Rom 5:1-8:39

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Home > The New Testament > Romans > Chapters 5-8
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Discussion[edit]

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  • Rom 5:2. With the free gift of God's grace,we are invited to rejoice in our salvation. Yet do we need to do anything more? Yes: to glory in tribulation which leads to patience and hope. This could be seen as Paul's version of the "first principles and ordinances of the gospel."
First, faith, second suffering through tribulation, third patience or endurance, and fourth hope. Through the process, we finally arrive at the Holy Ghost, just as we do in Joseph Smith's first principles and ordinances.
  • Rom 5:5: Shed abroad. The Greek word ekcheo ("shed abroad") is also used in the sense of "pouring" in the LXX in Num 19:17 and Ex 30:18 in a purification rite. This is also the word used in Matt 26:28 to describe Christ's blood being shed for the sins of others, the same phrasing we find in our sacrament prayers. See also Matt 23:35; Acts 22:20; Rev 16:6.
  • Rom 5:8: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Here Paul notes that Christ suffers for sinners, not saints, or the righteous. "None are rightious" he had said previously. In a sense, Christ is most often with us when we are sinners, suffering and silently enduring with us. Although as Saints, we may feel his presence, yet he is also very present in the life of the sinner, gently trying to mould the life in a way that might promote some kind of healing. But even if not, he is always there, suffering all things with the sinner.
  • Rom 5:13: Sin is not imputed when there is no law. Some believe that the heathen will go to hell. However, Paul clearly states that sin is never imputed unto those without the law. Some might argue, but the Fall of Adam makes all men sinful. Not according to this scripture. Without the law, there is no sin, no condemnation, and thus, no hell. Only mortal death is imputed from the Fall. But spiritual death comes only from our own sins, in the presence of a known law. Paul says even of himself, in Rom 7:9, "For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." Paul was scott free, sinless, alive, and uncondemned before he knew the law. Then when he heard the law, he died.
  • Rom 6:22: Everlasting. The same Greek word (aionios) that is translated as "everlasting" in verse 22 is translated as "eternal" in verse 23.
  • Rom 6:21-23. In these verses Paul wraps up a lengthy argument in which he encourages followers of Christ to become obedient to righteousness. Apparently, there were some Christians who felt that because of grace that it didn't matter what they did with their lives. But Paul unequivocally rejects this idea in verse 15. In the end, he says in verses 21-23, we have two choices: death (verse 21 and 23) that comes from doing iniquity, or holiness (sanctification and purity) with the result of eternal life (verses 22 and 23).
  • Rom 7:1. Compare the usage of this word in Rom 5:21; Rom 6:9; Rom 6:14. Note esp. Rom 6:14 since it seems this chapter is will be taking up the question of what it means to be "not under the law, but under grace."
  • Rom 7:2: Bound by the law. Paul seems to be referring to the law described in Deut 24:1.
  • Rom 7:4: Wherefore ... ye also. The phrasing here draws a comparison between Jewish law as it pertains to a woman whose husband as died. However, this should not be read strictly as an analogy. That is, there are themes from this example that Paul will employ in discussing law—namely, the ideas of law, death, and union (old and new)—however, trying to make one-to-one identification mappings between, say, the first husband and the law, seem to be strained, going beyond Paul's purpose.
  • Rom 7:5: Which were by the law. Although this is a fairly literal translation of the Greek, most modern translations amend this so it makes more sense. Several translations (e.g. NRSV, NASB, NET, NIV, NKJV) add the word "arouse" to make more sense of the phrase. For example, the NRSV for this verse is: "While we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death" (emphasis added). In this sense, perhaps the "sinful passions" (NRSV) or "motions of sins" (KJV) are "by the law" because the law, in prohibiting a certain act, makes that very act more attractive. That is, in the very act of prohibiting an act, attention is drawn to that act. However, it should be noted, that although several modern translations seem to take this approach, this is only one of several possible interpretive directions to take. James D. G. Dunn, for example, in his Word Biblical Commentary volume on Romans 1-8, translates this verse as: "For when we were in the flesh the sinful passions which operate through the law were effective in what we are and do so as to bear fruit for death." Here, the phrase "the sinful passions which operate through the law" seems truer to the ambiguity in the Greek in that it allows for this "operat[ion]" of sin through (or by) the law to function in many possible ways, either by arousing interest in sin, or by some other way (Dunn seems to take this in terms of the law acting through us, tying in, perhaps, to the notion of serving the law of sin rather than the law of God; cf. Rom 7:6; Rom 7:25).
