- Why Know Jesus?
- Rightly Dividing the Word of God
- Doctrinal Declarations of Faith
- The Providence Of God
- Fall Iinto Sin and the Corrupt State of Man
- God’s Eternal Decrees
- The Trinity
- Of Apostolic Faith
- The Attributes Of God
- Christ Jesus
- Mans Will and Free Will
- Election and Predestination
- True Faith Justification and Repentance
- Adoption and Sanctification
- The Perseverance of the Saints
- Assurance of Salvation and Good Works
- Doctrinal Studies
- The History of the Pentecostal Movement
- Errant Pentecostal Doctrines And False Apostles And Prophets Introduction
- Periods And Confirmations Of God’s Revelation
- The Foundation Of The Church
- The Baptism With The Holy Spirit and The Filling of The Holy Spirit According to Scripture
- Signs Wonders Healing And Miracles For Who And By Who?
- The Apostles The Difference Between True And False
- Real and False Prophets
- The Prophets Of The New Testament
- Personal Conclusions
- CAN A CHRISTIAN BEAR ARMS AND DEFEND HIMSELF AND OTHERS
- (Italiano) E’ BIBLICO PER UN CRISTIANO USARE LEGITTIMA DIFESA PER SE E PER ALTRI?
- The Sanctity of Life and Value of Human Life
- The Importance of the Family to God
- Roles In The Family As In The Church
- The Role of Man and the Responsibilities of a Husband
- The Role of the Woman and the Responsibilities of the Wife
- Responsibilities of Father and Mother to Teach Train and Discipline their Children
- The Responsibilities of The Children in the Family
- The Letter of Paul to the Romans Introduction
- Romans Chapter One
- Romans Chapter Two
- Romans Chapter Three
- Romans Chapter Four
- Romans Chapter Five
- Romans Chapter Six
- Romans Chapter Seven
- Romans Chapter Eight
- Romans Chapter Nine
- Romans Chapter Ten
- Romans Chapter Eleven
- Romans Chapter 12 Verses 1-2
- Romans Chapter 12 Verses 3-11
- (Italiano) Introduzione Alla Lettera di Paolo Ai Romani
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Uno
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Due
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Tre
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Quattro
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Cinque
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Sei
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Sette
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Otto
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Nove
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo Dieci
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 11
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 12 Versetti 1-3
- (Italiano) Romani Capitolo 12 Versetti 4-11
- Mission Ministry
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Romans Chapter One
First Chapter of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
First Section-Chapter 1-Introduction and Personal Observations of the Author
1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;7 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.Verse 1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God
First of all Paul, his name immediately is mentioned by itself, clearly Paul was uniquely and especially called by Jesus to be the one to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles, the pagans. This is confirmed in Acts 9:1-6, Acts 26:16-18 and Galatians 2:7-9.
Christ Himself had personally and specially given to Paul the revelations of the divine divine character and the doctrines for the church Ephesians 3:1-9, the call and destiny of the church as the body of Christ and God’s temple Ephesians 2:18-22 ; Ephesians 5:24-32, this last passage looking at it form the reference point of Christ-church more than husband and wife.
In doctrine and direction Paul’s ministry is unique and special in the authority given him by Christ. Ephesians 3:1-12; Galatians 1:15-18 ; Titus 1:1-3 . For this Paul also refers to the Gospel calling it his Gospel.
A Gospel revealed by Christ to Paul for the church in a unique way, in other words giving him the authority to teach it to the church, authority that was not self appointed but recognized by the other Apostles Galatians 2:1-2.
In addition this Gospel revealed to the church when it is accepted, then as today, if truly it is preached and taught in the same manner, it is accepted as true word of God through the work of the Holy Spirit John 13:20 and
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
This is valid today, as we must be like Paul that would only and always preach and taught Jesus and that which He revealed him 1 Corinthians 2:2
2 Corinthians 4:5 We in fact do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus, the Lord, and we are your bond servants for the love of Jesus; Colossisans 1:24-29
His boast was only in Jesus and also ours should be Galatians 6:14.
It was Paul who was given responsibility from Christ to have Apostolic authority and to present the church Christ had given him , as a bride and a virgin back to Christ Himself.
2 Corinthians 11: 2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
If this is true of Paul at that time, I believe it is unthinkable that during the centuries God has a different view as far as those who He placed in positions of authority and responsibility in the church today. Would the Lord want the church today to be a chaste virgin to be presented to Christ and to the Father? Unfortunately today many who like to be called “apostles” but they are not, have lost this vision, in fact many encourage the church to commit spiritual fornication and adultery, which is living in sin and idolatry. Today there are no more Apostles such as there were in that era,
(See sections in Doctrinal Studies- Erroneous Pentecostal Doctrines), but the authority of their doctrines remain the same through the word of God.
The Apostolic authority Paul had was clearly a gift, a ministry, a call and election of God, but his authority as well as from God was attributable, as it is the authority of those who lead churches today, pastors and elders, dependent upon how the word of God, the Apostolic doctrines are taught, protected and obeyed, how the leaders’ lives reflect the revelation of the Gospel. As it was with Paul through direct revelation, it is today through the revelation of the written word and the Holy Spirit 1 Peter 1:25.
All this means that accepting the true doctrine and the true Gospel is to accept the true word of God, not accepting it is to reject not the word of men, rather the word of God 2 Thessalonians 3:14; 2 Timothy 3:16 ;2 Peter 3:16.
A person who is not a believer if they reject the Gospel, preached in the right manner, does not reject man’s word, they reject God’s word and whoever does not accept us, God’s messengers rejects Him. The believer who rejects the counsel of the word of God given by the pastor, elder or teacher, rejects the word of God not merely man’s word.
Paul continues in verse one as he refers to himself as bond servant of Jesus Christ
From the beginning Paul has always recognized himself as a servant or a slave of God Philippians 1:1;Titus 1:1, not by force or slavery in itself, rather a servant by his own choice and for the love to God and the love with which God had saved him. This means that Paul, and we better follow his example, he placed himself under the lordship of Christ for love. Even if Jesus calls us as friends and brothers, so children of God.
John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
As I mentioned Jesus calls his disciples friends and brothers recognizing that we who have been adopted by God also are called the same and Jesus calls His Father our Father.
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ “
It is obvious that in many epistles written by Paul we are called children of God and not servants. However, Paul rfers to himself ad a bondservant of Christ, why not as His son?
He is not the only Apostle who uses this title. James, Peter ans Jude also introduce themselves as bond servants of Christ James 1:1;2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1.
If it is true and it is true that we all are children of God, why servants then?
The answer is found in the O.T. There is passage that teaches us that at a certain point a servant who had regained his freedom from the service to his master had the choice to leave and start his own life. However, he also had the choice to choose, for love, not forcibly, to become his master’s servant for life, in other words to renounce his freedom for the love he had for his master, Exodus 21:2-6.
So, we also for love toward God although we have the right to have privileges as children of God, it would be better if we would humbly also propose ourselves as bond servants of the Lord, servants of love or love slaves of God. After all we do not really belong to ourselves any longer, as we have been bought at a very high price and we should never forget this, if we humble ourselves ad servants we will be lifted up and treated by God as sons and daughters, we don not however live as slaves because we can take for ourselves our rights and our blessings as children of God at any moment.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Corinthians 7:22-23 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. See also [2 Corinthians 5:15].
It is good to remember the price we have been bought with is the precious blood and the precious life of Jesus Christ 1 Peter 1:18. He is worthy of our love and of our life.
Paul continues saying- Called to be an apostle
There are several verses that refer to Paul as an Apostle by God’s calling 1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians.1:1; 1Timothy 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1. Paul often introduces himself like this, he has the right.
In fact we have seen that his Apostolic call came directly by Jesus’ choice, He chose Paul and He chose and gave authority to each of the Apostles by His will, certainly this was the case with Paul as it was for the eleven, twelve actually, Acts 9:1-6 ; Acts 26:16-18; 1 Timothy 1:11-15.
Let’s remember as it is mentioned in the study regarding the Apostles (see Doctrinal Studies), that in order to be considered an Apostle of Christ there were very specific qualifications, qualifications that no other man after the twelve and Paul can ever have.
To be called by God also means to be consecrated and be put aside for service and ministry. Paul is called at a special ministry that God reserved for him, write and distribute the doctrine for the church.
Let’s remember that the Apostles and the prophets’ service and ministry in this era was to build the foundation of the church upon the doctrines Christ Ephesians 2:20 which He gave them through His Spirit John 15:26-27 ; John 16:12-14.
Doctrines upon which the church today has to be built upon by the pastors, elders, teachers and evangelists.
The call in nature and principle, not in ministry and office, is a similar call today as the one given to Paul, all believers are consecrated and set aside for service and called to be saints. Not invited, rather called and elected by the sovereign will of God and His choice through salvation , the regeneration and sanctification by God’s grace, things prepared for us so that we should walk in them Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 4:1 even before the foundation of the world.
2 Timothy 1:9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, [Romans 8:29-30];[1 Peter 1:18-21].
All believers are called first of all to be conformed to the image of Christ, this is the vocation of all born again believers.
[Romans 8:29-30];[Romans 12:1-2].
All believers are also called to serve the Lord full time, in other words, every day of our life, from morning till night, in all circumstances and every moment, we must faithfully obey and serve God, even though we might not be called to ministry positions in the church. All do not have that function [1 Corinthians 12:4-31], but all have the call to serve God and the brothers and sisters in the Lord, in the love of God, in every capacity and with the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to each [Romans 12:3-21].
Separated for the Gospel of God.
In Scripture we find case after case of individuals separated, in other words, set aside, sanctified, consecrated for service to God,
see [Exodus 4:11-12];[Jeremiah 1:5];[Acts 6:3-4];[Luke 1:13-17]. Even we have been set aside by God’s will for His workmanship and for His glory [Galatians 1:15-16];[Ephesians 2:10];[1 Peter 2:9-10]. Paul says, separated for the Gospel, the good news, and Paul preached the Gospel, and the entire counsel of God
Acts 20:26-27 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
He did this until the very end of his days, without wavering and without compromises, in the most excellent way.
In this way, we should perform our service to God as well. What did this mean to Paul, what should it mean to us?
2 Corinthians 11:23-28 Are they ministers of Christ?–I speak as a fool–I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness– 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. See also [Philippians 1:20-21];[2 Timothy 3:11]; [2 Timothy 4:7-8].
These are the conditions under which Paul was set apart for the Gospel, this is what he endured to preach the counsel of God to people, yet he did it in the most faithful way, as we said without wavering, without compromise and in the most excellent way. Let us learn from this man what it truly means to be set apart to do God’s work.
But Paul did not shy away or cower in all these situations he told the Romans in fact in chapter 8
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Verse 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,
Paul makes reference to the prophecies of the O.T. Scriptures. These prophecies were the reference of God’s promises given through the typologies of the good news that had to be revealed in the person of Messiah Jesus Christ, the redeemer, the Son of the Living God, promises given to Israel and the nations, even as far as the beginning of time [Genesis 3:15];[Genesis 12:2-3].
The justice of God mentioned in the law was a witness of the promises that the prophets made regarding Christ [Micah 5:2-4], the sacrifices in the law given to Moses were symbols and witness to Jesus’ work of redemption. The Gospel, Jesus and the good news were all promised through the prophets in many Scriptures. Let’s see a few of the most known, [Isaiah 9:6-7];[Isaiah 52:13-15];[Isaiah 53:1-12];[Jeremiah 31:31-34]; [Ezekiel 36:25-27];[Micah 5:2-4]. ALL the Scriptures of the O.T. Moses, the prophets,the Psalms, all give witness to God’s redemption through Jesus Christ, even Jesus Himself and the Apostles confirm this [Luke 18:31];[Luke 24:25-27];
Luke 24:44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”
See also [Acts 3:22-25];[Acts 26:22-23].
Verse 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,
Precisely the point of the previous verse, the promises prophesied were regarding the Son of the Living God, Jesus Christ our Lord. Not only Jesus is represented as the promise for Israel’s salvation [Luke 1:68-75] our Lord, the Lord, the One above all [Colossians 1:15-18].
We need to realize that Jesus is the Lord and not only the Savior. The birth of Jesus, the incarnation of the word of God, the logos, [John 1:1-14], all this is the promise of God made through the law and the prophets.
So by the will of God, Jesus humbled Himself, and became a man, has lived His life obediently to the Father, He humbled Himself to doing the Father’s will all the way to the cross, He shed His blood for the remissions of sin and He rose from the dead to justify His own and to give us abundant life, He ascended to heaven and sat down at the right hand of the majesty of God and He is our high priest in the Holy of Holies, in the true sanctuary of God, in the Father’s presence He makes intercession for us.
Philippians 2:5-11 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
He only is our salvation and there is no other name by which we can be saved [Acts 4:12].
Paul then continues saying who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,
Jesus, the word of God, who became a man was born of the seed of David according to the flesh. In His human nature Jesus belongs to the seed of David. He was conceived in Mary, a virgin, by the Holy Spirit of God. The generation of Jesus the man was done directly by God [Matthew 1:20];[Luke 1:32]. This of course is not impossible since God created Adam directly from the earth. Therefore, Mary did not necessarily have to be without “original”sin as they say, because Jesus the man was generated by God in Mary’s womb. Obviously the divine nature of Jesus is not created, Jesus in fact as we say was generated not created.
Hebrews 10:5-7 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. 7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come–In the volume of the book it is written of Me– To do Your will, O God.’ “
Mary, unlike the Roman Catholic rhetoric and idolatry that is practiced regarding her person, was instead the woman who was blessed to have carried Jesus and the one who nourished Him and brought Him into this world by the will of God, He is man after all. So we understand and explain the fact that by necessity Mary did not have to be without sin to carry Jesus and to bring Him in this world, generated in the flesh as a man directly by God, it would after all be the same concept, as how can a sinners body like ours be the temple of the Holy Spirit, in which body as the word of God explains sin is still present even after conversion [Romans 7:1-25] and yet it is still the abode of God [1 Corinthians 6:19-20].
In addition, not having a human father’s contribution, in other words Joseph not being his true human father, Adam’s nature did not at all touch Jesus’ body in His human nature. A human nature that is without sin. So, Jesus’ Father is God and even more Jesus is God in the flesh [John 1:1-14]
A man, two natures, one divine the other human without sin.
However, Mary was a just or righteous woman, in other words justified by God, for O.T. Righteous standards, however, justification by faith, after all justification is and always was by faith, see Romans 4. So Mary and Joseph also were righteous people, by faith, before God. By faith they were awaiting God’s promises for Israel, the Messiah. Being justified by faith there is absolutely no problem for her to carry God’s Son in her womb.
So, both Joseph and Mary by faith accepted God’s will in their life [Matthew 1:18-25];[Luke 1:26-38].
Jesus therefore, was born of the seed of David, not by the seed of David, which would be different. To be born of the seed does mean to be born by parents who although were adoptive, still, Jesus was born from Mary, who was also in the lineage of King David [Luke 3:23], so was Joseph [Luke 1:27]. Joseph from Jacob and Mary was daughter of Eli, both descendants of David. The women were not recognized in the genealogies, this is why in Luke, Eli is recognized as the father of Joseph, Joseph was recognized as son of Eli through marriage, his son-in-law considered his son because he was the daughter’s husband, the male, not the daughter.
Both were descendants of Zerubbabel, only that Joseph came from Abiud [Matthew 1:13] while Mary from Rhesa also Zerubbabel’s son [Luke 3:27]. So Jesus was born of the seed of David, was not born by the seed of David, in other words born of man man,but generated by God, directly such as God created Adam , a body for God was prepared [Hebrews 10:1-10].
One more reason why Jesus is called the last Adam [1 Corinthians 15:45], Jesus undid what Adam did by His obedience He undid what Adam did by his disobedience, for those who by faith believe in Him [Romans 5:12-21].
Anyway, this is the Messianic recognition of the promises of God made through the law and the prophets, Jesus the Christ in the flesh, man by the seed of David is the reality.
Verse 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
Jesus was declared Son of God with power during His life, through the declaration and the witness of the Father [Mark 1:11];[Luke 9:35]; [Matthew 17:5];[John 12:28].
This was also added by Jesus Himself who declared several times regarding the witness of the Father concerning Him [John 5:32];[John 8:18].
Although according to Jesus man’s witness was not necessary, Jesus declared in fact that the witness of man about Him was solely dependent upon the witness of the Father .
Matthew 16:15-17 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. See also [John 1:6-8].
However, the witness that Jesus was the Son of God came also through His works and miracles wrought by the power of the Spirit of holiness, [John 2:11];[John 3:2];[John 7:31];[John 9:31-33], [John 10:36-38];[John 14:10-11].
The declaration of being the Son of God beside the power of God by miracles trough the Spirit, comes by the Spirit of holiness the verse says, holiness that Jesus demonstrated to have in the fact that He never sinned, His sinless life proved He is the Son of God.
[2 Corinthians 5:21];[Hebrews 7:26]; [1 Peter 1:18-19];[1 Peter 2:22];[1 John 3:5].
In addition to the power of the Spirit of holiness, God declared Him Son of God and Lord of all by the resurrection from the dead.
