The Gospel in The Book of Romans
|The Author and Finisher of Our Faith|
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Lesson Three ..... The Jews' Need for Salvation (Click Here For Previous Lessons)
This lesson will explore Romans Chapter Two.... Romans was written by Paul about AD 57
The main thrust in Romans 1:18 - 3:20 is to show that ALL are sinners, and that includes the Jew as well as the Gentile. You'll see in verses 17 - 29 that Paul addresses the Jew in particular, and the theme of chapter two is God's judgment of the Jews. In these verses he says of the Jew.
1. he is without excuse
2. he judges others for the same things he does
3. he has a stubborn and unrepentant heart
4. God's judgment is not partial .. He judges the Jew with the same judgment as the Gentile
5. he boasts of his good works and does not practice the law
6. The True Jew is one who is circumcised INWARDLY of the heart
7. The True Jew is one who is a DOER of the Law and not just a hearer
The Jews could see that the heathen Gentiles were without the law, and had "pointed the finger" at the Gentile "dogs" as perverse, ungodly, worthless sinners. Thinking themselves to be the "elite" among all people (and indeed, God had chosen them to be so) and privileged to have been blessed uniquely by God, they failed to see that these very blessings and favors of God gave them a greater responsibility to honor God with an inward and true righteousness and godliness of the heart. Paul is here "raking" them over the coals, so to speak, by bringing their stubbornness and unrepentant hearts to light. Even the Name of God had been blasphemed and ridiculed among the Gentiles because of their profession of the law, but their refusal to practice the law. Paul made it clear in this chapter that although the Jew had a religion of outward action and works, they lacked the inward attitude of godliness and true righteousness.
It was no small matter for Paul to make the Jews see that they were unrighteous, because they had for so long relied on the animal sacrifices, circumcision, and ordinances as their provision for standing right with God. But, God had shown them all along that true circumcision was of the heart. They had many examples of this "heart faith" ... consider Abraham, the great "father of faith" revered by the Jews as that great "patriarch" and called, "Our Father Abraham." By faith he obeyed God and accomplished what he was called by God to do, as his part in the plan of God that carried the Promise of the Gospel of Christ to all mankind! Abraham had not yet received the laws of God as given by Moses, nor had he been circumcised in the flesh, but his obedience showed that he was circumcised in his heart, and he was justified by faith; and it was reckoned (or imputed - put to his account) to him as righteousness. There were many other great persons of faith that they could have looked to for an example, but they were satisfied with their own works and overlooked the true heart of the Law.
Claiming to know God and His will and precepts, they nevertheless failed to see that the law was given through Moses to make all men aware of their sin, and was intended to be in effect until "The Promise" (Jesus) came. (which had been given to Abraham 430 years before the law came) If right standing could have been obtained by the works of the law, then Jesus would not have had to be offered as the ultimate sacrifice to pay for the sin of all mankind, completing the law and all the prophets had foretold.
The Judaisers, those who believed that they were saved by grace but kept by law, imposed outward works on others as a necessity of keeping their salvation, such as circumcision, keeping festivals, and other ordinances. While there was nothing inherently wrong with doing these things, they were attempting to mix a little law and a little faith to make the "recipe" for justification. It's a little like mixing oil and water. Yet, the Law of God is Holy and is fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ. It's a law that's received in the heart and produces righteousness.
The Antinominans, on the other hand, and on the exact opposite of the scale, believed that since they were saved by faith, that they could live any way that they pleased, and sin as much as they wanted. They were most likely Gentiles, who had no training or upbringing in the law, or a foundation in the truth of the Gospel. They obviously found it easy to embrace a "cheap grace" doctrine.
Both of the above beliefs were of course, heresy and false doctrine. This is a complex subject and will begin to be dealt with in the next lesson.
In a nonbeliever's life, the Law is to expose sin, and point the way to justification and the need to be reconciled to God because of alienation from Him caused by sin.
In a believer's life, the law is written on our hearts, by God Himself, through the Holy Spirit to lead us into a walk of obedience and holiness, producing the fruits of righteousness in our lives.
In conclusion, in Chapter One, Paul had stated that the Gentiles were without excuse in verse 20, and in this chapter he makes it clear that the Jews were without excuse, and in these first two chapters begins the proof of the doctrine of Justification by Faith, apart from works. In the next lesson we'll be getting into the "meat" of the subject of the relationship of faith, works, and the law. Because of the importance and complexity of the subject, it will span several lessons.
As we study these next two weeks, please enlighten us all as to the Truth of the Gospel and Your Word. Open our spiritual eyes so we may know You better, and Your great and boundless love for us.
Bless all who have been here to read this lesson and who have committed themselves to the study of Your Word. Keep us all focused and prevent any hindrance that might interfere with our time with You. Guide us into all Truth in Your precious and everlasting Word.
Keep us all safe, well, and strong, and bless our families and loved ones as we go about our daily lives. Remind us that we are precious to You, and you have a plan for each of us, and You have only our good in Your mind for us.
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Love In Christ,