Romans - Chapter 1
We begin our series on the book of Romans with Paul’s opening greeting and, as we see in verse 17, the reason for the epistle; “for in it the righteousness of God is revealed.”
Most of us are familiar with the Roman road --- which is a basic summation of Romans.
3:23 --- all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
6:23 --- the wages of sin is death, but the gift or God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
5:8 --- God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
10:9-10 --- if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Vs. 1 --- In his mind, since a Roman slave was answerable only to his master, Paul was not just a servant to the Lord but slave as well and answerable only to his Master……
Paul claimed apostleship on at least four grounds; (1) he was a chosen vessel of God (Acts 9:15); (2) he was personally commissioned by Christ (Acts 9:6); (3) he had actually seen the risen Lord (1 Cor. (9:1-2); and (4) he was the recipient of divine revelation (Gal. 1:10-2; 16-17)
In his greeting Paul begins to lay the foundation of the gospel and invokes Old Testament prophecy to point to Jesus……The Davidic descent of Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the promise that one from the chosen line would sit on the throne of David forever (II Sam. 7:13; Jer. 33:17)………
Vs. 8 -9 --- Like Jesus in His seven letters to the churches in the Book of Revelation, Paul starts with a pat on the back --- a word of encouragement --- don’t you love it when someone tells you that they regularly mention you in prayer……..
Vs. 14 -16 --- Paul makes three important remarks that we don’t want to miss. In verse 14 he states that he is a debtor --- he has been placed in debt by the love of Jesus (II Cor. 5:14) It is probably the same idea as is expressed by Isaac Watts in the hymn “At The
Cross.” “But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe.”……….
In verse 15 he states “I am ready to preach the gospel” and in verse 16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ”.
Verse 17 is the dynamite of the gospel, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed….”
“from faith to faith” now what does that mean ---- righteousness is received by faith in Jesus Christ and is in turn revealed by faithful living……………
So the theme of Romans is to bring the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.
Vs. 18 – 32: With the introduction complete and thanksgiving made, and the theme stated --- Paul now turns to the heart of the matter --- the doctrinal teachings of Romans.
Paul has good news and bad news --- the good news is that God has provided atonement for our sins --- the bad news, which he discusses first, is that all men need atonement for their sins………..
In verse 18 he begins to lay out his case against man’s self-righteousness………
He brings up two issues; ungodliness and unrighteousness. Ungodliness has to do with religion --- our relationship to a sovereign God. Unrighteousness has to do with morality, our relationship to our fellowman. Stated another way, ungodliness is sin against the being of God while unrighteousness is sin against the will of God.
The unrighteous man lives as if there were no will of God revealed. The ungodly man lives as if there were no God at all. God’s wrath will come to both!!!
The first question that Paul deals with is one that those who like to challenge our Christian faith all the time --- even Christians sometimes question. If ungodly men do not have full knowledge of God, are they really lost?
Paul’s first reason that the heathen are lost (or man who willingly suppresses the knowledge of God) is because of God’s revelation of God in nature…. The knowledge arises from the fact that the “His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so they are without excuse.”
2 Peter 3:5 reminds us that those who attack and question our faith “willfully forget that by the word of God the heavens were made.” These scoffers come walking after their own lusts……..
Man has a sufficient knowledge of God to make him responsible to God. Man’s mind is capable of drawing obvious conclusions from effect to cause. We have a sense of awe, delight, wonder……………God gave us a brain …. and a spirit………
Nature does not portray God as an abstract feeling but instead the Godhead is revealed……
Vs. 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened”
The big bang theory (evolution) is a great example of this ideology --- “the futility” --- as man tries and tires again to find something --- anything that denies God --- but the more they search the more they have to change their theory……empirical scientific evidence causes them to be constantly adjust their “bad science”. They deign the physical evidence that our planet reveals in favor of abstract theory…….because the physical evidence points to the possibility of common design --- thereby opening the door to the possibility of a Creator.
Vs. 22 therefore they, “professing to be wise, they become fools.”
Proverbs 16:25, “there is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death.”
Vs 23 the spirit that resides in all men searches for something to worship ---- verse 23 unfolds for us the history that proves this point……..
Vs. 24 therefore since they rejected God and sought to create their own gods, God says if that is what you want then be prepared to face judgment………
Vs. 25 – 32 describes the world we live in today….vile passions, homosexuality among men and women, sexual immorality, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil mindedness, whispers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful……
Of these God says they are deserving of death………..and not just the ones who practice such evil --- but those who approve of those who practice them.
The heathen world is not unaware of God’s displeasure with these activities. But with full understanding that they are rejecting God and His will --- they have full knowledge of their sin ---yet they continue to defy God and take great pleasure in keeping company with those who do the same.
It is not that they don’t know --- the heathen has deliberately suppressed the witness of truth and have consistently opted for the lie. Their idolatry has led them into undiscerning minds.
So the answer to the question “are they lost” is yes. The entire heathen world is lost, deserving condemnation, desiring evil and desperately wicked.
They are without excuse --- but because of Jesus Christ they are not without hope if they are willing to accept Him as Lord and Savior………..
Look more closely at verse 32. As I stated, Paul is clearly identifying as sin the lifestyle of the heathen --- not only for what they do but also for supporting others who commit these vile acts. My question this morning is ----are people who support those who commit these vile acts also guilty of sin for their support?
If we, as God’s people, support people who commit these vile acts, are we not guilty of sin? Pray about this. God gives us the “talent” (parable of the talents) of our vote. If we use that gift to support those who commit and promote these vile acts – are we not guilty of sin.
As the Holy Spirit pricks our heart --- as He speaks to our spirit and draws us to Himself – even the unbeliever knows He is there…………..
Let us pray…………….