Vol.XIX No.V Pg.7
July 1982

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Brethren deem to have renewed interest in studying the Roman letter, but find many passages hard to explain. Give us dome help in P.T. ST


Romans has some difficult passages but the theme is clear enough to all who will spend time in hard objective study. In P.T., V.14, N.3-4-5 we gave our summary of Romans — imperfect but it should be helpful. Here are four things that seem to hinder our clear understanding of Romans.

1. We think "F.R.C.B." when we see the word gospel. We know salvation is by grace, but having fought to impress the need to obey, we may not be sufficiently impressed with a feeling of dependence upon God, and appreciation for promise, mercy, etc. We may have so completely related "forgiveness" to our "doing" that the "good news" of Christ's mercy is slighted.

2. We tend to raise hackles to fight "faith only " at ever use of faith'-- like, being justified by faith..." (Rom. 5:1). I find many have little knowledge of the evangelical concept of "experience of faith". Being convinced that is wrong, they may launch into an attack without knowing the enemy in a way that could take them to the heart of the error. And this could develop such a prejudice as to color their reading of what Paul is saying in Romans. It may keep us from appreciating the opposing concepts of system of faith vs. law. 3. Many can only think "Law of Moses" when they see "law" in Romans or Galatians. While it is true that the Law of Moses (Old Covenant, Judaism) is primarily under consideration as respects application; Paul deals with a much greater principle. One is justified (free of guilt) on a law basis only when there is no sin. This characteristic of justification by law is the "curse" from which Christ freed us when he died in our behalf (Gal. 3: 10-13), so that God can be both just and the justifier of believers (Rom. 3: 26). If one reads Romans, thinking only of Old vs. New Covenant, some of the rich points will be missed. For all who can do so we suggest the use of a Greek text, noting the absence of the article (the) in many places.

4. We often tend to think Holy Spirit, when Paul refers to our mind, heart, or ''spirit". ALL early Greek letters were capitals, so upper case on the word "spirit" only indicates the translators thought Holy Spirit. Paul's contrast of law and faith puts emphasis upon the inner man, the desire of his heart, etc. (Rom. 1:9; 7: 25; 2:29; 6:17). In particular, Rom. 8: should be read in the context of chap. 6 and 7. Evangelical concepts have colored "spirit", causing many to think "enabling power" or influence beyond that of the Spirit delivered word, when Paul was giving encouragement and hope to those who serve God with a sincere heart.

There is no need to fear the fair import of Romans. Paul does not teach "faith only"; he does not say intent can take the place of obedience; nor does he teach the Holy Spirit as an influence or enabling power apart from the word. He does teach truth!