I would also cite 2 Nephi 2:13(11-13) which suggests a different reading of Romans 7:5 than that suggested by the other authors cited. I further think the larger context also agreeable to this meaning. That is, that sin, being an act of breaking the law, can only exist in a context where there is law. Therefore, if there was no law, then there would be no sin and it can justly be said that sin takes its existence from the law and is therefore enabled to work in us because of the law.
So, I would then read Romans 7:5 as being an extension of the act played out in the garden of eden. Man became mortal because of transgression and that transgression still works in us unto death, but not just this "original" sin, but also the suggestion seems to remain that other sins that we commit ourselves contribute to this decay. A question in my mind is that if the simple transgression of Adam and Eve still works within us to make us mortal, to produce a temporal decay, then can the sins of our other progenitors have also contributed to this decay?
Not having read the authors cited, perhaps the do take up some of these ideas. Any thoughts?
I was wondering the same thing regarding 2 Ne 2. As my jumbled notes on this probably make obvious, I'm not very clear on what "typical" Bible scholars think about this passage (and whole chapter), let alone how a Mormon reading might differ. My plan is to try and study what Bible scholars think about this chapter, then think how 2 Ne 2 might influence how we read this chapter, and finally take up the intriguing JST on this passage. Actually, I think the subsequent verses will help us think about what Paul is up to here, but I haven't really made sense of them yet for myself yet. Onward ho.... --RobertC 19:00, 24 August 2007 (CEST)
  • Rom 7:6. It seems that Paul's purpose in employing this marriage analogy (vv. 1-6) is to argue that the law's grasp does not extend beyond death. In light of the "baptized into [Christ's] death" (Rom 6:3) theme in chapter 6, the idea seems to be that in baptism, the Christian is "delivered from the law" ("discharged from the law" in the NRSV; in Greek, the same verb is used here, katargeo, as in verse 2 to describe the way in which a woman whose husband dies is "loosed from the law").
  • Rom 7:9. Before we hear the gospel, before we have the law, we are alive, sinless. When the law comes, we die. Here we have a possible explanation for why "gentiles" sometimes seem to weather the consequences of sin better than saints. Pornography is the perfect example. Statistics seem to indicate that rates of addiction are higher in Mormon areas. Undoubtedly, these addictions take a much higher toll than they do for "gentiles." The reason is simple. Where there is a law, there is spiritual death, and all the consequences of that death. Although I believe that even for "gentiles" there are consequences to certain actions that we as Mormons call "sins," these consequences do not include spiritual death on the same level we as LDS members experience.
  • Rom 7:15-25: JST. Verses 15-25 take on a clearer and less awkward meaning in JST (passages not noted in LDS Edition. See The New Testament with the Joseph Smith Translation by Steven and Julie Hite or the edition by Wayment.
  • Rom 7:20. Is Paul advocating personal responsibility away from us by noting our helplessness in the face of the power of sin upon us? In a way, yes, but in a way, no. We don't have to feel so guilty if our flesh is full of lusts, for that is it's natural state. "The natural man is an enemy to God" as King Benjamin said. Paul says nothing good comes from the flesh, which may be only his personal opinion based on his own demons, (i.e. his thorn in the flesh). But it is true that the flesh is an unruly member, no matter how deep our spiritual commitment to the commandments. It is only through Christ that we can hope to achieve freedom through forgiveness.
  • Rom 8:13. This is similar to Christ's idea: "He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Matthew 10:39
  • Rom 8:33: Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?. A beautiful scripture on the pointlessness of criticism and passing judgement on those who have been called and chosen. Sure they may not always be perfect, but when they have already been saved by Christ who made intercession for them, who are we to ever pass judgement upon them?

Points to ponder[edit]

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  • Rom 7:18. In the flesh dwelleth no good thing. Paul's attitudes about the flesh are unique among biblical and latter day authors. In our day, the "flesh" is not seen as so perverse. The "flesh" nature of deity is continually asserted, as is the divine nature of the physical intimacy within marriage. Having a "body" is seen as one of the greatest things a spirit can ever attain. So why is the flesh so continually vilified by Paul?
  • Rom 8:20. Who his the "him" in the phrase "him who hath subjected the same"? God? Adam? Someone else?

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  • Rom 8:16-17. Keith R. Edwards, "That They Might Know Thee," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 99–101. Elder Edwards said: "Paul wrote that our suffering may give us an opportunity to know the Savior better... Now, lest anyone go looking for hardship and suffering, that is not what is taught. Rather, it is the attitude with which we approach our hardships and trials that allows us to know the Savior better."

Notes[edit]

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