It was the Spirit of God, by the Spirit of God, the life giving Spirit, that Jesus arose from the grave
Romans 8:10-11 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
See also [Acts 2:22-36];[Colossians 1:18];[Revelation 1:5];[Revelation 1:18].
Verse 5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,
Glory to God, through Him, Jesus Christ whom was introduced in the previous verses as we read, the Son of God, our Lord, born by the seed of David according to the flesh, declared the Son of God in power according and by the Spirit of holiness through the resurrection of the dead:
through Him our marvelous Lord, we have received grace, together with this grace that saved us we have also received gifts, a call to service and ministry [Ephesians 2:8-10];[Romans 12:3-19];[1 Corinthians 12:4-30];[Ephesians 4:1-7].
In Paul’s case and of a few others the apostleship was given them by grace. We have to stop here for a moment and we must reflect, that non only salvation is trough faith by God’s grace, but also our service and our spiritual gifts and ability is all by God’s grace and not from us, so that we have nothing at all to boast about.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. See also [Philippians 2:13]
In fact the treasure of which Paul speaks is confirmed and exposes in the following chapter, this treasure of which we have read includes the service, the ministry the trust and the ability that God has given us, this is effectually the Holy Spirit, such as the word of God guides us to understand; [Ephesians 3:6];[Ephesians 3:20].
Colossians 1:25-29 (the church) of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
So then, this grace God has given us as an unmerited favor and gift and through which we have received salvation and the call to service, is only by the power of God that operates in us through His Spirit.
Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Paul’s apostleship was, as all service and ministry is, a gift of God by the manifestation of the Holy Spirit power in his life and ours. All this fact is described for us in Scripture in two key passages:
Ephesians 4:4-12 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”
9(Now this, “He ascended”–what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
The other parallel one is all of 1 Corinthians 12 but let’s look specifically at a few passages of this chapter
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
Paul continues in Romans 1 verse 5 saying for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,
Paul is describing the exercise of the faith becoming obedient to the Gospel that brings us to be beneficiaries of God’s salvation trough His grace, service and sanctification. All this is by God’s grace through faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God [Hebrews 11:6], it is faith that brings to obey the Gospel and the word of God, but all this does not originate from us, it is all by the grace of God only. Obedience to the faith as Paul will teach us later is among all nations. Faith is and always was as Paul teaches us the base of salvation for His name, for all nations, for all people, to obtain the favor of God [John 3:16-17], His salvation and all that comes from it. Let us remember what Paul declares ahead, which we will examine ahead in more detail
Romans 1:16-17 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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
However, God gives us all His grace and does all this certainly for His love and mercy but primarily for His glory. There is nothing wrong that God does all this for His glory, God is worthy of glory and honor and therefore He guides us to love His name and the fact that He wants to be honored, His name be honored . He guides us in the paths of righteousness for His name sake [Psalms 23:3];[Psalms 109:21].
Verse 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;
This is a short verse but full of the love of and mercy of God and also His righteousness and equity. It is a personal verse, not only for the believers to whom Paul was writing but for all of us who are called and who have by God’s grace through faith become obedient to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
All the people, the nations as we mentioned, Jews and Gentiles, all the people of the world, among which even we have been called by Jesus to be recipients of His grace all having the same possibility to receive it through faith and obedience to the Gospel [John 3:16].
Not all have been called in the same service as Paul, as we explained regarding the apostleship, however all those who believe in Christ have been called to be children of God and to be the elect to salvation [John 1:10-13], called to be sanctified and conformed to the image of Jesus Christ [Romans 8:28-34] and to some type of service and work of God [Ephesians 2:8-10], however certainly to be witnesses to the grace of God [1 Corinthians 1:2];[2 Thessalonians 2:13-14];[2 Timothy 1:8-11].
In fact this is the message of the Gospel, the message of John 3:16, this is really what Jesus was communicating to Nicodemus, in other words that God sent Him, His only begotten Son, so that not only from the Jews, but from all the people of the world God would have called and elected for Himself children, who through His grace and faith would be called to salvation through what Jesus did John 6:29-71.
Halleluiah, praise God from those people I also have been elected and called, I hope you have also. Know that God loved the world and you are a part of this world my dear friends, whoever believes in Jesus Christ, the Gospel, would not perish but have eternal life.
Believe in Him today and call upon His name and you shall be saved
Romans 10:9-13 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
Verse 7 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.
Another wonderful truth in this verse, the addressing of this is to all those who in fact as said previously are those who are called form all the people of the world through Jesus Christ and the will of the Father [John 6:37-40];[John 6:65]; these verses in Romans so far are progressive, they go from verse 5 from all the people we have been called to salvation and service, each called to this through Jesus Christ, and then it goes on saying, to all of them who are in Rome, in other words those to whom this letter is written,
We realize that this letter is addressed not only to the saints in Rome but also to us, to all who are in Christ. All those who are called by God, all are loved by God, what a consolation and what joy this verse gives us, to be loved by God. But yes, God has so loved the world as we said that He did not favor only Israel, but willed that from every nation of the world, because of his love toward all people, He has brought together in one family Jews and Gentiles.
Yes, we are beloved of God because God will certainly have a special love for His children compared to those who are rebellious sinners.
To think that God loves in the same exact way sinners and his children is failing to comprehend who God really is. God certainly is merciful toward all His creation [Psalms 145:8-9]:[Matthew 5:44-45];however He has a much greater,deeper and special love toward those who are now brothers and sisters of His only begotten Son Jesus,these are distinct from the others [1 John 3:1-10].
Let’s make something really clear, although we do not know who the elect and called future children of God are, we must realize that God will not exhibit the same kind of love He exhibits toward His children, who are in Christ His beloved Son, toward those who remain rebellious sinners.
After all, this is also true in the natural human life, who has children of their own does not love them more than those who are not their own children? It is obvious even more that for God it is the same.
The Father has loved the Son so much that those who are in Christ are beloved of God and are children of God.
Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. See also [Colossians 1:13]
In this verse Paul says we are called to be saints, and by position in Christ God already considers us such. We do not need the Roman church to canonize us as saints, God has already done it. We are however called to be consecrated, holy and to walk in holiness as He who called us is holy [1 Peter 1:13-16]. This is the process called sanctification that we must pursue and desire [Philippians 2:12-13]. When the desire and the progression in that direction exists it means we truly are regenerated and we are living out our salvation in the way God desires.
Paul also calls us to walk in holiness in Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, see also [2 Corinthians 7:1];[1 Thessalonians 2:12];[1 Peter 1:15-16].
In fact Paul confirms that we are beloved, loved in a special way, in the benediction that follows, the grace that has been gifted to us through faith is through such we have peace with God and access to the fullness of His grace.
Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
The grace and peace of God are always available to God’s children, God’s children have access into the grace in which they stand.
God’s grace is a continuous flowing gift that God gives to His children, and after all in this is also His peace. We have peace with God as we know through our Lord Jesus Christ and as His children we have access to receive the peace of God as well, peace the world cannot know or give [John 14:27];[John 16:33],this kind of peace that many believers unfortunately are not able to enjoy or obtain because they fail to take God at His word. However God has given us the knowledge of how to obtain it [Philippians 4:4-7].
Romans 1:8 to 1:15
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve 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.
Verse 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
Thanksgiving! Paul is one who always thanked God for everything and in every circumstance. He gives us the godly example of how we must be, we have to have that spirit of thanksgiving toward the Lord. We have so many reasons to continuously thank God, for all He has done, for what He is doing and that which He will do in our life and in the church, that which He is working out in the lives of all believers.
In fact here Paul says several things about giving thanks, let’s see what they are.
The first thing we see as we said is Paul’s thanksgiving.
The second thing is the that the thanksgiving is the same as how every prayer must be, offered to the Father through the merits and the virtues and work of Christ alone.
The third thing is who the subjects of Paul’s thanksgiving are, in other words the believers in Rome.
The fourth thing is the reason of Paul’s thanksgiving.
Let’s examine these things.
First, I thank my God
Paul has developed in his life a spirit of thanksgiving and gratitude toward God, he calls God his God. Paul knows that God is his God,he belongs to God and God belongs to him. He is a child of God. When a person is in Christ then God is their Father and their God. Remembering that beautiful passage where Jesus makes this declaration:
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ “
This reason alone should make us develop a spirit of thanksgiving toward the Lord.
We who once were alienated from His presence and His life, estranged from God [Ephesians 2:11-13],
now we are adopted by His grace in God’s family through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross [Romans 8:14-16];[Galatians 4:4-7]; [Ephesians 1:5-7].
God has freed us form darkness and has made us children of light [Ephesians 5:8];[Colossians 1:13-14];[1 Thessalonians 5:5];[1 Peter 2:9],
He has freed us from the power of sin [Romans 6:17-18];[Romans 8:2]; the devil [1 John 3:8] and death [John 5:24];[Hebrews 2:14-15].
He has predestined us to glory through Jesus Christ [Romans 8:29-30];[Ephesians 1:11-14].
The Lord provides for all of our needs [Matthew 6:33]; [Philippians 4:19];[2 Corinthians 9:8],
He protects us from all evil and the evil one [Isaiah 54:17];[Matthew 16:18];[John 10:28-29];[Romans 8:33-39];[1 Peter 1:5];
He heals us from our physical and spiritual diseases [Psalms 103:1-5];[James 5:15].
Our Father is always with us, never leaves us and never forsakes us [Psalms 37:25];[Psalms 37:28];
[Hebrews 13:5] .
How many things have we to be thankful and grateful toward God! We know, or at least we should know that ALL THINGS not somethings but ALL THINGS cooperate for good for the children of God, the elect to salvation, because God has a benevolent design and purpose for our life
[Romans 8:28];[Jeremiah 29:11-12]. Our Father wants only to bless us and do us good, even when He corrects us and disciplines us and scourges us he does this for our good and trough this He demonstrates and confirms we are His children and that He loves us
Hebrews 12:5-11 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Paul is a man who first of all thanks God. First of all, this is what we should always do, thank God for everything. Paul teaches us this practice in other epistles he wrote, as well.
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Colossians 2:6-7 As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;
Paul’s instructions to the church regarding thanksgiving are by no means lacking
In fact thanksgiving is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus
1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
The verse says give thanks in everything, this teaches us that God’s will is to be thankful in every situation even the negative situations of our lives. Why should we? How can we thank God for difficulties in our lives?
Well, there are many reasons, I will mention but a few.
One reason is that trials and difficult situations, trials in the believers’ life are needed to grow spiritually, to strengthen our faith in God and to make us conformed to the image of Jesus, to make us obedient [James 1:2-4];[1 Peter 1:6-7];[Hebrews 5:8].
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The Bible teaches us that these trials, these afflictions are momentary, temporal, while instead through these things God is working for us something that is weighty and eternal. Reason to thank Him.
Another reason is that we have already established that ALL THINGS cooperate for our good, for God’s children, even the negative and the trials and difficulties [Romans 8:28].
God does not ever make us go through situations that will not work out for good and we must remember the lesson, that it could always be worse.
We must have the humility to ask God what He wants to teach us through the difficulties and the trials and we also must remember that even when He corrects, disciplines and scourges us He does it for our good, even as the Scripture we have previously read declares [Hebrews 12:5-11].
We also must remember that no matter what happens in our life God is in control and all the reasons and promises we read before that should make us thankful still remain [Job 1:8-12];[Job 2:3-9], Job answered to all that happened
Job 1:20-21 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Job 2:10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
This is the attitude that reflects thanksgiving to God in every situation.
Even Paul demonstrates this attitude in
Philippians 4:11-12 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
This is attitude of thanksgiving, for when no matter what state one is in he learns to be content, one is thankful to God in everything.
In addition to all this let’s remember that those who are sinners and idolaters as Paul explains ahead in [Romans 1:21] are ungrateful and they refuse to thank God. Not to thank God is a character trait of the idolater sinner, do we also want to be associated with them? The character trait of God’s children should be thankfulness to the Father.
through Jesus Christ
The verse continues, we need to understand that our presence before our Heavenly Father and all that we offer Him is only accepted through Jesus Christ and what He has done on Calvary.
Through Hos sacrifice, His death on the cross, offering His life, he ransomed us from sin and death with His precious blood. Through His resurrection He has justified those who believe in Him before the Father and has given us new life, His life, His Spirit that gave us life, regenerated us. Through His present ministry of High Priest He is seated at the right hand of the Father and He makes continuous intercession for us, He continues to justify us before the Father and to provide favor with God for us [Romans 8:33-34], through Him and only Him, His virtues, His work, His grace are our prayers accepted, only because they are offered through Jesus, in His wonderful name.
Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Thanksgiving has to be part of our prayers and as our prayers has to be offered only through Jesus Christ
Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Paul then continues saying for you all.So far we have seen Paul thanks God, trough Jesus, now he explains who he thanks God for. His thanksgiving to God is for these brothers and sisters in Rome. Paul does not only thank God for them in regard to what he says, their faith that is known in the whole world, but Paul always thanks God for all the believers of all churches.
In almost all his epistles to the various churches Paul thanks God for believers, not just once but repeatedly
Ephesians 1:15-16 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
Philippians 1:3-4 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,
See also [1 Corinthians 1:4];[Colossians 1:3-4];[1 Thessalonians 1:2];[1 Thessalonians 2:13];[2 Thessalonians 1:3];[2 Thessalonians 2:13]; Philemon 4.
Once again we see that the practice of thanking God for other believers is of weight and it is definitely and Apostolic tradition that we would do well putting into practice, it is Biblical doctrine. Always thanking God for all things, in a special way for our brothers and sisters.
that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
Paul ends verse 8 giving the why He thanks God for them. First the who he give thanks for, now the why. Paul thanksgiving to God through Jesus regarding the Roman believers in this case is focused specifically upon the fact that their faith is spoken of throughout the whole known world, they are famous for their faith.
What a wonderful thing it would be, not only if we could thank God for the famous faith of our brother and sisters but if others could thank God as Paul does, because our faith is spoken of through out the world. That our faith would be known by all and that it would bring glory to God, but even more that our faith be known by the Lord. To make known our faith is a witness of God’s presence and His work in our life.
In fact Paul praises also other believers for the witness of their faith that gives glory to God.
1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. 8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. 9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,
Colossians 1:3-4 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints;
Philemon 4-7 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7 For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.
In Paul’s thanksgiving there always were specific reasons and the greater part of his giving thanks to God was because the faith, the witness and the work of other believers had somehow reached his ears and when such news arrive for God’s glory we also must thank God for the effectiveness of His power that operates in the church and the fruit that is evident in the life of other believers [Ephesians 3:20]; [Philippians 2:13].
However, we want to make sure that the fame of our faith and our witness and works be spread all around us for the glory of our God.
Verse 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,
This is one of the many parenthesis verses that exist in Scripture, in other words, here Paul begins to say something and in the middle of what he is saying he places a parenthetical comment. The verse then should read God is my witness that I do not stop making mention of you always in my prayers. However in the middle of the verse Paul places the words (whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son). Paul wants to give a brief explanation of His service to God.
We see here that Paul confirms that which Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4
John 4:22-25 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
First of all Paul as we explained in the beginning of the study declares himself to be God’s bond servant. He serves God with his entire life and with all his strength.
However, the thing we must realize here besides Paul being God’s servant, is that service rendered to God is an act of worship. All that we do we do in the name of the Lord Jesus [Colossians 3:17] for the glory of God. This can only be done by the spiritual man, in other words through the power of the Holy Spirit. If a person is not regenerated by the Holy Spirit they cannot serve God nor can they confess that Jesus is Lord [1 Corinthians 12:3].
Our service to God is an act of worship [Romans 12:1],it is not a religious service or a service through which a person attempts to earn God’s favor.
Then Paul adds, in the gospel of His Son, I have found a Scripture that explains very well, at least I think, that which Paul is saying here, serve God in the spirit, spiritually through the power of the Gospel that operates in him and in us as well, I hope.
Colossians 1:27-29 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. See also [Ephesians 3:20];[Philippians 2:13].
Her we see, Christ in us, is Christ’s Spirit in the believer, the presence of God’s Spirit in the believer (verse 27). The Gospel which is the power of God for salvation, is Christ preached and His teachings (verse 28). Service called by Paul here labor and striving , but labor that is not done by human strength rather done in the power of the Holy Spirit which works mightily in him and in us, at least I hope that’s how it is (verse 29).
Continuing Paul tells the Roman believers that God is the witness of his prayers, obviously because God hears his prayers and in his prayers Paul never stops mentioning to the Lord the Roman brothers and sisters.
What a wonderful thing! What security was for them to know that a person like Paul was praying for them. In fact, he always made mention of them in his prayers. We need to learn from Paul to never stop mentioning others in our prayers and to thank God for the other believers.
This however, we had occasion to see it already but we will continue to see it because it was not a casual thing for Paul nor was it only a practice he adopted for the Roman believers , rather it was a demonstration of the love Paul had for all the churches, He prayed for all the believers in all the churches.
He prayed for the Ephesians 1:16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
He prayed for the Philippians 1: 3-4 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,
He prayed for the Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
He prayed for the Thessalonians 1 Thessalonians 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers,
He prayed for Philemon 4 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers,
Verse 10 making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.
Paul shares with them the fact that he prays continuously in his prayers that the will of God would be such that the Lord would allow him to go to Rome to visit them. It was not the first time in Scripture we find such a prayer, this Paul also wrote to the Thessalonian saints.
