23 February 2010

Romans: Basically Targeted to the Individual

Couldn't agree more with Doug Moo's judicious conclusion to the chapter on Romans in the Carson/Moo intro to the NT:

[R]ecent scholarship on Romans emphasizes the 'people' question in Romans: what the gospel means for the relationship of Jews and Gentiles in salvation history and in the church. And this emphasis is a needed corrective to the neglect of this issue in some traditional approaches. But as is so often the case in academia, the pendulum has swung too far. Paul's gospel has important implications for the relation of Jews and Gentiles. But Romans 1-8 makes clear that Paul's gospel is still basically targeted to the individual human being, locked up under sin and in need of the redemption available only in Jesus Christ. While justification by faith is not the theme of the letter, we should not forget that it is nevertheless a critical component of Paul's presentation of the gospel. To be 'justified' is to be declared right with God. This verdict, Paul insists in Romans, is a manifestation of pure grace on God's part and therefore can be attained by sinful human beings only through faith. The contemporary theological climate offers challenges to this Reformation understanding of 'justification by faith' at a number of points, but a careful reading of Romans reaffirms its truth and reminds us of its critical importance for the power of the gospel.

--D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament (2d ed.; grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 410-11.

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