Sunday, November 28

Pauline Epistles: Romans
(chapter 8-11, essay 6)

Continuing on in Romans. I have to detour a little. I just brought back from Church, a commentary on Romans and Mrs Pseudo-Polymath let me know that some Amazon books had come in, two books by Mr Wright, one of which The Climax of the Covenant has much to say about Romans. Alas, for the latter book, much of the discussion hinges on the finer points of translating Greek. There is a reason, the "Pseudo" is attached to the title of my blog. I'm not a real Polymath, I just play one on the Internet ;). If I really knew some Greek, I might be able to drop it the prefix, but I've only studied about 4 chapters of an introduction to Greek with my #1 daughter two summers ago, a far cry from fluency indeed. I still plan to get back to it, but the current project has taken priority. At any rate, it is at least as opaque as the text.

The other book, from our parish library, is from the "Daily Study Bible Series", The Letter to the Romans by William Barclay. I'm not going to use it in much depth tonight, but will certainly read the relevant sections prior to writing my commentary in the future. So with no further ado, on to the text.

Chapter 8 continues with his discussion of how Law impacts Christians. He tells us that the Law has no power over the followers of Christ. Those who live according to their sinful natures, have their minds set on natural desires, but those who live for the spirit have their mind set on what the spirit desires, e.g., life and peace. We have an obligation to the spirit, to not live according to our sinful nature. Creation itself awaits the return of Christ. We do not know of ourselves how to pray. It is the Spirit himself who intercedes for us. As with Jeremiah, God knew before who would be saved, justified, and glorified. And finally,
If God is for us, who can be against us? ... Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? ... For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, now any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now wiser men than I have argued about omniscience, free will, predestination and all that. As I have said earlier, I think these are peripheral issues, that is to say, things we discuss after we have decided exactly how to interpret questions relating to Christian ethics. The ethical considerations here hinge on Paul's discourse about Law. I'm (as is my wont) going to defer my my 2 cents on this matter for a later essay.

Now the next three chapters (9-11) go into a short digression on the Hebrew nation and their relationship to God, salvation, the Law, and Christ. From Israel (and the patriarchs) we trace the descent of (the human ancestry) of Christ. God has made promises to them, but many of them, do not believe (that is become followers of Christ). It was by their transgression from the Law that salvation has come to (them and to) the Greek and non-Greek. Do not be arrogant, because Jews have fallen away from the Law and required Christ to come to save us, but be grateful.

Finally, please keep the people of the Ukraine in your prayers.