Romans 7 – Married to Christ & Roman Remains

From its earliest foundation the Roman city of Londinium was almost certainly surrounded by some kind of fortification.
As well as providing defense, the construction of a stone wall represented the status of the city.

Using the evidence of excavated coins, archaeologists have dated the construction of the first stone city wall to between 190 and 225 A.D.

The wall was about 2.5 miles long, enclosing an area of about 330 acres; it originally included four city gates with an additional entrance into the legionary fortress at Cripplegate.

In front of the eastern face of the wall was a ditch, which was up to 6 feet deep and 16 feet across.

This section of the wall stood close to the south-east corner of the ditch, now lying inside the bailey of the Tower of London.

It is built of rubble (mostly Kentish ragstone) bound in a hard mortar, and faced on either side by roughly squared ragstone blocks.
At every fifth or sixth course the wall incorporates a horizontal band of red Roman tiles, intended to ensure the courses remained level over long stretches of masonry.
This gives the wall its distinctive striped appearance. This section shows signs of medieval alteration, particularly in its upper portions, and its original height is unknown; but at about 35 foot above present ground level it is one of the tallest surviving sections parts of the circuit.

The wall was originally built without the external D-shaped bastions or turrets which can be seen in several places around the city: these were added in the 4th century AD, almost certainly as emplacements for catapults or stone-throwing engines.

One of these bastions, immediately to the north of the standing section of wall, has been found to incorporate reused stonework. This includes parts of a monument bearing the inscription of Julius Alpinus Classicianus, procurator of Britain, who was responsible for the reconstruction of London after the chaos of Boudicca’s rebellion of 60 A.D. and its violent aftermath.

The dismantling of this monument indicates the urgency with which the wall was strengthened in the later Roman period. The reconstructed Classicianus monument is now displayed in the British Museum, although a replica can be viewed on the site.

Tomorrow we’ll look at… 

Romans 7
Married to Christ

1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

2 For the woman which hath a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

“Dead to the law” – the law’s power to condemn no longer threatens the Christian, whose death here is to be understood in terms of 6:2-7.  There, however, he dies to sin; here he dies to the law.  The result is that the law has no more hold on him.

5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

“In the flesh” – a condition, so far as Christians are concerned, that belongs to the past – the unregenerate state.

“By the law” – the law not only reveals sin; it also stimulates it.  The natural tendency in man is to desire the forbidden thing.

6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.

9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

“I was alive…once” – Paul reviews his own experience from the vantage point of his present understanding.  Before he realized that the law condemned him to death, he was alive. 

Reference is to the time either before his bar mitzvah or before his conversion, when the true rigor of the law became clear to him (see Lk 18:20-21; Phil 3:6).

10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

“Ordained to life” – as it worked out, law became the avenue through which sin entered – both in Paul’s experience and in that of mankind.  Instead of giving life, the law brought condemnation; instead of producing holiness, it stimulated sin.

12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

“The law is holy” – despite the despicable use that sin made of the law, the law was not to blame.  The law is God’s and as such is holy, righteous and good.

King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century.

13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

“I allow not” – I do not understand.  The struggle within creates tension, ambivalence and confusion.

16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

“I consent unto the law that it is good” – even when Paul is rebellious and disobedient, the Holy Spirit reveals to him the essential goodness of the law.

17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

“No more I that do it” – not an attempt to escape moral responsibility but a statement of the great control of sin can have over a Christian’s life.

The Latin word basilica has three distinct applications in modern English. The word was originally used to describe an open, Roman, public court building, usually located adjacent to the forum of a Roman town.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

“In me dwelleth no good thing” – a reference to man’s fallen nature, as the last phrase of the sentence indicates.  Paul is not saying that no goodness at all exists in Christians.

19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

“Another law” – a principle or force at work in Paul preventing him from giving obedience to God’s law.

“Law of my mind” – his desire to obey God’s law.

24 O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Roman Remains

What happened to Roman Britain?

From the 2nd century A.D. Roman Britain found itself under attack from people who lived outside the Roman borders.

Honorius was the Western Roman Emperor from 395 to 423.
He was the younger son of emperor Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of Arcadius, who was the Byzantine Emperor from 395 until his death in 408.

Even by the standards of the rapidly declining Western Empire,

Honorius’ reign was precarious and chaotic. His reign was supported by his principal general,

Flavius Stilicho, who was successively Honorius’s guardian (during his childhood) and his father-in-law (after the emperor became an adult).

Stilicho’s generalship helped preserve some level of stability, but with his execution, the Western Roman Empire moved closer to collapse.

The Romans thought these people were not civilised and called them barbarians. The Roman army and navy defended Britain.

By the 5th century A.D. barbarian tribes were attacking other parts of the Roman Emperor Honorius decided that the Roman legions in Britain were needed elsewhere.

He sent a letter to the people of Britain telling them the soldiers had to leave.

They must fight the Anglo-Saxons and invaders on their own. In 410 A.D. the last Romans left.

Did people go on living in Roman towns?

The Anglo-Saxons and other newcomers settled in Britain and set up new kingdoms. They were farmers, not townspeople. Roman stone buildings were not used or repaired. They slowly crumbled away.

People took away stones to build farmhouses or churches. People built new wooden towns inside the old Roman ones.

Many Roman towns kept at least parts of their walls until the Middle Ages. Part of London’s Roman Wall is still standing!

What did the Romans leave behind?

The Roman army left Britain over 1,500 years ago. They left behind a changed country.

Britain had roads and towns. It had new plants and animals, such as parsley, sweet chestnut and chickens. Measurements (miles, feet and inches) still used by many people come from the Romans.

The Romans also introduced Christianity to Britain. Many churches are still built using designs like a Roman Basilica.

How did the Romans change the way we speak and write?

The Romans wrote their history, their literature and their laws. Before the Romans conquered Britain, very few people in Britain could read or write.

Stories and knowledge were passed on by word of mouth. From Roman times onwards, people in Britain wrote things down.

Educated people wrote in Latin, but later wrote books in their own languages, English and Welsh, for example. The English and Welsh languages changed because of the Romans.

The term Anglo-Saxon is a relatively modern one. It refers to settlers from the German regions of Angeln and Saxony, who made their way over to Britain after the fall of the Roman Empire around 410. A.D.
Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings’ is the longest British period in the primary history curriculum, lasting a thousand years – a millennium.

It is also the most formative period in British history, when the country experienced several waves of invasion, including the last invasion to have been successful, in 1066.

It both begins and ends with an invasion: the first Roman invasion in 55 B.C. and the Norman invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066.

Add in between were the Anglo-Saxons and then the Vikings.

Many words in English and Welsh have links to Latin. ‘Pedestrian’ is one. See if you can find some more….

How can we find out more about the Romans?

In Britain, there are archaeological sites and museums. Some are at places you can visit, where the Romans actually lived.

In museums and site exhibitions, you can see, and sometimes touch, objects and buildings made by Roman people.

You can walk round the ruins of a Roman fort, or a Roman baths, or what was once the dining room of a Roman villa.

Fun Facts:

Some people believe that King Arthur (of the Knights and Round Table) was a Roman-British general who fought the Saxons.

The calendar we use dates from Roman times. The old Roman calendar had 10 months, not 12.

Julius Caesar organised a new calendar in 45 B.C. He made the New Year start in January, not March.

…Invasion.