c) 2012' name='copyright'/>Michael DeShane Hinton: Brief Exposition of Romans

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Brief Exposition of Romans

The most important word in the exposition of Romans is “therefore” found at 12:1.  It occurs there in the logical form of A therefore B with chapters 1-11 being A and the remainder B.

It is tempting to say that A is theoretic and theologically systematic while B is practical.  Whereas it is obvious that B is entirely pragmatic it is a mistake to say A is completely speculative.  A speaks of the power of God (1:16), for instance, then conscience (2:15), receiving by faith the propitiation that God provides in Christ (3:25), walking in faith like Abraham (4:12), peace with God (5:1), baptism (6:3), obedience (6:16), self-awareness (7:23), and walking according to the Spirit (8:4).


In A Paul is not presenting new material, per se, but, having expressed his desire to go to Rome, and having heard of their faith, he is interpreting to them how he understands the Gentile experience of Christ to date, in order to establish rapport and begin ministry before arriving (1:8-15).  The polemical nature of his remarks against “works of the Law” reflects his own painful experience of those that question his message and apostleship.  It does not serve as a blanket consideration from which to launch an antinomian protest against their common faith but expresses his moral statesmanship, which culminates in the declarations of chapters 9-11:  all Israel will be saved, if Israel is understood correctly as those that believe in Jesus and walk in his holy ways.

In resolving the soteriological differences within contemporary Christianity today, then, Romans provides no support for the pop-evangelical position.  Note, for instance, this passage:


The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:16-17 ESV)


The proviso of suffering with Christ for the sake of salvation casts Paul in the light of Christ:


And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:23-26 ESV)


The Romans were practicing Christians that Paul wanted to visit as apostle and minister.  The admonitions of B are not about unnecessary and optional works that flow from faith but a pastoral admonition to continue and refine previous saving behaviors in consistently specific ways.

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