Resources

  • Romans overview (video): Part 1, Part 2
  • Romans is structured as follows:
    • Books 1-4: Revealing God’s Righteousness
    • Books 5-8: Creating a New Humanity
    • Books 9-11: Fulfilling God’s Promise to Israel (Past/Present/Future)
    • Books 12-16: Unifying the Church

Romans 11: Fulfilling God’s Promise to Israel (Past)

Context

Resources

  • Romans overview (video): Part 1, Part 2
  • Romans is structured as follows:
    • Books 1-4: Revealing God’s Righteousness
    • Books 5-8: Creating a New Humanity
    • Books 9-11: Fulfilling God’s Promise to Israel (Past/Present/Future)
    • Books 12-16: Unifying the Church

Romans 10: Fulfilling God’s Promise to Israel (Past)

Context

  • Romans 10 emphasizes salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, available to all, contrasted with the limitations of seeking righteousness through the Law.
  • Understanding Romans 10 provides a richer understanding of the key message of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Important verses in Romans 10:
    • Romans 10:4: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (NIV)
    • Romans 10:9: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (NIV)
    • Romans 10:13: “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (NIV)
  • Verse review:
    • v1-4: Paul’s Anguish for Israel (1-4)
      • Paul expresses deep sorrow for the Jewish people’s spiritual condition.
      • He desires their salvation and recognizes their zeal for God, but they are misguided in their pursuit.
    • v4-13: Righteousness Through Faith, Not Works
      • Paul clarifies that true righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ, not by following the Law perfectly.
      • He contrasts the Law’s demands with the simplicity of believing in Jesus’ sacrifice for sin.
    • v9-13: Salvation Through Confession and Belief
      • Salvation is accessible to everyone who believes in their heart that Jesus rose from the dead and confesses Jesus as Lord.
      • This belief and confession are necessary for salvation
      • Romans 10:9 is often considered the key verse of Romans 10, summarizing the core message of salvation by faith:
        • “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (NIV)
      • This verse highlights two key aspects of receiving salvation:
        • Publicly declaring Jesus as Lord.
        • Having faith in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
      • The entire chapter builds upon this concept,  contrasting it with the limitations of seeking righteousness through following the Law perfectly.
    • v11-18: Universality of the Gospel
      • The Gospel message is for everyone, Jew and Gentile alike.
      • Passages from the Old Testament are used to support the universality of God’s offer of salvation.
    • v14-17: The Need for Hearing the Gospel
      • People cannot believe in something they haven’t heard.
      • The importance of preaching the Gospel is emphasized.
    • v18-21: Israel’s Rejection and God’s Faithfulness
      • Despite Israel’s rejection of the Gospel, God remains faithful to his promises.
    • v19-21: God’s Righteous Anger Towards Israel
      • Paul, quoting Isaiah, highlights God’s anger towards Israel’s disobedience but also suggests the possibility of their future acceptance.

Notes from the video

  • Romans 9-11 are about the Israelites.
    • Paul is a Roman citizen but also an Israelite.
    • Romans 9 looked at Israel’s past election (historically chosen by God)
    • Romans 10 looks at Israel’s present rejection of Jesus as messiah
    • Romans 11 looks at Israel’s future restoration by the coming messiah
  • God put it all in place but man says “no thanks”
    • They’ve been waiting on the messiah but when He came they denied Him
  • Reasons for their rejection:
    • v1: Paul prays for their salvation but they don’t see a need for it.
      • Many atheists believe they same – they don’t see a need
      • Don’t give up praying for these people.  This is the least you can do for them.
    • v2: they have zeal for God but not for knowledge
      • Galations 3:24: their pride prevents them.
      • “Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith.”- Galatians 3:24 NLT
    • v3: they don’t submit to God’s righteousness
      • prideful and self-righteous
    • v4-v13: Christ is the end of the law for everyone that believes
      • “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.” – Matthew 5:17
    • The Jews were rejecting the messiah because they didn’t see a need for Him.
      • But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. – John 12:37
    •  The remedy for their rejection is v15-v17 (the beautiful feet spreading the news about the peace that can only come from Christ):
      • And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
      • But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report?”  
      • So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
    • So the remedy for rejecting the gospel is to actually hear the good news about Christ.
  • What are the results of their rejection?
    • v18: But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.”
    • v19: But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: “I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.”
      • Paul says he will also bring the good news about Christ to the gentiles because the Jews are rejecting it.
      • Despite their rejection God still yearns for acceptance by His people.
      • This recalls Isaiah 65 v1-2:
        • The Lord says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me.
        • I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name.
        • All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes.
    • v20: But Isaiah is very bold and says: “I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me.”
    • v21: But to Israel he says: “All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
  • There are four reasons why the church needs to share the gospel:
    • Command from above
      • And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” – Mark 16:15
      • Share the gospel with everyone, not just the Jews.
    • Request from below 
      • “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. –  Luke 16:27
      • The rich man was in hell and pleading for his family to hear the gospel to prevent his family from also landing in hell.
    • Call from without
      • That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” – Acts 16:9
      • Gentiles also needed to hear the gospel.
    • Call from within
      • Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. – 2 Corinthians 5:14
      • Christ died for all, not just the Jews.

