Unit 21, Day 1: Romans 8–11

New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students, 2015


Introduction

The Apostle Paul taught about blessings that come from being spiritually reborn and submitting to Heavenly Father’s will. He taught about Israel’s rejection of God’s covenant made with Abraham and his posterity. Paul taught that God’s chosen people were determined more by their faithfulness to the covenant than by lineage, and he taught about taking the gospel to the Gentiles.

Romans 8

Paul describes blessings of being spiritually reborn

Do you know someone who has inherited something of great value or importance from someone else? For example, sometimes a parent or a grandparent will give something of great value to their children or grandchildren.

If you could inherit anyone’s possessions, whose possessions would you choose, and why would you want them? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Think about the blessings you would receive if you were to inherit all that our Heavenly Father possesses. As you study Romans 8:1–18, look for what we must do to be heirs of all that our Heavenly Father has.

Read Romans 8:1, 5–7, 13, looking for what the Apostle Paul taught about walking “after the flesh,” or yielding to the natural tendency to sin, and about following “after the Spirit.”

In these verses Paul taught about two opposite attitudes: being “carnally minded” and being “spiritually minded” (Romans 8:6). To be carnally minded is to be concerned with physical pleasures, passions, and lusts of the physical body. What do you think it means to be spiritually minded? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The phrase “mortify the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13) means to subdue or rid oneself of the weaknesses, temptations, and sins related to our mortal bodies (see Romans 8:13, footnote b; Mosiah 3:19). From this verse we learn that if we follow the influence of the Spirit, we can overcome the tendency to sin.

Read Romans 8:14–17, looking for how Paul referred to those who follow the Spirit. The word sons in verse 14 means children and includes daughters (see D&C 25:1).

The scriptures speak of us as “children of God” (Romans 8:16) in more than one sense. First, every human being is literally a beloved spirit child of Heavenly Father. Second, we are born again as children of God through a covenantal relationship with Jesus Christ when we repent, are baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost.

Adoption was common in the Roman world, and it would have been a familiar concept to Paul’s readers. A person who legally adopted someone conferred on that person all of the rights and privileges that a natural-born child would have. Therefore, when we receive “the Spirit of adoption” (Romans 8:15) through entering the gospel covenant, we become the children of God and “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).

In the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin also taught how we can become “children of Christ” (see Mosiah 5:5–10).

President Joseph Fielding Smith

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that Jesus Christ “becomes our Father … because he offers us life, eternal life, through the atonement which he made for us.” He explained, “We become the children, sons and daughters of Jesus Christ, through our covenants of obedience to him” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:29).

Read Romans 8:17 again. A joint-heir is someone who receives an equal inheritance with other heirs.

If we are already children of God the Father, why do we not automatically receive an equal inheritance with Jesus Christ? Why is it necessary to become sons and daughters of Jesus Christ?

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “We are all heirs of our heavenly parents. ‘We are the children of God,’ the Apostle Paul taught, ‘and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ’ (Romans 8:16–17). This means, as we are told in the New Testament, that we are ‘heirs … of eternal life’ (Titus 3:7) and that if we come to the Father, we are to ‘inherit all things’ (Revelation 21:7)—all that He has—a concept our mortal minds can hardly grasp. But at least we can understand that achieving this ultimate destiny in eternity is possible only if we follow our Savior, Jesus Christ, who taught that ‘no man cometh unto the Father, but by me’ (John 14:6)” (“Followers of Christ,” Ensign, May 2013, 98).

Based on our own worthiness, we would receive nothing because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (see Romans 3:23). However, when we are adopted by Jesus Christ, our imperfections are overcome through His perfect life and Atonement. Thus, through our covenants and obedience to Jesus Christ, we become a joint-heir and we “suffer with [Jesus Christ]” (Romans 8:17). This does not mean that we suffer what the Savior did as part of His atoning sacrifice. Rather, we suffer with Him by following Him and sacrificing worldly things, obeying the commandments, and faithfully enduring opposition.

From Romans 8:14–18 we learn that if we are faithful covenant children of God, we can become joint-heirs with Jesus Christ of all Heavenly Father has.

  1. journal icon1.

