We leave the letter to the Corinthians refreshed with the order of God for our church life…. Today we get to step back.. And drink deeper of the “author” of the Church.. God, and our personal relationship - with HIm.
(Morris) Other New Testament letters focus more on the church and its challenges and problems; Romans focuses more on God. “God is the most important word in this epistle. Romans is a book about God.
The word “God” occurs 153 times in Romans; an average of once every 46 words – this is more frequent than any other New Testament book.
They say Augustine was converted through a verse from it.
Luther pondered one of its verses night and day.. “until… I grasped the truth that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, he justifies us by faith.”
Therefore I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise… This passage of Paul became to me a gateway into heaven.”
John Calvin said of the Book of Romans, “When anyone understands this Epistle, he has a passage opened to him to the understanding of the whole Scripture.”
G. Campbell Morgan said Romans was “the most pessimistic page of literature upon which your eyes ever rested” and at the same time, “the most optimistic poem to which your ears ever listened.”
Romans this week… 🙂(let's ease into it with the easy to understand NLT).. I want to let the Spirit flow as if we received the letter… opened it and began reading it. And .. today.. I want us to react to what is says, not just verse by verse… but by listening to reading.. The 1st… 🙂12.5 percent of it. Until as it were… if we were really reading it… we might.. Just choose to stop.. Put it down.. And take a break.
Why? we’ ll see in a moment 🙂
I’ll conclude our introduction with this:
MT VERNON, MO - Wrapping up the series that began during the Vietnam War, Reformed minister Michael L. Foster preached the final sermon in his brief, 47-year-long study on the book of Romans Sunday morning. The last message was a short, breezy, 1-hour exposition of Romans 16:27d, which reads, "Amen." "There's a lot to unpack there in Romans," the pastor told reporters. "But you can't take too long, or you start to lose people's interest. Most churchgoers can only hang in there for four or five decades before they start to check out."
Greetings from Paul 1 This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. 2 God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. 3 The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, 4 and he was shown to be[a] the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.[b] He is Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through Christ, God has given us the privilege[c] (the grace) and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. 6 And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace
(God’s Good News )8 Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in him is being talked about all over the world. 9 God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart[d] (in my spirit) by spreading the Good News about his Son.
10 One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. 11 For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. 12 When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.
13 I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters,[e] that I planned many times to visit you, but I was prevented until now. I want to work among you and see spiritual fruit, just as I have seen among other Gentiles. 14 For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilized world and the rest of the world,[f] to the educated and uneducated alike. 15 So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the Good News.
16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile (greek) g] 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”[h] The righteous will live by faith.” Hab 2:4 God’s Anger at Sin 18 But God shows…… his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.[i] 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
God’s Judgment of Sin 2 You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. 2 And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. 3 Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? 4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
5 But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done. 7 He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. 9 There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.[a] 10 But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
12 When the Gentiles sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews, who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. 13
For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight. 14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. 16 And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.
The Jews and the Law
17 You who call yourselves Jews are relying on God’s law, and you boast about your special relationship with him. 18 You know what he wants; you know what is right because you have been taught his law. 19 You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a light for people who are lost in darkness. 20 You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that God’s law gives you complete knowledge and truth.
21 Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? 22 You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples?[b] 23 You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. 24 No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.” Isa 52:5
25 The Jewish ceremony of circumcision has value only if you obey God’s law. But if you don’t obey God’s law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile. 26 And if the Gentiles obey God’s law, won’t God declare them to be his own people? 27 In fact, uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God’s law will condemn you Jews who are circumcised and possess God’s law but don’t obey it.
28 For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. 29 No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise[d] from God, not from people.
Let's stop here.. This seems like enough food for thought to begin digesting this afternoon.. one whose heart is right with God. (Ch 2:29)
‘not merely obeying the letter of the law; ‘it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise[d] from God, not from people. Wow… weighty consideration:
‘God’s Spirit - impacting MY heart.’.
God being able to ‘change’ my natural heart seeking for praise from ‘people’; to seeking praise from God.
Let's review today the 1st 17 verses in ch 1.. Paul- filled with God’s Spirit speaking to those who would learn of Him.. and grow in HIm - open the letter explaining ; the story of God the creator and His created people, told through the history of the jewish people…
Paul says during that time, long ago
2 God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. 3 The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, 4 and he was shown to be[a] the Son of God when he was ‘raised from the dead’ by the power of the Holy Spirit .. (“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again (John 2:19).
He is Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through Christ, God has given us the privilege[c] and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.
Through Him we have received ‘grace’ and apostleship.. A key word we’ll be studying in Romans… before God used Paul as an apostle.. Grace’ 1st changed his heart and pointed it in a new and wonderful direction.
Paul tells all people ‘outside’ the Jewish history with God..
6 And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people.
God… is a Father whose Love sent His only loving Son.. so we could belong to them… be loved by them… and called to (also) be His ‘own holy people’. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. May He? Perhaps that’s up to us then…
Paul’s sequence in verse 5: so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to… his name
Paul teaches the Romans this important truth:
8 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people[ak] who suppress the truth by their[al] unrighteousness,[am] 19 because what can be known about God is plain to them,[an] because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people[ao] are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, (this verse TELLS US - God has given us a conscience that tells us He is the creator.. And we are His created) The heavens declare the glory of God;[b] the sky displays his handiwork.[c]
2 Day after day it speaks out;[d] night after night it reveals his greatness.[e]
Paul says:10 One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. 11 For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord.
Does Paul, Does God’s Spirit not offer .. to visit us.. To bring’ spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord.??
May we ‘believe’ And be willing to grow strong in the Lord.??
