Romans 7–8

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 164–65


Introduction

When Jesus Christ fulfilled the law of Moses, the old covenant was replaced with the law of the gospel. Paul tried to persuade those still clinging to Mosaic rituals and practices to abandon those laws and fully accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, the new covenant (see Hebrews 9:15). Romans 7–8 contains an analogy of a woman who is no longer bound by law to her husband after he dies. It represents the fact that the Saints were no longer bound to the law of Moses after it was fulfilled by Christ. Paul then testifies that those who embrace the gospel and accept its covenants become joint-heirs with Jesus Christ and inherit all that Heavenly Father has.

Prayerfully study Romans 7–8 and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • The Atonement gives us power to overcome our natural tendency to sin; thus we become new creatures, spiritually reborn children of God (see Romans 7:14–25; 8:1–14).

  • Nothing can separate the true disciples of Christ from the love of the Father and the Son (see Romans 8:31–39; see also D&C 122:9).

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 323–28.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Romans 7–8.

Romans 7. The law of Moses was fulfilled in Jesus Christ and replaced with the law of the gospel.

(10–15 minutes)

Ask students to name some family rules they are expected to keep. List a few of them on the board, and then discuss the following questions:

  • Who made up these rules?

  • Why do you feel a responsibility to obey them?

  • What rules might apply to little children but not young adults?

  • How are rules a blessing in our lives?

Tell students that just as there will come a time when they will not have to keep the rules their parents have established for their home, so there came a time when Israel was no longer expected to live the law of Moses. Remind students that in the book of Romans, Paul was speaking to people who were still holding onto the traditions and regulations of the law of Moses. Invite students to read Romans 7:1–6looking for the analogy Paul used to show the people they were no longer bound by the law of Moses. Consider using the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

“Paul was an absolute genius at devising illustrations to drive home his gospel teachings. Here [in Romans 7:1–6] he compares Israel’s allegiance to the law of Moses with that of a wife to her husband. As long as her husband lives, a wife is bound to him, must obey his laws, and if she be with another, she is an adulteress. But when the husband dies, he can no longer direct her actions, and she is free to marry another; she can no longer be subject to him that is dead.

“So with Israel and the law. As long as the law lived, and was therefore in force, Israel was married to it and required to obey its provisions. If she went after other gods, or followed other religions, it was as adultery. But now the law is fulfilled; it no longer lives; it has become dead in Christ; and Israel is married to another, even to Christ, whose gospel law must now be obeyed” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 2:253–54).

Invite students to read Mosiah 13:27–30and Alma 34:9–13, and ask:

  • Why did God give Israel the law of Moses?

  • Why do you think some of the Jews in Paul’s day may have continued to cling to the law?

  • What event fulfilled the law of Moses?

Explain that in Romans 7:7–25Paul answered these questions and emphasized the important truth that the law of the gospel replaced many aspects of the law of Moses. Point out that there are extensive changes to Romans 7in the Joseph Smith Translation that clarify this principle. Encourage students to study from the Joseph Smith Translation when reading Romans 7in their personal study.

Romans 8. Through the Atonement we can gain power to overcome our natural tendency to sin; thus we become new creatures, spiritually reborn children of God.

(35–40 minutes)

Discuss as a class what the word inheritance means. Talk about how we can inherit material objects, character traits, and spiritual gifts. Show or talk about some of the significant objects, traits, or gifts you have inherited from your ancestors. Ask the following questions:

  • Whose will would you most like to be included in?

  • What one item would you most like to inherit? Why?

  • What qualities or characteristics of your ancestors do you hope to attain?

Read the following statement:

“Latter-day Saints regard Jesus Christ as the firstborn spirit child of God the Father and the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. Because of this priority, he is the natural heir of the Father. Through strict obedience to the Father’s will, progressing from grace to grace by obeying the gospel and its ordinances and making the infinite Atonement, Jesus became the Savior of all mankind and also heir to all that the Father has. Those who accept Jesus Christ as their redeemer, repent of their sins, obey the ordinances of the gospel, and live in willing obedience with the Holy Spirit as their guide, can also become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. In the eternities, they can inherit the same truth, power, wisdom, glory, and exaltation possessed by God the Father and by the Son (see D&C 84:38)” (“Heirs,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:583).

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–40and look for what is promised in the oath and covenant of the priesthood. Read Romans 8:15–19 looking for the doctrine of inheritance. Discuss some of the following questions:

  • What did Paul teach about our potential for inheritance in Heavenly Father’s kingdom?

  • What does Abba mean? (“Father.” This title was used by Christ and early members of the Church as a sacred and intimate name for Heavenly Father; see (Bible Dictionary, p. 600.)

  • What does the meaning of Abba teach you about Heavenly Father’s love for us?

  • What does verse 17 teach we must do to become joint-heirs with Jesus Christ?

  • From verse 18, how do you think the blessings of being heirs of God compare with the requirements?

The Prophet Joseph Smith gave the following definition of joint-heirship:

“To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 347).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie said:

“A joint-heir is one who inherits equally with all other heirs including the Chief Heir who is the Son. Each joint-heir has an equal and an undivided portion of the whole of everything. If one knows all things, so do all others. If one has all power, so do all those who inherit jointly with him. If the universe belongs to one, so it does equally to the total of all upon whom the joint inheritances are bestowed” (Mormon Doctrine, 395).

Testify that Heavenly Father’s promises are sure and that our potential is truly to obtain all He possesses. The following scriptures may also be helpful: Galatians 3:26–29; 4:1–7; Doctrine and Covenants 50:26–28; 88:107.

Ask students to imagine receiving all that Heavenly Father possesses. Ask:

  • What do you think that would be like?

  • What would you be willing to do to qualify for that kind of inheritance?

  • How do you think we should use that inheritance?

  • What did the Savior do to be worthy of being the Father’s Chief Heir?

Write the following questions on the board:

  • How do we qualify to become joint-heirs with Jesus Christ?

  • How does God feel about us? What is His relationship with each of us?

  • Why do you think He provided an opportunity for each of us to become joint-heirs with His Son Jesus Christ?

  • What blessings will come into our lives while we are striving to become worthy of receiving all that Heavenly Father has?

Divide students into two groups. Assign one to search Romans 8:1–14and the other Romans 8:28–39. Remind them to include any Joseph Smith Translation changes in their assigned verses. Have them look for answers to the questions and be prepared to specify which verses helped them find the answer. Discuss their findings as a class.

Conclude by singing “I Am a Child of God” (Hymns, no. 301). Testify that we are literally the spirit children of Heavenly Father. We can return to live with Him someday and receive all that He has.