From the Comments: The Connection of the Church with Israel, Part 11 (Back to Romans)

graftedolivetreeBack to Romans

Early in Romans, Paul plainly alludes to the several Old Testament passages we covered in the last post.

(Rom 2:28-29 ESV) 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

And this sets up Paul’s remarkable discussion in Romans 8 —

(Rom 8:1-2 ESV) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Even though we cannot completely resist the temptation to sin, as Paul explained in chapter 7, for Christians, there is “no condemnation.” All Christians are saved, all the time. We can fall away, and if we do, we are no longer Christians; there are no lost Christians.

How can this be true? Well, because “the law [Torah] of the Spirit of life” sets us free from sin and death — exactly as the Prophets promised. What is the “Torah of the Spirit of life”? It’s a new kind of Torah, a new kind of law, being whatever law the Spirit writes on our hearts, as Jeremiah promised.

Why the “Spirit of life”? Because Deut 30:6 and countless other predecessor passages promise life. Remember Ezekiel and the Valley of Dry Bones, among many others. The interesting question, to me, is: what is “life”?

Well, at the least, it’s freedom from condemnation, Paul says. It is, of course, also eternal life. But it’s not described as something not yet received, but something already received. And therefore “life” also includes our lives as children of God — becoming what we were always meant to be.

The “law of sin and death” are the many commands of the “written code” and “the letter,” which we cannot hope to truly obey and so earn our salvation.

The law of the Spirit of life is the new relationship with God received through the Spirit, which changes our hearts and minds by transforming us into the image of Christ. It’s God himself, working within us, through his Spirit, to transform us so that living like Jesus becomes like apples growing on an apple tree. Our nature changes so that we enjoy being like Jesus.

(Eph 5:1-2 ESV) Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

We continue in Romans 8 —

(Rom 8:3-4 ESV) 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

What does it mean to “walk … according to the Spirit”? According to the prophets, to no longer be stubborn, to no longer rebel, to have a soft heart of flesh, rather than stone, to have a heart and mind attuned to God’s will, to be transformed into the image of Jesus

And so, if we walk according to the Spirit, we are promised that the righteous requirement of the law will be fulfilled in us. This has two senses. In one sense, it’s fulfilled because God treats us as righteous for the sake of Jesus. In another sense, it’s fulfilled because we actually live in tune with our transformed hearts — not perfectly, of course, but in the overall direction of our lives. We are changed.

In short, the “moral law” of the Torah survives, not because we are bound by law, but because we are transformed to become like God, and therefore we don’t kill, steal, or envy.

As Paul says in Galatians —

(Gal 5:18 ESV) 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Paul explains,

(Rom 13:8-10 ESV) 8 Owe no one anything, except to

love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Paul explains that the only law is to love one another, and so those who love one another fulfill the law (of the Spirit of life). And it’s not just the Ten Commandments that are absorbed into “love your neighbor as yourself” — it’s also “any other commandment.”

We struggle in the Churches of Christ with this passage, because it so plainly contradicts our claims that there are laws about instrumental music and weekly contributions and such, whereas Paul, at the climax of his greatest epistle, plainly denies it.

Rather, the law that we’re accountable for is the Law of the Spirit of Life, that is, the law that God writes on our hearts when he circumcises our hearts and replaces our hearts of stone with soft heart, when he takes our dry skeleton and breathes new life into our bones.

Does the moral law survive? Yes, but not as law. It survives as the nature of the Spirit’s work in us, as the Spirit transforms us to become like Jesus.

Therefore, yes, we must be moral, but “moral” is defined as becoming like Jesus by the power of the Spirit. Thus, the Law of Moses itself is transformed and fulfilled by Jesus and the Spirit, to become the Torah of the Spirit of Life.

And we must take Paul seriously when he reduces the commandments to “Love your neighbor” and “Love one another.” And he tells us that the sacrificial life of Jesus is the template for how these things are defined.

It’s therefore no surprise that Paul goes from this lesson on loving our neighbor to Romans 14, in which he tells Christians to sacrifice their freedom for the sake of the consciences of their weaker brothers. It is, after all, about being like Jesus. And Jesus sacrifices out of love for others.

