Let me first say that there is some really good stuff in there. Chapter 12, in particular, is my favorite. (Naturally I would not agree about being zealous for God and other things like that, but the essence of the chapter is excellent.) Some of the verses in the chapters after that are also good.
But Paul, poor Paul, is not quite right on everything. Many people already know of the controversial commands to obey each and every authority figure, because they are placed there by God according to Chapter 13. On the other hand, not many people seem to speak of some of the deeper issues with Paul's theology as presented in Romans.
This is not my blog to go deeply into Scriptural affairs, but let me whet your appetite for deeper study with some teasers. Paul believed that:
- After Adam, everybody died despite the fact that nobody was held accountable for their sins until the Law had been given.
- God was making the Jews not believe in the grace through Jesus by making them stumble over the Law.
- God will eventually save all of the Jews living at a particular time, when they get jealous of the Salvation by faith of the Gentiles. That will occur after all of the necessary Gentiles have become believers.
- Judgement Day was near.
“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” NIVYet Paul seemed to have missed Genesis 26:3-5, where God tells Isaac:
“Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” NIVSo yes Paul, Abraham's belief was credited as righteousness, but the Promise was given and was being kept by God because of Abraham's works!
And the arguments Paul gives in Chapters 3-7 about righteousness through faith instead of by the Law made me think of "The Princess Bride;" the scene where there is a battle of wits between Westley and Vizzini. Westley pours poison into some wine, arranges two cups, tells Vizzini to choose a cup, then they will both drink, and one of them will die. Vizzini starts going though a stream of ridiculous logic about which cup to choose, to which Westley sarcastically replies "Truly, you have a dizzying intellect."
Well, Paul, truly, you have a dizzying intellect. It is no wonder that in Romans he pleaded for believers to set aside differences of scriptural opinion, and also pleaded that they should stay away from anyone teaching anything contrary to what Paul had taught them.