Romans 7 Part 3

12. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Paul sums up with the word “therefore.” What we can conclude from what he has been saying is that the law is holy. Most people have in mind the idea that “holy” means particularly sinless, righteous, or pure. This might be true of how the English word “holy” is often used, but this idea does not match up with what the word means in Greek. “Holy” is the Greek word hagios, and it refers to something that is set apart to God for His special use. When we say that God is holy, we mean that He is wholly apart and different from all other things that men call “gods” and all other individuals. God is completely apart and beyond everything else in our life experiences. So the things of God that are holy are set apart from other, similar things by their connection to God.

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Romans 7 Part 2

New King James Version 5. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.

Wuest’s Expanded Translation 5. For when we were in the sphere of the sinful nature, the impulses of the sins which were through the law were operative in our members, resulting in the production of fruit with respect to death.

He speaks of when they were in the flesh, but what does this mean? Surely they still had fleshly, physical bodies, just as they did before they entered into relationship with Christ! What “in the flesh” means here is that they were in the natural circumstances into which they were born. In that condition, sinful passions were aroused. Yet the Greek word translated “passions,” pathema, is often translated as sufferings or afflictions. The idea here is more the sufferings that are produced by sin, not the passions ignited by sin. He speaks of those sufferings which were called out or marked out by the law and illustrated by the law. He says they were at work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

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I received the following question:

I have noticed you often translate “mountain” to mean “government”. Micah 4:2 or Isaiah 2:3 for example. My question is why do you do this? Why not interpret it to mean a literal mountain?

Here is my current understanding: In the millennium every mountain will be made low and every valley will be lifted up (Isaiah 40:4). The earth will be a flat plain except the area of Jerusalem. (Perhaps this will be the result of the huge earthquake mentioned) Jerusalem (or a part of it) will be elevated. Jesus will physically rule and reign from a mountain of some type. (Mount Sinai being a picture of this)

Thoughts?

Thanks for all your help!!

I would not say I “translate” mountain to mean “government,” but rather I interpret it that way. (I agree with translating it “mountain.”) The Hebrew word har clearly means a mountain, and is often used that way literally. But what does a “mountain” symbolize when it is used figuratively? The first seven times we see har it seems to be literal. But in the song of Moses and the sons of Israel in Exodus 15:17, we see something else. This passage says of Jehovah’s people:
“You will bring them in and plant them
In the mountain of Your inheritance,
In the place, O LORD, which You have made
For Your own dwelling,
The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established.”

We of course recognize that the entire land of Israel is not one giant mountain. Besides, it is called a dwelling and a sanctuary. We can see how a land could be called a dwelling and a sanctuary, but how a mountain? Clearly there is a figurative meaning here.

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I received the following question:

Would you please shoot me your definition of WISE (WISDOM) as found in Ephesians 5:15? I have searched and searched my materials of yours but cannot locate this (I know I have it somewhere haha).

Not sure that I have done a detailed study of sophos. It has to do with wise or understanding. It probably comes from a word meaning “clear,” and wisdom has to do with clear understanding. It takes in skill or expertise, so it has to do with skilled and expert application of what is known. It is not enough just to know things, but knowing what to do with that knowledge is key, and that is what wisdom is.

Perhaps you were thinking about my definitions of ginosko and epiginosko, which are knowledge and accelerated knowledge, meaning either acknowledgement or complete knowledge. But I don’t remember teaching on sophos wisdom. I guess you got it for the first time above.

I received the following question:

Thanks so much for all of your time and effort you put into helping people understand God’s Word. I have a question. Can you elaborate a little on what you exactly mean by how we are going to be object lessons on God’s grace for the eons to come? Thanks!

You are welcome. Thank you for your kind words. I am happy to be able to help all I can to understand the Scriptures better.

I would be happy to elaborate. When it comes to what God is accomplishing through His current administration of grace (Ephesians 3:2), there are two passages that stand out in helping us to understand this. The first is Ephesians 3:10 (I am quoting here from The Resultant Version).

(10) That now to the sovereignties and the authorities among the most elevated may be made known, through the outcalled One, the manifold wisdom of God.

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Romans 7

New King James Version 1. Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

Wuest’s Expanded Translation 1. Or are you ignorant, brethren, for I am speaking to those who have an experiential knowledge of law, that the law exercises lordship over the individual as long as he lives?

Now in this chapter Paul is going to discuss the law. It is very important that we keep this in mind throughout the chapter, or else we will lose our way in trying to interpret what he is talking about. The Greek word for “law” is nomos, which occurs 197 times in the New Testament, of which 122 or almost two-thirds are in Paul’s epistles. Most of these occurrences are in the two books of Galatians and Romans, both of which deal with the law. In the book of Romans alone, the word “law” occurs 75 times. Of these, there are 23 occurrences of the word “law” in this chapter. So of 75 occurrences in Romans, a book that contains nearly 40% of all the occurrences of nomos or “law” in the New Testament, 23 or nearly a third are in chapter 7. So there can be no other possible conclusion but that this chapter is talking about the law.

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Romans 6 Part 3

15. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!

