Social Network Links
Powered by Squarespace
Search the Riddleblog
"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
« The Scoop on the Poem "Footprints" and Other Stuff from Around the Web | Main | Sermons on Judges »

"It Is Not as Though God's Word Has Falied" -- Romans 9:1-6

romans%20fragment.jpgThe Twenty-Fourth in a Series of Sermons on Paul's Epistle to the Romans

One of the major problems facing the apostle Paul was the thorny relationship between Jew and Gentile in those churches rapidly springing up throughout the cities of the Roman empire.  Those Jews who came to believe that Jesus was Israel’s promised Messiah often-times expected Gentile converts to live as Jews.  Many felt that Gentiles must submit to circumcision, keep the dietary laws and obey the Law of Moses in order to maintain a right-standing before God.  Gentile converts, on the other hand, knew nothing of the Old Testament before coming to faith in Jesus Christ.  Their question was simply, “who is Moses?”  No doubt, the Gentiles had trouble understanding why Jews wouldn’t eat certain foods and why circumcision was such a big deal.  Therefore, at some point in his letter to the church in Rome, Paul must explain the respective roles of Jew and Gentile in redemptive history.  Now that Christ has come and fulfilled the Old Testament promises of redemption, Paul must explain Israel’s place in God’s future purposes.

The role of Romans 9-11 in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome is the subject of much debate in contemporary biblical scholarship.  The problem is this.  Is this section of Romans an excursus–a  personal detour in which Paul expresses his personal anguish about his people, the Jews–or is this section an essential part of the overall theological argument of the epistle?  According to Charles Cranfield, “a superficial reading of the epistle might easily leave one with the impression that chapters 9-11 are simply an excursus which Paul has included under the pressure of his own deep personal involvement in the matter of Israel’s destiny but which is without any real inner relatedness to the main argument of Romans.  But a closer study reveals the fact that there are very many features of chapters 1 to 8 which are not understood in full depth until they are seen in the light of chapters 9-11.”  If true, this means that “these chapters may be seen to be in integral part of the working out of the theme of this epistle.”

What are these features which are not fully understood until we come to this section?  In Romans 1:16-17, in which Paul sets out the thesis statement of this letter–through the preaching of the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, a righteousness from God is revealed–Paul made the point that the gospel which he preaches is the gospel concerning God’s son, Jesus Christ, who, according to the flesh was an ancestor of David, Israel’s greatest king (cf. Romans 1:1-4).  Given the fact that Jesus is the Christ (Israel’s promised Messiah), at some point in this letter, Paul must explain how the gospel he preaches relates to God’s people, Israel, since the content of that gospel–the person and work of Jesus Christ–can only be properly understood as the fulfillment of that redemption from sin promised in throughout the Old Testament in which David’s ancestor was prophesied to play a major role.

To read the rest of this sermon, click here 

Reader Comments (1)

An interesting concept struck me as I was reading this sermon: If "...Israel...had come to view [circumcision], not as a sign of the promise [of salvation through the Messiah], but a meritorious work, an error...." is true, how much greater is the error of the Roman Catholic church who teaches not only that salvation can only be obtained through works, but, more importantly, that those "works" are accomplished through participation in the Mass, penance, confirmation (First Communion), baptism, etc? Are not some of these also blessings that were given to the Church as part of the redemptive work of its spiritual head, Jesus Christ? And is not transformation of them into works an abomination of the worst kind?
June 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.