God

I’m currently reading through and studying the book of Romans from the New Testament in the Bible. What follows is my paraphrase of the text, with a summary at the end.

Romans 1Paul, Jesus’ servant called to be an apostle and set apart for the good news– this same good news that was promised by the prophets in his word. It was all about his Son, a human descended from David-a son through the Spirit as the Son of God himself because he came back to life after being killed. This Son is Jesus Christ and He is Our Lord. Through him…because of him…because his name is at stake, we received grace and were set apart as apostles to call even the Gentiles to obedience, only available through faith. We are all among those same Gentiles: called to belong to Christ. To those in Rome, you are loved by God and called to be saints. Bod God and Jesus send grace and peace to you- vv 1-7. First, I thank God for each of you in Christ, because all around the world your faith is spoken of. God can testify to you how often I remember you in my prayers, and how I hope to come to you. I want to see you so I can leave God’s grace with you, a grace that will make you strong; this will encourage both of us. I’ve made many plans to visit you so that I can participate in the harvest with you, as I have elsewhere.I am obligated to all, believers and non-believers alike; this is why I wish to come and preach- vv 8-15. I’m not ashamed at all of the good news of Jesus Christ. It is the very power of God– salvation for all. It is in this good news that we find a righteousness from God revealed. This righteousness comes through faith alone, because the righteous will live by faith- vv 16-17. God’s wrath is being demonstrated against all who suppress the truth by their own evil. God is so evident, made clear because he has done so. If it’s not seen, it is because you ignored it, chosen not to see it. How? Since creation, God’s power and divinity have been obviously expressed through that same creation. Because it’s clear and obvious, men are without excuse. It’s real ignorance, a willful choice to ignore God, the maker of all. All men know this, know Him, have a frame of reference for Him. They just refuse to glorify or thank Him. Their thinking then, is dark, futile, evil. Foolish. They thought they were so smart, but fools worship creation when the Creator is present. Images. Blocks of wood. Hunks of metal, machines, paper and technology. Because of this, God gave them over to their free will. Their sinful desires in full force– sexual behaviors that dehumanize and degrade. This is God’s truth, His intended purposes and functions twisted and exchanged for a lie. Manipulation. Deception- vv 18-23. And, God just let them go: men with women, men with men. Women with men and women with women. Whoever. Whenever. However. True “freedom.”. And…justice reigns with God’s wrath, demonstrated. But, it’s not merely the physical actions that demonstrate our ignorance and strong wills, the minds of men are corrupt. We actually create new ways to demonstrate our brokenness, wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. We regularly reveal the inner-working of our minds given over to self and freedom. Our nature is this: envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice through gossip and slander, hating of God…arrogance. We disobey our parents, act senseless, faithless, heartless, utterly ruthless in pursuit of freedom. While it’s clear to all that there is true evil (and…we even cry out for justice in the face of it!!), we turn a blind eye to the evil within; celebrating and taking joy in our own wickedness and lostness, while we celebrate and promote the wickedness of others- vv 24-32. Summary: Paul gives an incredible apologetic on the need for God’s righteousness in the midst of man’s ever-increasing wickedness. Romans 1:18-20 has long been a favorite text of mine as it speaks to both God’s love and justice in making Himself knowable and the verses that follow detail our daily decisions to live apart from this same love.

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