Group Discussion

  • Brief chat about reasons to share the gospel
  • The law was never meant to make you righteous – Jesus fulfilled the law. We are not able to do so on our own, but we can do so by acceptomg Jesus as our savior.
    • None of our works matter per Matthew 7:21-23 – keeping the law and our relationship with Christ are far more important than any works we will ever do.
    • Galatians 5:22-23 explains this clearly:
      • “But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
    • I believe my relationship with Christ makes me want to uphold and follow the law because if I don’t follow the law I am breaking my relationship with Christ.
    • Christ stated there was a new covenant – all that was the old laws is wrapped up in loving God and loving others.
  • “In this life and this world we won’t be sinless, but we should sin less” – Charles Stanley, pastor
  • Review of prayer requests for each other.

Resources

  • Romans overview (video): Part 1, Part 2
  • Romans is structured as follows:
    • Books 1-4: Revealing God’s Righteousness
    • Books 5-8: Creating a New Humanity
    • Books 9-11: Fulfilling God’s Promise to Israel (Past/Present/Future)
    • Books 12-16: Unifying the Church

Romans 9: Fulfilling God’s Promise to Israel (Past)

Context

  • Romans 9 finds Paul heartbroken that his people, the Jews, have rejected Christ.
  • Paul insists that God will keep His promises to Israel, but that not everyone born to Israel is truly Israel.
    • God will show mercy to whomever He wishes, calling out His people from both the Jews and the Gentiles to faith in Christ.
  • If God is faithful to his promises, why haven’t most Jews accepted Jesus, the Messiah?
  • A drastic change of attitude occurs between chapter 8 and chapter 9.
    • Chapters 9–11 deal with the basis of salvation, the electing purpose of God, and the faithlessness of unbelieving Israel versus the faithfulness of YHWH!
    • Chapter 9 is one of the strongest NT passages on God’s sovereignty (the other is Eph. 1:3–14)
    • Chapters 9:30–33 provides a summary of chapter 9 and the establishes the theme of chapter 10.
  • Romans 9 is a complex passage that has been debated for centuries. Here’s a breakdown of two viewpoints:

    • Staunch Calvinistic View:
      • Predestination: God has eternally chosen some for salvation (the elect) and others for reprobation (those not chosen). This choice is based solely on God’s will, not on any foreseen merit or actions of the individuals.
      • Sovereignty of God: God has absolute control over everything, including the hardening of hearts (e.g., Pharaoh) to display His power and justice.
      • Verses Highlighted: (9:11-13, 9:16-18, 9:21)
    • Free Will Christian View:
      • Corporate Election: God chose Israel as His special people, not individuals for salvation. This choice was based on their potential to carry out His plan for the Messiah.
      • Conditional Hardening: God allows hearts to harden as a consequence of rejecting Him, not as a forced action.
      • Human Responsibility: People have a genuine choice to respond to God’s grace. This free will allows for genuine faith and the possibility of anyone coming to Christ (e.g., Gentiles attaining righteousness).
      • Verses Highlighted: (9:24-26, 9:30-33)
  • Key Points of Contention:
    • Meaning of “vessels of wrath and mercy”: Calvinists see these as predetermined groups, while free will proponents see them as consequences of choices made.
    • Jacob and Esau: Calvinists see this as an illustration of predestination, while free will proponents see it as God’s plan for the nation of Israel.
  • Both viewpoints acknowledge God’s sovereignty and human responsibility to some degree. There are additional interpretations of Romans 9 beyond these two.
Further Exploration:
  • For a Calvinistic perspective, you could look at resources from John Piper or R.C. Sproul.
  • For a free will perspective, resources from Norman Geisler or William Lane Craig might be helpful.

Here are some key points:

  • God’s Promises Haven’t Failed
    • Despite Israel’s rejection of Jesus, God remains true to his word. However, not all ethnic Israelites are the true Israel (v.6).
  • Sovereignty of God’s Grace
    • God has the right to choose whom he shows mercy to (v.18). He uses illustrations from Israel’s history (e.g., Rebekah’s twins) to show his freedom to choose (v.10-13).
  • Election Based on Faith, Not Ethnicity
    • Being a descendant of Abraham doesn’t guarantee salvation; it’s about faith (v.6-8). God can call people from anywhere (Jews and Gentiles) based on his purpose (v.24-25).
    • God’s choice of who is included in His plan (often referred to as “election”) is not based on ethnicity, but on faith.
        • Jacob and Esau: Paul uses the story of Rebekah’s twins, Jacob and Esau, as a key example (v.10-13). Even before they were born and hadn’t done anything good or bad, God chose Jacob. This emphasizes God’s sovereign choice, not based on their actions or ethnicity (both were descendants of Abraham).
        • Not All Israel is Israel: Paul clarifies that not everyone descended from Abraham is part of the true Israel, the people of God (v.6-8). It’s about faith, not just physical lineage.
        • Gentiles Included: Romans 9 and 11 together show that God’s plan isn’t limited to Israel. He can call and include people of faith from anywhere, even Gentiles who weren’t part of the Abrahamic covenant (v.24-26).
          Here’s a deeper look:
    • Imagine God is inviting people to a banquet (His salvation plan).
      • Being a descendant of Abraham might get your name on the invitation list, but it doesn’t guarantee a seat.
      • The deciding factor is whether you accept the invitation (have faith) or not.
  • Romans 9 explains that God’s plan of salvation unfolds according to his will, not because of human merit.
    • While it upset Paul that many Jews rejected Jesus, he affirms God’s faithfulness and his plan to include both Jews and Gentiles in his salvation.