One last point about the moral law. As written in Jer 31:33, and quoted in Heb 8:10, the law that Christians are bound by is the law that God writes on their hearts. And it’s easy enough to see love of God and love of our neighbors as a law God might write on our hearts.

But we really can’t imagine God writing “Elders must have multiple children” or “No instruments allowed in the worship service” on our hearts. Obviously, those sorts of commands might be written on our hearts by our reading the text, but the point of Jer 31:33 is that God himself will change us by changing our hearts, that is, our feelings. And love is a feeling, whereas obedience to various positive commands is not about our feelings — just obedience, even in the absence of understanding and even when we don’t feel the point or purpose of the command.

In short, it really does all fit together. The rejection of positive commands, the way the Old and New Testaments connect, the work of the Spirit, God’s grace, Jesus’ sacrifice … it all connects and works together in intricate but beautiful ways.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay Guin

I am an elder, a Sunday school teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a lawyer. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’m a member of the University Church of Christ. I grew up in Russellville, Alabama and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University). I received my law degree from the University of Alabama. I met my wife Denise at Lipscomb, and we have four sons, two of whom are married, and I have a grandson and granddaughter.
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26 Responses to From the Comments: The Connection of the Church with Israel, Part 11 (Back to Romans)

  1. Ray Downen says:

    The law of the spirit of LIFE is not whatever individual Christians believe is God’s will for them and others. Once again, translators have brought the Holy Spirit into a phrase where He doesn’t belong. The spirit of life refers to that animating spirit which brings life as compared to death. Those who walk by the spirit are contrasted by Paul with those who walk by the flesh.

    The difference is between those who primarily love physical things and those who primarily love spiritual things. To speak of the spirit of life as being whatever God’s Spirit writes on individual hearts (different for each) is to totally misunderstand what was written by inspiration. If our Savior is JESUS, then our Savior is not His Spirit. Some want to replace Jesus with His Spirit. I don’t.

  2. Ray, how can you read the totality of Romans 8 and accuse translators, instead of Paul, bringing the Holy Spirit into that beautiful passage about God’s work within his new creation people? I say that once again you are allowing your theology to guide your reading of the text instead of allowing the text to guide your theology.

  3. rich constant says:

    SORRY
    JUST HAD TO DO THIS FOR GRACE
    AND THOSE THAT DON’T KNOW
    .
    grace
    YOU WROTE
    “They didn’t occupy either time all the land God promised nor did they gather all the Israelites prophesied there, yet.”

    HERE IS some SCRIPTURE that says something a little different :-) blessings all…rich

    here they were in control of more than promised
    more land than was promised

    ” we see the precise geographical boundaries promised to Abraham in the actual possession of Solomon, at the height of Israel’s political history. Immediately subsequent to this complete fulfillment of the land promise in its physical aspect, its typical purpose then having been realized, Israel as a nation began to lose possession of the extreme portions of its geography, never again to recover them. Can this historical reality be consistent with the promise made to Abraham that “all the land which you see I will give to you, and to your seed forever”(Gen. 13:15)?”

    1st Kings
    4:20 The people of Judah and Israel were as innumerable as the sand on the seashore; they had plenty to eat and drink and were happy. 4:21 (5:1)9 Solomon ruled all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River10 to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. These kingdoms paid tribute as Solomon’s subjects throughout his lifetime.11
    2 Chronicles
    9:25 Solomon had 4,000 stalls for his chariot horses50 and 12,000 horses. He kept them in assigned cities and in Jerusalem.51 9:26 He ruled all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River52 to the land of the Philistines as far as the border of Egypt.
    Joshua
    21:43-45
    21:43 So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had solemnly promised to their ancestors,9 and they conquered10 it and lived in it. 21:44 The Lord made them secure,11 in fulfillment of all he had solemnly promised their ancestors.12 None of their enemies could resist them.13 21:45 Not one of the Lord’s faithful promises to the family of Israel14 was left unfulfilled; every one was realized.15
    Nehemiah 9:24–25
    24 rSo the descendants went in and possessed the land, sand you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they would. 25 And they captured tfortified cities and ua rich land, and took possession of vhouses full of all good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled wand became fat and delighted themselves in xyour great goodness.
    1 Kings 8:56
    56 “Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. xNot one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant.