1 Thessalonians 3:10-11 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith? 11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. See also [2 Timothy 1:4].
This verse teaches us three main truths, The first one that we must also do, even as Jesus told us is to persevere in prayer and do not become discouraged [Luke 18:1-7];
Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints
The second thing it teaches us is that when we pray even persevering in prayer, we must always remain conscious of God’s will and praying that His will be done, after all that is how Jesus taught us how to pray [Matthew 6:10] “Our Father who is in heaven hollowed be thy name, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. We have to desire God’s will more than our own personal desires, even if they are good. Our desires as even Paul’s was were not in themselves selfish or not valid, but we must realize that God’s will might differ from what we want. Considering that God’s will is not only good, perfect and acceptable [Romans 12:2] but it must become the source of our pleasure and joy.
After all such was the source of Jesus’ pleasure and joy, let’s remember what Jesus said in the garden of Gethsemane [Luke 22:42].
When we pray in accordance with God’s will we can be assured that our prayers will always be answered
1 John 5:14-15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
The third thing that verse 10 teaches us is Paul’s desire to be with these Roman believers and to know them better. This can be easily translated in love for them. First of all Paul’s love leads him to pray for them always and to want to be together. Staying together with other believers should be motivated by love that one has for one another and this is a source of the joy of the believers, when they are together, it’s a fount of blessings.
Psalms 133: 1-3 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing–Life forevermore.
It’s when the believers dwell together in the unity of the Spirit [Ephesians 4:1-3] where God has placed the blessings in the love and the fellowship of the brotherhood.
Paul always had a great desire to fellowship with other believers, to edify them and to receive edification from them, This is confirmed by Paul himself in the verses that follow.
Verses 11-12 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.
As evangelist, Apostle, pastor, prophet and teacher that Paul was, he certainly wanted to edify and fortify his brothers and sisters through his presence, This is in line with the things Paul had said to the believers of Ephesus as well
Ephesians 4:11-15 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ–
Not only that Paul wanted to be the one who would so imparts something to them, but he also wanted to receive that which God would have offered to him through the sharing of the fruits of the Roman believers’ faith. Paul understood as after all he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit , that the manifestation of the Holy Spirit was never meant for personal edification rather only and exclusively for the common good of the church [1 Corinthians 12:4-7]. In fact chapters 13 and 14 of 1 Corinthians were written to confirm and communicate this very truth. The manifestation of our spiritual gifts, of the ministries and activities of the Spirit are for the common good and the edification of the church only when they are done in love and for love [1 Corinthians 13:1-8] and [1 Corinthians 14:1-40].
Verse 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.
Now Paul exhorts his Roman brethren declaring that many times already he had proposed to go and visit them and to bring fruit for the glory of God in that community as well as he did already in the other places he has been.
Wherever Paul went he brought fruit to the glory of God. This teaches us that a true believer in Christ, a person regenerated by God in his life where ever he or she goes, are always ready to work for the Lord. As Paul himself said in
Ephesians2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Jesus said it like this in
John 15:7-8 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
However, Paul tells the Roman believers that up until that moment he was hindered to go to them. Here we need to stop a while and reflect on the hindrances of our plans and projects. Even if these are in general accord with the known will of God, we need to be careful not to always give Satan the blame and responsibility of the obstacles and hindrances we find on our path.
Often we think that it’s the devil that wants to impede us to go ahead and often it is he who does this. However, there are many other reasons why there are obstacles and impediments or delays on our marching table. Often it is the Lord Himself that is the One who causes these delays or obstacles. After all it is He who has control upon the open or closed doors of our destinations or that causes obstacles and delays at times negating the access of doing what we have planned to do.
Scripture however teaches us this
2 Corinthians 2:12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord,
Acts 16:6-10 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. 8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.
In this last passage we understand that it was the Holy Spirit Himself that forbade Paul and Silas to go and announce the word of God in Asia. Often we believe that because we are getting ready to do something for God and that it’s in accord or agreement with His general and known will that we can do it without problem. No, this is not always true. What they wanted to do, was it good? Yes! Was it God’s known will to them to evangelize and preach the word of God? Yes! Does not God want to spread the Gospel in the world? Yes! However, where they had decided to go was not where God wanted to send them. We must be sensitive to God’s Spirit and His leading and not always think we know what to do or where to go.
In this case we should receive instruction, God sent them where He wanted and not where they proposed to go. This makes us reflect and think of the fact that the Lord is sovereign and His will shall be done even if we believe that in some way we can resist His will and that His plans or projects can be derailed; we couldn’t be more wrong, see what happened to Jonah. God somehow will obtain exactly what He wants done.
There are no other being either spiritual such as Satan or fallen angels, demons nor person who can in any way thwart and stop God from bringing forward His plans and this is true at every level. God uses everything and everybody to accomplish His perfect will even when it does not appear this way to us.
The Bible teaches us this truth:
Daniel 4:35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?”
Isaiah 14:27 For the LORD of hosts has purposed, And who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, And who will turn it back?”
Isaiah 43:13 Indeed before the day was, I am He; And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?”
It will do us good then to seek the perfect will of God and to let Him guide us, leaving Him to be the one to open the doors and guide us in His works and not walk in ours believing that they are His. See also [Acts 16:24-34]
In this passage Paul and Silas are put in prison. Think what an obstacle or impediment upon our planning this would have been, going to jail. However, Paul and Silas I believe were learning to walk by faith in the perfect will of God. Things that often seem casual end seem coincidental to us in reality often are God’s perfect will.
In this specific case for example God had planned to bring the Gospel to the jailer and his family, instead of complaining or despairing for the obstacle or the delay, after all this was something that had been very costly to them as they had been scourged and put in stocks in a jail, they began to sing and praise God. Lesson number one, when we find ourselves in desperate situations, instead of loosing heart, it is good to praise God and sing praises to Him and He will give us the victory [2 Chronicles 20:21-22].
We know then the rest of the story, the Lord saves the jailer and his family through His power,the conviction of His word announced by Paul. This was a delay, an impediment and with unjust suffering and persecutions inflicted upon Paul and Silas,that earned the salvation of an entire family and who knows how many more came to the Lord through the conversion of this family.
So we cannot always say that it’s the enemy that places obstacles in our way, sometimes,in fact often it’s God who changes our plans and guides us to do what He wants. This is because the Lord wants that we should be prepared to be a greater blessing than what we had planned to be, when we arrive at God’s destination, the one He established we then understand God’s plans.
So, as we have seen more often than not we can encounter some difficulties and suffering and even these are given us by the Lord that is teaching us to walk by faith and as a result our faith will be strengthened. See Joseph’s story Genesis 37-45, a perfect example of how God had permitted and guided with His hand greatly providing in and through Joseph’s life, the apparently very unfortunate fate of a young Hebrew man, in reality it was not so unfortunate.
God had given Joseph two significant dreams that had convinced him and his family that he would have achieved greatness. For a period of time however it seemed that his dreams were his imagination not God’s will because God permitted many difficult things to come between him and the fulfillment of the dreams. Betrayal, suffering, injustice and a great big delay in his life regarding the fulfillment of his dreams. It’s not written, but often I think what Joseph must have thought about his dreams in those difficult moments, what he thought about God’s promises, were they ever going to become reality?
The point is this, God promised and He kept the promises in a way that the majority of us and certainly even Joseph having the choice would not have chosen them to be fulfilled in such a way. God however in every case is doing His will, He has to prepare all the people to fulfill His plan and this requires time and certain situations to become right, as in Joseph’s case, we see His hand in every step of Joseph’s life, God opens and closes doors as He wills because He does everything perfectly and in His perfect timing. The delays and the obstacles are part of God’s benevolent design for His children, those who are the elect, the called according to His purpose,we can trust our Heavenly Father.
Some or even part of the obstacles and delays can also be caused by our enemy as he tries desperately to stop our progress. The Scripture also confirms this truth. It is certain that our enemy will try to stop our progress and try to stop us from fulfilling God’s will . See also the book of Nehemiah.
1 Thessalonians 2:18 Therefore we wanted to come to you–even I, Paul, time and again–but Satan hindered us.
His name alone Satan means “ the accuser ” the word devil means “ adversary ” He will then try to oppose all that is of God and all that we would like to accomplish obediently for God, in other words His perfect will. In these cases the Scripture teaches us what we must do.
When we learn to distinguish who it is that is opposing us and if we seek the Lord, He will give us the wisdom and the knowledge to know what to do even because if we grow in spiritual maturity as we ask God for knowledge, discernment and wisdom [Colossians 1:9-10] the word of God tells us that God will give us these things [Philippians 1:9-11];[James 1:5-7];[1 John 5:14-15] we should not be ignorant of the devil’s devices [2 Corinthians 2:11].
In which case we should resist the enemy and fight him, how? [Ephesians 6:10-18];[1 Peter 5:8-10];[James 4:7].
When the enemy is the one who opposes us in our progress, we know that God is more powerful than he is [1 John 4:4] and the Lord will give us the victory if we react with faith in His promises and His word.
Isaiah 59:19 So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.
Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD.
Revelation 12:10-12 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Let’s remember through Christ we have the victory and no one can stop God’s plan for our life.
Verse 14 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise.
With these words Paul is referring tho the entire known world of that time, However, it is the same for us today as well. The reference to the Greeks is the word Paul most often uses to refer to the pagan world. At that time there were two ethnic groups that were recognized and mentioned, the Jews and the Greeks, also called Gentiles. Within the Gentile ethnic group we also find the barbarians.
The true Greeks were considered the wise, within them we find the philosophers, those who would follow the philosophers teachings, in fact Paul declares that it is the Greeks who look after knowledge [1 Corinthians 1:22]. The Hebrews also were considered those who would search for the knowledge of God and Scripture in the religious field they sought knowledge as well [1 Corinthians 1:20]. Those who were called the unwise and the barbarians were all the people who especially were part of the Gentile ethnic group, the unwise, even within the Jewish ethnic group these were the unschooled, those who worked with their hands, the farmers, the shepherds, the fishermen, the simple people.
Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
So we see that Paul offers to be debtor of his love without favoritism toward any specific group of people. God in other words does not favor any social position whatsoever, God is no respecter of man. God does not favor the rich over the poor, nor does he favor the educated person over the ignorant or unschooled. God has no favorites.
In fact God has provided salvation for the elect who are drawn from all the world and from all possible conditions of culture, status and education without favoring any particular position of man. Paul speaking in fact about salvation and not of other things, as many like to take out of context to support their erroneous doctrines declared in
Galatians 3:26-29 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
And again in
Colossians 3:10-11 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
This is an aspect that needs to be impressed in our hearts and minds. In the church we cannot practice favoritism because of peoples’ social position or ministry. We cannot favor some above others, we must try to love everyone in the same way and avoid at all costs favoritism based upon the liking of certain people above others. Clicks although they exist even in the church unfortunately, are to be avoided at all costs.
James 2:1-10 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called? 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
So Paul as a good imitator of Christ has a debit of love toward all the elect of God regardless and he expresses it here.
Verse 15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.
Paul says in the light of the fact that he is a debtor to all of God’s elect, for this very reason, as he feels the weight of God’s love, he wants to bring the Gospel to Rome. Paul is ready to step in to the ministry of the Gospel for the people of Rome.
God will answer his prayer and his desire to be present in Rome and to announce the Gospel in that city, however, even in this case, not as he imagined it would be, rather as a prisoner, However, for that debt of love Paul is willing to endure even prison for the love of the elect.
2 Timothy 2:9-10 for which (the Gospel) I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Some Biblical scholars believe that Paul had the opportunity to go to Rome as much as twice and to announce the whole counsel of God there. In the year 60 A.D. Paul arrived in Rome as a prisoner and imprisoned at house arrest [Acts 28:15-16].He remained in Rome for approximately two years, then released and made one last journey that lasted about 4-5 years. In the year 67 or 68 A.D. Paul was apparently arrested again and this time placed in prison from where he never was released, he was in fact condemned to die by decapitation during Nero’s reign [2 Timothy 4:6-8].
Second Section-Introduction of the Good News, The Gospel, the Power of God through Faith-Verses 16 to 17
Romans Chapter 1 Verse 16 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.
Several times in his writings Paul gives testimony of the fact that he is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. In fact if there was someone who had any reason to hide or be silent regarding the preaching of the Gospel it would have been him. Paul probably suffered more than all the other Apostles the persecutions and hardships for the preaching of the Gospel. The Lord Himself said that Paul was going to suffer for His sake.
Acts 9:16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”
2 Corinthians 11:23-28 Are they ministers of Christ?–I speak as a fool–I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness– 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
All of this Paul suffered for the privilege of preaching the Gospel and the edification of the church. All of us who have been called to preach the word of God are privileged and should consider this a great honor.
Philippians 1:12-18 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. 15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
For Paul the suffering did not matter, what mattered was doing God’s will, what mattered was that the Gospel went forward and was preached, this was his joy, is it our joy?
He also told Timothy
2 Timothy 2:9-10 for which (the Gospel) I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Paul could have been ashamed of the Gospel because of all the sufferings he endured, instead he encourages Timothy to persevere in the affliction and in suffering for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s.
2 Timothy 1:8-12 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
There is a warning and a blessing for us who are in Christ when we suffer for His sake
2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
However there is a great blessing in suffering for belonging to Christ, both Jesus as well as Peter have said so,
Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, For the Son of Man’s sake. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
Returning to the Gospel, the power of God for salvation to all who believe, found also described in 1 Corinthians 15 as well as in Romans 10.
It’s through the preaching of the pure, not corrupted, not watered down, not compromised Gospel that God has chosen to save the elect.
1 Corinthians 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
Additionally, what can we say regarding the phrase used by Paul, for everyone who believes.
Faith in the Gospel, in other words in Jesus Christ, is essential for salvation. Faith, is that beautiful thing that we find together with the other beautiful word grace. Only faith, only grace, one is justified by faith. We are then saved by grace through faith, this is not of ourselves it is the gift of God [Ephesians 2:8-10].
This is for every one who believes, for the Jew and the Gentile regardless, for the wise and the unwise, for the educated or the uneducated, for the rich and the poor, for the barbarians, for every one to whom God’s gift is given, through which one believes in the Gospel the power of God for salvation. The only way to receive salvation, the only way to be justified before God, the power of God.
This was why Paul was willing to suffer all that he suffered for Christ’s sake. Do we understand? Are we willing to suffer for the Gospel sake?
There are several reasons why Paul was willing, but in this verse Paul says that he is not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believe, for the Jew and the Greek, for all the ethnic groups that make up the world. It’s the Gospel that is God’s power for salvation, the message of Christ, His life, His death and His resurrection, His Lordship. There is nothing else, no one else [Acts 4:12].
Paul knows that it will cost him suffering to preach the Gospel, however he is willing because as he also explained to Timothy and we have read it before, when we sustain persecutions and suffering, we are participating with Christ’s sufferings and we are sustained by the power of God and the Spirit of God rests upon us. It is through the Gospel that we experience the power of God, in our life as well as the life of others.
The Gospel, the power of God that manifests itself through the new birth of a person, salvation, liberation from the power of the devil, from the power of sin and death [John 5:24];[Ephesians 2:4-6]:[Colossians 1:13];[Hebrews 2:14];[1 John 3:8];[Romans 8:1-4];[Titus 3:4-7].
We will see in grater detail in Romans 3 the technical description of what the Gospel is and why it is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe, and I want to let you read it even now, as to better get acquainted with the truth of what the Gospel really is. It is even as Paul briefly describes in the next verse we will study, the righteousness of God apart form the law, the true righteousness of God and the only means for a person to be justified before God, to be forgiven of sin, to be acquitted of all wrong doing and to receive eternal life.
God demonstrates His power through the cross of Christ by saving sinners and setting them free and giving them eternal life by the power of His Spirit who applies Christ’s work and merits through faith in the Gospel.
Romans 3:21-26 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. See also [1 Corinthians 1:17-31].
Therefore, we should not at all be ashamed of the Gospel the power of God, rather we should rejoice in it, we should preach it and share it. This was Paul’s desire, may it also be ours! We have nothing to be ashamed about, certainly not of He who gave His life for us, who literally suffered hell’s agony in our place, in other word’s God’s abandonment, He who never knew sin and who became sin for us [2 Corinthians 5:21], He who gave us eternal life and complete victory. Jesus also warned us
Mark 8:38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
Verse 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
Yes, it is only in the Gospel that the true righteousness and justice of God is revealed, the righteousness of God in Christ.
Not the righteousness of the law, not human righteousness, but that of God. The only righteousness that satisfies the perfection that God expects. This message, the Gospel, goes forward by faith, from faith to faith. Faith in Christ in fact is what justifies us before God. In the moment one believes in the righteousness of Jesus Christ revealed by the Gospel message, he or she is justified before God by the work and virtue, the merits of Jesus Christ. Faith in fact is believing what God says.
Romans 4:3-5 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. 5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
So as we have read and we will study in Romans 3 it is the justice of God poured out upon Christ for us. In other words the righteous, the just, Jesus, has paid in full the righteous wrath and judgment of God, wrath and judgment that was rightfully ours to pay, we who are the unrighteous and the unjust and who deserved to be judged and condemned as guilty [2 Corinthians 5:21];[1 Peter 3:18].