Notes from the video

  • The next three chapters focus on the following:
    • Chapter 9 focuses on Israel’s past election
      • Election means historically how they were chosen by God.
      • Analogy: an invite was sent to all people to attend a wedding but not everyone accepts the invitation and goes.
      • Just because you’re a child of Isaac it doesn’t mean you’re a chosen one of God
      • This is compared to Esau and Jacob. Jacob was not perfect but God brought the promise through him. Esau was also not perfect and was not chosen.
      • Calvinists see this as an illustration of predestination, while free will proponents see it as God’s plan for the nation of Israel.
    • Chapter 10 focuses on Israel’s present rejection of Jesus
    • Chapter 11 focuses on Israel’s future restoration when the messiah comes.
  • At the end of Chapter 8 it talks about God having a purpose for believers and nothing can separate His people from His love.
    • So what to do about the Jews who don’t believe in Christ was the messiah?
    • When God says something He means it.
  • The first 13 verses of Chapter 9 focus on God’s faithfulness
    • v1: God speaks the truth and never lies
    • v2: Paul has intense sorrow and anguish over the Jews not believing in Christ
    • v3: Paul compares being cutoff from Jesus to being cursed. Paul offers to give up his salvation to save the Jews.
    • v4-5: Paul describes the Jews and explains the messiah came from them.
      •  theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises
      • the promises are going to continue
      • Romans 9:5 makes it clear that Jesus is God:
        • ‘Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. ‘
    • v6-13: Paul explains how the Jews are the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Israel is God’s first born son. They are His favored people.
      • God’s word has not failed.
      • God’s chosen people are from Israel but not everyone in Israel is part of His chosen people. Not everyone in Israel is part of God’s plan.
        • ‘In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.’ (Romans 9:8)
  • Paul compares the situation to Jacob and Easu where Jacob was the favored son. This is based upon God’s righteousness.
    • God shows mercy to those He wants to and hardens those whom He chooses.
    • ‘For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” ‘ (Romans 9:17)
  • God patiently waited to show His wrath:
    • ‘What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? ‘ (Romans 9:22-24)
  • Because of God’s fathfulness, righteousness, and justice – you will see God’s grace,
    • ‘Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.” ‘ (Romans 9:27-28)
  • Jesus is the stone in Romans 9:33:
    • ‘As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”’

Summary

  • Jewish leaders witnessed Jesus performing many miracles yet still didn’t believe He was the Son of God.
  • This is still true for the majority of the Jewish people today.
  • Isiah 53:4-6 in the Old Testament (Jewish Torah) provided evidence that Jesus was the messiah but Jews to this day still do not acknowledge it.

I shared a news story on our Slack group earlier in the morning. The story explained how German researchers have decoded the earliest known copy of the Gospel of Thomas, an apocryphal book detailing Jesus’ life as a child.

We spent so much time chatting about the Apocrypha and Gnostic gospels that we didn’t have time to watch the Romans 9 video and discuss the chapter. We will discuss Romans 9 next week.

