In Romans 1-5, Paul argues for justification by faith.
- Romans 1:- tells us that 1) we sinned, 2) we now experience death and 3) God abandoned us to our sin and death.
- Romans 2: Neither the moral nor the religious person is exempt from the disease of sin. No one can be justified by keeping the law.
- Romans 3: He announces the good news that we can be justified by trusting that God will forgive us and make us holy because of Jesus’ death on the cross.
- Romans 4: He argues that even Abraham & David were justified by their faith and not by their works. And that that because justification is based on a promise it is guaranteed and open to everyone who believes, not just the Jews.
- Romans 5: He argues that justification by faith gives us a reason to boast (exult, rejoice) because we have been singled out by God to be made glorious and holy and that our hope is guaranteed because God loves us. Our receiving the promise is up to God, not us.
Romans 6 -8 is question and answer section where the questions are objections raises by opponents to the gospel.
- The first objection was that Paul’s gospel implies we should pursue sin to glorify God; Paul answers no, because grace includes setting us free from sin, not just forgiveness. To continue to pursue sin — the very thing from which God is saving us — would make a mockery of His gift and would not bring glory to God.
- The second objection was that Paul’s gospel removes any incentive not to sin because it removed the threat of the law. Paul says, no, sin leads to death and death is a big incentive to avoid sin. It was our weariness of the death in our lives that drove us to God in the first place and it still provides the incentive not to sin. Further he adds that the law was no incentive to avoid sin anyway. Because the Law forced us to rely on ourselves and we could only find sin there.
- If the Law promotes our sinfulness, then it must be an evil thing. Paul answers, no the Law is good. The Law alerted us to our sinful state and our need for a savior. And a follow-up question, if the Law is a source of condemnation for me, then how can it be good and holy? Paul answers that the Law does not condemn me, my sinfulness does. The Law merely reveals my sinfulness which was already present.
In Romans 7 as part of his answer about the role of the Law, Paul describes “moral paralysis” — the distinction between my desire to be holy and good and my inability to be holy and good. On the one hand, I desire to be righteous, I agree with the Law, and I resolve to keep the Law. But on the other hand, I continue to fail and sin and do the very thing that I do not wish to do. I’m trapped in my sinfulness. The mechanism that I thought would control my sin — willpower, muster, resolve, determination — doesn’t work. Left to myself, there’s nothing I can do to stop being sinful. That’s what I mean by moral paralysis. The only solution to that is faith in Jesus and as we looked at last week Paul explains why faith solves that problem.
Romans 8 explains how faith in Jesus promotes obedience and righteousness: The Law made no provision for giving us God’s Spirit while grace does.
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