    Draw a three-column chart in your scripture study journal, labeling one column Requirements, the middle column Opposition, and the third column Inheritance. Then do the following:

    1. a.

      In the “Requirements” column, list four or five specific commandments or standards we must live to be considered faithful covenant children of God.

    2. b.

      In the “Opposition” column, list some examples of opposition we might experience as we strive to live as faithful covenant children of God.

    3. c.

      In the “Inheritance” column, list several blessings we can inherit from Heavenly Father if we strive to live as His faithful covenant children.

Looking at what you listed in your scripture study journal, compare the blessings of being a joint-heir with Christ with the requirements you must meet and the opposition you may experience. What would you say to someone who asked if it is worth it to be faithful to the Lord’s commandments?

Read Romans 8:18, looking for what Paul said about how what we sacrifice compares with what we receive from Heavenly Father as an inheritance.

Romans 8:19–30 records that Paul taught that the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses and that Jesus Christ was called in the premortal life to be the Savior of God’s children. (In Romans 8:29–30 the word predestinate means foreordained, or called. You will study more about the Apostle Paul’s teachings on foreordination in Ephesians.)

Read Romans 8:28, 31–39, looking for truths Paul taught about God’s love as related to the opposition, challenges, and tribulations of mortality. You may want to mark words or phrases that are meaningful to you.

The Joseph Smith Translation of Romans 8:31 reads, “If God be for us, who can prevail against [defeat] us?” (Joseph Smith Translation, Romans 8:31 [in Romans 8:31, footnote a]).

Some truths we can identify in these verses include the following: If we love God, then all things will work together for our good. Through Jesus Christ we can overcome all of the challenges and tribulations of mortality. Nothing can separate us from God’s love, which is shown in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

  1. journal icon2.

    Complete one or more of the following activities in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      Think about the challenges and tribulations you have experienced, and then write two statements from Romans 8:28, 31–39 that stand out to you and explain why.

    2. b.

      Describe how you have experienced God’s love during your challenges.

    3. c.

      Write a few ways you can show your love for God. Set a goal to act on what you wrote, and trust that all things will work together for your good.

Romans 9–11

Paul teaches about Israel’s rejection of God’s covenant and about taking the gospel to the Gentiles

As recorded in Romans 9–11, the Apostle Paul used the terms Israel and Israelites instead of Jews. In Old Testament times, God chose the descendants of Jacob, or Israel, to be part of His covenant with Abraham (see Romans 9:4–5). This covenant included blessings such as land, priesthood authority, and the responsibility of blessing the people throughout the world with the gospel, which makes eternal life possible.

Read Romans 9:6, 8, looking for what Paul taught about members of the house of Israel.

What do you think Paul meant by “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel” (Romans 9:6)?

Some Jews did not understand that not all people born into the house of Israel were qualified to be part of God’s covenant with Israel. They falsely trusted that their lineage automatically gave them the blessings of the covenant.

Read Romans 10:8–13, looking for how anyone, Israelite or non-Israelite, can become part of God’s covenant people.

In these verses, the Greek word translated as confess means an open acknowledgment of acceptance, or covenant, and the Greek word translated as believe means a trusting commitment. This deep trust in the Savior leads people to openly acknowledge their acceptance of Him in ways He has appointed. These ways include obeying God’s commandments, repenting, and receiving the saving ordinances of the gospel, which include baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

According to Paul’s teachings, if we accept and obey Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can receive the blessings of God’s covenants and be saved.

  1. journal icon3.

    Some people have used Romans 10:9, 13 to claim that all we need to do to be saved is verbally confess our belief in Jesus Christ. In your scripture study journal, write about how the truths discussed in this lesson can help you respond to this false claim.

In the remainder of Romans 10–11, we read that Paul taught that hearing the word of God is essential to developing faith in Jesus Christ. He explained more about the Israelites’ rejection of the gospel of Jesus Christ and used an analogy of grafting branches from a wild olive tree into a tame olive tree to represent the adoption of Gentiles into the house of Israel (see Jacob 5). He also taught that the gospel will again be offered to the Jews.

  1. journal icon4.

    Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Romans 8–11 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: