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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

PAULS PERSPECTIVES OF THE LAW: FROM ROMANS AND GALATIANS

A Paper Submitted to Dr. Rodney Woo New Testament Orientation II - NBST 522-D12

By Nathaniel Jones Student ID: L21077684 April 11, 2012

Contents
Introduction..........................................................................................................................................1 Pauls Background and Theology.......................................................................................................2 Book of Romans Perspective...............................................................................................................4 A. B. C. D. E. F The Law Reflects Human Failure............................................................................................5 Escaping Judgment................................................................................................................5 Jews and Gentiles ................................................................................................................5 Jewish Privileges..................................................................................................................6 Condemnation........................................................................................................................7 Romans Direction to Faith...................................................................................................7

Galatians Prospective...........................................................................................................................9 The Laws Function...........................................................................................................................10 The Believers of the Law Role..........................................................................................................11 Summary and Conclusion..................................................................................................................14 Bibliography.......................................................................................................................................15

Introduction Pauls view of the Law is a difficult and controversial subject. Some scholars say that the blame for the difficulty is on Paul himself. The apostle Paul instructed the Romans with good news when he wrote this gospel message; if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Rom. 10:9). This was the result of Pauls life-long journey for God and his lessons as a dedicated Jew that took him deep into Mosaic Law. But, after his experience with Christ on Damascus road, Paul learned that his new great work was saving souls with lessons of faith and not law. Joseph Exell stated that Romans 10:9 have been suggested to be a little Bible, or a miniature Body of Divinity .1 Paul taught that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believe (Rom. 10:4). Paul believed that the law was a temporary provision2 introduced by God because of mans sinfulness, until the arrival of Abrahams seed. Through this seed, God gave Abraham a promise of blessings that would be fulfilled. In this sense, Paul taught that the law was a means to bring man to eternal salvation through Christ. Once saved through faith, the implications for the Christian life are completely transforming. Pauls teaching regarding our salvation, and the life of a Christian after salvation reveals that Christ provides us an escape from our sin revealed by the law. Consequent to our salvation through the Holy Spirit and Christ provides us the path to compliance with the law. This compliance is a reflection of the inner spiritual intent of God as revealed by Holy Scriptures, and it is not the superficial obedience practiced by hypocritical Pharisees in the first century.

1. Exell, Joseph S.. The Biblical Illustrator: Romans, Volume I. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1956. 350 2. Bruce, F.F., Paul Apostle of the Heart Set Free. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000. 191

In Pauls teaching, it can be understood that yielding to the Holy Spirit compels us to obedience to the law. In this sense, we can understand a deep reverence for the law as holy in the teachings of Paul. The law provides us with an ongoing guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When writing to the Romans, Paul provides his most comprehensive writing on salvation and the life of the believer. This writing has been referred to as the Constitution of Christian Faith,4 it is a great foundation for understanding Pauls teachings. In Galatians, Paul was forced to provide a detailed defense of his teaching. In that defense, he provided one of his earliest written instructions on the law and its role for the life of the believer. Romans and Galatians provided foundation for Pauls teaching on the law. Pauls basic theological positions provided the building blocks for understanding the role of the law in Pauls life, and from that is constructed the framework of the law and how it fits into his theology. The law had a basic role, which was to lead man to an understanding of the need for salvation. But, Paul also emphasized that the law was useful in the continuing of life of the believer under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Pauls Background Many scholars have believe that Pauls world was a Jewish one, and that Judaism exerted the most influence on his teaching.5 Carson and Moo stated that it is now generally agreed that Pauls own thought world was decisively formed by his Jewish upbringing .6 Pauls Jewish heritage is clear claim in his Scripture.
3. Brindle, William A. , Carl J. Diemer, Stephen R. Schrader, Elmer L. Towns, Robert W. Yarbrough, Edward G. Dobson, Jerry Farwell, Paul R. Fink, James A. Freerksen, Edward E. Hindson, Daniel R. Mitchell, Richard D. Patterson, and Ronald C. Sauer. The King James Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1988. 1727 4. Carson, D. A., and Douglas J. Moo. Introduction to the New Testament, An. 2 ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. 374 5. Carson and Moo, 375

He wrote that he was a Hebrew of the Hebrews a Pharisee (Phil. 3:5). He goes on to state
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in the same passage that his righteousness which is in the law (Phil. 3:6). Paul was passionate in his approach to his personal faith, and his own obedience through the law while a Jew. As a Pharisee, he belonged to a group that was the observer, and expounder of the Old Testament. He even added that, at least outwardly, no one could find fault in him for failing to keep any point of the law.7 Pauls own perspective of the law was destined to change because of his encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road. Pauls Theology In Pauls theology, human sinfulness, which applied to both Jews and Gentiles, provided a separation from God. He insisted that because of their choices of behavior and beliefs Gentiles rejected God. At the same time, Jews who made the law absolute were also alienated from God because of their inability to truly live up to the law. This separation brought about the the need for God to demonstrate his grace through his son of Jesus Christ.8 The message of Paul regarding Christs work is focused on Gods plan of redemption.9 The result of Christs life is that believers in Gods sight are holy, blameless, and flawless.10 It is through Gods grace we have faith, and through this faith then reconcile with God: Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1). The recurring theme of Pauls theology was that the salvation was in Christ and the church itself is the body of Christ11, summarized in Christ we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). As Pauls traveling companion, Luke summarized in Christ we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

6. Brindle et al. 1854. 7. Lea and Black, 355. 8. Ibid. 9 Ibid. 10. Lea and Black, 354

Understanding the basics of Pauls background and theology then, we turn to the heart of Pauls
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teaching on the law within this context from Romans and Galatians Perspective from Romans The epistle to the Romans has been referred to as The Constitution of Christianity, and the Christian Manifesto.12 The Roman church was made up mainly of Gentiles, and its beginnings certainly lacked a local church government. Small groups of the believers met all over the city, about the letter that was addressed to the saints in Rome as opposed to the more traditional church. Because Paul heard of the growth in the church and desired to visit there on his way to Spain, he wanted to teach them the fundamental doctrine of salvation in order to fortify them against the false teachers that Paul knew were sure to follow. Paul begins his address describing the righteousness of God (Rom. 1:17), His essential attribute. Most importantly, this righteousness is revealed by God as no man could have ever considered it of their own imagination.13 The righteousness of God is beyond the understanding of man, and that our lack of understanding causes an inadequate standing in the eyes of God. Paul reminded the Romans quickly of the purpose of Christ, to save us from the coming day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, Who will render to every man according to his deeds (Rom. 2:5-6). It was not that Pauls message of grace was intended come with a code or law of behavior, but Pauls intended point here was just as sharp: deeds give incontrovertible proof of what is in the heart.14 For the purposes of this discussion, the material on the law is discussed in five segments.

11. Brindle et al.1727 12. Brindle et al.1730 13. Brindle et. al. 1732

A.

The Law Reflects Human Failure Romans 1:18-32 states that, Paul teaches that the wrath of God is revealed against all
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ungodliness by those who their wickedness suppress the truth. Paul writes whether or not they claim knowledge of the law, man cannot deny the basic truths of the law. Paul also talks about the truth and penalty of sin, that God would give them over to a degenerate mind, (Rom. 2:28) that would be separate from the Lord and lead to the worldly consequences. Without the knowledge of Christ, sinners of the world are worthy of death (Rom. 2:32). B. Escaping Judgment Romans 2:1-11 contain passages of Pauls argument that those who have the knowledge to pass judgment against others will not escape judgment, and that the judgment of God will be by their own evil deeds. In this teaching, Pauls turns quickly on the self-righteous, who judges another person while at the same time without realizing they themselves are being condemned. Paul addresses the Jews, by pointing out their blindness and hypocrisy. Their hypocrisy because they judge others for the same sins of which they committed, and their blindness because they fail to see their own self-condemnation in by their acts against others.15 Often, the Jews could point to the worldly violations of others in the world while ignoring their own violations of the law. In this sense, the law provides the basis of a powerful reminder that the self-righteous are all guilty. C. Jews and Gentiles Paul writes that, because of the impending judgment, there is no respect of persons with God (Rom. 2:11). God can judge all on the basis of their works because He is impartial.

14. Murray, John. The Epistle to the Romans (New International Commentary on the New Testament). 2nd ed.
15. Brindle et al. 1732

In Romans 2:12-16, Paul reasons that all people with be judged impartially, whether Jew or Gentile. In executing judgment, God deals with those who know the law according to that which they possessed.
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There are two distinct groups who are identified, those without the law and those under the law (Rom. 2:12). God shall judge the secrets of men indicates that great day of wrath (Rom. 12:16). No matter if they are Gentiles or Jews, there will be judgment according not to their own consciences but, to matters known only to God and, things which escape them, or the nature of which may be undiscovered. The hypocrite that either deceived others or himself, shall then be laid open.17 D. Jewish Privileges Paul provides some background on the privileges enjoyed by the Jewish people (Romans 2:17-29). Specifically, Paul points out the five God-given privileges enjoyed by the Jews.18 First, they are called a Jew, which is their national difference resulting from Gods holy appointment. Second, the Jew rest in the law, given the revelation of Gods law through Moses whereas the Gentiles had only the law evidenced by conscience. Third, the Jew make thy boast of God, indicating that God was revealed through the nation Israel, who alone has the unique claim to the revelation of God. Fifth, the Jews were trained to know Gods will and the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law, indicating that the law was their teacher able to guide them of Gods specific will.