Group Chat and Additional Notes

  • Brief discussion of this the story:
    • German researchers say they have decoded the earliest known copy of the Gospel of Thomas, an apocryphal book detailing Jesus’ life as a child.
      • This document is long known to church history, and it was declared heretical all the way back to the times when the books of the Bible were being affirmed.It’s unfortunate that the secular world places so much emphasis on this. But they do it just because it is anti-Christian and it is a tool of the devil to divert weak Christians and potential seekers away from the true word of God.
        • There are many documents in history that have been clearly determined to be frauds, corrupted by heretical teaching, or simply heretical in whole.
        • Here are some reasons why some gospels weren’t included in the New Testament:
          • Different Christology: These gospels might have portrayed Jesus differently than the eventually accepted view.  For example, some Gnostic gospels presented a more spiritual Jesus, while others emphasized a more earthly Jesus.
          • Date of authorship: Early dating of some gospels was challenged. The Gospels included in the New Testament were believed to be written by disciples or close associates of Jesus, lending them authority.
          • Content: Some gospels contained fantastical elements or teachings that contradicted those seen as central to Christianity.
        • These Gospels (e.g., Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary) emerged from a belief system called Gnosticism.  They emphasized hidden knowledge and a more spiritual understanding of Jesus and salvation.
        • Gospel of Marcion: This gospel heavily edited existing Gospels, removing references to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and portraying God differently.
    • The CatholicEastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches include some or all of the same texts within the body of their version of the Old Testament, with Catholics terming them deuterocanonical books
    • Traditional 80-book Protestant Bibles include fourteen books in an intertestamental section between the Old Testament and New Testament called the Apocrypha, deeming these useful for instruction, but non-canonical.
    • These books are commonly referred to as “the Apocrypha“:
    • The canon of the Catholic Church was affirmed by the Council of Rome (AD 382), the Synod of Hippo (AD 393), two of the Councils of Carthage (AD 397 and 419), the Council of Florence (AD 1431–1449) and finally, as an article of faith, by the Council of Trent (AD 1545–1563).
      • Those established the Catholic biblical canon consisting of 46 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament for a total of 73 books.
    • See here for more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon.
  • Below are some deep insights from Jim in our Slack group:
      • The councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397) were local councils.
      • The earlier Ecumenical Council of Rome (383) was NOT a local council, but included the representatives of the entire church.
        • (“Ecumenical”, when in the context of church councils, means “whole church” or “universal”).
      • The Ecumenical Council of Rome did NOT include the deuterocanonical (Apocryphal) books (Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, 1&2 Macabees, etc.). It ONLY included the books that were in the Jewish Scripture set, the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings, or the 39 books we know today.  The Council also affirmed the same 27 New Testament books we have today.
      • The LOCAL Councils of Hippo (393) and the LOCAL Council of Carthage (397) did include SOME of the deuterocanonical (Apocryphal) books, but the two lists differed considerably.
        • They did agree with the 39 Jewish Scriptures and the 27 New Testament books, but differed from each other with which deuterocanonical books they included.
      • Answers to the Catholic Arguments:
        • The New Testament and the Apocrypha
          • There may be New Testament allusions to the Apocrypha, but not once is there a definite quotation from any Apocrypha book accepted by the Roman Catholic church.
          • There are allusions to Pseudepigraphical books (false writings) that are rejected by Roman Catholics as well as Protestants, such as the Bodily Assumption of Moses (Jude 9) and the Book of Enoch (Jude 14–15). There are also citations from Pagan poets and philosophers (Acts 17:28; 1 Cor. 15:33; Titus 1:12). None of these sources are cited as Scripture, nor with authority.
          • The New Testament simply refers to a truth contained in these books which otherwise may (and do) have errors. Roman Catholic scholars agree with this assessment. The New Testament never refers to any document outside the canon as authoritative.
        • The Septuagint and the Apocrypha
          • The Septuagint is the Greek Old Testament. It is the earliest existing Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible from the original Hebrew.
          • The fact that the New Testament often quotes from other books in the Greek Old Testament in no way proves that the deuterocanonical (Apocryphal) books it contains are inspired. It is not even certain that the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) of the first century contained the Apocrypha. The earliest Greek manuscripts that include them date from the fourth century A.D.
            • Even if these writings were in the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) in apostolic times, Jesus and the apostles never once quoted from them, although they are supposed to have been included in the very version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) that the Lord and apostles usually cited.
              • Notes in the currently used Roman Catholic New American Bible (NAB) make the admission that the Apocrypha are “Religious books used by both Jews and Christians which were not included in the collection of inspired writings.” Instead, they “… were introduced rather late into the collection of the Bible. Catholics call them ‘dddeuterocanonical’ (second canon) books” (NAB, 413).
        • Use by the Church Fathers
          • Citations of church fathers in support of the canonicity of the Apocrypha is selective and misleading.
          • Some fathers did seem to accept their inspiration; other fathers used them for devotional or homiletical (preaching) purposes but did not accept them as canonical. An authority on the Apocrypha, Roger Beckwith, observes:
            • When one examines the passages in the early Fathers which are supposed to establish the canonicity of the Apocrypha, one finds that some of them are taken from the alternative Greek text of Ezra (1 Esdras) or from additions or appendices to Daniel, Jeremiah or some other canonical book, which … are not really relevant; that others of them are not quotations from the Apocrypha at all; and that, of those which are, many do not give any indication that the book is regarded as Scripture. [Beckwith, 387]
            • The Epistle of Barnabas 6.7 and Tertullian, Against Marcion 3.22.5, are not quoting Wisd. 2:12 but Isa. 3:10 LXX, and Tertullian, On the Soul 15, is not quoting Wisd. 1:6 but Ps. 139:23, as a comparison of the passages shows. Similarly, Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 129, is quite clearly not quoting Wisdom but Prov. 8:21–5 LXX. The fact that he calls Proverbs “Wisdom” is in accordance with the common nomenclature of the earlier Fathers. [Beckwith, 427]
          • Frequently in references, the fathers were not claiming divine authority for any of the eleven books infallibly canonized by the Council of Trent. Rather, they were citing a well-known piece of Hebrew literature or an informative devotional writing to which they gave no presumption of inspiration by the Holy Spirit.
        • The Fathers and the Apocrypha.
          • Some individuals in the early church held the Apocrypha in high esteem; others were vehemently opposed to them.
            • J. D. N. Kelly’s comment that “for the great majority [of early fathers] … the deuterocanonical writings ranked as scripture in the fullest sense” is out of sync with the facts. Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Origen, and the great Roman Catholic biblical scholar and translator of the Latin Vulgate, Jerome, all opposed inclusion of the Apocrypha. In the second century A.D. the Syrian Bible (Peshitta) did not contain the Apocrypha (Geisler, General Introduction, chaps. 27, 28).