This is the way God reconciled His mercy and His love toward us who were sinners, with His perfect holiness and righteousness, which demanded our condemnation [Psalms 85:10-11]. The only righteousness available, the righteousness of Christ is accounted to us unrighteous sinners through faith in Christ, His work. Our guilt and sin were accounted to Him, His righteousness, by God’s grace only, to us.
It is this way we are saved by the Gospel, the power of God for the salvation of all who believe, so through faith,faith in Jesus Christ the righteous.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Third Section-The Righteous Wrath of God and the Bad News- The Sin of the World-The Idolatry of Man- Verses from 18 to 32
Romans Chapter 1 from 1:18 to 20
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,19 because what may be known of God is manifest 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 Godhead, so that they are without excuse, Verse 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
After we have briefly touched upon the introduction of the Gospel, the power of God for the salvation of all who believe, Paul begins here his doctrinal ascent, he does this speaking and explaining why God has decided to save members of the human race, those to whom the Bible refers to as the elect.
To begin describing the salvation of God, we must explain the need, in other words, why the salvation of God is necessary. To arrive to the Gospel, God’s salvation, we must journey on the road of sin and law.
The good news of the Gospel cannot be understood the way it should, as the good news, id before the bad news is not understood, the bad news that God’s law reveals to us. In other words, when man mirrors himself in God’s law as in a mirror, he, we must realize that we are lacking in the power to live and obey the commandments of God and so rightfully so we must be condemned by God’s righteous judgment and His righteous wrath, because we fall short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23].
Therefore, the good news of the Gospel is the fact that by God’s law we are condemned to the wrath of God, but by God’s grace and mercy through the righteousness present in the Gospel we can receive the forgiveness of our sins and we can be justified before God. Why all this?
Because Jesus received in full God’s judgment and wrath that we deserved, in our place and His righteousness is accounted to us who believe in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
So the very first thing we begin to see in this verse 18 of chapter 1 of Romans is a universal fact we need to realize, in other words that God’s righteous judgment and wrath so it is called in the Bible, is revealed from the presence of God Himself, from heaven, being the place described as the actual location of God’s throne [Psalms 2:4];[Psalms 68:33];[Psalms 123:1];[Ezekiel 1:1];[Acts 7:56];[Revelation 4:1-11].
It is from this place that God’s judgment and wrath originate and is revealed upon every unrighteous act of man, upon every injustice and from where God will pour out His final judgment and wrath upon the world [Revelation 8:1-6].
God’s judgment is revealed rightfully against every, and we want to emphasize and underline every, all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. We are now entering in the subject that is becoming ever so complex of that which we have talked about until now.
The very first thing that we must understand however, is the fact that what is called God’s wrath is not a wrath we can associate or understand exclusively in the human sense. God’s wrath is always righteous and just. We often get angry or display wrath for what is often trivial or not important, often not righteously. We become angry and wrathful and we often become resentful toward someone in such a way that our retaliation or vengeance is not in proportion with the wrong that was done to us. For a small cause we generally explode with a burst of fatal wrath that pushes us to avenge ourselves with exaggeration and in an extreme way, often, as we already mentioned for many reasons we could even overlook or ignore the wrong we have sustained. In other words, the human wrath and anger is usually not expressed righteously or justly. This is why while the Bible does not condemn anger in itself, it teaches us however, to be angry but not to sin while angry. Easier said than done! Yes, definitely, however we who are believers should bring all of our emotions to be submitted to God’s Spirit and word. This is why the Bible describes human anger in a negative light and that is why we need to practice forgiveness, forgiving those who wrong us. When vented properly anger is not inherently a sin, it’s how we behave when angry that determines whether or not we sin. Anger is like a bomb we can either let God defuse it or we can choose to explode, emotionally wounding and even killing everyone around us and also ourselves.
Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.
While this is difficult for a believer it is impossible for an unbeliever. Retaining anger and wrath and being resentful, this is what it means not to let the sun go down on our wrath, gives place to the devil to come and wreak havoc in our life.
James 1:19-20 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
So as we see man’s wrath in no way produces the righteousness of God. These things are an insult and a violation of God’s glory and His holy, pure, perfect and just character. But God’s wrath is poured out righteously and with justice. God has the right and the duty to judge man’s sins.
God’s wrath, His just and righteous judgment is upon all those who sin without repenting so that they do not become obedient to the Gospel call.
2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
These are the men and women that suppress the truth of God and His law that is present within them and around them, this truth they suppress, put under, suffocate with their unrighteousness
This is evidenced even more in the following verses. This word to suppress or to suffocate is interesting. In the original Greek text the word means to keep under such as one would keep someone’s head under water, in fact suffocating. So these people described, they suppress, they suffocate, they put under, they drown God’s truth with their unrighteousness. This means that they bury God’s truth under their sinful behavior.
This is their way to suppress, suffocate God’s truth and His holiness and justice that their conscience reveals to them. The conscience which is God’s law written on their hearts, see [Romans 2:14-15], in other words God’s truth revealed within them. In fact the following verses and even the next chapter will reveal this to us. The following verse explains to us what is the truth that sinners suppress with their unrighteousness.
Verse 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
In these words we find God’s universal but just accusation to mankind. This is why His wrath is righteous and just. We will see the progression of this truth a little bit ahead. In the meantime what we know from this verse and the following that what can be known regarding the existence of the true and only God has been manifested in man and around man, this done by God Himself.
Paul will now begin to speak of a universal context of that which we call “ General Revelation ”
God’s general revelation is different from God’s special revelation. Special revelation is that which God reveals in a special and specific way, a personal way, but General Revelation is that which God has revealed to all mankind. The Gospel is not General Revelation, it is Special Revelation for it has not and it is not revealed to all mankind, at least not yet, although Christ has been manifested to the world.
When God created mankind He created them in a very specific way, let’s see what God declared when He created mankind.
Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
First of all, only the human being out of all of the creatures God created was so in the image and likeness of God. It is obvious and evident that even after mankind’s fall into sin, [Genesis 3:1-13] even is in a distorted and depraved way, in a being that is completely influenced and corrupted by sin, yet, God’s image and likeness is something that is retained and evident in every human being [Genesis 9:6].
The second thing that in fact is in the context that we also will see ahead, is that God created mankind specifically and naturally male and female. Two beings spiritually alike, similar yet very different. Two beings that when united as husband and wife become one complete being and give testimony of God’s unity between every person of the Trinity as well as the oneness between Christ and the church. Mankind in fact is a three-dimensional being, in the sense that he is created to be a physical, a psychological being and spiritual being. These are the three dimensions of mankind.
This is the first General Revelation of God manifested in mankind, His image and likeness.
We begin to understand as I believe the Bible confirms in this passage that which I am about to say, in other words, atheists do not exist.
The atheist so he calls himself, is the one person who is an expert of suppressing God’s truth that is manifested in him. The so called atheist or the person who believes in other gods, instead knows that the one and only living God exists. In fact, this is the first accusation and condemnation upon which is revealed the righteous wrath of God.
The internal revelation or manifestation of God’s existence is that He has created man in His image and likeness and that the internal knowledge of God’s existence is found in the conscience of man. This we will examine in greater detail in chapter 2. The important thing to understand at this point is that these things manifest the existence of the true God in every single person.
Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, in other words within the human being what can be know of God is manifested by God. The word in Greek used as manifested in them, in this verse is the word faneròn it is a word derived from the word phaneros which signifies to shine, shine as a light. Inside every man is the light of the Creator, the light of God that God has manifested in them trough His image and likeness.
This is confirmed and confirms the context and subject exposed by John in his Gospel where he describes the eternity of the logos of God, Christ, the word made flesh, the word as the creator is the life and the light of every man who comes into the world.
John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Life and light, both are characteristic of the creator and how He has created the human being, He gave man physical life and at the time of creation spiritual life as well. After the fall into sin both physical and spiritual life were overwhelmed by death and darkness. Physical death began gradually while spiritual death was immediate. The light that makes up God’s image and likeness is what God has manifested in mankind giving His light and life, illuminating mankind intellectually, morally and spiritually.
This light that should shine like the son and reflect the image and likeness of God in man, instead it is suppressed and suffocated, this light that shines is truth, God’s truth inside man, suppressed by every kind of unrighteous act and behavior. We will see ahead in this chapter, mankind’s mind and heart enslaved by sin and idolatry have been darkened.
This brilliance no longer shines outwardly, but in somethings a faint light, weakened and faded by sin is still evident. This light, attention however, is present in every man as discernment and knowledge of the true God’s existence, the true creator. I repeat, that this faint weak light is what is left visible of the image and likeness of God in mankind. These internal elements that exist in mankind make every man know
that God exists and we repeat these are
The conscience (the moral light), this element is the law of God written on mankind’s heart. However, it has absolutely no power at all to make mankind obedient to God’s law, only to render mankind aware of God’s existence and aware of God’s moral law, and that this moral law is just and righteous [Romans 2:14-15] .
The intellect or intelligence (light of the intellect) This element proves that mankind is furnished with intelligence and creativity that in a miniscule way demonstrates the image and the likeness of God. Mankind is the only being created with true intelligence and a consciousness of being. Animals live and react by instinct, instinct which is given them also by God. The human being instead reasons, thing that is even scientifically proven animals do not do. All that mankind has been able to accomplish is because of its creativity, reasoning and intellect all things that are part of the image and likeness of God.
Animals, although some are capable of amazing things, only are able to do that which they are programmed to do by their instinct, they can learn things by repetition and they can be trained by man, this proves that which God said in
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
The third element is
Spirituality (God’s eternal light and life) This element as the others is darkened, in reality mankind is spiritually dead
because of sin [Ephesians 2:1-3], this is part of the “you shall surely die” God promised as a consequence of Adam’s disobedience [Genesis 2:16-17].
As we had mentioned, mankind is going to experience two kinds of death, which is really one divided in two sections. Spiritual death which was immediate at the time of Adam and Eve’s disobedience and then transmitted to all men, and physical death which is gradual and is a process that begins when one is born, this is also consequence of sin.
If a man remains in the state of spiritual death during his entire life and reaches physical death in that condition, he or she will experience eternal death, which is eternal separation from God’s love, grace and mercy, this is why the Psalmist said
Psalms 63:3 Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.
God’s loving-kindness is then better than physical life because it leads to spiritual and physical eternal life, in God’s presence forever.
This is why Paul further ahead in Romans 8 stated that is a person becomes spiritually alive, they will receive eternal life, not only spiritually but also physically
Romans 8:10-11 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. See also [1 Corinthians 15:42-57].
God Himself has manifested in every person eternity and this is present in every man and woman, the desire and the knowledge to have eternal life. This is seen without a doubt in the desire that man has to live longer even physically. This is also because mankind is enslaved to the fear of death [Hebrews 2:14-15], in reality the true reason for man to fear death is the knowledge of being judged by God, [1 John 4:17-18], therefore this confirms that internally man realizes that God exists and that God is righteous and that judgment awaits them [Hebrews 9:27];[Romans 1:32].
The human being however, created in the image and likeness of God has not only been created as physical or terrestrial being but as a spiritual being. The spirit of man is created to live eternally, in beatitude and blessing in God’s presence or in torment and perdition far removed from the presence of God, however an eternal being. In either case, the spirit will be re-joined to a new resurrected body even after physical death, both the body and spirit of man will have two destinations, see [Revelation 20:5-15].
Jesus said it this way
John 5:26-29 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
Anyway, mankind has in the heart the manifestation of eternal existence.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
Unfortunately this little faded light of eternity in mankind now corrupted and buried by unrighteousness manifests itself not through the search of the only and true God but through religion and therefore idolatry, because as we will see ahead, all religion is idolatry.
God’s light in mankind that manifests God’s existence is completely buried under and corrupted by sin that is present in man, in his flesh [Romans 7:1-25]; in the mind or psyche of mankind [Romans 1:21];[Ephesians 4:17-19] and the spirit of man [John 5:24];[Ephesians 2:1];[Ephesians 2:5];[Ephesians 4:18].
These elements, this faded and weak light, all that is manifest in mankind by God at every level of their being which is in sin, every person who is not regenerated by God, give no power nor offer mankind any hope to exercise the necessary faith to please God.
In fact Paul describes in this chapter and in the following two the sad and hopeless state of mankind, that even having the manifestation of God in them and around them they do not respond in faith, rather they suppress God’s truth present in them, they suffocate it burying it with unrighteousness and sin. Mankind proves that he is not capable to believe and obey God even if they have in them the irrefutable proof given them by God that He exists and is righteous.
Verse 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 Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
As if what we said up to now were not enough, the invisible attributes of God, His eternal power and His divinity are clearly seen, in other words they are without a doubt visible and comprehensible to all, from the time God created the world until today and always, because His eternal power is manifested in the creation.
Psalms19:1-4 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. 2 Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world.
This passage in Psalms 19 explains perfectly what Paul was saying to the Roman saints. The heavens and the firmament declare and show God’s handiwork, His creation. They bear witness even without real audible words, witness that God is the creator.
The heavens and the firmament, in other words the universe, confirms that the big-bang theory is a man made fable, a lie of universal proportions. Nature itself confirms instead that God is the creator, that God is the architect, the designer and He who made the universe and all that is in it, and that He is the one who sustains everything by the power of His word [Hebrews 1:2-3], these things confirm the existence of God.
In fact Paul says that from the very day of the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes are clearly understood by observing nature. David in Psalm 19 says the same thing with different words. He explains that every day that has passed and that passes speaks to another day and every night communicates to the other revealing knowledge. They communicate a divine message that is clearly recognizable and is understood in the very work of creation, from the day of creation to now. They do not have words we can hear with our ears, but they have a sound that reverberates upon the entire earth and there is no place on earth where the knowledge of the existence of God and His attributes and power, His divinity are not seen, There is no place where these truths of God are not present and they are recognizable to the point that they resound and echo in man’s soul.
The invisible qualities, the eternal power of God and His divinity are seen even if they are invisible, they can be clearly seen and understood by the human intellect through the creation and through the continuous working of God in the world.
Even if the human eye cannot see God, this passage however, tells us that mankind can clearly see the invisible qualities of God and recognize His divinity, So what does this mean?
We need to examine what the words used in this passage really mean in their original language. The words used that say are clearly seen in the Greek language they are one word only kathoràtai. This word literally means to discern clearly.
The word discern is usually used to indicate a mental image or to comprehend something specifically and clearly, so much so that we can see something and understand it even if our actual physical eyes do not see it materially.
This means also to appear or to experience, this indicates that these invisible qualities of God appear with the scrutiny of creation and can be experienced by mankind.
This brings us to the meaning of the other word used by Paul, the word being understood.
In the Greek the word used is nooùmena signifies understood by the exercise of the mind. This means that they are understood by the intellect when exercised. This means that all the excuses that the scientists that say they are atheists come up with are absolutely not valid.
They say that only by faith one can believe that God exists and so creation as it is described by the Bible, but the Bible itself tell us instead that man could through the witness of the manifestation of God, know that God is, that He exists and that He is the creator.
Mankind cannot with the intellect alone and these manifestations only, know God in a personal way or have a deep knowledge of God, that only comes through faith through Jesus Christ and His Spirit through the Gospel and the study of the word of God, however, mankind knows that God, the only God, the creator of heaven and earth exists and mankind knows that He is a moral and a holy God.
Therefore, because of all this, Paul says a the end of verse 20 so that they are without excuse.
O man you are inexcusable when you declare that there is no proof that God exists. Inexcusable because God has made it possible, through the internal manifestation of His existence through His image and likeness, the conscience, the intellect as well as the knowledge of spirituality and eternity, also He manifests His existence through the external manifestation, in other words what can be known of God is clearly seen and clearly understood, discerned by the observation of creation.
Make no mistake, there will me NO person that will go before God and will be able to say “ I did not know you existed” or that will be able to accuse God saying “ You did not make it clear You existed” .
No. you are without excuse even now. The only thing is that you desire to deny the existence of God while you do know that He is, inside your being you know it, if you truly wanted you could at least believe that He exists. The problem is, you do not want to recognize His existence, you do not want to know Him.
You prefer not to recognize Him nor know Him and you instead prefer to deceive yourselves and others, thing that is not so difficult to do these days, you want to believe that God does not exist, this you do to placate the voice of your guilty conscience that continuously calls out to you the knowledge of the truth regarding God that you suppress, suffocate with your unrighteousness of your sinful lifestyle.
You exercise your unbelief, this is antithetical to real faith, this you have generated yourself to justify your sinful and immoral behavior. Your guilt and the existence of God you have through the voice of your conscience has to be suppressed as Paul says, with more and more unrighteousness, until you arrive to the point that your conscience becomes seared as with a hot iron and it becomes harder and harder and more and more insensitive until you have completely silenced its voice [1 Timothy 4:1-4].
All this happens also because you cannot have faith, you cannot exercise true faith in God. This is the lethal combination of mankind’s spiritual condition.
Man does not want to believe in the one and only true God and does not have the ability by himself to exercise true faith.
In reality this is what the sinner’s free will really is, in reality it is nothing else but being enslaved to sin and their own sinful nature. The sinner is condemned by God’s righteous judgment and wrath because he does not want to believe in God and at the same moment he is completely unable to exercise any faith necessary to believe in God.