  4. rich constant says:

    and by the way
    don’t forget these two scripture’s
    ROM.
    3:1 Therefore what advantage does the Jew have, or what is the value of circumcision? 3:2 Actually, there are many advantages.1 First of all,2 the Jews3 were entrusted with the oracles of God.4 3:3 What then? If some did not believe, does their unbelief nullify the faithfulness of God? 3:4 Absolutely not! Let God be proven true, and every human being5 shown up as a liar,6 just as it is written: “so that you will be justified7 in your words and will prevail when you are judged.”8
    James
    3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters,1 because you know that we will be judged more strictly.

  5. Grace says:

    I already know that was the first inhabitance the Jewish people had in the land of Israel. The Scriptures give many prophesies about the Jewish people regaining their land. The point of the prophesies is that the Jewish people will regain all the land of Israel.

  6. hist0ryguy says:

    Grace,
    From reading your comments in the brief time that I have been back it seems that you reject Supersessionism. Is this correct?

  7. hist0ryguy says:

    Jay,
    I chuckle every time you get an IM jab into a post, perhaps because I’m still pushing AC. Moving on, I appreciate you trying to share a different paradigm in which the readers can discuss law vs. “led by” “submission to” or “walking in” the Spirit. I think Romans 8:7 strengthens what you highlighted in vv.3-4 and the contrast Paul is making.

    Roman 8:7-9 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.

    Paul contrasts those with and without the Spirit. Those without the Spirit – cannot and are unable – to submit to God’s law (v.7). Christians submit and walk in the realm of the Spirit because he indwells and sanctifies them as his ongoing work. The Spirit fulfills prophecy and gives us a new heart, but his giving us a new heart is synonymous in the NT with terms, such as new life, washing of regeneration, and born again. Indeed, it works together.

  8. rich constant says:

    thanks for the comment grace,
    SO
    I HOPE THAT I AM NOT BE OVERLY PRESUMPTUOUS WITH YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF SCRIPTURE, (OR THEOLOGY).
    I would say that you then believe that Romans, chapter / verse, 3:22 Paul is speaking to the forensic Righteousness of God with an anthropological viewpoint to the, faith of Christ,being in the objective genitive?
    dollars to donuts your answer is yes.
    blessings
    rich

  9. rich constant says:

    So
    Jay,
    the viewpoint above, has been likened to a computer virus that has corrupted the primary operating System.
    The Theories of Lutheranism and Calvinism when put together makes the dogma of Paul sound sound like a small train that goes in a small circle and instead of going woo, woo,… the noise of the whistle go’s KOO , KOO.
    Skews the Whole conceptional meaning of God Delivering his broken Creation into the new cosmos.
    ROM 4:13 to the point of ROM 8:21
    4:13 For the promise
    to Abraham or to his descendants that he
    would inherit the world (cosmos ) was not fulfilled through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.
    8:21 that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children.
    and
    and yes i know this is supposed to be a hyperbole ( I THINK) although i am having doubts about a lot now including the regulatory principal and the baconistic method of putting together the rules of our life in the body of Christ. which is about the freedom found in faithfulness.

    ROM
    1:12 that is, that we may be mutually comforted by one another’s faith, both yours and mine.
    16:25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that had been kept secret for long ages,

    1Cor
    15:42 It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. 15:43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 15:44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 15:45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living person”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 15:46 However, the spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and then the spiritual. 15:47 The first man is from the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven. 15:48 Like the one made of dust, so too are those made of dust, and like the one from heaven, so too those who are heavenly. 15:49 And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven.

    15:50 Now this is what I am saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 15:51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – 15:52 in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 15:53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 15:54 Now when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will happen,

  10. rich constant says:

    rats this goes to/with the above post

    The Resurrection Body
    1st COR
    15:35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 15:36 Fool! What you sow will not come to life unless it dies. 15:37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare seed23 – perhaps of wheat or something else. 15:38 But God gives it a body just as he planned, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. 15:39 All flesh is not the same: People have one flesh, animals have another, birds and fish another.24 15:40 And there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. The glory of the heavenly body is one sort and the earthly another. 15:41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars, for star differs from star in glory

  11. Skip says:

    Grace, Whether, as you say, the Jews get all the promised land thus kicking out many Muslim countries is moot. If they don’t believe in Jesus it is pointless. So they get new real estate but they still are lost. A believing Jew in Tokyo is more blessed than any unbelieving Jew in Jerusalem. Jews getting land does not increase my faith one iota.