        • Catacomb Art Apocrypha Themes.
          • As many Catholic scholars admit, scenes from the catacombs do not prove the canonicity of the books whose events they depict. Such scenes indicate little more than the religious significance the portrayed events had for early Christians. At best, they show a respect for the books containing these events, not a recognition that they are inspired.
        • Books in the Greek Manuscripts.
          • None of the great Greek manuscripts (Aleph, A, and B) contain all of the apocryphal books. Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, and Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) are found in all of them, and the oldest manuscripts (B or Vaticanus) totally exclude the Books of Maccabees.
          • Catholics appeal to this manuscript in support of their view. No Greek manuscript has the same list of apocryphal books accepted by the Council of Trent (1545–63; Beckwith, 194, 382–83).
        • Acceptance by Early Councils.
          • These were only local councils and were not binding on the whole church. Local councils often erred in their decisions and were later overruled by the universal church.
          • Some Catholic apologists argue that, even though a council was not ecumenical (universal – pertaining to the whole church), its results can be binding if they were confirmed by a Pope. However, they acknowledge that there is no infallible way to know which statements by Popes are infallible. Indeed, they admit that other statements by Popes were even heretical, such as the monothelite heresy of Pope Honorius I (d. 638).
          • It is also important to remember that these books were not part of the Christian (New Testament period) writings. Hence, they were not under the province of the Christian church to decide. They were the province of the Jewish community which wrote them and which had, centuries before, rejected them as part of the canon.
            The books accepted by these Christian Councils may not have been the same ones in each case. Hence, they cannot be used as proof of the exact canon later infallibly proclaimed by the Roman Catholic church in 1546.
      • The Dead Sea Scrolls also provide insight to the view the early Jewish leaders had of what was Scripture or not:
        • Apocryphal Writings at Qumran.
          • The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran included not only the community’s Bible (the Old Testament) but their library, with fragments of hundreds of books.
          • Among these were some Old Testament Apocryphal books. The fact that no commentaries were found for an Apocryphal book, and only canonical books were found in the special parchment and script indicates that the Apocryphal books were not viewed as canonical by the Qumran community.
          • Menahem Mansoor lists the following fragments of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha: Tobit, in Hebrew and Aramaic; Enoch in Aramaic; Jubilees in Hebrew; Testament of Levi and Naphtali, in Aramaic; Apocryphal Daniel literature, in Hebrew and Aramaic, and Psalms of Joshua (Mansoor, 203).
          • The noted scholar on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Millar Burroughs, concluded: “There is no reason to think that any of these works were venerated as Sacred Scripture” (Burroughs, 178).
      • More from the summary of this topic from the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics:
        • Evidence indicates that the Protestant canon, consisting of the thirty-nine books of the Hebrew Bible and excluding the Apocrypha, is the true canon.
          • The only difference between the Protestant and ancient Palestinian Canon lies in organization.
            • The ancient Bible lists twenty-four books. Combined into one each are 1–2 Samuel, 1–2 Kings, 1–2 Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah (reducing the number by four).
            • The twelve Minor Prophets are counted as one book (reducing the number by eleven).
          • The Palestinian Jews represented Jewish orthodoxy. Therefore, their canon was recognized as the orthodox one.
          • It was the canon of Jesus (Geisler, General Introduction, chap. 5), Josephus, and Jerome. It was the canon of many early church fathers, among them Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Athanasius.
          • Arguments in support of the Protestant Canon can be divided into two categories: historical and doctrinal.
            • The test of canonicity (historical argument).
              • Contrary to the Roman Catholic argument from Christian usage, the true test of canonicity is propheticity.
              • God determined which books would be in the Bible by giving their message to a prophet. So only books written by a prophet or accredited spokesperson for God are inspired and belong in the canon of Scripture.
              • Of course, while God determined canonicity by propheticity; the people of God had to discover which of these books were prophetic.
              • The people of God to whom the prophet wrote knew what prophets fulfilled the biblical tests for God’s representatives, and they authenticated them by accepting the writings as from God:
                • Moses’ books were accepted immediately and stored in a holy place (Deut. 31:26).
                • Joshua’s writing was immediately accepted and preserved along with Moses’ Law (Josh. 24:26).
                • Samuel added to the collection (1 Sam. 10:25).
                • Daniel already had a copy of his prophetic contemporary Jeremiah (Dan. 9:2) and the law (Dan. 9:11, 13).
                • While Jeremiah’s message may have been rejected by much of his generation, the remnant must have accepted and spread it speedily.
                • Paul encouraged the churches to circulate his inspired Epistles (Col. 4:16).
                • Peter already had a collection of Paul’s writings, equating them with the Old Testament as “Scripture” (2 Peter 3:15–16).
        • Early church council rejection.
          • No canonic list or council of the Christian church accepted the Apocrypha as inspired for nearly the first four centuries. This is significant, since all of the lists available and most of the fathers of this period omit the Apocrypha.
          • The first councils to accept the Apocrypha were only local ones without ecumenical (universal/church-wide) force.
            • The Catholic contention that the Council of Rome (382), though not an ecumenical council, had ecumenical force because Pope Damasus (304–384) ratified it is without grounds.
            • Catholics acknowledge this council was not an ecumenical (church-wide) body.
            • Not all Catholic scholars agree that such affirmations by Popes are infallible.
              • There are no infallible lists of infallible statements by Popes. Nor are there any universally agreed upon criteria for developing such lists.
            • Appealing to a Pope to make infallible a statement by a local council is a double-edged sword. Even Catholic scholars admit that some Popes taught error and were even heretical.
        • Early fathers’ rejection.
          • Early fathers of the Christian church spoke out against the Apocrypha. This included Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, and the great Roman Catholic Bible translator, Jerome.
        • Rejection by Jerome.
          • Jerome (340–420), the greatest biblical scholar of the early Medieval period and translator of the Latin Vulgate, explicitly rejected the Apocrypha as part of the canon.
          • He said the church reads them “for example and instruction of manners” but does not “apply them to establish any doctrine” (“Preface” to Vulgate Book of Solomon, cited in Beckwith, 343).
          • He disputed Augustine’s unjustified acceptance of these books.
          • At first, Jerome even refused to translate the Apocrypha into Latin, but later made a hurried translation of a few books.
      • No New Testament writer quotes from the “tweeners”
        • Jesus quoted MANY passages of OT scripture, but NO quotes from them.

