Paul’s Epistle to the Romans
September 19, 2021
Almighty God and Father, we give you hearty thanks that you have sent the Holy Spirit to us and that he has called us through the gospel, enlightened us with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved us in the true faith. We ask that you would graciously permit his power to continue to dwell richly among us. Bestow this power upon all preachers and teachers, that they may rightly proclaim your Word, adding nothing to it and taking nothing from it, and not withholding the saving truth either from fear or to please people.
Give the Word proclaimed tomorrow fruitful soil in our congregation and our church. Bestow your Spirit’s enlightenment upon all hearers of your message, that they may bow before your judgement and rejoice in your saving gospel. Grant these gifts to all who desire Holy Baptims and receive the Lord’s Supper, and give all people the renewal that comes from faith and Christian life. Let the seed of your Word grow here on earth for our salvation and, though it, prepare us for your eternal harvest, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A reminder – Romans is one letter. We don’t want to lose the forest for the trees.
We are looking at little pieces with great detail. The little pieces come together into a larger whole that reveals an important message about the righteousness of God.
15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
Go back to 6:1 – Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
Now – Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace?
What is the logic here?
Antinomianism – anti = against, nomos = law
- Rejects the law’s authority
- Rejects morality – or, at least, a standard of morality the individual or group does not endorse.
- “Morally the Church was far from perfect. Some of those who wished to be regarded as Christians were adopting the attitude, technically called antinomianism, which was drawn from a misconception of man’s response to God’s grace and which was to recur again and again through the centuries, that the Christian need not be bound by any moral law.”
- 1 Corinthians
Learning from Jesus and the Pharisees – Matthew 23
- What are the weightier matters?
- Does that mean that the other matters don’t matter?
- People tend to focus on:
o Vices – “Don’t drink, don’t smoke? What do you do? (Subtle inuendo)” – Adam Ant
o The obvious and scandalous. – “Big sins.”
§ Even these will vary by societal standards.
· Prostitution vs. corporate greed
- What is often missed is the heart of the matter – love.
o Relationship to God
o Relationship to Neighbor – my rights vs. my neighbor’s need
o Idolatry and wisdom that is “earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” (James 3:15)
Graceless “Christianity” – Legalism
Lawless “Christianity” – Antinomianism
Living in the freedom of the gospel
- Not a freedom to do whatever. (Antinomian)
- A freedom from sin/death/guilt
- A freedom found in Christ’s love and forgiveness
- Free to become – not slaves, but – obedient from the heart.
 Adapted from a prayer that was quoted in the “Pray, Brothers”, which got it from “Everyday Morning Prayers.”
 Latourette, Kenneth, A History of Christianity, Harper and Row, New York, 1953, p. 114