Having declared us under grace, Paul then asks the question, what then? So we are under grace, then what? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Does this free forgiveness from the impossible requirements of the law extend to the possible requirements as well? Does it extend to the moral requirements? That is the question. The Romans are set free and are not under the law anymore. They no longer have to worry that if they break the law they will be under its condemnation. But does that mean they should go ahead and voluntarily sin since they are not under the law but under grace?

Again Paul answers this question by saying this is certainly not true, no indeed, or “let not my thinking come to that.” Such a thought should not even come into a believer’s mind. The Romans are not to sin just because they are not under the law. This gives them no permission to live a loose life morally. Even without the dictates and requirements of the law, God has principles by which they could live, and He gave them consciences by which they could live. So while they were not able to keep the law in regard to going to Jerusalem for the feasts or in regard to the woman presenting herself in the temple and bringing an offering every time a child was born, this did not give them free permission to live in sin and immorality because they are not under the law but under grace. Absolutely not!

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Romans 6 Part 2

New King James Version 6. knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

The Resultant Version 6. Knowing this, that our old humanity is crucified with Him, that the very essence of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Now the Lord speaks of something that we as believers have been made aware of and gotten to know, or at least we ought to have done so. We ought to know that our old man is crucified together with Him. Some try to make this our “old nature” or “sinful nature,” but it is better to understand this as our old humanity, the old person we were before our identification with Jesus Christ. That old person has now been hung on the cross along with Jesus Christ. That old person has died with Him, and that has resulted in the body of sin being done away with.

Just what is it that is destroyed when the body of sin is destroyed? Milton in his classic work Paradise Lost pictures sin as Satan’s daughter with whom He had an incestuous relationship that then produced a boy who is death. Milton pictured it this way, but of course Milton understood he was using poetic imagery. He did not really imagine that sin is a woman or that sin literally has a female body. Yet if this is an image, what is the reality of it? What exactly is the “body of sin” to which the Bible refers? To understand this, we need to realize that the word body, soma in Greek, has to do with the substance of a thing. Your body is the physical material of which you are made, the essence of what you are as a physical being. So the essence of sin is the actual, terrible reality of sin. When you perform a sinful act, that act arises from the fact that there is sin in the world and there is sin in you. That essence of sin within you leads to sins, and you commit sin because you are a sinner. You do not become a sinner by sinning; you sin because you are a sinner. The essence of sin is in you and it affects you, yet that very essence of sin is to be destroyed.

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Romans 6

New King James Version 1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

In this chapter we are dealing with the peculiar experience of the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord has just proclaimed to us that grace is now reigning rather than sin, which is a glorious truth. Yet this brings up an important question. If grace now reigns and the reign of sin is broken, does that mean that sin is now inconsequential? Some it seems were saying or thinking just this when Paul made this argument. Indeed, there are some worldly-minded people who, when they hear the message of grace, think just this today.

This question comes up in many different ways. When I say that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that therefore I am saved and my salvation is safe and secure, some will reply to that by accusing me of thinking that a man can live as he pleases and do as he pleases as long as he has a Savior. No, I do not believe that. No one can truly have an encounter with Jesus Christ and remain unaffected by it. No one can remain as a sin-filled, worldly person who is unchanged once he really gets to know Jesus Christ. The one who has put his faith in our Lord will desire to please Him and will seek to live to please Him. We do not work to be saved, but we work because we are saved. But there are those who will accuse us of saying we should continue in sin that grace may abound.

So Paul asks, what shall we say then in light of the fact that grace is now reigning? Shall we say that we should continue in sin? That we should walk every day and live our normal lives and carry out our chosen lifestyles in sin in order that grace may abound? Is that what we want to do? Paul’s answer is below.

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Romans 5 Part 3

New King James Version 15. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

The Resultant Version 15. But not as the offense is the gracious gift, for if by the offense of the one the many died, much greater the grace of God, and the gift in grace by one Man, Jesus Christ, unto the many superabounded.

The “free gift” is the Greek word charisma, which indicates a free or gracious gift. It is used many times of the gracious gifts of the Acts period, which is why some call themselves “charismatics” today, because they seek to revive these gifts. Yet here the free gift is not the powerful gifts of the Acts period, but rather the free gift of righteousness, the greatest gift of all that God bestows on poor, unworthy sinners like we are.

He says that the gracious gift is not the same as the offense. By the offense, of course, he means Adam’s original offense and sin, when he ate of the forbidden fruit and by eating brought sin, death, and rebellion into the world of all his descendants. Many died, are dying, and yet will die because of Adam. But now the gracious gift of God, which is much greater than the offense of Adam, is going to bring in this man of the resurrection who shall no longer have sin and death working in him. This gracious gift is not like the offense because it is much greater than the original transgression. Certainly by studying through Ephesians, we see that God not only gives us forgiveness of sins and salvation, but so much more. It is not just reversing the offense, but it goes far, far beyond to bless us with every spiritual blessing among the most exalted in Christ. So the gift in grace by one Man, that is Jesus Christ, unto the many who received it super-abounded. It didn’t just give us the minimum we needed in order to live in the kingdom. It super-abounded towards us in the gift by Jesus Christ. In other words he is telling us here that God’s free gift immeasurably outweighs the transgression.

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