The Book of Romans is what Martin Luther called the most important letter that Paul ever wrote. The theological arguments and implications of Romans are far-reaching and the many topics are interconnected and entirely consistent with one another in argumentation and style. Within this cogent and comprehensive theological statement of belief and faith, Paul writes extensively on what it means to live a Christian life. He combines his understanding of the fall of humankind, the Old Testament law, and the fulfillment of the law in Jesus Christ with the post-Pentecostal period where the Holy Spirit dwells in believers who have professed their faith in Jesus as their Savior. According to Rom 8, the Spirit is integral to the Christian’s sanctification. The life of a Christian is one in which believers should rely on the Holy Spirit to guide them in their daily lives, a life where they are obedient to God and stand in faith on His promises.
Reliance on the Holy Spirit
Paul teaches that the mind is the key to obedience, but that the mind is helpless to the desires of the flesh unless the person has the Spirit active within him or her. Without the indwelling Spirit, a person simply cannot be obedient to God. Paul explains why in Romans 8:5, indicating that the fundamental reason for people’s inability to obey is that their minds are fixed on the flesh without the Spirit’s grace. He states, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” In this sense, the mind is the slave of the body without the Spirit. With the Spirit, however, the mind is the slave of the Spirit. On...
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Bruce, F.F. The Letter of Paul to the Romans. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. Eerdman’s, 1988.
Cranfield, C. E. B. Romans: A Shorter Commentary. New York, NY: Continuum Publishing, 1985.
Dunn, James. Romans: Word Biblical Commentary. Columbia: Word, Inc., 1988.
Kaylor, R.D. Paul’s Covenantal Community: Jew and Gentile in Romans. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1988.
Luther, Martin. “Commentary on the Book of Romans.” Transl. by Andrew Thornton. http://www.ewordtoday.com/comments/romans/luther/romansintro.htm. Accessed December 12, 2013.
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