Romans Chapter 1
The first half of Romans chapter 1 is basically an introduction. Paul identifies himself, Christ, God, and the believers at the Church in Rome whom he is writing too.
He says he wants to visit them, but hasn’t been able to. He wants to teach them and be encouraged by them.
He is proud of how faithful they are.
Verses 14 and 15 cracked me up. I don’t know if the translation just came out sounding kind of tactless or what, but…Paul says he’s obligated to the Greeks and barbarians, the foolish and the wise so he may as well throw the Romans in there too. Lmao It just cracked me up how that came out. I have the phrase “Freaks and Geeks” in my head and I keep chuckling thinking of this.
Verses 16 & 17 I think are some of the most powerful verses in the entire Bible.
It still amazes me how much hope is generated with the gospel. People hanging on by a thread are able to cling to (at first what is only a possibility) a thread of hope that this life isn’t all there is, that there is more. That one little spark of hope, the possibility that the gospel provides, soon blooms into an all encompassing truth and belief.
James McDonald, the Pastor on the radio that I listen too http://jamesmacdonald.com/, just did a series about Hell. In it, he got really emotional (the good kind of emotional, not the freaky hell and damnation preaching emotional). He got all choked up and was asking his congregation…don’t you know that every second of every day of every month of every year of your life…God is calling you? Have you heard Him? The sorrow in his voice when he asked this, more like pleaded with them, was what got to me. This is a Pastor who feels God’s sorrow for the lost. After going through the Bible verses that describe Hell for us listeners… the picture is all too clear. I couldn’t wish hell on my worst enemy. And yet, if I am ashamed of the gospel that I exactly what I would be doing.
If I let my embarrassment or shyness or my daily life get in the way of sharing the gospel with someone, I am basically saying “I don’t care if you go to hell”.
I’ve yelled “Go to Hell” at people before when I was angry. I will never do that again.
The second half of chapter 1 deals with unbelief and it’s consequences.
19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
These 2 verses are hugely powerful too.
Before I became a believer, this was one area that I used to scoff at. If Jesus was the only way to Heaven, what about all those people that have never heard of Him?
Jump right on back to Abraham. Abraham wasn’t a believer in Jesus. The Messiah hadn’t come yet. However, it was counted as righteousness to Abraham because he had faith in God and believed God.
Even from the beginning, faith is the key.
I was driving to work this morning and I was kind of daydreaming (I know, not smart when driving) but it’s true. I was looking up the road, and then glancing over the fields towards the mountains. I noticed other cars with their little head lights on even though it was light out. Some going the same direction as me, others heading in the opposite direction. I glanced in my rearview mirror and looked as far back as I could.
And I wondered how bright the Holy Spirit was shining within me? I wondered what God would see if He was looking down on earth from way up high, would He see the little pin prick of light that might be me? As far as I can see in every direction is all of a speck of dust if seen from space. I’m just one of Billions of people driving along in my little Ford Focus.
And it was impossible not to see God’s hand in the landscape. Where the expanse of sky hit the earth on the horizon, God was there. The sun shining behind the graying clouds, God created. The birds soaring on the breeze I was unable to feel within my car, God’s design.
So yeah. No one has an excuse for not seeing the creative hand of God in our world.
If they say they don’t see it. They are blinded or choosing not to see it and/or they are simply lying.
As science evolved it has shown that our world and the creations within it have come about by design. Coincidence cannot explain us. And neither can science yet.
Verses 21-23 let us know that there is a right way and a wrong way to honor God. If we honor God in our way, it is wrong. God let’s us know how He wants to be honored through His word. If we are humble and thankful, we will honor God as best we can, HIS WAY.
Verses 26-32 Tells us what the consequences are of unbelief and honoring God the wrong way.
I’m going to go a bit deeper here because I have first hand experience with these consequences. This chapter is convicting of my past harshly.
I was into Wicca. I was into Druidism and Native American Spirituality. Hello? Can we say worshiping God with altars and animals and rituals and every other God name under the sun? Where did all that lead me?
BDSM community right? I felt really accepted by that community. It’s total focus on submission to MAN, not God right? Total commitment to the flesh. The more I was involved in it, the more I got buried by it. It started out lightly and got more and more extreme. The people surrounding me got more and more extreme. I started out with black and white boundaries, I ended up with gray area’s. Can’t be a prude right? The community is known for it’s openness towards homosexuality so it didn’t matter if you were into it or not, sooner or later, you would be into it. Once out of that community, one of the most extreme of them (friend to my ex-boyfriend) was indicted and convicted of sex trafficking and torture of a girl living with him and his wife, that I had met while at his house.
The point of all this is that the 2nd half of this Chapter is dead on accurate as to what can happen. Looking back at that period of my life, I can see the hand of God keeping me safe. So many things could have gone terribly wrong. Many went wrong but I pretty much came through that fire unscathed, and the only reason I can think of is because God loved me, even when I was dead in my transgressions.
Yes, we can choose to not believe, but I think it takes more faith to not believe, than it does to believe. Especially when we can see the hand of God working miracles daily.
God loves every one of His creations. And so should we. It doesn’t matter how “bad” a person is right now, I was pretty bad too and God still loved me, kept me safe, and forgave me. I can do no less for anyone else.