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Romans - Lesson 47

Class discussion on Romans 11:11-32

Lesson 47
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Class discussion on Romans 11:11-32

Discussion on Romans 11:11-32

A. Let’s Not Forget Our Jewish Roots

B. It isn’t Anti-Semitic to Preach Christ to the Jews

C. God’s Powerful Grace Can Reach Anybody


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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.

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.

This transcript follows the main points of the speaker but is not always word-for-word.

Discussion on Romans 11:11-32

A. Let’s Not Forget Our Jewish Roots: So, the obvious point here is not to forget their Jewish roots. You have been grafted into a tree and in the illustration of verse 17 and following, the spiritual benefit that you are enjoying is because of the roots of that tree in Jewish soil. From there, the question arises about how often do you read the Old Testament and how much do you know about it. A lot of churches which I attend, three quarters of the preaching is on the New Testament. There can be a tendency for churches to forget the Jewish roots of the Old Testament and who we are spiritually. In regards to verse 26, the challenge is how many options is there to give. How much detail do I go into knowing there are different options from different theologians on how to understand that verse? How much time do I allocate looking at these options? For me, there is a challenge on how to do that. The other matter that I would question is to what degree in a sermon on this passage do I need to get to the broader implications of the present state of Israel? Should I do it as a political issue for this issue divides Christians in terms of what we expect God to be doing in and for the State of Israel as a nation? Can I preach this passage without leaving a lot of questions in the minds of the people, if I don’t say something about that? I would find this to be a challenge for if you say something briefly, more questions would be raised than you can answer, but to do it adequately, you would need to spend a certain amount of time on it.

 

It is interesting to see how all these different parts of Romans start to make sense as we bring them together. We talked about how Paul viewed this collection for the saints in Jerusalem for this is part of the context in which he is writing Romans. There is something on his mind; what does that involve? It involves Gentiles giving to Jews and Paul says that Jews have given to you spiritually. Paul has built this point in Romans 11 already. And so, what does this mean for a Gentile congregation? There are certain groups, Jewish messianic groups especially that say that every church as a valid Biblical church needs to make Jewish evangelicalism a priority. Paul says that it is to the Jew first and then the Greek. A church that is not recognizing its obligations in terms of the Jewish part of the world is failing in its mandate to preach the Gospel as Paul wants it to be preached. I don’t agree with that personally as I think that is an over reading of what Paul intends here. However, you do come across the one or two Jewish Christians today. Reflecting on the situation of Paul in his day, there is evidence on the one hand that Paul kept going back to the synagogue trying to preach Christ. He kept trying to convince them that Christ was the messianic fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy. This is a key point that some Christian Jewish folks forget about. Paul wanted to remain a Jew, but his passion for Christ and what God was doing in Christ made it imperative for him to talk about Jews within the Jewish context. So, I think Paul’s pattern is the pattern that is sort of mandated. We have to recognize that the New Testament says that the Jews can remain in their Judaism in a certain sense, but only in a certain sense. Jesus would have to fit into that and this practically makes it very difficult for Christians who are sincere about their faith and living it out. This makes it very difficult to maintain any particular presence within the synagogue. It was difficult for Paul as he kept getting thrown out of it.

 

B. It isn’t Anti-Semitic to Preach Christ to the Jews: (One such student talks about the anti-Semitism toward the Jews in the church. They seem not to care about preaching of this kind; they have no sympathy for the Jews and who they are these days. This bothers me a lot.) I mentioned the anti-Semitism charge early on. The way that has been construed in a lot of political and some theological circles is that if you do not grant full authenticity to the Jewish faith, you are anti-Semitic. If you say to a Jew, you cannot be saved within your Judaism; Jesus is the only way; that is anti-Semitic. Tom Wright has a great response to that where he says that attitude of not confronting Jews with Jesus is the most anti-Semitic thing that you can do. You are out there proclaiming to all other groups in the world that you need to believe in Jesus to be saved and you are going to leave them in their sin? That is a fundamental anti-Semitic thing. We have to try to find ways in which to emphasize our claim about exclusivity of Christ without allowing that to lapse into some of the unfortunate ways that can be taken by people. We need to be careful to not be so favorable to the nation of Israel that we fail to love the Palestinians, brothers and sisters who are Arabs who struggle in various ways. Obviously, this is not an easy situation. There is a need for Christians to steer a very careful course in regards to this. For me, as John puts it, a sin unto death as Jesus puts it, a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit that can’t be forgiven. Somehow there is this category of which Hebrews 6 seems to talk about something like this. There is this category of an open eyed blatant rejection of Christ that perhaps a person can’t come back from. But our ability to identify that for others when have they committed that sin; I think this is very hard and we should remember that God’s grace is always there.

 

C. God’s Powerful Grace Can Reach Anybody: So, while I want to keep this in my theological lexicon, it seems to me that the focus of the New Testament is on God’s powerful grace which can reach anybody. When Paul is talking about this hardening that has come to the Jews and how that is not permanent. God is still working to reverse that perhaps, branches that are broken off can be grafted back on. This is the place I want to focus on; to tell people who are living in their sins, God can get to them by his grace and bring them into his kingdom. Yes, God gave them over to their own desires and sin but did God give them over permanently? That where I draw the line. People choose to sin and God will let a person go that way, but that doesn’t mean that he is pushing them in that direction and sort of closing the door behind them. Perhaps God allows them to continue in that sin so that they can see just how much they can fail in trying it their own way. Romans 4 we see how Abraham in hope lives against hope where all the evidence of the world was against him, but hope in God who promised things to him, he still believed. This captures the sense of the posture of faith that clings to the promise of God, whatever the evidence around us might me.