16. Exell, 166 17. Brindle et al. 1733

This superior knowledge should have brought forth behavior consistent with Gods direction, but instead the Jews caused them name of God to be blasphemed among the Gentiles (Rom. 2:24, 25). The result of Pauls teaching regarding the Jew and the law was that outward circumcision as a Jew did not provide rationalization. Instead, that man will be judged by the heart
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whether Jew or Gentile.

E. Condemnation for All Whether under the law or apart from the law, God will judge man by the circumcision of the heart. To be clarified that no man could be justified by the law, Paul transitions into a torrent of Old Testament scripture to support that righteousness by works would never be fulfilled. The Jewish legalist would be reminded of the testimony of which their ancestors provided regarding achievement of righteousness. Romans 3:20 state that, by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Thus Paul definitive hopeless predicament of man and our sinful nature makes man incapable of achieving right standing of God. F. Romans Direction to Faith With the imminent wrath of the judgment, and failure to obtain right standing through the law of our efforts, Paul believes that faith is the solution for our righteous standing before God. Paul demonstrates that it was faith and not works that provided the evidence of the salvation of both Abraham and David. Paul uses Genesis 15:6 to set the framework for salvation with Abraham, Gods elect who received the promise of blessings on all men forever. Paul wrote, Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness (Rom. 4:3). The promise made by God to Abraham was not made through the law, but through the righteousness of faith (Romans 4:13). This would have also been a harsh reminder to the Jews in the first century because they had drifted afar from the message originally sent to their ancestors. After the institution of the law was handed down from God, David was made king and Paul uses Psalm 32:1-2 to demonstrate Davids knowledge that forgiveness is available only to those who cast themselves in the mercy of God.19 In Romans, Paul teaches that salvation is by faith, which leads to redemption by God. Faith is introduced by Paul to the Romans when he speaks of Christ, by whom we have received
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grace and apostleship, for obedience to faith among all nations for his name (Romans 1:5). Faith itself is defined as allegiance to and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord,21 and it is emphasized that Pauls use of faith. His message contains an actionable level of commitment. Instead of simplifying the act or state of belief, Murray suggests that it is much more intelligible and suitable to take faith as in opposition to obedience and understand it as the obedience which consists in faith.22 With this perspective, faith is the driving force of obedience to the gospel of Christ.23 It is the wholehearted devotion to Christ and the truth of the gospel. It is our faith, and justification before God, which then corrects our standing and completes the divine redemption of our souls. Pauls solution, then, to the failure of the law is to remind the Jews that righteousness is for them as it was for Abraham, through faith. Paul proclaims the death of Christ Jesus, is the good news of the free gift of God by just having faith that Jesus Christ is eternal life. Paul also makes it clear here and elsewhere in his epistles that faith is purely the gift of God, and in no way the result of the efforts of man: This message of Gods grace through faith alone is resounded loudly in the epistle to the Romans as well (c.f. Rom. 3:27).

18.

Lea and Black, 397 Kauffman, Donald T. Dictionary of Religious Terms. Westwood, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1967. 181 Murray, 13 Ibid

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20. 21.

Galatians Perspective On Pauls first missionary journey, he and Barnabas visited cities in Asia Minor including the region of Galatia, and where they found Jews and God-fearing Gentiles.23. Their preaching in the synagogues was there first. The Jews had very strong opposition, and this opposition grew every place they preached in those cities. In Lystra, Jews persuaded the people to stone him and after they stoned him they threw Paul out of the city, thought that he was dead (Acts 14:19). Because of all of this opposition from the Jews, Paul and Barnabas turned to the Gentiles in Galatia
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and Asian minor and made converts from amongst them.24 After Paul and Barnabas left the Asia Minor region, Jewish Christians begin to enter the area, teaching that Christian salvation required the strictest adherence to the Jewish law. That would mean the Gentile Christians would have to follow the same rituals as Jewish converts practicing circumcision and obeying the Mosaic laws and customs. The local Jews opposed the Christians, and did not offer alternative doctrine in Pauls absence.25 It was believed, then, that those Jewish Christians providing false teaching were from outside the Galatia communities, and were known as Judaizers.26 Their false teaching is known as legalism.27 Part of this disapproval of Paul was that in the absence of Gods legalistic structure, it was suggested that immorality would follow. Pauls letter to the Galatians is specifically intended to address the position of the law, and be the driving force in the lives of those believers in Christ.