This is because mankind is spiritually dead and completely estranged, alienated from God’s life [Ephesians 2:1-3];[Ephesians 4:17-18]
and because man is completely enslaved by sin [Romans 6:16-23], which sin he desires to practice and to obey more than God and His law.
This is really very bad news for mankind and in addition it is the confirmation that no one is exempt to deserve God’s righteous judgment and wrath,so that even the tribesman in the jungle, even to him, God has given what may be known of God manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. All we have read until now God has manifest so that ALL human beings are inexcusable for not wanting to find the true God, even because as we shall see ahead, there is no one in the whole world who is just not even one.
However, to all persons is given the possibility, interior and exterior, to recognize the true and only God, the creator od the universe, that He exists and that there are no other gods beside Him.
Acts 17:24-28 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being
In fact a little ahead Paul will speak regarding idolatry, that it is a consequence of the refusal to know and recognize God for who He truly is.
Romans Chapter 1 verses 21 to 23
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 corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
Verse 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.
Verse 20 was concluded with the words so that they are without excuse. We have already mentioned, they are inexcusable because God has provided the way so that mankind can know that God exists and that He wants to be known, obeyed and honored by His creatures. In spite of all that God has done to become recognizable, mankind still refuses to know Him, to glorify Him, and to thank Him.
In fact it is for this very reason that this passage of Romans 1:18-32 was written. God is telling us that man could recognize God, in fact he knows that He is, but man is so foolish that he says in his heart there is no God.
We can see in this regard what the word of God teaches in regard to this behavior of man. There is a passage we find in the O.T. In the book of Psalms, in fact we find it in two of the Psalms, Psalms 14 and Psalms 53.
In these Psalms we find the effective confirmation of what Paul has written in this epistle, here and in chapter 3, you can see it for yourself.
Psalms 14:1-4a The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good. 2 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. 3 They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one. 4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge,
In fact quotations from these Psalms are cited by Paul in chapter 3 of Romans. However, this passage is also a description of that which says Paul in the passage we are studying in this chapter.
Only a fool says in his heart there is no God. In fact the word fool in Hebrew as well as in English weans one who demonstrates very little intelligence, one who is stupid, without brain, additionally in Hebrew it means one who because of this is wicked and corrupt. In fact it is exactly what Psalms 14 and 53 are saying.
This is the confirmation of what Paul said in the previous verses when he said that with the exercise of the intellect a person can know that God exists. However, according to the word of God who says that God is not is a person without real intelligence, the one that counts, they are missing true knowledge. As a manner of fact, what can we say about all these scientists and super educated people, some geniuses with i.q.’s off the charts, yet according to God these people who deny His existence are without true knowledge and without true intelligence. They are not intelligent at all, all those who deny God’s existence are fools.
So Paul begins this verse 21 saying that, although the fool denies God’s existence or there are even those who I like calling functional atheists, these are the ones who say they believe in a something, a superior intelligence, a force or all the half terms they use to describe the true God, the omnipotent true God and Lord of the universe, all these persons are without excuse before God because although they know God they refuse to glorify Him and thank Him.
You see, Paul does not allow the foolish opinions of people regarding God to affect his judgment and he confirms that all men know that God exists, regardless they refuse to glorify Him as God.
What does glorify God mean? To honor God as He is worthy to be honored. Man knows that God exists and yet he prefers to dishonor Him and not give Him the worship, adoration and service He only is worthy of. In fact, as we will see ahead, mankind has preferred and even today prefers glorifying other things instead of God, to the point of elevating and glorifying himself in God’s place.
In fact God’s word tells us in Ecclesiastes, the book that describes the vanity and futility of life in the world, vanity and futility when it is lived only and exclusively by human, material and physical stand point, in other words a life without God, what is the end of all things that count in life?
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.
This passage in Ecclesiastes demonstrates and confirms what we are talking about, in other words, what Paul is saying, the fool in his heart says there is no God, this proves that in spite of the intellectual education of a person if this person refuses and denies the knowledge of God, he demonstrates that he or she are without true intelligence and real knowledge. That is in fact what Paul will state in the next verse, in other words professing to be wise, they became fools.
True knowledge and intelligence is as we will see, begins with the fear of God, in other words respect, reverence, honor and obedience due to God. Many passages confirm this fact, let’s look at one as we will have the opportunity to see others ahead.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
In addition to practice unrighteousness and sinfulness dishonors God and is a cause of falling short of God’s glory, in other words not glorifying God.
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
The sinful nature causes human beings to be spiritually dead, to have no divine life in them, this prevents human beings to truly honor God and to really glorify Him. Sinful nature leads mankind to become idolatrous and this does not give glory to God, rather it diverts the glory that is due only to God to be focused on all kinds of idols.
Paul says, that in addition to not wanting to glorify God , mankind refuses to thank Him. Mankind should be grateful to God for all His blessings, His general providence, providence that He pours out upon all He has created, thus demonstrating His mercy, His love toward all that He has created.
Psalms 145: 8-9 The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. 9 The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.
Matthew 5:45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
The goodness, mercy, providence, patience that God has toward mankind who despises Him is such that it should be cause of great gratitude and thanksgiving.
Just think, by His righteousness and holiness God has the right to pour out His wrath and execute immediately everyone the very first time one sins and this would be the just end of ALL mankind, EVERYONE, no one excluded [Romans 3:10].
Instead as we have read and experienced, God is good to all, slow to anger and great in mercy. The wages of sin is death, eventually this will be the payback for sin, but God is slow to wrath, just wrath, and He desires that mankind repents, it is for this reason in the demonstration of His goodness, mercy and love, by His grace, in other words unmerited favor, He brings to salvation those whom He has chosen to have mercy upon. However, even with those who are not chosen to receive salvation, God is merciful and patient [Romans 9:14-23].
All these things should cause thanksgiving, instead, Paul says and it’s true, God is not thanked, He is blasphemed and rejected instead.
The greatest form of ungratefulness form mankind is the refusal of God’s supreme act of love and grace, the rejection of Jesus Christ, the rejection of the Gospel, it happens every day.
So Paul continues in this verse 21 saying, but they became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
This is the first consequence of all we have seen so far described in this section of chapter one, in other words, God reveals His righteous wrath from heaven upon every ungodliness and unrighteousness of man who suppresses the truth of God in unrighteousness, the truth of the existence and the divine attributes of God that are manifest by God in mankind and externally through the creation.
Mankind rejects God and does not want to glorify Him nor thank Him. Instead of doing that which is right, they give themselves over to vain reasoning, they became futile in their thoughts and understanding.
What are the futile thoughts of man? Futile thoughts are those things, vain reasoning that raise up against the knowledge and the truth of God, There is a very interesting passage that Paul wrote, we find it in
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
Paul is talking about a very specific thing in this passage. The subject, the context of this passage are arguments and every reasoning that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, these are thoughts and reasoning. The strongholds (vs 4) of which Paul speaks are indeed thoughts, reasoning and arguments that proudly exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, against the knowledge of the truth regarding God, they entrench themselves in the mind of people creating thus a fortress, walls that as a fortresses, and strongholds, imprison the mind of people. All that opposes itself to God’s truth, these are exactly the same things of which Paul is speaking here in this verse of Romans, their thoughts became futile, as they suppress God’s truth with their unrighteousness.
Futile thoughts that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, against God’s truth are of many varieties. Futile thoughts can be categorized as philosophy, religion, tradition, psychology and even science.
In itself science for example is not necessarily a futile thought or a vain reasoning when it is understood together with the truth of the word of God, in other words, science is compatible with the Bible. Let’s remember that up to a certain point almost all scientists believed in creation and did not have a problem with it. Science becomes an argument that exalts itself against the knowledge of God when it is handled by the people whose own thoughts have become futile and harts darkened, those who reject God.
Religion, ALL religions on the other hand are really futile thoughts, a vain reasoning and an argument that exalts itself against the knowledge of the true God. Tradition is usually attached to religion and is of no value at all in retaining the knowledge of the true and only God this is why Jesus condemned the traditions of men. The traditions of men together with religion do nothing but distance mankind from knowing God and instead leads mankind down the path of idolatry.
Philosophy usually is as well as psychology futile thoughts of man manipulated, interpreted and taught by men and by women who reject God [Psalms 1:1]. These certainly are futile thoughts which become strongholds and that proudly exalt themselves against the truth of God.
This world, the satanic system that reigns and controls the world, is a vain philosophy that produces vain reasoning and deceptions, all things that become strongholds which surround and imprison the minds of people
Colossians 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
So we find ourselves in a spiritual war, fighting not so much against flesh and blood, rather against the spiritual forces that control mankind’s thinking, [Ephesians 6:12] men and women controlled by their unrighteousness and sin, so that they become guided by these satanic philosophies and teachings, these strongholds that entrench the minds, these arguments that exalt themselves against the true knowledge of God.
This is because they desire to do, to obey the desires of their father, the devil, that is what the men and women who do not belong to God do. That was even me and you before God saved us. Those without the life of God, those who are not children of God, who have not been made part, adopted into the family of God, they belong to Satan and he is their father. Jesus said it.
John 8:44-47 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
These men and women are guided by their sinful desires, the desires to reject and deny God and all He stands for. They attempt in every way to teach to to others these vain thoughts and they succeed easily, not only, they succeed with the people like themselves who prefer to deny the truth of God and suppress it, now they are sadly succeeding through various methods to infect also the minds of the believers, they have crept into the church.
They gave been able to infiltrate and creep onto the church and the minds of believers because the church and the believers are not obedient to the word of God and they do not do what God’s word instruct them to do and how they should live. This is why Paul wrote in fact to the Romans in chapter 12
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
The basic problem is this one, when this exhortation is not obeyed we wind up having devastating and dangerous consequences, because the believer, the church, continues to be conformed to the world and are not transformed by the renewing of the mind, in other words, freed from the vain thoughts and philosophies of this world, these need to be freed and renewed through the word of God. So because of the lack of this practice, the church is easily infected and the minds of the believers as well, It is for this very reason that the church at large today is in the conditions it is, pitiful conditions, because believers as well as the leaders of the church still give themselves over to vain thoughts, reasoning and worldly philosophies and they have not developed the mind of Christ. This is possible only through obedience to Paul’s exhortation we have just read.
So these people who deny God, giving themselves over to vain thoughts, fall ever so far away from God and His truth and another thing happens, because of this their foolish hearts were darkened.
We have already seen that the heart of the person who rejects and denies God and suppresses the truth with unrighteousness is a heart devoid of intelligence and knowledge, it is foolish. However, what kind of knowledge are we talking about? What kind of intelligence? Is it knowledge and intelligence from the intellectual and educational standpoint? Would this mean that who is more intelligent or educated would have more probability to know God than one who is not? No! Not at all! It has nothing at all to do with the I.Q. of a person or the education of a person, not at all. [1 Corinthians 1:18-20];[1 Corinthians 2:1-6].
It is actually quite the opposite in fact. It would seem that those who have a greater intelligence and intellectual education are really those people, together with the rich [Luke 18:24-25] , who have a greater difficulty in believing God’s truth.
The knowledge the Scripture speaks about that man is lacking is that which we know as the fear of God, the knowledge of the LORD. The fear of the LORD is real knowledge and the only intelligence, understanding and wisdom that counts.
Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
So it is, if you know God you have true wisdom, knowledge and understanding, if you deny Him and reject Him you are a fool and have no true knowledge nor intelligence, you can be a genius, have super education, if you do not know God and if you reject Him you are without intelligence, see also [Psalms 111:10];[Proverbs 1:17];[Proverbs 1:9].
Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.
Therefore, who does not know the Lord does not have true intelligence and knowledge and for this reason their heart is darkened, see also [Ephesians 4:17:19].
To reject God and the knowledge of the truth of God inevitably means to reject the light that God has manifested and rejecting and distancing one self from that light means to be in darkness. This darkness have entered the depth of the human being because he or she reject the truth, suppresses it with unrighteousness and ungodliness and this makes one be in darkness. The mind, the reasoning, the emotions etc. and after this to fall into idolatry, such is all and everything that creates a substitute of God or an erroneous image of God to which all this leads, so that even being intellectually smart, educated, instructed and religious these people deceive themselves into thinking they are wise while instead they are fools, which is exactly what the next verse says.
Verse 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
To comment this verse, there really is little to say that has not been said previously in regard to this fact. We repeat that those who say in their heart there is no God are fools, such are all men, after all all men even if religious deny the true and only God worshiping and adoring an image or a substitution of the real God, Therefore, even those who say they believe in God or a God, placing God to be equal in eveery religion, be aware of the danger you are in, be careful about what “ God” you believe in because as
James 2:19 says You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble!
The sad reality is that although the demons tremble at the presence of God, man instead does not, man actually has the audacity to shake his or her fist in God’s face and to contend with Him [Isaiah 45:9-10];[Romans 9:20]. The human being without God is a fool who thinks he is wise and smart but in reality he has become a fool.
All of his worldly understanding and wisdom and philosophy is foolishness to God
1 Corinthians 1:18-25 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 2:3-8 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (NOT SIGNS AND WONDERS BUT GOD’S WORD)
5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
([Romans 1:16-17] THE GOSPEL, THE WORD OF GOD, THE POWER OF GOD [Romans 10: 8-13])
6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Verse 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
Because of all this, in other words the process of rejection of the truth of God, the knowledge of the one and only true God, mankind is without knowledge and has the heart darkened so much so that he cannot recognize, cannot see, the truth and the light of God, giving himself over to vain arguments, thoughts and reasoning all things that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. Doing all this, the human being has changed the glory of the incorruptible God into images of things that are instead corruptible. To change the glory of God in itself is not really possible, in other words, God is always glorious and immutable.
In this case however, man despises the glory of the living God, man offends it, In this specific case to change the glory of God should actually be translated with the word exchanged, mankind did an exchange, he substituted the true glory of God with a cheap imitation, which in reality is not even comparable or even comes remotely close to anything that might resemble the glory of the living God. God is incorruptible, God is immutable, God is indestructible and immortal, God is eternal and He does not have limited power and knowledge as instead man has. Man is not only corruptible physically, man is corrupted in every possible way [1 Corinthians 15:39-57];[Romans 3:10-19].
Man is corruptible, man is mutable, man is destructible, man is mortal, man has limited power and understanding and the other creatures are even lesser than man, nature’s elements and man made objects have no life and are not made at all in the image and likeness of God.
Certainly Paul was referring also to the type of idolatry of his time and the precedent times, such idolatry had taken the image of man, of animals and created elements to substitute the glory of the living God, He who is Spirit and truth [John 4:23-24], the true and living God and not the mute and powerless idols.
Both the Greek culture as well as the Romans used the forms of men and women to represent their gods. The also used created elements such as the sun, the moon and the planets as well the same thing all the precedent cultures had also done, used animals as well do describe the image of their gods, see for example the Egyptians and other civilizations of the ancient times.
Daniel 5:23 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.
God has prohibited the use, the worship and adoration of any created image, earthly or heavenly, to use it as a description of God or in the place of God.
Exodus 20:2-6 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
However, there is a more subtle idolatry and it’s not the one described in these passages, there is a most deceptive idolatry that mankind commits even if does not worship and adore a man made image or the false gods, the idols described beforehand. The type of idolatry practiced the most today in the world is man himself, the human being, the ego, the I. Today more than ever man, the individual, becomes his own god. Rebellion and obstinacy that man exhibits and has against God is considered by God idolatry and divination.
1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Mankind contend with the true God as to who the Lord of their life really is. Mankind is in competition with their creator not realizing that this is the most deceiving type of idolatry.
God Himself in fact makes these declarations in
Isaiah 29:15-16 Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD, And their works are in the dark; They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?” 16 Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; For shall the thing made say of him who made it, “He did not make me”? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?
These really are the kind of things that mankind says, these are some of the vain arguments that man lifts up against God, thus declaring to be its own god, they want to place themselves in God’s stead in their own life. In fact, they do their works in the darkness of their life [John 3:19-20], remember that their hearts and minds are darkened, therefore they say “ We can do what we want, nobody sees us, God cannot see us”, they say “ we can do what we please, God does not exist” they say, “ who knows us?”
God knows them and He knows them well, He knows the number of the hair on their head and He has their life in their hands, fools that they are !
In fact God declares in this passage that these human arguments are only perverse and makes the example of the potter and the clay where He is saying in other words “ O man, do you think your creator (the potter, as the potter is the one who creates the vase with the clay), O man, do you think your creator has to be considered equal to you?”
Yes, man in his pride and his idolatry considers himself equal to his creator, in fact superior even, the corruptible man has exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God and thinks that the clay has actually created itself, it is it that has the power upon itself to be as it wants to be.
God is asking how this is possible, that the clay can be equal to Him, the absurdity is that the clay is declaring itself to be God, in other words equal to the creator, the One who made it, it’s absurd to declare and to think that it was not God that created it and to have the audacity to declare to its creator, “ you did not make me” and “ He (God) has no understanding”.
Yes, this is the audacity of man who thinks himself to be God. In reality this is exactly that which the scientists say right? They say that mankind has been generated from nothing, nothing has evolved into something to the point that everything is,included the human being. Yes, this is exactly the same exact reasoning that is done in Isaiah 29 insinuating that God does not exist.
God does not exist according to them, so man has auto-created himself. This is pure idolatry!
To God it is perverse that man consider himself God, it is however the from of idolatry most commonly practiced, especially in the western culture and society.
All that man is and does, becomes all that man worships and serves.
Every person chooses who their own god is and in the end the majority of people choose themselves and other human beings. We see this everywhere, religious figures, saints, angels, Mary, the Pope, actors, singers, sport figures and their own selves, career, other people even their own children become objects of worship and adoration so they become idols, that are worshiped and served in God’s place, and in the end even nature and animals today are worshiped and served rather than God.
In antiquity the objects of idolatrous worship were images created by man where they even were created gods in the form of animals,half man and half animals, half men half gods. In other realities even today people worship inanimate objects, animals, trees, heavenly bodies even earth itself had become a goddess, etc. We find those who are what we call New Agers who worship and serve nature, they reject and renounce the existence of God the creator, the true God. The environmental religion, the ones who deny and reject God the creator, even they are the New Age, worship and adore nature, as all the others have decided to raise the creation above God, it is truly this way Paul describes them in [Romans 1:25].
Romans Chapter 1 verses 24 and 25
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.
Verse 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
What a tremendous thing it is to be abandoned by God.
The Lord gives a promise to His sons and daughters we find this promise in the N.T. in
Hebrews 13:5b Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
The words used for abandoned-gave them up in Romans and leave nor forsake in Hebrews are not the same exact words but they could be interpreted to signify the same thing. So the principle of these passages is this, God does not abandon, give up, leave nor forsake His own children, in other words God never abandons completely His children in any situation. Even when God’s children walk in disobedience God does not abandon them entirely, He corrects and disciplines them and brings them back to repentance to return on the right path and this in fact is described in [Hebrews 12:5-11] and in [Romans 2:4].
However, the destiny of the sinner instead is different, to them God’s word says He abandons them. Now there will be some who at this point for fear of thinking even in a remote way that God is unjust will say “ Oh no, it’s impossible, God does not abandon anyone, God loves everybody, God is not unjust! ”
Of this reasoning only one part is accurate and true, the part that states that God is not unjust. This is always true. Instead we see in this verse that God does indeed abandon them.
We must look at God’s abandonment as a form of God’s righteous judgment and wrath. This in fact was the initial context we find in [Romans 1:18]. Man’s refusal to recognize God, to glorify Him and be thankful to Him and to worship idols instead brings upon man the righteous judgment and wrath of God, which is poured out upon mankind in the form of abandonment to man’s sinfulness. This abandonment or giving up, is an abandonment to the consequences of their own sins, this is the judgment of God upon individuals and even upon societies who reject Him and who worships and serve the creature instead of the creator. In fact, today, God has abandoned not only individuals to this but also the entire world’s society.
God’s abandonment to mankind’s sinfulness consequences is His temporal and sometimes remedial judgment and wrath, after this a time will come where God will pour out His final judgment and His eternal judgment.
However, we have to make something clear, God does not love everybody the same way. Is it true that God loves the sinner and hates only the sin? What does the Bible say in regard to this?
Let us briefly see what Scripture says about this subject and then we will see what it means to be given up, abandoned by God and how does this all fits in the subject of man’s free will, if man truly has such a thing as a free will when he is a sinner without God.
To remain in the context of what Paul is speaking about so far, we will take a look in a passage of the O.T. A passage in fact related to the prohibition of idolatry found in
Exodus 20:4-6 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
There definitely is a distinction of treatment as we see, toward those upon whom the LORD has mercy and those upon whom the LORD visits their iniquities, as He describes them, these are those who hate Him, them God punishes. It’s a fact that God has said these things in the context of idolatry and it is in this context that we must comprehend it.
Deuteronomy 7:9-10 Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; 10 and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face.
Some will say that the wicked people who hate God seem to have great success in their life, how do we explain this in the light of these last passages? No, you are wrong to think that, they do not have real success, they are not happy, they are instead abandoned by God and inside they are of men the most miserable. God as we read in [Romans 1:24] in fact, has abandoned them, gave them up to their own lusts and the impure desires of their hearts, these desires are wicked continuously [Genesis 6:5];[Jeremiah 17:9-10];[Psalms 14:1-3];[Matthew 24:37-39].
Psalms 5:4-6 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. 5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity. 6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
So Scripture states that the LORD hates all workers of iniquity, will destroy those who speak falsehood and abhors murderers and deceitful men. So to say that God loves the sinner but not the sin is really an incorrect saying, I believe the word of God shows us instead that God hates both the sin and the one who practices it see also [Psalms 11:5-6];[Proverbs 6:16-19];[Hosea 9:15]
So what does it mean to be given up or abandoned by God to the impurity and lust of their darkened and wicked hearts ?
To do this we must step back in time. From the moment man sinned [Genesis 3:1-24], man has lost every ability to do or to even desire to do what God considers spiritually good and righteous. It is so that man has become completely enslaved to sin and the flesh [Romans 6:17-18], at this point man is incapable to choose or even to comprehend any truth of God [1 Corinthians 2:14].
In his sinful nature mankind does not have a godly nature rather has a devilish nature, of which Jesus himself declared that men who were not of God have, the ones who are alienated from the life of God and who are lacking God’s life within them.
John 8:44-47 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
(To understand the difference between who is of God and hears God’s words and who is not of God and does not see also [John 6:44-45]; [John 6:63-71];[John 10:25-30].)
Being completely corrupted by sin in his nature, mankind’s constant tendency is to be rebellious to God and to be wicked always, man therefore, is spiritually dead in his sinfulness [Ephesians 2:1-3], does not have the strength to do what is right [Romans 5:6-8], nor the ability, desire or will to be saved and do right [Romans 3:10-19].
When God converts the sinner, He frees the will from the slavery of sin, the will is free to choose God and His salvation. It is at this moment only that God reestablishes true free will.
Man is restored spiritually the way he was before the fall, because man only in that moment is freed from the slavery of sin and by God’s grace alone he receives from God the ability, power and desire to exercise the necessary faith to believe the Gospel and to be completely renewed in Christ.
However, we have to say that although man’s original free will is restored in the new creature in Christ, because of the earthly body that still contains sin, the sinful nature, since such remains tied to the human body, tied to the world, the will of the believer is not always perfectly aligned with God’s will [Romans 7:1-25], believers can still choose to disobey God and sin, only that now as opposed to before, we can choose and have the power to do God’s will while before it was impossible [Romans 8:1-3].Perfection in the believer will be realized only in glory [1 Corinthians 13:12];[1 Corinthians 15:42-57], until then as we saw God’s grace through Christ’s righteousness is sufficient for us who believe.
In Adam all who are born naturally, physically, biologically, are themselves responsible of their sinfulness, sinful nature which was inherited form Adam’s rebellion, rebellion of which he is also responsible and made us all responsible [Romans 3:23];[Romans 5:12].
In addition, every single human being is individually responsible for the choices and the decisions they make, so, to those who are in Christ, all those who are the elect, to them the responsibility of having believed in the Gospel as well as the choice of accepting Christ is imputed to them, also the credit of having exercised the faith God deems necessary to receive salvation and to be justified is accounted to them also.
In other words, God operates completely in the life of the elect to salvation, however, He does not take away from the elect the responsibility of the choice they made even if it is caused by Him.
If salvation was not entirely provided and caused by God even faith then if it were generated and actualized by the human will alone would be salvation by works and not by faith and grace and the person would then have something in which to boast about before God.
So yes, the faith and the choice is made by the person and therefore the faith and the choice is accounted by God to the person, but the faith and the choice is made because it is enabled by the power and grace of God who makes it possible. It is not God who makes the decision for the person, it’s a regenerated person that chooses what God wills. So that faith is a gift of God’s grace through the regeneration bestowed by God, it all happens simultaneously.
The rest of humanity that is not converted, God has abandoned, as we read here in [Romans 1:24], abandoned by God to exercise their own “ free will ” a will however that is not so free after all, as they can only choose as they are able and willing to choose, according to their sinful nature, how to behave and live in rebellion to God. In fact, rebellion to God and consider themselves to be gods are the continuous desire of the sinners’ hearts as it is Satan’s desire [Isaiah 14:12-15].
Contrary to what the proponents of “free will” declare, God never does any violenceto the decisions and choices of those who are stubbornly choosing to remain rebellious to Him, in other words to those who are not the elect to salvation.
After all, the condition and destination of all of mankind if left to itself, abandoned by God, would rightfully be condemnation and eternal damnation.
In this case, God exercises His choice, to allow a segment of mankind to continue to travel the road they have already chosen to travel, after all, it is the road that leads to perdition, and many travel upon it [Matthew 7:13-14] while He decides to have mercy and save some who otherwise would perish as well is left alone.
The sinner cannot and also does not desire to believe and accept God, if left to his own choosing. To these is given by God the responsibility of not wanting to believe and therefore they are condemned [John 3:19-20].
Believe me, God does not condemn anybody who has not already expressed their desire to reject Him, and by consequence, be condemned.
No “innocent” will ever be condemned, so let’s stop trying to accuse God of being unjust because He has chosen to save some while leaving others to walk down the road to eternal damnation, road that they themselves like to travel and want to travel.
If God did not exercise His grace and mercy toward some, everybody, including us would have perished while exercising our free will, the only will we would have been able to exercise, rebellion to God and unbelief. [Romans 9:29].
So, God is exonerated of injustice, because He permits, without violating the non elect’s will and liberty of choice, to continue to live exactly the way he or she desires and wants to live.
God would never condemn any person who already did not choose their eternal destiny all this is done to express even more His glory, righteousness, grace and mercy [Romans 9:10-23]
So God abandons, gives up, the idolaters and the sinners to the wicked and impure desires of their hearts. God’s righteous wrath is so poured out upon these persons, it gets poured out in the form of abandonment of these people to the consequences of their desires and actions caused by their sinful and wicked desires. This can be true temporally as well as eternally. In other words, there is God’s temporal abandonment that is His abandonment in life and the eternal abandonment, which is eternal damnation, abandoned by God forever.
The tendency of mankind’s rebellion when abandoned by God is to dishonor their own bodies, giving themselves to impurities and wicked and carnal passions. Additionally, sexual perversion and impurity is always a determining factor that is caused by God’s abandonment and by demonic nature and activity. In fact, connected with idolatry we find the worship of demons and of Satan [1 Corinthians 10:14-22], where we always find sexual behavior that is perverse and immoral, after all that is the behavior of every sinner, because every sinner is idolatrous in many ways [Revelation 9:20-21].
The behavior of the pagans tied to idolatry always had connections of immoral and perverse nature in the sexual context, prostitution, homosexuality and orgiastic behavior as well as bestiality. This behavior is part of the sinful nature of man, as we said ALL sinners are idolatrous in some way and they are subject to the abandonment of God to their wicked and impure hearts.
For these reasons God condemned and still condemns today sexual immorality, see [Leviticus 18:22-29];[Leviticus 19:29];[Revelation 2:14]. These are the impure practices and desires of the darkened hearts of those who commit idolatry, in other words all sinners.
Ephesians 4:17-19 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
1 Peter 4:3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatry.
Verse 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.
This is what every person without God does. Up to now we have seen that what Paul describes here in these verses is the behavior of ALL human beings without God.
Every human being that is not born again and does not have God’s life in him does these things, exchanges the truth of God for the lie. Again here we must echo the preceding verses, remembering that this third section of Romans Chapter 1 begins saying that the wrath of God is revealed upon every unrighteous act (sin) of man and every ungodliness of man who suppresses God’s truth with unrighteous living.
We must realize that even we, who are born again once were dead in our sins and trespasses and walked in unrighteousness and ungodliness, let us not forget the condition from which God has taken us out of, not because we deserved it but by His grace and mercy He saved us.
Ephesians 2:1-6 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus
The truth, once more, this truth is mentioned in [Romans 1:18]. Once again Paul refers to the truth of God, truth that as we have said mankind has been informed about, to who and in whom it was manifest, God has manifest His existence, His power, holiness and His righteous and moral character and nature. However man, as we have mentioned already even though he knows God, had preferred to deny Him and to exchange the glory of the incorruptible God, not wanting to glorify Him nor thank Him [Romans 1:21] and chose to serve and worship the creature instead of the creator.
The lie is all that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, all that denies Him, declares Him non existent. The lie is in this case also the idols that man has chosen to worship and serve instead of the true and only living God.
The lie is also all that discredits, minimizes or substitutes the real God. Let’s use two lies as examples.
Lie number one: God does not exist, we evolved from nothing through the big bang.
We have seen previously that all men, all, without exception know that God exists, that God is the creator, that God is holy, righteous and moral. We have seen that God has placed in every man the knowledge of Him, His image and likeness [Genesis 1:26-27]; conscience [Romans 2:14-15]. In addition to all this God manifests Himself not only in man but also around man, in His creation, so, creation declares that God is the creator, so that man is inexcusable when he declares that God does not exist [Romans 1:20];[Acts 17:24-29].
Lie number two: God is whatever you perceive Him to be, whatever you want Him to be, all religions lead to the same God
This lie is really the epitome of idolatry. In other words, this is total rebellion to the true living God. It’s an insult and not giving the glory to Him who is glorious and the only one that is worthy to receive glory. This is perhaps man’s favorite lie. Perhaps all mankind is not yet foolish enough to completely deny God’s existence, but they do deny Him through the practice of religion. Mankind, since they have been created in the image and likeness of God and have been created to be spiritual beings and not simply biological or physical beings are attracted to religion.
However, religion is not the way that leads to God, absolutely not. NO RELIGION whatsoever leads to the true living God. Religion is a man made thing created in cooperation with Satan [Genesis 11:1-9]. Religion whatever one it is leads instead to idolatry.
God instead sent Jesus Christ to abolish man’s religiosity. Yes, Jesus is not a religion, He did not come to create a new religion. In fact, see what Jesus Himself said in three specific cases to teach us how we come to the knowledge of the true and living God and have a living relationship with Him, not a religion which is only good to anesthetize a guilty and dirty conscience.
Hebrews 9:14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
The dead works in this particular context was a reference to the dead works of the Hebrew religion. So we understand that we are talking about religion that has no power at all to purify the human conscience from the guilt of sin.
We must turn our attention now toward what Jesus said and let’s try to comprehend the context in the right way, the subject of which He is referring to.
John 4:19-24 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
To the Samaritan woman Jesus is giving several lessons, the one we want to focus upon is understanding that the Samaritan woman is comparing religions, locations of religious practices and worship to God.
Without getting into a great amount of historical background suffices to say that the Samaritans had practiced idolatry since the time when the Kingdom of Israel divided in two kingdoms, the Northern Kingdom, that was comprised of ten tribes of Israel and the Southern Kingdom, which was comprised of two tribes, Judah and Benjamin [1 Kings 12:12-33]. The Northern Kingdom was the one who through the next four centuries practiced idolatry and that in time became Samaria, the Samaritans were people despised by the Jews of the Southern Kingdom, as they intermarried with pagans and worshiped their gods as well. However, the form of idolatry these people practiced was yes, idolatrous religion, it is called syncretism
The definition of this style of religion is the following
Reconciliation or fusion of differing systems of beliefs, in this case religious beliefs, especially when success is partial or the result is heterogeneous.
So what this really means id the fact that there was a continuous knowledge and recognition of the true living God, the LORD, but other religious idolatrous practices were added to the worship of the true living God, this is what many people do today. They retain the knowledge of the true living God but they add idolatrous practices to the worship of God. Even Judah fell into this kind of idolatrous worship style, trying to continue to worship JEHOVAH while worshiping idols. That will not work. Anyway, after the return of the Jews from captivity in Babylon however, this religious practice remained only amongst the Samaritans, so here we get back into the passage of John 4, Jesus now answers her question first by emphasizing the fact that salvation would indeed come from the Jews, obviously He being a Jew, from the tribe of Judah nevertheless, descendant of David in the flesh, anyway, what He is telling her is that the place, the method of the religion, Samaritan or Jewish (or any other kind for that matter) would no longer be important, God has to be worshiped and served in spirit and in truth. What does it mean that God has to be worshiped in spirit and truth?
To understand what it means we must take a step back in the Gospel of John in the previous chapter, chapter 3. Jesus explains, in more detail than in chapter 4, to Nicodemus a religious teacher of Israel and to us, why religion will not work and what it means to be able to know God having a living relationship with Him and worship Him in spirit and truth.
John 3:3-8 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Here it is, to be able to know, worship and serve the living God we must be born again, we must be made alive again. Let us remember that mankind is spiritually dead in their sins and trespasses and only those who are born of the Spirit are spirit, those born of the flesh are flesh, those born of the Spirit of God are spirit, spiritual beings with the life of God in them, so that now they can worship God in spirit and in truth, truth because the Spirit of God is also called the Spirit of truth and He guides us into all truth regarding God, into knowing the truth as we glean it from God’s word through the power of the Holy Spirit that bears witness to our spirit regarding God’s truth.
So religions do not at all give access to God, they are all idolatry, they serve to placate the conscience and they are works done in the flesh, works mankind does to try to please their forms of God, images of God they created, trying to be justified before their gods, or God through religious works.
NOT ALL WAYS LEAD TO GOD (RELIGIONS) NO RELIGION GIVES ACCESS TO GOD, NO RELIGION JUSTIFIES MAN BEFORE GOD.