Summary

  • We spent so much time chatting about the Apocrypha and Gnostic gospels that we didn’t have time to watch the Romans 9 video and discuss the chapter.
  • The Gnostic gospels are spurious.

Resources

  • Romans overview (video): Part 1, Part 2
  • Romans is structured as follows:
    • Books 1-4: Revealing God’s Righteousness
    • Books 5-8: Creating a New Humanity
    • Books 9-11: Fulfilling God’s Promise to Israel
    • Books 12-16: Unifying the Church

Romans 8: Creating a New Humanity

Context

Romans 8 is a powerful and uplifting chapter that follows the internal struggle described in Romans 7.

Here are the key points

  1. Freedom in Christ
    • The chapter opens with a declaration of freedom from condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (v. 1).
    • This freedom is not from temptation or trials, but from the guilt and penalty of sin.
  2. Life by the Spirit
    • Romans 8 emphasizes living by the Holy Spirit, who empowers believers to overcome sin (v. 2).
    • This contrasts with living by the “flesh” (our sinful nature) described in Romans 7.
  3. Adoption as Sons of God
    • Believers are adopted as God’s children, enjoying a special relationship with Him (vv. 15-17).
    • This adoption brings confidence and security.
  4. Future Glory
    • The chapter speaks of the future glory that awaits believers, even though they may face suffering in the present (vv. 17-18).
    • Our suffering is temporary, but the glory is eternal.
  5. Creation’s Groaning
    • Romans 8 mentions creation itself groaning and waiting for its redemption (vv. 19-22).
    • This suggests that the effects of sin extend beyond humanity and impact the entire world.
  6. God’s Unfailing Love
    • Throughout the chapter, the emphasis is on God’s unfailing love for His children.
    • Nothing can separate us from His love, not even tribulation, distress, or death (vv. 35-39).

Notes

  • To be added

Group Chat

  • I missed this meeting because I was out of town.

Summary

  • Faith in Jesus Christ brings freedom from condemnation and empowers us to live a Spirit-filled life.
  • We are God’s adopted children, secure in His love.
  • While challenges may exist, we have the hope of future glory.
  • God’s love for His children is constant and unfailing.

Romans 8 offers a message of hope and assurance to believers, even in the midst of struggle.

 

Resources

  • Romans overview (video): Part 1, Part 2
  • Romans is structured as follows:
    • Books 1-4: Revealing God’s Righteousness
    • Books 5-8: Creating a New Humanity
    • Books 9-11: Fulfilling God’s Promise to Israel
    • Books 12-16: Unifying the Church