Carson and Moo, 465 Ibid Ibid 25. Lea, Thomas D., and David Alan Black. The New Testament: Its Background and Message. 2 Revised ed. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group, 2003. 364 26. Ibid

22. 23. 24.

The Laws Function After arguing for the law in the salvation of believers, the question Wherefore then serveth the law? (Gal. 3:19) is left; Paul argued that the law can neither save, nor can it terminate the covenant of Abrahams blessings to all nations. Paul explains that the law was the divine standard delivered to Moses by God for the Jews, and when they overstepped it, they became guilty of transgression. Paul also explains that the law was added after the covenant of Abraham and so subordinate to it, and temporary until Jesus, and unlike the covenant God gave to Abraham, that law was handed down through angels to Moses by God. Paul refers to the law as the teacher, tutor, schoolmaster, or the like depending on the translation
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used: But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Gal. 3:25). In Biblical times, the person in this role was in charge of more than simple schooling, including the moral and behavioral restraint as well as the protection of minors until they reached a responsible age.28 This is also consistent with Pauls continuing argument that a child who is heir should be under tutors and governors until the time appointed by the father. (Gal. 4:2) The law provided an invaluable role of protecting the people until such time that Christ would come and provide redemption through his death. The purpose of the law in the story of mans salvation was simply to preserve further deterioration in the behavior of sinful man. Once Christ was come, Paul taught that we are now in Christ and that we would have power to obey through Him. That the law would preserve the Jews from their sins and that the role of the law was never for salvation according to Pauls teaching. As members of the early church discovered their liberty, however, there arose another problem.

27.

Kruse, Colin G., Paul, the Law, and Justification. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996. 73

The Believers of the Law Role With Christ the law has no standing in our salvation. The believer now can have a righteous standing before God through faith in Christ Jesus. Through Gods grace and mercy, the world can be saved through faith. We have the liberty spoken of by the prophets and we can be assured of eternal life through the new covenant fulfilled through the faith in Christ Jesus. Many have taken the liberty provided by grace to the extreme of believing that once saved they could flourish in ungodly behavior. Paul talked about this issue in his writing to the Romans What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, which are dead to sin, live any longer therein (Rom. 6:1, 2).
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Paul was stating his reason for his recoil at the suggestion of sin, not in the form of elaborate argument but in the form of a question to reveal the inherent contradiction and absurdity of the supposed inference.28 This passage points out Pauls premise for the believer once saved they are dead to sin. Here, the apostles view is the once and for all definitive breach with sin which constitutes the identity. If a man lives in sin he is not a believer so, a believer cannot therefore live in sin.29 This provides closure to Pauls teaching of judgment and the use of the law. Man will be judged according to his works (Rom. 2:6), in which sin can be revealed through the law (Rom. 3:20). Salvation is through faith in Christ, but faith as taught by Paul compels us to action. Once saved through faith we are dead to sin, and translated into another realm; for it is now Christ that lives in us (c.f. Gal. 2:20).

28. 29. 29.

Kruse, 94 212 Murray, Murray, 213

Since Christ Jesus is holy, and lives within the believer, the actions of the believer are bound by the Spirit away from the sinful behavior to which we are dead. Paul made it clear that the law was by no means a path to righteousness, so the role of the law is not to give good reason for, but to show us what sin is, by revealing the sinful condition of man.30 The fact that man cannot fulfill the law and be justified does not mean, however, that the law is now abolished.32 In Christ, God has done what the law could not do, condemn sin in the flesh of his Son, so that what the law requires is now fulfilled by those who walk by the Spirit. The righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Rom. 8:4). Christ set us free from the law, and we are now enabled to uphold the law through Him (Rom. 3:31).31 That the law continues to apply does not imply a support for legalistic approaches to
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salvation. Instead, the continuance of the law simply provides credence to the point that scripture does not provide any basis for disregarding Gods revealed commands.32 Jesus said to think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill (Matt. 5:17). There, He stated his intention to show the superiority of His message to that of the Law of Moses, and that what he was teaching was not the contradiction of the Old Testament law. It is the completion of the spiritual intention of the law that Jesus taught. The law had degenerated into legalism in first century Judaism, and now Jesus took the law beyond outward observance to the inner spiritual intention of God.33