  12. Grace says:

    You are so hell-bent against the Jewish people having their God given land, you aren’t even seeing what the prophesies are saying about it.

  13. Skip says:

    Grace, I know what the prophets said and I know what Jesus and Paul said to interpret OT teaching. I side with the NT interpretation.

  14. Grace says:

    I side on the Bible, the whole Word of God. Paul didn’t tell Timothy the New Testament was it, no, Paul told him that all the Scriptures are inspired by God. Paul was speaking to Timothy about the Hebrew Scriptures he grew up learning.

    2 Timothy 3:14-17 But you must continue with the things you have learned and found convincing. You know who taught you. Since childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures that help you to be wise in a way that leads to salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus. Every Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character, so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good.

  15. Randall says:

    From the ESV on line:
    God’s Everlasting Love

    31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[i] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[j] 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

    “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
    37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    So what is it that separates a Christian from the love of God that Paul didn’t cover in this passage?

    Jay or anyone else is welcome to inform us of what Paul omitted from the list.
    Hesed,
    Randall

  16. hist0ryguy says:

    Randall,

    So what is it that separates a Christian from the love of God that Paul didn’t cover in this passage?

    Apostasy.

    Hebrew 3:12-14 “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God… We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.”

  17. Ray Downen says:

    Jay is to be commended for his insight: “We struggle in the Churches of Christ with this passage, because it so plainly contradicts our claims that there are laws about instrumental music and weekly contributions and such, whereas Paul, at the climax of his greatest epistle, plainly denies it.” There are no worship laws for us who serve Jesus. Yet many of us seek to bind others to laws we think are godly rules and regulations.

  18. Ray Downen says:

    history guy quotes, “Roman 8:7-9 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.”

    In many scriptures, the human flesh is contrasted with the human spirit. This is one of those places. “You are … in the realm of the spirit if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.” We are called to let our spiritual nature rule over our physical desires. This is not something done TO us but is done BY us as we grow in Christ.

  19. Ray Downen says:

    history guy quotes, “Hebrews 3:12-14 “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God… We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.” I note that the writer of Hebrews does not say we share in Christ if the Spirit keeps us safe “to the very end.” We are called to let our spiritual nature rule over our physical desires. This is not something done TO us but is done BY us as we grow in Christ. The Spirit is a helper. lt’s OUR spirit which determines our destiny. JESUS saves those who love and serve Him. We are not saved by the Holy Spirit. Jesus died for us. Jesus rules both Heaven and earth today. It’s Jesus to whom we owe allegiance.

  20. Randall says:

    @ Histroyguy,
    So apostasy isn’t specifically mentioned – neither is a hippopotamus. How does one become apostate other than via principles, powers or some other created thing? Do you believe that apostasy is a thing present or a thing to come or anything else in all creation? Of course you do, but it applies to the nature of the church becoming apostate, not a a person with saving faith. Or is Paul confused?

    38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    Hesed,
    Randall

  21. hist0ryguy says:

    Randall,

    How does one become apostate other than via principles, powers or some other created thing…

    Paul, in Rom. 8, lists external things (external forces) that can be forced upon the believer to demonstrate that no one and nothing can externally act upon as to take a believer from God (the image is similar to kidnapping or theft).

    In contrast, Paul does not include apostasy because it is a state of being that flows from the heart outward to ones actions of which one is responsible. God looks at the heart because It is the heart that defiles a man or pleases God. I previously quoted Heb. 3:12-14, instead of other verses about apostasy, because it highlights that (1) apostasy is in the heart moving outward to action (a personal responsibility and choice), and (2) the warning is directed to each individual (each of one of you), not the nature of the church.

