Who Is the Man of Romans 7?
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 4 Lesson 8 Sabbath Afternoon
Read first paragraph,
“Few chapters in the Bible have created more controversy than has Romans 7. Concerning the issues involved, The SDA Bible Commentary says: “The meaning of [Romans 7:14-25] has been one of the most discussed problems in the whole epistle. The main questions have been as to whether the description of such intense moral struggle could be autobiographical, and, if so, whether the passage refers to Paul’s experience before or after his conversion. That Paul is speaking of his own personal struggle with sin seems apparent from the simplest meaning of his words (cf. [Romans 7:7-11]; . . .). [Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 19; Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 475.] It is surely also true that he is describing a conflict that is more or less experienced by every soul confronted by and awakened to the spiritual claims of God’s holy law.” – The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 553.”
Why? What causes the confusion? Could it be the assumptions one holds before one goes to the text? If one conceives of law in a certain way before they read the text will it color how they understand what is being said?
The last paragraph states, “Whatever position one takes, what’s important is that Jesus’ righteousness covers us and that in His righteousness we stand perfect before God, who promises to sanctify us, to give us victory over sin, and to conform us to the ‘image of his son’ (Romans 8:29).”
What does it mean to be covered by the robe of Christ’s righteousness? Why does covering us with the righteousness of Christ cause us to stand perfect before God?
- Does the description above sound like we are standing perfect before God before we are actual perfect before God—why would we need sanctification if we are perfect before God?
- And what kind of a trick is going on if we are somehow able to get God to believe we are perfect, yet we are not perfect? What kind of a God wouldn’t know that?
- This confusing description, which is written to bring hope, yet instead causes doubts, is based on misunderstanding God’s law, and therefore teaching the robe of Christ righteousness is a metaphor that teaches a legal accounting process rather than a healing and transforming experience in the believer.
Here is one view from the book Christ’s Object Lessons, do you agree with this view or prefer a different one?
This robe, woven in the loom of heaven, has in it not one thread of human devising. Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us. … When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah. page 311
Do you agree?
So when does the Lord see us covered with the robe of righteousness—before or after we have been healed in heart and mind?
What would it mean then if we teach people the metaphor is a declaration of being seen as perfect before God BEFORE we are healed within? It means we are cheating people, we are leading them to believe a system of lies and falsehood that has a form of godliness, but has no power. This false view leads people to believe they need to have their sins hidden from God—why?
Because the legal view has God as the source of inflicted punishment for sin. In the book above, what was described was healing—nothing legal going on here, it is all about restoration, recreation to righteousness.
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