Full Text for Romans- Volume 27 - Understanding the Law in Romans 7 (Video)

No. 27. >> Professor Lewis, your comments on Chapter 7 and 8 are much appreciated by all of us. Thank you. You are truly opening our eyes to the full counsel of Saint Paul here in Romans 6 through 8. I don't know if I had mentioned that my previous career was teaching science. But it is out of that context that I want to ask a small question. You mentioned before that Paul seems to be using the word law in an almost scientific sense in Chapter 3 Verse 27. Is that also what's happening in Chapter 7 Verse 21? >>PROFESSOR DAVID I. M. LEWIS: Well, thank you for that question, Nick. And I commend you for your experience of teaching science. And I imagine that experience gives you a unique perspective now when you -- as you teach the Gospel and teach God's Word to people. And perhaps gives you special insights to presenting the role of the first person as the Creator. Being a scientist once before teaching science focusing upon the natural world, that's very much a part of the biblical story that God created this natural world. So I commend you for that experience. And I hope that it does apply in your ministry, as well. You recall what Paul said in Romans 3:27. Paul uses the word law. But here I made the case that law does not mean God's righteous demands or law does not mean the torah, the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses. But that law means principle in the sense of the way things work. So what does Paul say in Romans 3:27? What becomes of boasting? It is excluded. But what kind of law or here what kind of principle. By a law, a principle of works? No, but by the principle of faith. And I think there you're right, that this is Paul using the word law in an almost scientific sense. Just like the law of gravity. In other words, this -- it's a law in the sense it's a principle. It describes the way things work. Well, now in Romans 7 Verse 21 Paul uses the word law, nomos, in that same sense. So here law is not the righteous demands of God. Law is not the torah. But law is principle. So when Paul writes: So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, even lies close at hand. So I find it to be a law. I find it to be a principle. I find this to be the way that things work. And again, this -- Lutherans would describe this principle in terms of ***simultus epcotor. That even though Paul is a Christian, nevertheless, the sinful flesh remains and it struggles against his new man. Which then reiterates why the gift of the Holy Spirit is Gospel to us. Because in this struggle it is actually the Spirit that leads us. It is actually the Spirit that opposes that old man. And it's actually the Spirit that then leads us to live the new life that God gives us in our baptism. But yes, you are correct. Paul is using the term law here in Romans 7 in that scientific sense to say: Here is a principle. Here is the way things work. He's not talking there about the righteous demands of God. He's talking about a principle of what happens in the life of a believer as their old man and their new man engage in this warfare. And again the answer we found clearly in Chapter 8, God gives us the Spirit. The Spirit lives this new life in us.