The End of the Romans Revolution 2006

Following are passages discussed in the December 3, 2006 program of the White Horse Inn, entitled, “The Bible vs. Romans, part 2″:

Each of the following passages are brought up to argue with vital doctrines presented by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans. Is the Bible clear on sin, grace, justification, sanctification and free will? Or can the teaching of some Bible writers be pitted against Paul’s teaching in Romans to counteract his presentation of these doctrines?

Matthew 19:16-20

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?”

Some of Michael Horton’s comments on this passage touching on justification and the Law:

“Jesus saved himself and us by obeying the commandments.”

” . . . it is possible to have this external, Mosaic righteousness without really fulfilling the deeper intentions of the Law, because, it’s not as it was with the woman at the well, where Jesus can say, go, show me your husband, or let’s talk about the five husbands you’ve divorced. Here, is a case where Jesus doesn’t say, ‘Now, I remember on October the 12th, you did such and such.’ He doesn’t contest his claim to have done all of these things from his youth. He presses on to say, ‘Even if you have done all these things, according to the national righteousness, the national average, you really have not loved your neighbor, because, your neighbor is right over there on the street corner in rags and you’ve done absolutely nothing about it.”

Romans 4:5; 7:21— The believer is righteous in Christ while remaining wicked in himself

Yeah, but what about . . .

Hebrews 10:26, 27?

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

Kim Riddlebarger explains the context. . .

“Isn’t the reference point for that comment back in chapter six, where the author of Hebrews is talking about those who were once enlightened, and have partaken of the heavenly gift, and those who fall away can never be brought back again? The context seems to be a number of Jews who’ve made professions of faith and who have abandoned Christianity for Judaism under the persecution of other Jews.”

Ken Jones explains the application . . .

“For you to reject Christ, to turn away from Christ, and go back and offer an animal sacrifice to seek to appease God, you are trampling underfoot the blood of his Son. . . .(the animal sacrifices) were prescribed in the Mosaic Law, that’s his whole point. All of the sacrifices in the Mosaic Law pointed to the Person and Work of Christ. As long as they were understood as pointing to Christ, it was sufficient for those people as they looked to Christ, but now that he has come all of that has been fulfilled. So there is no need for an animal sacrifice, there is no need for all of the trappings of the Mosaic Law. It’s over!”

Pray, tell, dear Reader, what passage in Romans touches on and agrees with this exposition and application of this passage in Hebrews? Consider Romans 7:7-24 . . .

The Law and Sin
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am!

Who will deliver me from this body of death?

25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
The teaching of the Bible does not hold some unrealistic expectation that you are going to perfectly obey everything in thought, word and deed, now that you have been justified in Christ, for you have not yet been completely sanctified yet, neither have you yet been glorified! Paul remained, in practical terms, wicked in himself, even though he was justified before God in the Person and Work of Christ and no longer desired to serve his sinful nature. A lot of people are fond of calling Paul “the greatest Christian who ever lived.” Sometimes I wonder if those who say that really catch the full import of his words in the book of Romans. I would sooner agree with Paul’s explicit words in 1 Timothy 1:15, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

Again, for this revolutionary truth found in the book of Romans and the rest of the Bible, we can only give thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord, because “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.(notice the period at the end of this sentence!)


6 responses

  1. This is the center of the Federal Vision controversy. Some FVer’s are suggesting Paul (and other writers) in the bible use words differently than systematicians do today. In other words systematic theology takes words like salvation, justification, etc. out of their bibilical context and as a result end up with a skewed definition.

    It is worth looking into.

  2. JOHN



    good insight here!

    I now establish the Law.

    The question is how can I?

    Romans 3 is a peculiar chapter that preceded Romans 7.

    Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

    I have over the years worked with Law enforcement.

    In fact my niece’s husband is a sheriff’s deputy even now in the County here, Humboldt and my cousin just was appointed to “CHIEF” Detective of my City, Eureka, Ca.

    After I was appointed a “Commissioner” and went through training to “function” as such.

    My role was to “create” laws, then hire enforcers of those laws being very very careful to “keep” them.

    I became a different kind of sinner by this practical experience.

    Now, I do myself a favor and follow the rules. Their intent is to keep me safe and secure from God’s wrath.

    I need a Savior.

    God has not left Himself representativeless!

    To this the Holy Ghost attests!

    Jesus Christ is Lord!

    Thank you Lord Jesus!
    Thank You Lord!!


  3. I had discerned a tendency to favor postmillennial theonomy on your part while perusing your blog. While Michael Horton was my first Reformed influence as a teen, I had a Reformed, theonomic friend in Army basic training who was more concerned about my then-dispensational views than he was my 4pt. Arminian soteriology. Try though he might, I refused to go with him down the theonomy trail. Just by instinct, my knowledge of the Word haunts me with the fact that “my Kingdom is not of this world.” And any Vision which focuses so much organized attention on temporal political realities is just too much to ask of me.

    After reading your comment, I looked up Federal Vision on Wikipedia and found a good summary of the recent controversy. I recall, back when Gage Browning and I worked together, his reports of the beginning of the whole controversy. But I didn’t realize paedocommunion was so closely tied to the whole Federal Vision thing.

  4. More for David,

    The points on the difference between biblical and systematic theology are well taken. On that issue, as I seem to be on so many things, you can call me a “big tent theology” guy. My tent has room for both. From what I’ve seen of both methods of interpretation, they seem to complement, rather than mutually exclude, each other. This is where I insert my typical, “Both/And,” not “Either/Or” line of reasoning! 🙂

  5. John,
    I love the WHI… Good Post. I’m going to be doing a series on the Federal Vision-Auburn Avenue guys, and maybe even NT Wright… in the near future. Interesting… my pastor, used to be the Pastor at Auburn Avenue Pres in Louisisna…where this has taken root.


  6. What a small world! Looking forward to the Federal Vision series!

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