Romans 7: Creating a New Humanity

Context

  • Romans 7 delves into the struggle between the desires of the flesh (human nature) and the desires of the Spirit (God’s influence) within a believer. Here are the key points:
    • The Law’s Powerlessness:
      • Paul starts by explaining that the Law (God’s commandments) has no power over a dead person (vv. 1-4). This analogy applies to our old sinful nature, which has been crucified with Christ (Romans 6).
      • The Law exposes sin but cannot provide the power to overcome it (vv. 7-13).
    • The Internal Conflict:
      • Paul describes his own internal struggle between wanting to do good (following the Law) and being drawn towards sin by his flesh (vv. 14-23).
      • He uses the metaphor of being a slave to sin (v. 14).
    • A Longing for Deliverance:
      • The chapter ends with a cry of desperation, yearning for deliverance from this internal conflict (v. 24).
  • Important Points to Consider:
    • This passage doesn’t describe the life of a victorious Christian, but rather the ongoing battle between the desires of the flesh and the Spirit.
    • Romans 8 provides the answer to this struggle, highlighting the power of the Holy Spirit to enable believers to live according to God’s will.
  • Interpretations:
    • There are different interpretations on whether Romans 7 describes a believer before or after conversion.
    • Some see it as Paul reflecting on his pre-Christian life.
    • Others believe it represents the ongoing struggle even for Christians.
  • Overall Message:
    • Romans 7 offers a realistic portrayal of the Christian’s struggle with sin. It emphasizes our desperate need for God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit to live a life pleasing to Him.
  • In Christ, we have also died to our obligation to follow the law of Moses. Paul makes clear, though, that the law is holy and good because it reveals to us just how sinful we are.
  • Paul describes how his failed attempts to follow the law convinced him more fully of his need to be delivered from his sinfulness by God through faith in Christ.

Notes

  • We are supposed to be dead to sin – we should try to be free from sin. When you give your life to Jesus you should try very hard not to sin (although it’s impossible for man to avoid all sin).
  • We are DEAD to sin… So why do we live in sin?
    • We don’t have an excuse.
    • We CAN avoid sinning…. but we typically do not
  • v1-2: as long as man lives, the LAW has dominion
    • In a marriage, you are bound by law to the covenant
    • If one or the other dies, the other is free from that covenant
  • v3: Once the husband dies, the wife can remarry
  • v4: We died to the law. We now have a covenant with God in Christ.
  • v5: We have become dead to the Old Covenant (Moses’ laws).
    • When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death.
  • v6: We have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
    • We are now a slave to God and can serve in the newness of the Spirit and not of the old law.
    • Galations 2:18: Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down.
  • v7: Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, ‘You must not covet.’
  • v8: But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power.
      • Before the 10 Commandments there was no law against coveting.
  • v12: But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.
    • The law is not sinful. We should not continue to sin. We are supposed to be dead to sin.
    • If we’re not careful we can fall back into sin. 
  • v13: But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes.
  • v14: So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin.
  • v15: I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.
  • v16: But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.
  • v17: So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
    • We must be disciplined and try hard not to sin.
  • v18: And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.
  • v19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
  • v20: But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
  • v21: I have discovered this principle of life — that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.
  • v22: I love God’s law with all my heart.
  • v23: But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
  • v24: Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
    • God calls us to live without sin but since we are human we will inevitably fall back into it – this is why we need Jesus.
    • The less time we spend in the word and prayer the more likely we are to fall back into sin.
  • v25: Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
    • Galatians 5:16:  So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
      • If we walk in the spirit we are less likely to fall back into sin.
    • Galatians 5:22: But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.
    • Galatians 5:24: Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.
      • If we live in the spirit we will not fall back into sin. When we don’t walk in the spirit we will fall back into sin.

Group Chat

  • We are free in Christ – what does this mean?
    • We are free to choose life in Christ instead of death in sin.
    • Before being born again we know what is right and wrong but we didn’t have the “helper” of the Holy Spirit guiding us.
    • Once the Holy Spirit is in your heart it can help you turn from sin.
    • God cannot sin – He cannot choose to sin. In some ways this means we are more free than God. This is, however, not possible – we can never have more privilege than God.
    • If we do good before we’re saved we’re still under the penalty of the original sin. This penalty has been taken away from us because of our faith in Christ.
    • Before we’re saved we’re NOT free to live in Christ. After we’re saved we ARE free to live in Chirst and to do His bidding.
      • This is what Paul is addressing in Romans 7.
  • As we pursue Christ more and more, our tendancy to sin will be reduced.

Summary

  • Two options to capture the essence of Romans 7 in one or two words:
    • Internal Conflict: This highlights the internal struggle between wanting to do good and the pull towards sin described in the chapter.
    • Law’s Powerlessness: This emphasizes the chapter’s theme of the Law’s inability to bring about true righteousness.

Resources

  • Romans overview (video): Part 1, Part 2
  • Romans is structured as follows:
    • Books 1-4: Revealing God’s Righteousness
    • Books 5-8: Creating a New Humanity
    • Books 9-11: Fulfilling God’s Promise to Israel
    • Books 12-16: Unifying the Church

Romans 6: Creating a New Humanity

Context

  • Romans 6:11 is the theme of this chapter (emphasis mine):
    • So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
  • Sin has no power over us – it only has the power we give it.
  • Paul asks if Christians should continue in sin once they have been saved.
    • He gives several reasons why we must not:
      • we died to sin’s power over us
      • we are now servants to righteousness
      • what good did sin ever bring to you, anyway?
  • Paul will transition to Romans 7 and discuss what it means to be released from the law of Moses.

