Hello my fellow students of the Word. Forgive me for being less consistent in my writing the last couple of days. I was surprised I was able to keep up about 17 consecutive days of posting thoughtful Scriptural content. Though due to other things I’ve had to manage in life, my consistency has waned a little. I’m also in the midst of engaging in some Scriptural studies at the moment over different topics such as the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, as well as just trying to absorb everything I read in Paul’s letters. I hope I can share all the information I learn and develop a conclusion on when I feel confident that I’ve reviewed and pondered most of everything on these topics. It’s all really fascinating stuff that it’s a shame some of the predominant influences of cultural Christianity today won’t preach on this like they’re supposed to (2 Tim 4:2). Instead they brainwash people to view reading the Word as merely secondary, and super spiritual experiences as primary.
Nonetheless, I want to continue to do my part in benefiting the body of Christ by sharing some Scriptural teachings that stuck out to me as I was reading through Romans. It’s the longest letter of Paul’s in the Scripture, and it’s easily one of the most difficult to understand. But the challenging aspect of this is a real joy if you’re into trying to understand what verses mean in the context of everything else being said. It really stretches your mind to ponder what’s being stated. It goes to show how intelligent our God is, and how much he wants us to engage our minds in connecting with Him through His Word (Romans 12:1-2). Because it’s a long letter, I’ll break things down piece by piece throughout a string of posts. So today I’ll start with Romans 1
Let’s begin with Romans 1:5 which states, “5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake,” Time and time again throughout Paul’s letters, faith is tied to obedience. Faith is not merely having a strong feeling of something to be true, but it’s acting on the truth. Without the act of obedience to God through His Word, it’s not faith. This thought is stressed further in verse 17 which states, “For in it (talking about the gospel in verse 16) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” One is not righteous before God unless he lives by faith, and to live by faith is to obey God through His Word.
Now the rest of this chapter goes on to discuss the consequences of unrighteousness in God’s wrath on mankind. As I read through the passage of the men who knew God but denied honoring Him, I noticed that these men are being referred to in the past tense. I’m curious if there were a specific people in Rome at this time Paul was speaking about. Pay attention to the underlined words in the past tense of these verses. Romans 1:21-25 state, “21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
In any case, I found that interesting, but Paul appears to come around to make clear that all men who actively exercise in practices disapproved by God will be punished. Romans 1:28-32 states, “28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
Pay attention closely. The things which are not proper, which makes one worthy of death, appears to be the actions described in verses 29-31. Gossiping, slandering, hating God, being insolent, being arrogant, being boastful, inventing evil, disobeying parents, not understanding, being untrustworthy, being unloving, and being unmerciful. These actions perhaps reflect all the characteristics described prior to the statement Paul made of what type of people these “practicers of such things worthy of death” are. As you can see, it’s quite fascinating carefully deconstructing the words that Paul is stating.
If you have any thoughts, questions, or comments to add for further understanding, feel free to leave a response. Peace to all those who are in Christ.