12 When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.
Hmmmm, that’s cool 🙂
13 I want to work among you and see spiritual fruit, just as I have seen among other Gentiles.
That’s too a by-product of Spirit-filled teaching and mentoring for the heart that’s ready to start seeking praise from God - instead of people.
Paul’s love, because of God’s love - has a (v14) …great sense of obligation to people in both the ‘civilized world’ and the rest of the world,[f] to the educated and uneducated alike That’s encouraging. 16 For I am not ashamed of this ‘Good News’ about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.[g] 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.
Good News about Christ… Is it? The world would say no.. heaven would say Oh yes.
Paul writes elsewhere about his sharing the god news:
He uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. (2 cor 2:14)
To our Spirits? God’s words to us a sweet perfume’ to our selfish faithless flesh? - the dreadful smell of death and doom.. Today’s a day to be reminded Christ died so we could live an ‘abundant life’ in HIs Spirit - of believing and obeying - HIm.. Our flesh.. Our unbelief.. Will always make its complaint. Rant and rave of the ‘terrible loss’ of our surrendering our ‘rights’ to the will of God.,
Today’s another day God’s aSpirit would have us stand at our crossroads.. And say again… I am going your direction God.. take my hand I want to walk by faith with You.. (enemy go your way.. Your time with me is gone)
Paul shares his experience with us:
16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.[g] 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight.
‘Faith…. comes by hearing… (ro 10:17)
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.(Heb 11:6) So cool that God encourages us - your ‘old nature’ will be ‘embarrassed to make a commitment to Me, but don’t be. Be unashamed about it. It's the right thing to do . It is a wonderful thing to pursue. It's the best thing to pursue.
AND to think- that God further encourages, by reiterating to us - THE same POWER that raised Jesus from the grave of death.. Will work in us - to bring US UP from our ‘our old grave cloths’ that want to cling to us and hold us down.
Paul told the Galatian gentiles - ‘we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us.’
I.E. God continues to guide each of us in paths of righteousness 🙂
David mentioned this of the nature of God in Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd,(A) I lack nothing….
He guides me(E) along the right paths(F)
for his name’s sake.(G)
Paul experienced it too: he writes to the Galatian gentiles:
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. (read more about that in Galatians 5)
Paul says here in Romans 1:16 ‘It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who ‘believes’ —the Jew first and also the Gentile
The power of God - miraculous virgin birth of Jesus - the many miracles in Jesus’ ministry - is passed to the apostles.. They too experience the power of God as God uses them to heal many..
God has the power to overcome our sinful natures. He chooses to give us access to it by believing He died for our sins on the cross.
Its that same power that ‘quickens our souls and tells us ‘ we are children of God - It's the power able to ‘Deliver’ to ‘rescue’ to find the lost’, the power to cleave us from our commitment to selfish rebellion and the godless destination it brings us to… and place us back in the arms of a loving Father.
Paul will write later in this letter:
16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (8:16)
But says now in V17
17This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. At this time, the Philosopher Epictetus said that ‘men were looking for a peace “not of Caesar’s proclamation, but of God’.” 17 For the ‘righteousness’[ag] of God is revealed in the gospel[
‘Dikaioo’ William Barclay explains= means I justify, “All verbs in Greek which end in oo… always mean to treat, or account or reckon a person as something. If God justifies a sinner, it does not mean that he finds reasons to prove that he was right – far from it. It does not even mean, at this point, that he makes the sinner a good man. It means that God treats the sinner as if he had not been a sinner at all.”
(Murray) The righteousness which becomes our justification is one characterized by the perfection belonging to all that God is and does. It is a ‘God-righteousness’.” (that can only happen by Jesus being our substitution on the cross If we really believe what he did for us on the cross.. “This is accomplished from ‘start to finish’ by faith.
As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has ‘life’.
That means - God’s truth is - any connection mankind can have to righteousness - must involve out being ‘connected’ to HIm.
The ‘abundant life’ Jesus spoke of only comes from ‘Believing’ he is the Truth… he claimed to be.
Our faith is not a one time event alone… but has to live in us daily..
from faith to faith,[ai] just as it is written, “The righteous by faith will live.”[aj]
V 17… From ‘faith to faith’ seems to be Paul’s way of encouraging us not to be surprised at the testing of our faith…
The Apostles encouraged that ‘testing of their faith’ only ‘made’ their faith more mature… seasoned by experiences of God’s Spirit ‘proving His faithfulness throughout their lifetimes:
2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials,(F) 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
Paul: writes later in this letter:
be transformed by (E)the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may (F)discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect
So our initial faith in Christ that opens our door to salvation, begins a journey of ‘growing faith’, until it is no longer required - at the end of our faith journey - at the gates of eternity.
Let's stop here for now…
Paul's invitation of faith to the Romans , is also - god’s invitation - spanning from the time from the Jewish prophets.. To the gentiles of the 1st century church..
And To us. In the ‘last days’ church.
-Invites us to believe in the miracles of Jesus, and His redeeming resurrection
--(5) ‘So that’ we believe and obey… bringing glory to his name
-(6,7) Called to be God’s very own people, dearly loved by God
-grace and peace being with us from our father and savior
- (11) impart to you some spiritual gift[y] to strengthen you, 12 that is, that we may be mutually comforted by one another’s faith
-(16)For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes,
-(5)So that we believe and obey…
-(6,7)Called to be God’s very own people, dearly loved by God
-grace and peace being with us from our father and savior
- (11)impart to you some spiritual gift[y] to strengthen you, 12 that is, that we may be mutually comforted by one another’s faith
-(16)For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes,