regardless of ethnicity. Lastly, it touches on the Christian community's distinctiveness, rooted in love, concern for others, and holiness, rather than cultural practices. The overarching message is a call to unity in Christ, transcending societal divisions and bearing witness to His transformative power.

Lesson 41
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Romans 9:32–10:4

IV. The Defense of the Gospel: the Problem of Israel (9:1–11:36)

A. Introduction: The Tension Between God's Promises and Israel's Plight (9:1-5)

B. Defining the Promise (1): God's Sovereign Election (9:6-29)

C. Understanding Israel's Plight: Christ as the Climax of Salvation History (9:30–10:21)

1. Israel, the Gentiles, and the Righteousness of God (9:30–10:13)

a. The Righteousness of God and the "Law of Righteousness" (9:30-33)

b. The Righteousness of God and "Their Own Righteousness" (10:1-4)

c. Gospel and Law (10:5-13)

2. Israel's Accountability (10:14-21)

D. Summary: Israel, the "Elect," and the "Hardened" (11:1-10)

E. Defining the Promise (2): The Future of Israel (11:11-32)

F. Conclusion: Praise to God in Light of His Awesome Plan (11:33-36)

  • 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 9:32-10:4  
Lesson Transcript


Romans 9:32-10:4 

Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.” Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.


A. Christ is a Stumbling Stone for the Jews: 

The end of verse 32 introduces this idea of the stumbling stone which becomes a key idea here in the passages we are going to cover. They that is Israel stumbled over the stumbling stone; obviously in this context identified with Christ. Paul quotes a couple of verses in Isaiah, both verses using the language of stone to get his idea across. God has put in Zion a stone. You can either stumble across that stone or build on that stone. This is the imagery here. Those who believe in Christ can build on the stone; other people stumble over Him. 

It is as if Paul is saying here is the path everyone has to take. Picture a very narrow path between two cliff faces with a stone or boulder in the middle of the path that you can’t avoid. You either stumble over it or you build on it. Israel unfortunately as a whole, has stumbled, whereas many of the Gentiles perhaps in their naivety have built on it. 

Paul goes over this again in a slightly different way in 10:1-3. “My prayer is that the Israelites might be saved.” Paul was apostle to the Gentiles, we see him talking about this in chapter 11. But that doesn’t mean that he left his concern for his own people behind. Always Paul continued to have a concern for his own people, Israel. 

“I testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.” Here is the root problem. They genuinely have a zeal for God but they don’t understand; they are ignorant about what God is doing. In verse 3specifically says that “they don’t know the righteousness of God; they have sought to establish their own, they haven’t submitted to God’s righteousness.” Again, the problem we talked about just a moment ago, Israel didn’t understand what God was doing; not open to the new revelation which God was bringing to them.


B. Christ, the Culmination or Goal of the Law: 

Then we have verse 4, a famous verse, often translated, “Christ is the end of the Law.” The NIV translates it as “Christ is the culmination of the Law” which I think is a better translation here. The word Paul uses here in the Greek is a word that can either mean ‘end’ in the sense of termination, or ‘goal.’ I can’t wait for the end of class; the termination, it is over, done with. A lot of people think that is the meaning of the word here. Christ puts an end to the Law; He terminates it; the era of the Law is over. 

Others, however, insist that the word has a sense of goal. Paul uses this word in 1 Timothy 1, saying that the end of the commandment is love, that is the goal of the commandment. This is what the commandment is designed to accomplish. It’s goal or intended result is love. Some people say that what Paul is saying here is that Christ is the goal of the Law. 

I think the imagery combines a little bit of both of those. This is why I like the translation ‘culmination’ or ‘climax’. It seems to me that Paul is talking about a broad understanding of the history of salvation. God gave His Law to the people of Israel, but all along that Law was pointing forward to Christ. This is again the mistake that the Israelites have made. They had an absolutized the Law. They said that when God gave us the Law, that was it; that was the central, key, final thing He has done. So, anyone claiming to be the Messiah has to be fit into the mold of the Law. It was like forcing the new wine into an old wine skins. 

Paul’s point here is that the Law was never intended to be God’s last or final word; that in the unfolding plan of salvation, God gave the Law pointing forward to the coming Messiah, who was of course, Jesus of Nazareth. So, the image t Paul uses here combines both the idea of goal the Law points to Christ, and end because now that Christ is here, the era of the Law is at an end.

The ‘pursuing’ language that Paul uses at the end of chapter 9 is language often used in Paul’s world about a racecourse. That is the most helpful, somewhat contextually based illustration for what Paul was saying here. It is as if the Law is the race and the finish line is Christ. The runner is running the race, but not forever. The race is not the goal; the race is not the only thing. No, they are running the race in order to cross the finish line. That is the goal and once the finish line is crossed, the race is over. This is what Israel has failed to understand. Now that Christ has come, He is what the Law was pointing to all along, so there is the continuity, but now that He has come, there is an end to the era of the Law. 

To put it another way, Paul insists that we have to understand the Law in terms of Christ, not Christ in terms of the Law. This is where he differed from most of his fellow Jews. They took the Law as the given, the starting point, the central issue, and tried to fit Christ into the Law. But Paul said, no, God has manifested Himself decisively in Christ Messiah; we have to understand the Law in relationship to Him. 

Now Paul says one other thing in this verse: Christ is the culmination of Law. This means as a result is that there is now righteousness for everyone who believes. Here comes the New Perspective back into the picture again. James Dunn rightly notes this emphasis here. One of the important reasons why Christ is the goal and end of the Law, its climax is now to allow the Gentiles to participate.


C. Using the Law to Keep the Gentiles Out: 

Here again is where the New Perspective has a certain point. One of the things that the Law did, because it was a law given to Israel, was to keep Gentiles out. It was a barrier that separated Jews from the Gentiles. The imagery that the Jews used sometimes for the Law was like a fence or wall that they constructed around their own identity, their own nation. This was so that they could be preserved as their own people and keep the Gentiles out. 

Think for instance of Orthodox Jews in our today who insist on wearing strange looking clothes, avoiding eating certain kinds of food, and worshipping on a certain day. Why do they do those things? First to honor God because they think that is what He is calling them to do. But certainly, secondarily, and very importantly, they want to maintain their distinct identity. The more of those social practices you can engage in that are distinct to your community, the easier it will keep yourselves from being assimilated into the larger population. 

I am not claiming that Christian groups do this, but make the application yourself. Certain Christian groups, certain denominations, certain traditions are doing something like this sometimes. This is sometimes rooted in Scripture and sometimes it isn’t, but practices, forms of dress, forms of behavior, taboos and prohibitions that serve to maintain the cohesion of a community and to keep it separate from the bigger world out there. 

So, this is where the New Perspective people have a point, they are correct; that was how the Law was being used in Paul’s day and that is one of the problems he has with the Law. In effect, it was a way of keeping Gentiles out and now, Paul says, God’s righteousness is for everybody who believes, Jew and Gentile alike. In verses 9 and following Paul is going to come back and emphasize this point.

Within that though, like in the Church of God denomination, you have one church that is like that, and another church, like mine, that isn’t like that. We are conservative based but not legalism based. 


D. We Are to Be a Witness in the World: 

I am not accusing all churches of doing this. Let me make it clear that Scripture talks about certain values that should typify the Christian community and make us distinct. 

In that, we’ve got this conflict constantly of that church saying that churches like mine are too liberal, and churches like mine are saying they are too conservative (but mine isn’t saying that!)

Dr. Moo: 
Those debates go on endlessly, don’t they? There are clear things in Scripture that say what the Christian community is supposed to be typified by: our love for each other, our concern for each other, the care that we show for each other, the holiness that we are to exhibit in ourselves and in our relationship to each other. That is how we are to be distinct and to show ourselves to be distinct, rather than some of these cultural trappings that we have picked up over the years. We can argue for or against whether of them are useful or appropriate or not but always testing it against Scripture. 

I think it is refreshing to see that evolve to where you can see people get along, revisit it. All of a sudden everyone is able to come together – that is so refreshing. Somebody says, I didn’t really realize that – the young and the old, and all of them. That is refreshing.

Dr. Moo: 
It is, it is a wonderful thing. The kind of unity that we are to have and let’s face it, this is a challenge that we face in our area, and I think you have the same issues down here. You tend to have white and black churches. That is the kind of the way we tend to operate almost everywhere. I understand the reasons for that. Sometimes those reasons are good but to me the Pauline vision is a witness to the world of a place where there is neither black nor white, neither male nor female, neither Jew nor Greek, young and old, rich and poor, as a witness to the world of what Christ can accomplish in His people, breaking down all of the barriers that our cultures work with. This isn’t easy to do; don’t be offended because I understand that there are reasons for a church to be predominantly a Black church in terms of its focus and ministry, and others to be a White church. But there is something about this I have to say that doesn’t ring entirely true to the vision that Paul has for the body of Christ that crosses all those barriers and is an implicit witness to the world and chastisement to the world of the artificial barriers we create among ourselves. 

But in Paul’s day, the great divide was the Jew-Gentile issue. He does talk about male and female, he talks about slave and free so some of those other things get involved, but it is the Jew and Gentile conflict that was critical and that is why he keep talking about it the way he does.