30. Ibid 31. Erickson, Millard 32. Erickson, 990 33. Brindle, 1417

J.. Christian Theology, 2nd edition. Michigan: Baker, 2007. 990

In this same message, Jesus gave instructions that were more restrictive than those of the law. In respect to adultery Christ points to the spiritual intent of man, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matt. 7:27) With respect to the commandment not to kill, Jesus added that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of judgment. (Matt. 22) The teachings of Jesus guided man to the spiritual intention of the law, instead of what man understood to be worldly obedience to the standard as formerly known. But, the intent of Jesus was not to make the law so limiting that man would just throw it out as useless, instead He taught about mercy and loves more than the legalists would have allowed. On several occasions, the teachings and actions of Jesus brought about the suspicion and wrath of the Pharisees. An example of this would be Christs teaching on the Sabbath. When His disciples were criticized for picking corn to eat on the Sabbath, instead of throwing out
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the Old Testament scripture Christ moves boldly taught about the parts that were missed by the legalists. Jesus talks about the occasion when David and his companions, was hungry on the Sabbath and entered into the Temple and ate the showbread. David had ventured into a holy place and ate bread which was to be eaten only by the priest and his family (1 Samuel 21:1-6). He further advise the Pharisees to understand the meaning of the passage; I will have mercy, and not sacrifice (1Samuel 15:22), so that they can better understand the spiritual intent of the Sabbath law as revealed throughout the Old Testament. Pauls teaching on the law does not contradict this truth of the message from Christ. Understanding that the Holy Spirit is in the believer would provide accurate spiritual guidance is an important reminder Paul provides the Galatians. Paul encourages the believers to live by the direction of the Spirit, and by the fruit of the Spirit in their lives would evidence no further need for the law to judge the behavior of the believer.

Summary and Conclusion While the Spirit guides the believers behavior, Paul taught that the law is Gods holy standard of guidance for the Israelites in the Mosaic Covenant. Pauls background as a Pharisee is apparent in his letters, and his own error is great importance in his teaching. Outwardly, Paul was above reproach in understanding of the law. But inwardly, with his persecution of the Jews and lack of faith in Christ, Paul knows that it was his lack of belief that caused him to be wrong in judgment. As can be seen from Pauls instructions to the Romans and the Galatians, salvation was never determined by the works of the law. Instead, God revealed the path to salvation through Abraham, with whom God provided the covenant that was completed through Christ. With this covenant, believers now have the presence of the Holy Spirit, to guide them in their daily lives. By yielding their lives and actions, believers are empowered to act in accordance with Gods will.
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God desires man to understand the whole of scripture when considering the law. We can see a parallel in the teaching of Paul and Christ that they both used the Old Testament to help Jews of their time better understand the law. Pauls teachings, like those of Christ, sought to demonstrate Gods spiritual intent of the law. Christ taught that Gods desire for mercy would overcome a mans honest desire to satisfy hunger. Given this more complete understanding of Gods guidance for our conduct, then, the believer is compelled to abandon their own desires for the flesh, and to surrender their will to that of God through Holy Scripture and the discernment of the Spirit. Paul emphasizes that believers have not lost the inclination to sin, and that reliance on the Holy Spirit within us will guide our behavior when we walk in the Spirit. And, while the law cannot save our souls, we find our behavior to be in harmony with the law.

Bibliography

Brindle, William A. , Carl J. Diemer, Stephen R. Schrader, Elmer L. Towns, Robert W. Yarbrough, Edward G. Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Paul R. Fink, James A. Freerksen, Edward E. Hindson, Daniel R. Mitchell, Richard D. Patterson, and Ronald C. Sauer, Editors. The King James Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1988 . Bruce, F.F.. Paul Apostle of the Heart Set Free. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. Carson, D. A., and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament,. 2 ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. Erickson, Millard J.. Christian Theology, 2nd edition. Michigan: Baker, 2007. Exell, Joseph S.. The Biblical Illustrator: Romans, Volume I. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1956.
Fung, Ronald Y. K.. The Epistle to the Galatians (New International Commentary on the New Testament). 2Rev Ed ed. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988.

Hays, J. Daniel. "Applying the Old Testament Law Today." Bibliotheca Sacra 158, no. 629 (2001): 21-35.
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Kruse, Colin G.. Paul, the Law, and Justification. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996. Lea, Thomas D., and David Alan Black. The New Testament: Its Background and Message. 2 Revised ed. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group, 2003. Murray, John. The Epistle to the Romans (New International Commentary on the New Testament). 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1959.

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