The continuation of the explanation of what it means to worship God in spirit and truth and what way truly leads to God.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
We see explicitly that in regard to these last three declarations of Jesus that religion is not at all that which leads to God and to the knowledge of God, see also [John 17:1-3], only Jesus Christ is the way, THE ONLY WAY that leads to God [Acts 4:12], Jesus is the truth necessary to know and to follow in order to know the true and living God [John 8:31-36], Jesus is not a truth, He IS THE ONLY TRUTH , today Jesus is the truth of God that the world and Satan want to suppress with unrighteousness and deny. Jesus is the life, THE LIFE OF GOD to have spiritual life, life that is needed to become born again, to be born of the Spirit the life that is necessary to man to have a living relationship with God [John 6:63].
All this is not a religion , all this is a spiritual reality, a real life, so that true Christianity is not to practice a religion but it’s an actual life, a lifestyle lived out which does the will of God in the believers [Philippians 2:13];[Ephesians 3:20];[Colossians 1:27-29], it’s not a series of rules to observe in order to be liked by God or to be accepted by Him, or that can make us think that we can be justified before God because we observe certain rules, rites or religious practices, to believe that a religion leads to God is the lie of idolatry. To the true and living God NO RELIGION IS VALID. I do not think that Jesus leaves us any doubt as far as what the only valid way to know God is. Certainly Jesus in any way validates or justifies any religion through which a person can get to know God or that would justify them before God.
So in the end all that man worships and serves instead of the true and only God is a form of idolatry. A person can even believe in the true God and think to worship Him and serve Him while instead they are committing idolatry. All that man uses to arrive at God if not only through Jesus Christ is idolatry. Man has arrived to worship the creature instead of the creator, that as Paul says is the only one who is worthy to receive the praise, glory and worship.
In God’s presence all those who glorify and worship Him recognize Him as the glorious and belessed God, the Creator of all things and of everybody.
Revelation 4:9-11 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”
This is the example of the difference between who glorifies and thanks the true God, the creator and all the men who in their sin and idolatry choose to deny Him and to worship and serve themselves or others and other things rather than the true God.
Romans Chapter 1 verses 26 and 27
Verses 26-27 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 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.
These two verses are of extreme importance to understand the perversion of homosexuality. Today more than ever, this perverted practice is considered by the society in which we live a lifestyle which all are obligated to accept as normal, as it was a natural thing that occurs in the life of some individuals.
In these two verses instead we understand several things in regard to this practice that the world wants everybody to accept and tolerate, We see that this lifestyle as many call it is the cause of a very precise thing. This is caused by, as we have read thus far, by idolatry. This does not necessarily mean that every person who commits idolatry becomes homosexual. It means however, that it is a consequence of the idolatrous behavior of the human being. It is the consequence of the second abandonment of God, First God abandons or gives up the sinners to the practice of the sinful desires that are in their wicked and darkened hearts, today more and more, many become abandoned to their vile passions.
These things as we have observed until now have two progressions and functions, In other words, we must see God’s abandonment as the form of His righteous judgment and wrath. This is after all the context we initially find in [Romans 1:18]. The refusal to recognize God. To give Him the glory, to thank Him brings the outpouring of His righteous anger and wrath in the form of abandonment to sin, to the sinful desires of man. This giving up to sin and now to vile passions is God’s judgment upon individuals and also a society that rejects Him and that worships and serves the creature instead of the creator.
In fact today God has abandoned non only individuals to these things but also the society of the entire world. The abandonment to the consequences of mankind’s sins is the temporal, sometimes remedial judgment of God, however later a time will come when God’s judgment will be permanent and eternal.
From these verses we understand that the human being has exchanged the natural relationship created by God with one which is unnatural, against nature.
Let’s truly get a good look at these things and let’s really understand this, because it’s of extreme importance. Paul is saying, both women and men have exchanged their natural sexual use, the way it’s intended to be by nature, by the order of creation, for a sexual use that is unnatural, against nature and against the created order.
Women who unite themselves sexually with other women and men with men. Paul is really declaring that the relation created by God is man-woman, we will call the relation heterosexual.
What is then this natural order that mankind exchanges? How do we comprehend it from a Biblical world view ?
We find the answer of course in Scripture, at the beginning of everything, at the creation.
Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
So, it is clearly evident that God created mankind, male and female. Two different sexes that cannot continue to exist if they do not unite together within their sexual distinctions and differences with which God created them. Only from the biological and natural context, if the human race would unite itself in homosexual relations only, then the human race would soon come to extinction, so the homosexual relationship is not natural, it is totally against nature.
In this Genesis passage we also clearly understand other things as well. Fore instance, the fact that God has created mankind male and female is connected with the fact that God created them in His image and likeness, this also means that He created them coherent with His will and function, His order and design. So for this fact only, a person CANNOT BE BORN HOMOSEXUAL.
Now many will argue, and are still arguing that this is not so, that being homosexual is a genetic factor, one is born genetically predisposed to be a homosexual. This is not at all true. Genetically perhaps a below one percentage of people may be born with sexual anomalies that can cause sexual dysfunctions, but that is too small a percentage to justify the increasing amount of homosexuality in our society. No, homosexuality is as Scripture is saying the result of individuals and a society that rejects God.
The homosexual gene does not exist, science disproves it completely, homosexuality as described in this passage is a vile passion caused by the abandonment of God to the impure and wicked desires of men and women that commit idolatry.
Homosexuality is completely against nature, because as we see, in nature God created mankind male and female, designed by God to have a heterosexual and monogamous relationship within the confines of matrimony only.
Genesis 2:18-20 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
This also proves that man is not at all evolved from another animal such an ape, no God already had created all animals but non of them was comparable, was not of the same kind so much so that God had to create man a companion who did not evolve from another animal like creature but was created directly from the man himself. No other creature is comparable to man as no other creature is made in the image and likeness of God. But let’s remain in context and leave the subject of creation versus evolution for another time.
Genesis 2:21-24 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
It becomes obvious then, that when man rejects God and worships and serves the creature, including the worship and servitude to himself, then he will reject the order of creation that God has established, he will reject the image and likeness of God, in fact in the context of evolution, man has denied and rejected the image and likeness of God by rejecting God and creation and has substituted them with the creature in its place. Obvious really. Rejecting the creator, His image and likeness is rejected. With this, the order with which God has created everything, as well as the relation between man and woman is also rejected. Only the woman is the convenient helper for the man and only a man and a woman can become one flesh.
In fact homosexuality is inexorably connected with idolatry. So,when a homosexual rightfully but not truthfully declares that homosexual behavior is not mentioned in the ten commandments directly he is partially right, it is not directly mentioned as one of the ten commandments as a sexual violation, but first of all it is a sexual perversion and a sin but it really has to be categorized in the commandments against idolatry.
Homosexuality is a direct consequence of idolatry as it is in itself an act of idolatry besides a sexual perversion.
Yes, Paul continues to describe this theme from the divine standpoint, telling us that homosexual acts are indecent acts that man commits with each other. Unnatural and indecent acts, so this way God describes them to be. Our antichrist society not only accepts and tolerates this abominable behavior but now it exalts it and forces it upon every member of society, doing so it becomes tyranny, a mandatory obligation comparing these indecent and unnatural acts to racism.
It is not at all as racism, it’s not the same thing. Racism is hating someone because they are born with a different color skin than ours or because they come from a different country than ours. Homosexuals let me repeat what the word of God says, are not at all born that way. They’ve become that way through a process of idolatry and sinfulness. Yes, as in all other unrighteousness there could have been present other mitigating circumstances in the life of the persons that commit them, however the Bible is clear
Homosexuality is a perverse desire that dominates a person that abandons itself to it and because the person itself is abandoned to this behavior by God
Homosexuals contradict themselves first by saying that they are born that way, then they claim that they have the right of choice in the lifestyle they want to live.
Or you are born that way and by consequence you would have to live that way, you would not have a choice, or you choose that lifestyle, you choose to be a homosexual, you desire to be one. You cannot be both, and in fact they are not-
Homosexuals are persons who are abandoned by God to their own perverse desires as we have read in Scripture, they abandon themselves to their own vile passion and impure desires. Otherwise there could not exist people who previously were heterosexual and that after became homosexuals and vice-versa, because this happens more often than we want to admit it. So how can we explain bi-sexual people? Are they born that way? If you are born in a certain way you remain as you are born, you cannot change.
If a person is born black they remain black, they do not have the option to change color of their skin?
Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.
So then it would be the same for the homosexuals if they were born that way, the Bible however fully contradicts this satanic lie.
You see this is one of those arguments that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God a fortress that entrenches itself around people’s minds, this is a type of unrighteousness and ungodliness with which man suppresses God’s truth.
The Bible shows us instead that homosexuality is simply sinfulness that a person can be delivered from, when they become a new creature in Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
We do have to specify one very important thing however, the true believer will not hate nor commit violence or insult the homosexual as a human being, this is contrary to God, the true believer does not have to, must not, accept the behavior of the homosexual, remembering that this is a behavior that for God is sin and such it must be called and as such it must be condemned, but we must not hate the person.
Calling such persons to repentance and pointing out their sinfulness is not hate nor racism. Not accepting or tolerating homosexual behavior and calling it what God calls it, sin, is not hate, discrimination or racism, it is instead demonstrating the love of God, Who wants to deliver and change the person making them new creatures in Christ.
I have personally known two persons a man and a woman who were homosexuals, when they became born again they became heterosexual beings, the man got married with a woman and they now have two children and he serves the Lord full time. The woman, who now is gone to be with the Lord, even she, after her conversion got married with a man and lived as a heterosexual person. There are many stories of homosexuals who after becoming born again that have become heterosexual, they are happy, thing that before they were not from their own testimony.
We have just read by Paul’s words that even in his times the new birth of people transformed lives and people were not as they were before. This could not, would not happen if a person was naturally born homosexual, they would remain such always, there would be no need to change if it was a natural thing, if God created them that way.
Also how can we explain those who were heterosexual and now have abandoned themselves to their vile passions and indecent act and chose to become homosexual, or even bi-sexual, this cannot be possible if they were born heterosexual, the certainly chose to practice that perversion.
Society instead tells us that is we do not accept the homosexual behavior as normal it means that we do not accept the person and so we commit discrimination and we demonstrate hate. Excuse me, if we use this concept and this principle it means that we can make the same argument for a murderer or a serial killer or a rapist? I do not think so, all of these including homosexuality are sinful acts before God.
In society however, we want to be selective in choosing the sins we want to tolerate and accept, but for God they’re all serious sins and vile passions and indecent acts. God sees homosexuality as perversion, an abominable practice that can be associated with bestiality, such is abominable to God [Leviticus 18:22-23]. It is so abominable that God destroyed two entire cities predominantly as a consequence of the sin of homosexuality [Genesis 18:20];[Genesis 19:1-25].
In fact not by chance that from the name Sodom that the word sodomite comes from, word that is attributed ti those who practice homosexuality [1 Kings 14:24]. In antiquity sodomites were males who would prostitute themselves with other men and who were part of the pagan idolatrous rituals of those times. It is not by chance that we see the homosexuality even back then inexorably connected with idolatrous practices. The pagans continuously abandoned themselves to these indecent acts and vile passions that God always hated and condemned.
So without the shadow of a doubt this perversion called homosexuality is not a natural thing, we have seen in fact it is completely unnatural and against the order God has given in nature, in His creation. We have seen that it is a consequence of God giving up idolaters to the desires of their own wicked, unclean and darkened hearts and minds, and to the indecent acts of the human being that rejects God, both men and women.
Paul tells us they receive in themselves the penalty of their error that is due to them. What does this really mean?
The first thing we have to understand and remember is that God’s righteous judgment and wrath that is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of man who suppress the truth of God with unrighteousness, right?
We have seen that God has already twice abandoned idolatrous mankind to the consequences of their sinful and ungodly behavior. This second abandonment is demonstrated in the homosexual behavior, not all abandon themselves to this, however many idolaters do, especially today. As a consequence of the abandonment to this sin, those who practice it receive in themselves the penalty of their erring way, this is God’s judgment, he gives them up to the consequences of their sinful behavior.
These consequences are as Paul describes them the penalty of their error, they receive them in themselves. Inside of them, in their own bodies, these consequences are first of physical nature, then certainly spiritual consequences. In them this sin corrodes physically and spiritually, it corrodes like an acid and their bodies not only burn with vile passions, but literally as their passions burn, they also are physically consumed, corroded by their own sin, that slowly kills them.
Scientific statistics, not Biblical statistics, which are drawn from a health magazine in the article called Homosexuality and Health declares this:
In regard to homosexuality, the homosexual population has a significant greater number of disease than the heterosexual population. One of the reasons why this happens is the greater amount of sexual activity with a higher number of partners. Statistics reveal that the practice of sodomy, in other words anal sex, is a great source of many diseases. In 2004 an article on Web Md declared that men who are sexually active with other men are the greater cause for the transmission of the HIV virus in women.
This is a medical list of diseases and the connections to problems of physical nature in the homosexual population.
MRSA- A new variety of staphylococcus bacteria that is a cause of infections in homosexuals.
Syphilis and Gonorrhea
Lymphogranuloma Venereus– A serious intestinal parasite caused by sodomy.
Other Intestinal Parasites
Proctitus- Inflammation of the rectum that increases the risk of contracting AIDS. I
Illicit Drug Use
Obesity in Lesbianism
So we see that science confirms and agrees with the Bible. Yes, those who practice these indecent acts and vile passions receive in themselves, in their own bodies the just penalty for their behavior, no one can mock God, all that a man sows he shall also reap.
Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
Romans Chapter 1 verse 28
Verse 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;
Once again Paul repeats what he previously did in [Romans 1:21], even though they knew God, they did not want to retain Him in their knowledge. We did already see what it means to be able to know what can be known of God. We repeat that God has manifest Himself to mankind internally and externally, however in spite of this man has not retained opportune to know Him, glorify Him and thank Him,such as is described also in [Revelation 14:6]. Mankind instead has retained valid to become abandoned to idolatry instead of wanting to know the true living God. So because of all this God has abandoned the human being to the desires their wicked and darkened hearts and has abandoned the world to burn in the practice of impure and unnatural acts. Once again Paul makes us understand that man has decided, willingly decided to reject God, to know God and so God has given them up to a perverse mind and to behave in a way that is not fitting.
We must remember that first the heart was darkened and hardened, in other words the conscience was scarred, as it was seared with a hot iron, rendering in time insensitive and for this a certain behavior ensued, now the human being has fallen evermore further away from God and for judgment God let them go exactly where they wanted to go. Abandoned by God to the third power, the human mind has become all the more perverted an corrupted, when the mind and the heart become this way the behavior that is aligned with corruption and perversion manifests itself.
This next passage describes exactly what we are saying in regard to the sequence of events in sinful nature.
Ephesians 4:17-19 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
The mind becomes futile and the understanding is darkened, the ignorance of the knowledge of God and their hearts harden, their conscience is hardened and seared and they become insensitive, past feeling, because of all this they abandon themselves and are abandoned by God to a life of lewdness,uncleanness and greed.
The perverted mind is a mind that continuously plots evil, immoral and perverted things so much so that it leads to behave doing things that are not fitting, what does it mean to do things that are not fitting? Paul describes this for us in the following verses.
Romans Chapter 1 verses 29-31
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, 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 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Verse 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
The Bible commands the believer to be filled with the Holy Spirit [Ephesians 5:18], but the sinner is by nature filled with every, Paul says, every unrighteousness, not some but all unrighteousness is found in the human being that has experienced the abandonment of God, the abandonment to follow the desires of what their wicked hearts are filled with. It is in this way that the human being presents itself, filled with all of what Paul describes for us in these verses. These are the things we can expect from sinners, the idolaters, those who reject God.
If we examine carefully the entire passage from Romans 1:21 to verse 31 we find the reference of the transgression of all the Law of God, all the Ten Commandments. Therefore, even the pagans who do not know the written word of God, the written Law, still transgress it.
However, the fact that they do not know the written Law does not exonerate them from the responsibility of transgressing it, for as we have seen and we will see in chapter 2 of Romans although not knowing the written Law as the Jews know it, all human beings have the Law of God written in their hearts to which the conscience bears witness to them, so that all men know they have transgressed the divine Law. We also saw previously that all men know God exists and that He is a holy, righteous and just God. Internal manifestation of the image and likeness of God and external manifestation of God’s attributes in creation so that man no matter who he is, no matter what part of the world he or she lives in, whether in a city or a jungle or in the desert or on a mountain, every human being is without excuse before God in regard to the fact that God Is, and that they are violators of His righteous and holy Law.
In fact Paul begins the list of transgressions of which man is filled with idolatry which is the violation of the first two commandments, in which, let us remember is included homosexuality, therefore besides being a sexual perversion and sexual immorality, let us remember that it is a sin against nature and therefore consequential to idolatry.
Exodus 20:1-6 And God spoke all these words, saying: 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
Therefore, this is a violation of the first two commandments by the human being, such as the context has described up until now. Idolatry and its consequences, such we have examined thus far.
In the following words we will find Paul that cites the behavior of sinners and we will see the meaning of them and what commandments specifically they violate.
