Ok – I’ll just say it – Romans ROCKS!
Of all of Paul’s letters, this one by far has the deepest teachings (doctrine) about God. It’s main emphasis is Soteriology (Soteri = Savior, ology = study of). In this letter we read what it means to be saved (salvation), how to be made right with God (justification), the price that was paid to bring us back to God (redemption), eternal security, election, choice and a whole lot of other churchy terms that we will define! It lays out an absolutely clear Gospel message. I totally use verses from Romans whenever I am sharing with someone about Jesus!
Paul wrote this letter in approximately 57 AD from Corinth while he was on his third missionary journey. It was written to the “saints” in Rome – probably more than one church so Paul addresses it to all of them there. His plans were to visit Rome soon, but if he didn’t make it he want to give them a complete and detailed Gospel message on God’s nature, righteousness and salvation. Some of the themes covered are:
· Righteousness of God
· The Law – over 70xs
· The Flesh
· Depravity of Man – none righteous
· Called/Set apart/Sanctified – chosen
Covering an entire chapter of Romans in each devo is certainly going to be a challenge. But I say, bring it on! I mean really, what other choice is there?!~
Romans 1: Unashamed of God
Paul begins by explaining God’s nature: “…regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” So right off the bat we get another churchy term – “hypostatic union” = hypostasis = substance, union = together. The point? Jesus is 100% man, 100% God. Totally important! If Jesus isn’t fully a man, He can’t empathize with our humanness (Hebrews 4:15) and if he’s not fully God, He can’t be the perfect sacrifice needed to pay for our sins (Hebrews 9:12).
Paul then declares both his stance on the Gospel and what it is: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." Regardless of what it might cost him, Paul wants to know Jesus and make Him known! This Gospel is dynamite (power) news to ANY who, by grace through faith, believe!
The remainder of the chapter is sobering. If I were to ask you to list out God’s attributes, would “wrath” (anger) have made your list? Yeah, not the tops on mine either. Yet God is as equally a God of wrath as He is Love, Grace, Mercy, Peace, etc… I believe this is here to remind us our NEED to be saved! A person has no reason to seek Jesus if they don’t know they need Him!
Who is God’s anger against? “…all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness…” Why is it being revealed? Because you & I have no excuse for not believing in & thanking God “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” The result? “God gave them over” = abandoned. YIKES! God basically says “Want to live without me, ok…” and then withdraws His protective hand and sends judgments. As much as we think we want God out of our lives, this is NOT good! But God loves us enough to let us make our own choices, even bad ones. God gives the over to three things: “sinful desires”, “shameful lusts”, “a depraved mind” As I believe verse 25 sums it up: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”
*In verse 1 Paul calls himself a servant, called to be set apart. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you too have the same role. In what ways does it show in your life (& mine) that we are servants? That we are living differently?
*Paul was not ashamed of Jesus and neither should we! If He was right next to you at school or work, would you tell those around you about Him? We sure would! Well Jesus IS with us each and every moment – so let’s ask Him for boldness to talk about Him today!
*Read verses 24-32 again. Which of the things mentioned does God want you to work on most? Ask Him to help you, He is our ever present help in time of need (Psalm 46:1)!