Romans (16): Torah and Israel in the Flesh
Romans 6: An Exposition (16) - The Torah and Israel in the Flesh
All Saints * Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * September 28, 2008
Or do you not know, brothers and sisters (for I am speaking to those who know Torah), that Torah is lord over a person as long as he lives? 7:2 For example, a married woman is bound by Torah to her husband as long as he lives, but if her husband dies, she is released from the torah of the husband....7:4 So, my brethren, you also died to Torah through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God. 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the sufferings of sin, aroused by Torah, were active in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 7:6 But now we have been released from Torah, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code. 7:7 What shall we say then? Is Torah sin? Absolutely not! Certainly, I would not have known sin except through Torah. For indeed I would not have known what it means to desire something belonging to someone else if Torah had not said, “Do not covet.” 7:8 But sin, finding occasion through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of wrong desires....7:13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? Absolutely not! But sin, in order that it would be manifest as sin, produced death in me through what is good, in order that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. 7:14 For we know that Torah is spiritual—but I am unspiritual, sold into slavery to sin.... 7:21 This, then, is what I find about Torah, that when I want to do good, evil is close at hand. 7:22 For I delight in Torah of God in my inner being. 7:23 But I see a different law in my members waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that is in my members. 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Three Main Views: 1)_______________2)________________3) _______________
Romans 7 has been traditionally understood in various ways. 1) PreChristian experience. 2) Sub-Christian experience (unlike chs 6/8) and as 3) Mature Christian experience in continuing to deal with indwelling sin. However, this passage is not about the experience of Christians or pre-Christian’s at all. It is about the role of Torah in the redemptive history of Israel.
The Main Concept of the Chapter is _____________________________________
This is a passage about Torah, the Jewish covenant-law, a recurring theme addressed earlier (3:20, 5:21). From the first verse/illustration it is clear that the key term is “law” (nomos in Greek, Torah in Hebrew, used 23 times in these 25 verses). The main concepts are that Torah binds “you” to Adam; (ch 6 says) Adam, the “old you,” dies in baptism; “you” are therefore free to join another (Christ), without Torah.
The Main Character of the Chapter is ___________________________________
Paul uses “first person” which makes it seem like he is either referring to himself experientially or himself as a representative of his Christian audience. But this is the “I” of my countrymen (cf 9:3). Essentially the “I” (in the context and argument of Romans) is the Judaistic Paul speaking representatively for Israel in the flesh, directly to the ghost Judaistic objector (e.g., 6:1). To understand this, we must see how Torah fit into Israel’s story: Adam’s sin has infected the whole world; but Torah comes to Israel, so that Israel, married to YHWH God with the Torah as the marriage covenant. Israel embraces the Torah as the divinely given covenant charter; which also binds Israel to Adamic sin and death. The Torah in its darker purpose becomes the unwitting vehicle of the sinfulness of sin and death (7:13). However, True Israel (Jesus) is the goal of the Torah (10:4) and has fulfilled its claims upon us in His atoning death and resurrection.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more