In the first seven verses of the book of Romans, there are 8 references to Jesus. Even though Paul had not yet been to Rome when he wrote this letter, it was tough and right to the point as he presented these truths to this fairly young church. He made it very clear that he was living unashamedly by the truths of the gospel.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus. Romans 1:7 (NIV)
It was important for him to establish the Lordship of Jesus right in the beginning of the book. Rome at that time was the capital of the world. It was a cultural center and many people considered Caesar a god. Therefore, just talking about God could have been misinterpreted as talking about Caesar.
With 8 references in the first 7 verses pointing directly to Jesus, there was no mistaking who Paul was talking about and the stand that Paul was making.
In this chapter, he speaks out specifically against idolatry and homosexuality. Then he mentions 9 more ways humans sin. Many of the things he addressed in this first chapter were acceptable practices in Roman culture.
The Gospel Points to the Truths of God
In verse 20 he says, 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.
Paul was saying that ignorance was no excuse for not seeing that it was God who created everything. In verse 23 he said, instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
Today, the world sees nothing wrong with idolatry. Many hold to the opinion that all roads lead to heaven. Paul said instead of worshiping God and giving Him thanks, they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.
Homosexuality is a very controversial subject today. The world looks at it as being fine because they believe that God created some people that way. There are Christians who have changed their stand on it because it has hit close to home for them. It could be because one of their children or someone close to them has become homosexual.
Let’s look at what Paul wrote about the subject. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 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.
There are no exceptions in the Word of God about the rules of sex. It is for a man and a woman who are married to each other. Anything outside of those rules is a sin. We must unashamedly live within that gospel truth.
Just Like the Days of Noah
Did you ever wonder what the days of Noah looked like? Take a look around, if we aren’t there, we are close. Verse 28 reads, 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. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness.
What Paul just described are the days that we are living in. This chapter goes on to say, they invent new ways of sinning. Verse 32 says they know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die. In fact, they make a joke about it. “We’re all going to hell where we can party.” and they encourage others to join them.
We Must not be Ashamed of the Gospel
I’ve talked a lot about “they.” Let’s talk about you! Paul’s encouragement comes from a statement about himself. He says For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. You don’t need to be ashamed either. The next verse gives us the reason why, It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes.
This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. The King James Version says, from faith to faith. The best way to explain that is, as we live our lives, it’s from one act of faith to the next act of faith and so on.
Then Paul ends this paragraph with, As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” Exercise your faith in Jesus because that is what gives you life. We do that by living unashamedly by the truth of the gospel.
In Romans 3, Paul tells us about God’s standard to live by in this related post.
Lord, today we pray for those in the world around us that don’t see the need to worship you and are blinded to the salvation that Jesus offers to them. Open their eyes and reveal your saving grace to them.
Check out this related post called How To Reach Lost People For The Kingdom Of God
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