Full Text for Romans- Volume 22 - Overview of Romans 6-8 (Video)

No. 22. >> You mentioned earlier that Romans 6 through 8 contains the second major section of Paul's presentation in Romans. And that these chapters should be read together. It would be helpful if you could give us a general overview about what we will find in this section of Romans. >>PROFESSOR DAVID I. M. LEWIS: Josh, we're still in what I call the confirmation section of the book of Romans. If you consider again the six-part rhetorical outline, this is the section that would cover basically Chapters 4 through 11. But what Paul is now doing is he's already confirmed his proposition back in Chapter 4. In Chapters 5, 6, 7 and 8, Paul is drawing out the implications of what it means that a righteousness of God has been revealed apart from the law through faith in Jesus Christ. And especially in Romans Chapters 6, 7 and 8, these three chapters together draw out the implications of God's righteousness in relationship to our -- in relation to our own relationship to sin and to the law and then to death. Now, in Martin ***Fransman's outline, the first section of Romans he calls Romans 1:18 through 5:21. And he argues that in that first section, the Gospel creates a new status for man. That's the main theme. And now Fransman says the second section is Romans 6, 7 and 8 where it says Gospel creates a new life for man. So he sees these three chapters as really focusing upon the Christian life. In other words, how do we live our lives as those who have been declared righteous by God through faith in Jesus Christ apart from the law, apart from works? And Fransman would say that Chapter 6 discusses our relationship to sin. We're freed from sin. Chapter 7 discusses our relationship to the law. We're freed from the law. And Chapter 8 discusses our relationship to death. We are freed from death and from the fear of death because we have the hope of the restoration that is to come. Now, when I look at these sections, I notice that as Paul draws out the implications of the Gospel here, what he does in these chapters is he asks a question. And then he answers his own question with a short discussion. And he does this several times beginning in Chapter 6 Verse 1. But really to understand what Paul is doing in 6:1, we have to look back at the end of Chapter 5. And at the end of Chapter 5 where Paul was discussing the comparison and contrast to Jesus and Adam, he concludes with these verses: Now the law came in to increase the trespass. But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. So that as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Now, again, in discussing original sin, Paul is discussing reality. This is the way things are. And so this is the present reality discussed at the end of Chapter 5. And it's a very graceful reality. That although that through the law sin and trespass increased, but grace abounded all the more. God overcame the law and sin and trespass with his grace. And so sin is reigning in death. But at the same time, grace is reigning through righteousness will lead to eternal life. And so here is the reality: We live in a world that is still fallen. And under the way of original sin. Sin reigns through death right now of the but at the same time grace abounds. And so grace reigns in righteousness, will lead us to eternal life. Okay. Now, given this reality, a Christian might look at that picture and say: Okay. Well, I understand there's the problem of original sin that I had. And because of original sin, sin reigns in death right now. And so people are subject to death. Everybody dies. But God's grace abounds at the same time. So I've been declared righteous by God as an act of his grace apart from what I've done and now I've got the promise of eternal life. And in fact this is the way things work where sin is grace abounds all the more. Okay. Well, since it's all passive, it's what God does and I've got the gift of eternal life, I suppose I'm just not going to worry about sin any more. In fact you might even go further and say of the. Well I guess my sin is a good thing because where sin is, God's grace abounds. And so if you look at 6 Verse 1, Paul begins this section with a rather strange question. But actually it's very logical perhaps if you misread the end of Chapter 5. Paul asks the question: What shall we say then? Are we to continue to sin that grace may abound? In other words, if it's true that where sin is, grace abounds, maybe we Christians shouldn't worry about the law and worry about sin. We should be libertine and just live our lives knowing that we've been passively declared righteous. We believe in Jesus. We're going to have eternal life. And what is Paul's answer to that question? By no means. It's a very strong word in the Greek that my Greek teacher says has the equivalent of heck no. Shall we sin? Shall we continue to sin so that grace may abound? Paul would say: Heck no. No way. And what is Paul's reason for this? How can we who died to sin still live in it? And this is what Paul says about the Christian reality is it's true that where sin is grace abounds. Sin reigns in death but God's grace reigns in righteousness leading to eternal life. But for the Christian you have died to sin. And now this gets Paul to talk about our relationship to sin in this new Christian life. And so in this section, Romans 6, Paul offers is two-fold argument for why the believer should not continue to sin. First he argues that in baptism the believer participated in Jesus' crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. And so therefore, the believer in baptism has died to sin. And so he can live in it no longer. And then a second point Paul makes in Chapter 6 is that the believer has been set free from slavery to sin. And is instead been made a slave of righteousness. And so that first question: Shall we sin so that grace may abound? No way. Why? Because in baptism you've died to sin. You can't live in it any longer. But consider the second question Paul asks in Romans 6 Verse 15. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under the law but under grace? And again by no means. Or as my Greek teacher would say: Heck no. Do you not know if you present yourselves as anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey. Either sin which leads to death or obedience which leads to righteousness. And so Paul says we don't continue in sin No. 1 because we've died to sin in our baptism. But then the second argument is this argument about slavery. That if you present yourself to sin willfully and knowingly, then you make yourself a slave to sin. Well, for those who have been justified, you are to present yourself to obedience, to obeying God. Note not to earn his favor. But with your consciences set free, you obey God out of Thanksgiving for what he has done. And these are Paul's two responses about our relationship to sin. Well, then Paul goes on in Romans 7 to talk about our relationship to the law. And Romans 7 begins with a third question: Or do you not know, brothers, for I am speaking to those who know the law that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? And so in talking about a relationship with the law, Paul makes the point that that relationship continues only as long as the person lives. And this is where he uses the example of a married woman. When a woman is married to her husband, she is not free to marry another man because she is bound to that man as long as he's alive. But as soon as that man dies, then she is set free. And so it's kind of a strange argument. I mean, it's a human example. But when the husband dies, the woman is free. But now when Paul applies this to the Christian life, he makes note of the fact that in fact it is Jesus who died. And in Jesus' death we are set free from the law. And now we're free to be Jesus' people instead. And so we're free from the law because of Jesus' death. And then a fourth question in this section as Paul continues the argument, this leads us into a very classical part of Romans 7. Paul asks the question in Romans 7 Verse 7: What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means. Or as my Greek teacher would say: Heck no. Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. So here Paul makes the point that we might think the law itself is evil because it has such this evil effect on us. And Paul makes the argument here that no, it's not the law that is evil. Sin is my problem. What the law does is it makes me aware of my problem. And then we get into this second half of Romans Chapter 7 where Paul talks about his struggle with sin. And there's various interpretations of what Paul is talking about here. But Paul is making the case that it is not the law that is evil but that it is the sinful individual who has the problem with sin. What the law does is it makes the sinner aware of his own sinfulness. And so a struggle between the sinner and sin takes place. And the answer to that struggle is not found had in the sinner's own efforts, but in the gift that God has given us in our baptism. And this is the gift of the Holy Spirit. And so finally, in Romans 8 Verse 1, Paul doesn't ask a question. But he makes a bold statement. He says: There is now no condemnation for those who are in it Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. So in Romans 8 now Paul really discusses in detail the work of the Holy Spirit in our life. And this becomes very key. Because when we're thinking about our relationship to sin and our relationship to the law, you know, if it really depended upon us and our own efforts to live free of sin and to live free of the law, we would end up under condemnation once again. But Paul all along is speaking about what God has done for us in Christ. That we've died to sin because of what Jesus did. That we are slaves of obedience because of what Jesus did. That we are free of the law because of what Jesus did. That we're free from the condemnation of the law in our lives today because of what Jesus did. And the fruit of what Jesus did is a new life which is directed not by the law but by the Holy Spirit that we have received. And that this Holy Spirit we find out in Chapter 8 helps us to live a new life today. But also gives us a steadfast hope for the eternal life that Paul made reference to at the end of Chapter 5. Again, grace is reigning in righteousness leading to eternal life. What keeps the Christian in this life right now where we struggle with sin, where we struggle with the law? What keeps us faithful to God and what keeps us living for God? And what keeps us on that path that leads to eternal life? It is not our own efforts. Because our own efforts, as Paul makes clear in Romans 7, would leave us falling short. It is the gift that God has given. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit who we find out in Romans 8, even when we don't know what to pray, the Holy Spirit that God has given us prays with sighs and groans that our own words could not express. And that because of the Holy Spirit, we have the sure and certain hope in this life of the restoration that's going to come. And so that this whole section of Romans 6, 7 and 8 ends with one of the most wonderful passages in the Bible that begins in Romans 8 Verse 31 where Paul asks another question and then answers it. What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? If he who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all how will he not also along with him graciously give us all things? And Paul launches off into what I consider to be a hymn of the certainty that we as believers have because we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit. And because we have Christ in us now. Paul concludes this section where he looks at the Christian life with this hymn of certainty that because of what God has done first in declaring us righteous, but also in allowing us to participate in our baptism and what Christ did and receive the Holy Spirit, that what God has done is going to keep us steadfast in this life in faith unto the everlasting life that Paul speaks about at the end of Chapter 5. And so as you look at these three chapters, I think we should read them together. And they are talking about the new life and a life free from sin, free from the law. A life led by the Holy Spirit that lives in certainty of the resurrected life that's going to come at the end. And you might, Josh, follow specifically those questions that I pointed out again in Romans 6:1 and Romans 6:15, in Romans 7 Verse 1 and Romans 7 Verse 7. And then in 8 Verse 31. And see how Paul answers his own questions that he brings up. This is part of Paul's rhetorical style here. He asks a question. He brings an issue up for discussion. And then he answers that question in the section that follows. He does this again and again and again. And in this way Paul makes the case that we are freed from sin, free from the law and it's condemnation and actually led by the Holy Spirit. And what wonderful certainty this gives the Christian so we can sing with Paul at the end of Romans 8 that indeed nothing can separate us from the love of God because of all of the things that he has done and is doing for us.