10/12/2014

Romans 1:18-3:20 (Douglas Moo)

Paul's Target in Romans 1-3: All People
  1. Rom 1:18-19: All People.
  2. Rom 1:20-32: People Apart from Special Revelation.
  3. Rom 2:1-16: People Who Rely on their Birthright.
  4. Rom 2:17-3:8: The Jews.
Summary of Paul's basic arguments in Romans 2-3
  1. The Principle: "...it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous" (Rom 2:13).
  2. The Problem: "...Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin" (Rom 3:9).
  3. The Prospect: "...no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law" (Rom 3:20).
The problem is not that human beings sin. The problem is that (all) human beings are under sin's power (Rom 3:9), regardless of whether Jew or Gentile, Christian or non-Christian, Jewish Christian or Gentile Christian. Man's problem is far more than just doing bad things (which is obvious for Gentiles and the non-religious, but not as obvious for the Jew and the religious). The problem rather is that we are helpless slaves to doing bad things and can't rescue ourselves (though the Jew or moral person or Christian is able to control their outward behavior, so as not to appear to be doing bad things before the eyes of people).

Romans 2:1-11/Moo/Lecture6. Rom 2:1-4. When Paul was preaching about the sin of wayward lawless immoral Gentiles (Rom 1:18-32), he noticed that the Jews, who were conservative, "moral" and religious would wholeheartedly agree with Paul as to how bad the Gentile sinners were. Thus, Paul, says, "'You' have no excuse either."
"You" is singular. Paul uses a "diatribe" device (which he uses quite a lot) as his teaching device by addressing a single person--an opponent one is debating with, or a teacher/student dialogue. This allows other people to hear a dialogue as the way to teach them. Paul is not directly addressing the Roman Christians, but is helping them to understand his point. He is having the Jew in mind here (Rom 2:17), without specifically identifying them, so as to help them and invite them to identify themselves.
Who is Paul referring to in Rom 2:7, 10? NT Wright says that they refer ultimately to Christians (Rom 8:4). Moo prefers regarding these verses as Paul making a statement as a principle as to how God judges all people impartially.
Romans 2:12-16/Moo/Lecture7. Paul introduces for the first time the word "law" (Rom 2:12). When he uses this word in Romans he is talking about the law of Moses (Torah). In Rom 2:12, Paul is saying that the Jews should not think they are exempt from judgment just because they have the law, which the Gentiles do not have, since God will judge both Jew and Gentiles on the same basis.
Who is Paul referring to in Rom 7:14? Some regard them as Christians (as with Rom 2:7, 10). Moo prefers to regard them as non-Christian Gentiles. Paul's point is that the Jews should not brag about having Torah, because the Gentiles have some form of law in their hearts (God's moral will) as well.
Paul is trying to level the playing field between Jew and Gentile, because the Jews has a strong sense of exclusivity. Though they have been given special privileges as the chosen people, but they have regarded and taken their view of themselves too far.
Does Rom 2:15 mean that non-Christians who live according to the light they have been revealed be saved? Rom 3:9-20, 23 seems to say "No." God does not grade on a curve.
The conscience is like an inbuilt monitor or barometer or gauge that God puts in all humans to assesses how well we are doing regarding what is morally right or wrong.
Romans 2:17-3:20Moo/Lecture8. It doesn't matter whether you are a Jew, have Torah, brag about God (Rom 2:17) or are circumcised (Rom 2:25ff), what counts is whether or not you do what Torah says (Rom 2:13). Simply being baptized cannot save a Christian, just as being circumcised cannot save a Jew.
Rom 3:1. Paul is working out a balancing act. You can't assume on your heritage in order to be saved. Yet there are advantages to being a Jew.