Welcome to the Book of Romans, Sinners – 4-25-22

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 NKJV

Fasten your seatbelts we are in for a ride. Commit to reading this book and beware of offense. If something I say can be taken offensively or in a blessed way – know I mean no offense. I find often, offense and self-condemnation stand in the way of studying this book. I also find people getting lost in grace or lost in legalism completely sidetrack to the point of this book where in the law and grace live side by side since the beginning of time even until now. But I will explain that later. (Many of you know I often explain how the law and grace are not opposites – we get that from this book, as well as others.) But we are all sinners so you will be called out by this book. If you are not called out, then be scared that you are deceived and do not see you are a sinner. We all are. It is one of this book’s main points. We need God and the forgiving, sin washing power of the Blood of Christ to save us! That is the point! It is acknowledgeablely a very difficult book to get through.
But we will take it verse by verse and fight off demonic attack and distraction every step of the way. Ready warriors? Let’s do this!

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Romans chapter 1 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Greeting

Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who [a]was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;

To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Desire to Visit Rome

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve [b]with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, 10 making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

13 Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. 14 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. 15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.

The Just Live by Faith

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel [c]of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who [d]suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is [e]manifest [f]in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and [g]Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like [h]corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their [i]women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the [j]men, leaving the natural use of the [k]woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, [l]sexual immorality, wickedness, [m]covetousness, [n]maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 [o]undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, [p]unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 1:3 came
  2. Romans 1:9 Or in
  3. Romans 1:16 NU omits of Christ
  4. Romans 1:18 hold down
  5. Romans 1:19 evident
  6. Romans 1:19 among
  7. Romans 1:20 divine nature, deity
  8. Romans 1:23 perishable
  9. Romans 1:26 Lit. females
  10. Romans 1:27 Lit. males
  11. Romans 1:27 Lit. female
  12. Romans 1:29 NU omits sexual immorality
  13. Romans 1:29 greed
  14. Romans 1:29 malice
  15. Romans 1:31 without understanding
  16. Romans 1:31 NU omits unforgiving

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Isaiah 41:10- “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Welcome to the Book of Romans. I have NEVER studied this book and not learned something new or been touched and transformed more! Written by Paul to the believers in Rome, in approximately 57 ce, Romans is the longest letter and thought to have been written while Paul was in Corinth.  We just read Mark which was also written to Roman believers about 10 years later.
Each letter Paul wrote, was to address an issue in the church he was writing to and then was copied and spread around so everyone could learn from Paul’s teachings. This letter encompasses the application of the gospel to our lives and how to spiritually be a Christian. It explains the Jewish roots and how Christianity is not a replacement but the next step God has for us and continues His promises in freedom. Mark goes on to explain the Gospel again and more clearly, by explaining the actions of Jesus. Since we just studied to actions of Jesus (who we should be like), it is extremely logical to dig into how this applies to our spirit and soul.  Now that you have confessed your belief, become ‘saved’, and entered into a relationship – what next? Romans.
Roman’s also addresses a few issues with clarity of how belief in Christ continues to the Work God, through us. It is a firm book, written in love, in hopes that the hearers will receive and commit completely surrendered to Jesus. And understand why they have a personal responsibility to receive freely yet participate through complete surrender. Please let this book challenge you to surrender more. Let all un-surrendered areas of your life be released to Jesus for God’s perfect will and glorification, while we work through the exercises Paul sets before us.

Roman’s 1 begins with a greeting in which Paul says He is the Author. Back then, letters were signed at the beginning. Around this same time, there was a growing trend to seal and sign a scroll on the outside at the end. Because of this some of the books of the Bible’s true authorship is unknown but speculated. And as they quickly learned the damage can happen during the delivery, by the end of the 1st century and into the 2nd, letters were then signed on the inside at the end, more similar to modern custom.  I personally do not sign “my” work, so that God is glorified and not me. But many do know I am the person sitting here typing. I pray to God that He is ALWAYS glorified and seen as the inspiration and the one who brings revelation, explanation and understanding to draw you closer to Him and make you more like Him.

Paul prays to grace and peace to the hearers of his letters (remember back them few could read or had the privilege of reading these letters. They had to gather where they were being read and hear it).  In our modern world we lack this blessing to our brothers and sisters. At the bottom of every post is my prayer over you all that God’s peace keeps you and grace covers you. We must do a better job of speaking like, peace and grace over each other and into each other’s lives in prayer as well as in person.

Paul also includes in his greeting, by whose authority he speaks. In our modern world we make that assumption, for example: I do not start each blog post telling you how I felt called by the Lord to share my Bible studies via a blog, and I think that those of you who follow and indicate with a like that you are a daily follower, already assume that I operate under a calling and therefore under the authority of the one who called me and told me to do so (being Christ the King). I also would never be as bold as Paul to say my words are scripture or that I am the voice of God. But I do my very best to be an empty vessel that God can flow through to bring a little bit of new to these verses so many of you have heard many times and to plant seed into hearts who have never heard these things.