  22. hist0ryguy says:

    Ray,
    In Romans 8:1-12, Paul declares that we are either dead in the flesh or alive in the Spirit (the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit). We do not have any spiritual life apart from the Spirit’s renewal/regeneration in us. One who does not have the Spirit is in the flesh, hostile to God, unable to subject himself to God’s law, and unable to please God. I am a Classical Armenian, not a Calvinist, and have no problem agreeing with you that “by [means of] the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body,” but you and I seem to disagree when I stress while we are willing call upon God, it is the Spirit who puts to death the deeds of the body instead of ourselves.

  23. Randall says:

    38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV on line)

    How does one become apostate? Let me concede for the sake of discussion that a person regenerated and brought to faith by God could then become apostate. How would that happen? Does she/he simply get up one morning and walk away for no reason at all? Of course not! There were events (both physical and pyschological) e,g, their spouse left them, they got cancer, their kids got cancer, they lost they job, or fortune or other things that were important to them, they were not committed enough or did not study their bible enough or attend church services often enough, or they were led into temptation by the evil one and became discouraged and gave up. Write your own scenario and it will still fall within Paul’s discussion. After all He sacrificed and all the work He did to get us saved, I guess God just didn’t try hard enough to keep us saved.

    31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[i] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? (ESV on line)

    Hesed,
    Randall

  24. hist0ryguy says:

    Randall,
    Yes, a person can actually set their heart against the Lord on a particular sin issue and after a period time end in apostasy. I realize that is not a real possibility in a Calvinistic theology, but it is a real issue nonetheless. In addition to what I have previously posted, I can only add that Paul’s whole framework is justification by faith which results in no condemnation (Romans 5:1-5; cf. ch. 8).

    Whether forces of tribulation (5:3-5) or those “who bring a charge against God’s elect” (8:33) Paul is concerned with guaranteeing the believer that he cannot be stolen (separated) from God’s love. The entire discussion is predicated upon assuring Christians, who long to be God, that external forces will not take them away from God. Paul is not addressing believer who desire to walk away (such as those in the Book of Hebrews).

    Paul has already revealed what forces he has in mind. They are “the sufferings of this present time” (8:18), those “who are against us” (8:31), “who will bring a charge against God’s elect” (8:33), “who is the one who condemns” (8:34), “who will separate us from the love of Christ” (8:35), and that no created thing can “separate us from the love of God” (8:39).

    In v.39, for example, the Greek reads in a wooden sense “neither the world above, nor the deep space below, nor a certain created one, nor a certain created thing possesses the capability to separate us from the love of God…”

  25. Randall says:

    HG,
    Last time I checked I was and believe I still am a certain created thing which the text says cannot separate (not steal but separate) me from the love of God. Perhaps this passage from Romans 7 did not come to mind so I’ll post it here from the ESV on line:

    21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

    Some in the CofC try to dodge this passage by saying Paul was writing about himself before he was a Christian. I find that argument both weak and irrelevant for all us Christians can identify with it in our daily walk. So if you and I are NOT doing what we would do, but instead doing the very thing we would not do then just where along the way did we lose our salvation? And if we ever lost it could we regain it.

    I might add that I understand Paul to teach justification BY grace THROUGH faith. However, I do understand that others see faith as meritorious rather than as a gift.

    Maybe this has gone as far as it needs to on this thread. What do you think?

    Hesed,
    Randall

  26. hist0ryguy says:

    Randall,
    Salvation is about a grace system through the means of faith in Jesus, not law keeping (i.e. perfect obedience to God). Apostasy is not committing sin, but rather the final state of a hard unbelieving heart that will not repent (i.e. the loss of salvation).

    I agree with you that Paul is not talking about his pre-Christian life in Romans 7, but rather his current Christian life and struggle with sin. I also agree that we are created beings, but after that we disagree.

    I have understood your position to be as follows: In Paul’s list of “nothing” that can separate the believer from God you believe the term “no created thing” is exhaustive and includes the believer himself (and his will) resulting in the inability to separate himself from God.

    My position is as follows: In Paul’s list of “nothing” that can separate the believer from God, the term “no created thing” applies to everything external of the believer, but does not include the believer himself (and his will) resulting in the ability to choose to separate himself from God.

    If that is your understanding of our conversation and my dazzling charm has not swayed you, then I concede to an intermission and look forward to our next discussion.

    grace and peace,
    HG

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