Notes

  • Romans 1: What shall we say then?
    • Refers back to 5:20 – if sin increases grace abounds even more.
    •  If grace abounds when we sin we shouldn’t actively sin to get more grace. This is like saying “”I’m gonna shovel my sidewalk so it snows again”.  We don’t need an abundance of sin.
  • v2: We’re not trying to live in in to get more grace – we should die to sin so that we sin no more.
  • v3: have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?
    • There are people who know the gospel but choose to ignore it because they don’t fully understand that God’s grace is enough to cover every sin and transgression.
    • You ignore the fact that our sins are an expressway to death
    • All you have to do to change this ignoreance is to ask the Lord to believe in His plan for you – this will lead to eternal life.
    •  Stop ignoring this  gift – deal with it now before it’s too late.
  • v4:  For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
      • The glory of God gives us the glory to die to sin and walk in a new life.
      • In John 11:40 Jesus said “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?”
      • When we witness someone dying to sin and embracing a new life
  • v5: Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.
    •  We are united with Jesus in a new life when we die to our sins.
    • Jesus came to us so we couold have an abundant life
  • V6: We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.
    • We are no longer slaves to sin. The addiction to sin no longer applies to us.
    • Ephesians 4:20-22 tells us we’re not alone when we die to our sins.
      • 20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.
  • v7: For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.
    • Jesus paid the price so we can be free from our sin
  • v13: Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.
    • Do not let the things in this world distract you from bring aware of what God has in store for you.
  • v16: Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.
    • Who do you serve? Death or righteousness?
  • v19:  Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.
    • If you are a slave to sin you are free from righteousness.
  • v22-23: 22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
    • Sin leads to death.
    • Do not ignore that you should be dead to sin.
    • Yield to Christ – how are you persuing Him to ensure you are dead to sin?

Summary

  • The freedom Paul talks about in Christ refers to liberation from sin and its consequences, allowing us to live according to God’s design.
    • Freedom From Sin’s Dominion:
      • Romans 6:6-7 emphasizes that Christians are “dead to sin” because we are united with Christ in His death (v. 6).
      • This doesn’t mean sin no longer exists, but that its control over us is broken (v. 7). We are no longer slaves to sin (v. 18).
    • Freedom to Live According to God’s Will:
      • This freedom isn’t about unrestrained behavior, but about the ability to choose what pleases God (Romans 6:16).
      • We are free from the Law’s condemnation (Romans 8:1) and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live righteously (Romans 8:4).
    • Living as God’s Creation:
      • God created us with a purpose and desires us to live according to His good design (Ephesians 2:10).
      • Freedom in Christ allows us to fulfill this purpose and experience the joy of living in alignment with God’s will.


I like to think I’m a good Christian, then I read Matthew 7:21-23 and it terrifies me.

  • 21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.
  • 22On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’
  • 23But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

It’s worth remembering Ephesians 2:8-10 here (emphasis mine):

  • 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
  • 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
  • 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Context is critical when interpreting the Bible. John 6:40 reveals God’s will through Jesus’ own words (emphasis mine):

  • 40 “For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.

We need to do the works that God has prepared for us, but always remember it is our faith alone that saves us.

Related:

 

 

Resources

  • Romans overview (video): Part 1, Part 2
  • Romans is structured as follows:
    • Books 1-4: Revealing God’s Righteousness
    • Books 5-8: Creating a New Humanity
    • Books 9-11: Fulfilling God’s Promise to Israel
    • Books 12-16: Unifying the Church

Romans 5: Creating a New Humanity

Paul structures his main points in Romans with a clear progression, often broken down into four sections:
  • Need for Rescue (Romans 1-4): Here, Paul establishes the universality of sin and its consequences. He argues that both Jews and Gentiles fall short of God’s righteousness.
  • New Covenant Family in Christ (Romans 5-8): This section introduces the concept of justification by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul explains how faith brings forgiveness and adoption into God’s family.The concept of justification by faith is a fundamental tenet of Christianity.

Here’s why it’s so important:

  • Salvation by Grace: Justification by faith emphasizes that salvation comes through God’s grace, not by human merit or good works.
  • Universality of Sin: It acknowledges that all people are inherently sinful and fall short of God’s perfection.
  • Focus on Faith: This doctrine emphasizes faith in Jesus Christ as the key to being declared righteous before God.
However, it’s important to note some nuances:
  • Debate on Emphasis: While justification by faith is widely accepted, some Christian traditions may place more emphasis on good works as evidence of genuine faith.
  • Different Interpretations: There can be debate about the precise meaning of “faith” and “works” within the concept.

Justification by faith remains a foundational principle for many Christians, especially in Protestant theology.By verse:

  • V1:
    • “Therefore” – check why its there for people though they were righteous because they obeyed the law.
      But Abraham believed and was counted justified – before he was circumcised, before he obeyed.
      See Ephesians 2:8: Hebrews – without faith, we cannot please God
      We cannot merit salvation – only by Jesus.
      Jesus paid our price. We are justified on account of the atonement of Christ
  • V2
    • We have access to justice by faith through Christ.
      Through Grace, we get mercy.
  • V3
    • We are preserved through hard times. The three men (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) were met in the fiery furnace. They were not delivered from it, they were delivered in it. (Daniel 3)
  • V9
    • We in were justified by His blood, we cannot earn this. This is why Jesus came to earth.
  • V10