Because it was so recent that we studied Acts, I am not going to get into the details of why, Paul writes that he wants to get to Rome, but it isn’t possible that the time in which he writes it.

So let’s run down the basics. Jesus is the Christ. The Christ is the prophesied Messiah, King of the Jews, The Creator, and Our Savior. In a relationship with Him, Paul has the Authority to write. It is assumed, since he is writing to believers that they understand that Jesus died for our sins, meaning – to forgive us. And that Jesus rose again and is a LIVING Lord. What is NOT assumed and apparently needs chapters of explanation on, is how the death and resurrection justifies us, how it forgives sin – and what that means for our actions and behaviors after we come to the understanding of what if fully means.

So Paul begins with:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Verses 16-17

He jumps right in to the deep end.

I am not sure how to get through this book with SO MUCH in every sentence.
Not ashamed. Even seasoned soul winners and people who witness to others in the grocery store and gas station have moments where an unexplained fear in the since of shame or something of the like, overshadows them to prevent them from fulfilling a mission. I confessed to you the time I saw a homeless man and walked away instead of going to him and sharing the gospel. I asked God for a redo and I have not seen the man again, despite going to look for him. I was surprised by my own reaction when I did not go preach when I had opportunity. It is so not like me. This ashamed, this fear, or this inhibition needed to break again from me – I pray for HOLY GHOST BOLDNESS OVER ME AND YOU! That you will not see an opportunity and screw it up as I did. And that I will not miss another opportunity.

The power of salvation to others is the same power that saved me and the same power over death that raised Jesus from the grave. It is more powerful than fear, shame, embarrassment or demon who tries to come against the will of the Lord!

Our righteousness is revealed faith to faith – as we live by faith we produce fruit of faith (like in verse 13) and we know, that we know that we are saved, we are transformed, and we are servants of God.
Therefore, speaking to new believers Paul takes much of this book to not only explain justification, but also that it is not by works we are saved, but once we are saved we will produce works out of the abundance of love growing in us. Otherwise in my personal famine I could say that my faith that God is turning this around and blessing me abundantly is my justification – when I am justified by my faith in the work of the cross and therefore God is turning this around and blessing me. I seek God and not blessings. Blessings seek me as I seek God – because it is written and therefore it is.

Now – you and I say we are believers or want to be (I hardly doubt you have read this far without any invested interest in the subject but if you did, please keep reading). The hard thing about being a new believer is not knowing any better, so Paul will explain. But you and I aren’t really new here, and the problem with that is we think we know.
Like, I grew up in a Christian home. I do not recall if and when I ever said the salvation prayer and meant it. Every Sunday Pastor said repeat after me and many time I repeated it, and meant it. At some point I was saved – I professed Jesus as my Lord.  During the covid shut down, my son’s girlfriend sat and watch church every Sunday and Wednesday with me and we recited out loud after the pastor, the salvation prayer every service, we had it practically memorized. And one day she looked at me and said I am saved. I looked at her and said you are? And she said that she has repeated it so many times that now she means it and she is. Unfortunately the world opened back up and she learned about drinking and partying and left my son and is very lost and unrecognizable. How quickly the devil chokes out the good seeds with weeds.
My point is sometimes we think we are saved, by growing up in a Christian home and trying to be good, by being Catholic and baptized and paying our penance, or like some of the Jews Paul is writing to here we think we earned it by participating in raising the animal we would give as our sacrifice, or like some of the Greeks here we think just saying Jesus is Lord is enough and that is it – we can coast and it’s a free ride.

You might not want to be saved once you read Romans. It points out that Christianity is difficult and anything BUT a free ride. But we will get to that. But we will start with the Wrath of God on unrighteousness. And we are not speaking of the unrighteousness of the ignorant world – no. we are talking about the wrath of God on those who profess Jesus is Lord, those who God made himself known and manifest (verse 19). Yes. Justification starts with Judgement – God Judges us so we can repent and the devil cannot accuse or condemn us.

We are talking about those who (and read carefully to make sure you are not in this list) have no excuse for not being on fire (verse 20); those who did not give God the glory and/or glorify Him as God, those who are not thankful, those whose thoughts are not subject to Philippians 4:8, aka think on the wrong things, those who are foolish in sin letting their hearts darken (verse 21); those who profess to be wise (verse 22), …

(this is an area I pay close attention to, I study diligently and ask God for wisdom daily, therefore I can be prone to being proud in my our thinking and not humbles under the scriptures. I have seen many great Bible scholars learn so much that they can no longer be taught and their hearts harden. I have seen them raise their knowledge above the scriptures instead of being humbly beneath them.  Yes – stay eager to study and learn and assume you do not know it all.)

…those who corrupt God and the scriptures (the false prophets who change the scriptures to mean what they want to be justified by flesh in their sins instead of being justified by God from their sins), including deifying the created over The Creator (verse 23).

