Romans 2:12-3:31, pt.1

This week we will be reading through Romans 2:12-3:31.  Within this passage, Paul does two things. He first directly addresses a censorious Jewish teacher who is apparently disapproving of those (Gentile) members of the Roman community who do not follow the Law.  Paul uses this address to reach his ultimate conclusion that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.  Paul then ends this passage with a recapitulation of his thesis statement from Romans 1:16-17 that the Gospel message is about the power, righteousness, and faithfulness of God that justifies the believer, and not through anything that we do.

Prior to reading through Paul’s diatribe against the Jewish teacher in Romans 2:17-3:20, I urge you to review Jesus’ denunciation of the scribes, Pharisees, and lawyers in Matthew 23 and Luke 11:37-54.  Look at the similarities between Jesus’ statements and Paul’s and see if they are addressing similar people and situations.  Also, as you read through the passage see how Paul’s words apply to the church and to yourself today.  The Jewish teacher Paul is arguing against presumably believes himself to be a good and faithful follower of Jesus and simply wants the other members of the congregation (and particularly the Gentiles) to obey the rules laid down in Scripture (as the teacher interprets and applies them).  Is Paul’s message relevant to us today?

The restatement and elaboration of Paul’s theme in Romans 3:21-31 will set up the remainder of Paul’s arguments through chapter 11.  I have attached N. T. Wright’s discussion of these verses to give us a good road map of where Paul is going. (Paul for Everyone: Romans, pp. 51-63). As you read through this passage, observe how Paul’s ideas are implicitly based upon and draw heavily from the story of the Exodus. Paul speaks of blood, and redemption (the term of art used for buying back a slave), and passing over. But in Paul’s retelling of the story, it is everyone who is being led out of slavery, not just the Israelites. Paul’s letter is ultimately the story of God through Christ, so also observe the language Paul uses to describe God.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is chicken cheesesteaks. Discussion at 6:45. Hope to see you here.

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” *
   All are corrupt and commit abominable acts; there is none who does any good.
The Lord looks down from heaven upon us all, *
   to see if there is any who is wise, if there is one who seeks after God.
Everyone has proved faithless; all alike have turned bad; *
   there is none who does good; no, not one.
Have they no knowledge, all those evildoers *
   who eat up my people like bread and do not call upon the Lord?
See how they tremble with fear, *
   because God is in the company of the righteous.
Their aim is to confound the plans of the afflicted, *
   but the Lord is their refuge.
Oh, that Israel’s deliverance would come out of Zion! *
   when the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, Jacob will rejoice and Israel be glad.

Psalm 14

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