That is the list we do not want to be on. That is where Judgment fall first. When we think of judgment, we think of bolts of lightning, the ground splitting open and swallowing or dropping dead like Ananias and Sapphire did in Acts chapter 5.  But no. This is actually so much worse. You ask God to take his hand off you by doing these actions, then His wrath comes in the form of taking His hand off of you, removing His grace, withdrawing His tender mercies, and letting you self-destruct in your sins.

“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” Verses 24-25.

What follows sounds like Disney’s indoctrination plan, they publicized quietly but has recently come to light and been revealed. It sounds like the demonic “woke” agenda of the far left:
“For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” Verses 26-27
Yes, this is saying God has removed His hand from Disney. They are NO LONGER (and possibly never truly were) a family focused company. Watch as this kingdom crumbles beneath their sins. Just as I did when I pursued self over God. Just as the prodigal son did when he pursued self over God. Just as everyone in the Bible who pursues self over God also crumbled under their sins unless, repentance came swiftly and had mercy on them. (Or maybe repentance came when they were on the ground with the ruins of their life crumpled on top of them crushing them, as I was – then, mercy can come in with a supernatural experience with grace – Like Jesus finding that one lost lamb tangled and near death in the briars.) I do not have any faith that Disney will repent and as Christians leave more and more of God’s grace parts from them.

The above list (that we do not want to find ourselves in) are the roots. In case you did not recognize the root cause maybe you can recognize the fruits those roots produce? That list is found in here:
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;  who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Verses 28-32.

Well, that list hurts a little. Let’s not play ‘Never Have I Ever” with that list, because we are all sinners and have done at least one thing on that list at some point in our lives. We may still struggle with something(s) on that list – we are in fact human. DO NOT CONDEMN YOURSELF TO HELL! Do not accuse yourself into depression or oppression. Listen, God LOVES you so be gentle on yourself as He is. If you find yourself on this is, as I often find myself somewhere on there, below we will begin a plan of counter attack against the enemy and to kill the roots. HOWEVER, ALSO DO NOT EXCUSE OR MAKE LIGHT OF IT, IF YOU DO FIND YOURSELF ON THE LIST. IT IS STILL A SINFUL ABONINATION TO GOD AND REASON FOR HIS WRATH. Please take this serious and join us with killing it at the root.

So we also have a root that leads to that evil fruit that must be dealt with from the above list: not being on fire for God; those who did not give God the glory and/or glorify Him, those who are not thankful, those whose thoughts are not subject to God; those who profess to be wiser that God, those who corrupt God and the scriptures (the false prophets who change the scriptures to mean what they want to be justified by flesh in their sins instead of being justified by God from their sins), including deifying the created over The Creator. So I guess we need to start there.

Let’s try an exercise, maybe? A counter attack against these evil roots. You see, way too many self-help guru’s and pastors have taught on that list of sins – and all it seems to do is give more power to the sin over us (which is not Biblical). Through the Holy Spirit and the Power of Jesus we have authority over sin. But NOT if we are focused on the sin instead of focused on God. And NOT if we are working on a sin that has us all bound up (or thinking we are bound up). And not if we are intentionally sinning. So let us repent of that list.
Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with all unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me even though I knew better and I understand the righteous judgment of You, God. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yoks and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on you. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

So, while we are reading through this book, let’s ask God to reignite the fire in our bellies for Him, filling us to overflowing with His Spirit! Let us also be thoughtful and NOT take credit for anything – giving all credit to God. Let’s all also commit to adding a task to our morning routines, like let our coffee trigger it, or something else in your morning routine trigger it – and let’s commit to spending a few minutes every morning just thanking God for everything and anything and giving Him glory. Set an alarm on your phone if you need to. And commit to it daily while we read this book. Let us also guard our thoughts and not let our minds wander. When we catch our minds wandering, let us repent and release those thoughts and be prayerful and intentional in thinking. And finally – let us be humble. Humble enough to say I do not know it all and God has something new to reveal to me in this book. Be humble enough to receive something new daily from God. Humble enough to begin to make connection between many things where God is saying and confirming His will to you for your life.
Let’s work on making sure we have healthy roots so that we do not bear the wrong fruit and therefore the wrath of God. Even if we normally do these things instinctually in love for God – make more of an effort while reading this book because these are the areas you and I will struggle with while reading it if we are not prepared for the fight.
God will never stop loving us, and His love is always there so we can repent – but He is separated from us by our sins and He removes His hand in His wrath when the wrong fruits produce.

To young believers, we can see why Paul might need to lay this out for them. But Paul is laying a foundation and this is not the point of the message.  Let us all quickly come into agreement with the word of God and grab ahold of this foundation in practice. Hopefully we have already chosen between life and death, and choose to follow God – we cannot stop at the choice, after we choose we must act on it and grow our relationship with God.

I am setting an alarm on my phone to remind me to be thoughtful and intentional in my gratitude and thoughts humbling submitting to God daily. It is the easiest way to keep it at the forefront of my mind. It will be interesting to see where we are May 16th when we finish this book.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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