Paul makes a very similar list of the sinners’ character traits also in
2 Timothy 3:1-6 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
In the mean time, idolatrous sinners are filled with ALL unrighteousness, this is antithetic to God and His righteousness, already this is a violation of the entire righteous divine character and therefore His law.
Sexual Immorality- Fornication The word in Greek is porneia from which word derives the word we know as pornography. In this word we find all things that are comprising of sexual immorality and perversion, sexual immorality outside the matrimonial boundaries is called fornication, this practice also was and is a consequence of man’s idolatry. This would be a violation of the first, second, seventh and tenth commandments.
Wickedness To be wicked means to have a continuous desire to do physical, emotional and moral damage to our neighbor and against God. It is a transgression, a violation of the whole divine law, as our Lord did say, to love God with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves.
Covetousness This sin leads to others, such as avarice, envy, jealousy and greed, it is the continuous desire to have what belongs to others, which can, no, it inevitably will lead to violate many other commandments which are violated in the process of obtaining that which one desires to have, that which either does not belong to him or also to have what others have and to do anything at all to obtain it.
Covetousness is the desire of that which is prohibited and it is the origin of sinful actions [James 1:14-15].
Also it is the consequence of being ungrateful and not being content with what one has [Hebrews 13:5], the love of money, which is the root of all evil [1 Timothy 6:6-10] and the desire to obtain always more and to find every possible way to obtain it even it means hurting others and committing all kinds of sins. So this fits into the character of the idolater, who, as Paul described for us in [Romans 1:21] is not thankful to God, being never satisfied and always wanting more, especially what is prohibited.
Remember David with Bathsheba? What happened there? Lust, covetousness, led David to desire what he could not have [2 Samuel 12:7-9], so he did and this led him to commit adultery, lying and murder [2 Samuel 11:1-26].
This is what covetousness has the power to do. It is a direct violation of the tenth commandment, however it has the potential to lead to violate all of them.
Maliciousness or Malice This means to take pleasure in doing all that is wicked and unrighteous, it includes the violation of all the commandments
Full of Envy Not to be underestimated envy is presented by Paul as something that fills up. Yes, in fact envy fills the sinner, it saturates him and then it corrodes, consumes him from within. Envy is a spiritual cancer that entirely devours sinners leading them to do every kind of wickedness. It actually literally corrodes the physical body
Proverbs 14:30 A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones.
Envy brings a person to have bitterness inside [James 3:14], this bitterness is a spiritual disease that invades a person spreading and filling up the person just like a cancer, this is connected, as well to idolatry see the passages in [Deuteronomy 29:18] and [Hebrews 12:15]. Envy is closely related, a twin of the sin of covetousness.
Envy is thus a direct transgression of the first, second and tenth commandment and potentially of others from fourth to the ninth.
Murder Murder is in the heart of the sinner, murder is part of the devil’s nature [John 8:44].
Jesus addresses the problem of being angry without reason, in other words an anger that does not have a just motivation and hatred.
He likens it to murder [Matthew 5:21-22]. In fact God’s law before being violated in act or action is violated in the heart and mind. The human heart and mind are completely corrupted by sin and they are the source of every wicked deed.
Matthew 15:18-19 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
As we can see from the words of Jesus Himself, in the human heart the violations of God’s law are born and from there they proceed and become actions, the wicked desires, thoughts and emotions which are not submitted to God become wicked actions.
So any person not only is capable of murder, every person at one point or other is guilty of murder in their life, for God it is enough to commit it in the heart and in the mind. It’s already present in the heart, it is also for this reason that mankind is considered unrighteous and guilty before God of having transgressed this commandment and for that matter all of His law.
Hating a person is murder in the heart as Jesus stated before and Scripture confirms this in several places, one place specifically where hatred is compared to murder is in
1 John 3:10-15 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12 not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
Very sobering passage that confirms that hatred is equivalent to murder for God, better yet, hatred is murder.
So we see that the famous excuse almost every one comes up with to justify their “ righteousness”, “ I am not a bad person, after all I never killed anyone” is only an excuse and is not at all valid at all.
For example, abortion is murder, but man justifies it with unjust human laws that give the right to murder an innocent and defenseless person.
See the subject of murder and abortion in the section Commentaries in the teaching regarding the Sanctity of Life
The Bible tells us that there are people whose feet are swift to shed innocent blood, God detests these people and this sin [Proverbs 6:17], such is true that He declared universally even before the more detailed instructions regarding blood guilt in the shedding of innocent blood, given through the Mosaic Law, the consequences for such sin were never changed nor abolished by God, murder requires justice by the life of the person who committed the murder, see [Genesis 9:5-6];[Matthew 26:52];[Romans 13:3-4], this justice is to be carried out by the proper earthly authorities or if these authorities refuse to carry out the death penalty, God Himself will do it [2 Kings 24:3-4].
Murder, is a transgression of the sixth commandment.
Strife Strife also known as contention is often mentioned in the NT, especially in the context of the church [1 Corinthians 1:11]; [2 Corinthians 12:20];[1 Timothy 6:3-4]. Contention or Strife is an act of rebellion and disrespect toward the authorities under which people are placed. People who do not want to submit to God’s authority [2 Thessalonians 3:11-15].
Not to submit to authorities when they try to force us into unrighteous things or not to do what God requires is not sin at all, it’s in fact obedience to God. This is something even the Apostles did [Acts 5:28-29]. Besides, contention or strife is even translated debate, a spirit of rebellion to righteous authorities to which God has placed us under is a serious sin. To contend against sin and unrighteousness is something a believer has to do.
Proverbs 28:4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, But such as keep the law contend with them.
The word contend or strife literally signifies to make war, so to contend with someone is to make war against. The contentious in the Bible however are almost always mentioned in a negative, sinful way.
In the church this sin is prohibited because it’s rebellion, it means to make war against the authorities of the church. This is a sinful behavior that unfortunately in the church, although practiced by both sexes, the woman has the tendency to fall into more often, not exclusively but often. It is for this reason that the woman in the church is called to exhibit a determined behavior of submission, obedience and silence in the church. Submission to their husbands first of all and also to the male church authorities see [1 Corinthians 11:16]; [1 Corinthians 14:34-35];[1 Timothy 2:12].
This must make us realize that the spirit behind the feminist movement is the sin of contention, strife and debate and is in its nature demonic as it incites rebellion to the order of the authorities God has placed.
Women have the right to be treated well, fairly and without abuse, however they have no right to usurp positions not given them by God and to be rebellious and contentious, which feminists are, and this spirit is alive and well amongst Christian women.
There is an example of the consequences of this sin in the OT when Miriam and Aaron contended against Moses see [Numbers 12:1-15]. Although contention is sin for a male as well, but for the woman it is doubly serious, that is why in the passage in Numbers, only Miriam became leprous and not Aaron. Contention rendered her unclean, this was a visible example that God gave for people to heed in regard to strife and contention. If you want to be spiritually unclean practice contention, rebellion and debate.
How a person responds to God’s commandments in regard to this is an indication of whether or not one has the spirit of contention, in other words struggles with that sin, especially the Christian women. If at all costs you must want to voice your opinion or debate God’s word regarding the role and responsibility of women the way they are written, you are contentious and you are spiritually unclean, leprous, you must repent. Read again God’s instructions, God’s commandments regarding what your duty and responsibilities are as a Christian woman. There is absolutely no room for debate [1 Corinthians 11:16];[1 Corinthians 14:34-35];[1 Timothy 2:12];[Titus 2:3-5].
Deceit This sin is a general term that describes any type of violation of the Eighth Commandment , which prohibits bearing false witness or testimony against our neighbor. To bear false witness is to lie. Lying is always condemned by God no matter how small a lie might appear to man. Even when one is trying perhaps to avoid a greater evil by lying, its a lie and never accepted by God. God is truth and He only accepts truth. Any type of deceit, fraud or cheating is a lie and God hates it [Leviticus 19:35-36];[Proverbs 20:10]. Not keeping one’s word, a promise a vow or to be a perjurer is deceit and lying and it falls in the transgression of the eighth commandment. Jesus told us that our yes should be yes and our no should be no, otherwise it is fraud and lying [Matthew 5:37];[James 5:12]. Deceit is fraud in every way, fraud, deceipt and lying are the devil’s nature [John 8:44].
Evil-Mindedness-Whisperers Their mind is corrupt and evil always and always devising wicked schemes, they who are filled with all this are of wicked character and they seek to injure others. They want to injure,in the original Greek in this passage there is another word connected to this word, whisperers are slanderers, those who speak wickedly of others in secret, especially, with the intent to bring harm or destroy the other person. We must understand that slander is to speak that which is not true about someone and inventing false accusations about them, this once again is a violation of the eighth commandment, it has the potential to lead in many other violations.
Verse 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
Backbiters Same description of whisperers- slanderers, this one with the connotation of backstabbing. This is behavior that flatters others while secretly spreading evil and false rumors about them, basically recanting what originally was said about them to their face. [Psalms 12:2]; [Proverbs 26:28].
Proverbs 26:24-26 He who hates, disguises it with his lips, And lays up deceit within himself; 25 When he speaks kindly, do not believe him, For there are seven abominations in his heart; 26 Though his hatred is covered by deceit, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.
Haters of God The description of the human being given by Paul in this first chapter of Romans is one of people who have set their heart to hate God and all He stands for. Who does the Bible call the enemies of God? Well, first of all, ALL those who are sinners and rebellious to God, who deny and reject Him are haters of God [Colossians 1:21]. This really means that EVERY human being who is not born again and therefore is not converted and is in Christ is an enemy of God, This is particularly described by Paul in [Romans 3:10-19] and we will have ample opportunity to study this when we get there, However, there is a constant description in Scripture of who is God’s enemy. They who are friends with the world and its system are enemies of God.
James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Those who are not born again, spiritually regenerated and that are still in the flesh, in other words only physically alive but not spiritually, they are the enemies of God.
Romans 8:7-8 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
See also [1 John 2:15-16], this term of haters of God or God’s enemies once was rightly bestowed upon also, us who have been saved and regenerated [Romans 5:6-8];[Ephesians 2:1-5], we were also once enemies and haters of God. We find this term again described in a similar list that Paul gives to Timothy in
2 Timothy 3:1-6 1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
By the way have you ever wondered what Paul means when he states these who are lovers of pleasure rather than God, and who have a form of godliness but they deny its power?
This is a reference to the religious people, the idolatrous ones, those who deny the real power of godliness. What is this power? We studied it in Romans 1:16, right? The power of God and real love is found in the Gospel, in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the power of God
1 Corinthians 1:23-24 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
They deny Jesus and the true and living God, because that is the power of real godliness [1 John 4:7-16].Who does not have this love does not have God and does not know God, because the love of God is shed in our hearts only through the saving work of the Holy Spirit through the work Jesus performed [Romans 5:1-5]. He who does not have God, who is not in Christ Jesus is only religious and by consequence an idolater, they are still dead in their sin and trespasses, they only have a form of godliness, a semblance of it, but they lack the real power of God because they deny it denying the true and living God and Jesus through whom only any one can know God.
Violent Violent means they find pleasure in doing violence, in hurting the people who are around them, they are always ready to bring injury wherever they go, these are the abusers and exploiters of the weak, the women, the children, the arrogant ones, see [Proverbs 16:29-30]; this is a violation from the fifth to the tenth commandment.
Proud and BoastersThese two character traits of the sinners I like to put together as they are two sins that practically walk hand in hand, they are closely related one to another. Yes, it is true that all sins are connected and related one to another, we are seeing this as we learn of these sins, how they all fit together and how they lead one to another, that is why James taught us
James 2:10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
However pride is what the Bible condemns as sin, it is the root of all rebellion, in other words of sin in itself. The devil sinned by being proud and fell into rebellion. Pride is exclusively connected to the fact that man wants to lift himself above God and do what man retains right in his own eyes and judgment without regard for the law and will of God. Man in other words who declares to be his own god. This type of pride is the sin of Satan, then of man, this is also described in
Isaiah 14:11-14 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, And the sound of your stringed instruments; The maggot is spread under you, And worms cover you.’ 12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
This passage is a parallel passage of that which is described in regard to this same subject in
Ezekiel 28:13-17 You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. 16 “By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. 17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you.
These demonstrations of pride described are referred to Satan, these however are character traits of the sinner who has in his sinful nature the nature of the devil even as Jesus said, that those who are not from God or of God do their father’s desires, and their father is the devil [John 8:44-47]. Pride therefore is the root of all sin and rebellion against God.
Boasting is part of the pride of man and it is to be likened to the fact that man seeks to receive the glory for himself, for every talent and ability and gift and human accomplishment, man wants to boast about it, wants the credit, therefore not wanting to give glory to God who gave him all of the above. If man can accomplish something, anything at all it is because God has given man the creative abilities to do all that man can do.
However as we did previously see in verse 21, man does not want to give glory to God, man does not want to recognize God, nor does he want to thank God for anything, in fact this is boasting, boasting in himself forgetting God. This is pure idolatrous behavior. Man’s glory is vain and his boasting is evil, because the glory is not given to God and really man without God and without what God has given is nothing more than a mass of water and minerals. For this reason that in Romans 3:23 is written “ because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.
Man’s boast, man’s glory, in other words is vain, all that man works so hard to obtain, sports, career, entertainment, everything that man does without giving the glory to God is evil and vain boasting and it is in reality idolatry, it is for this reason that for God man’s search for fame, success and glory is vain and it is sin and God condemns this attitude of pride, man’s boasting is evil and vain because the glory in everything belongs to Him.
Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to graven images.
Man should boast only in two things that the Bible describes, that in reality is one and the same, to know God and to know Him we must get to know Him through only one way, Jesus Christ and so only in God and in Christ’s accomplishments and virtues and righteousness we can boast see [1 Corinthians 1:31];[Galatians 6:14], [Philippians 3:7-11]
2 Corinthians 10:17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”
Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory ( boast) in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory (boast) in his might, Nor let the rich man glory (boast) in his riches; 24 But let him who glories (boasts) glory (boast) in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.
Inventors of evil things Not only mankind because of its sinful and corrupt nature is wicked, in addition he is an inventor of evil things, in other words it’s not that wickedness and evil only automatically happen because of human wickedness, but wickedness corrupts so completely the mental and psychological process that man becomes one who thinks up, plans, invents evil continuously. This aspect is seen in action in every sphere of the world’s society .
It is for this that in the world there are so many injustices, it’s not God’s fault as many accuse Him, it’s man’s fault that continuously plans evil and as we have already seen God has abandoned them to their own wicked desires.
1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
Being and inventing evil becomes a mental obsession that for the sinner is a desirable thing to do but to God it’s an abomination.
The Bible describes often this aspect of the sinner
Psalms 64:6 They devise iniquities: “We have perfected a shrewd scheme.” Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep.
See also [Proverbs 6:18];[Proverbs 15:26];[Isaiah 32:7];[Isaiah 59:7];[Matthew 15:19].
Psalms 36:4 Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong.
Even when they are in bed they plot evil, they invent evil.
Disobedient to parents Violation of the fifth commandment, very serious sin, so serious to God that it was one of them for which the death penalty was to be carried out in Israel.
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. 20 And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 “Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.
This sin is also mentioned in the other list of sins parallel to this one found in [2 Timothy 3:1-5].
There is really not much else to comment in regards to the serious nature of this sin in God’s eyes and how much it is practiced even today, see more detail about this subject in the section Commentaries- The Responsibilities of the Children in the Family
See also [Exodus 21:17];[Deuteronomy 27:16];[Proverbs 20:20];[Proverbs 30:17];[Matthew 15:4].
Verse 31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Without understanding The word in Greek is asunétous and it means without intelligence, foolish, without understanding. This concept we had previously covered as we had seen that the true, real knowledge, intelligence is to know the One and only true living God. We also have seen that the Lord considers fools, foolish, without knowledge those who reject Him and refuse to glorify and thank Him, no matter how intellectually smart or educated they are from the world’s standards they might be. See also [1 Corinthians 1:18-25]
1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Covenant breakers-Untrustworthy This falls under the violation of the ninth and seventh commandments, because this means being unfaithful. This is not keeping one’s word, not keeping a promise made. So in the end it is a lie. Sinners are liars and they do not keep promises, they give their word and do not honor it, they say they will do something but then they do not. Not being on time falls in this category. Those who are constantly late for their appointments are untrustworthy and it’s a sin. These are persons you cannot trust because they always do not do what they say they will, they lie. Unfortunately this behavior is greatly practiced amongst Christians. People and too often believers upon which you cannot place trust because they say they will do something and then they do not follow through. To be untrustworthy is the very opposite of what God is. God is absolutely faithful, God is absolutely truthful in every thing. That which God says to do He will absolutely, unequivocally do, He keeps His promises. The believer should then reflect the divine nature and also be faithful in everything and should do what he or she says they will. Unfortunately the human being is completely the opposite of God. So the human being lies when he is untrustworthy.
This is the same in the marriage relationship, when there is divorce and or matrimonial infidelity, it’s because one of the partners or even both are untrustworthy and they do not keep the covenant they made, in fact these are covenant breakers, this is perjury. When a person says, promises to do something and do not do it they bear false witness. Jesus told us not to swear on anything, but that our yes be yes and are no be no [Matthew 5:37]. The yes or the no of the believer, but not only of the believer, has to be like a promise or a vow, so we have to be faithful to what we promise to do. If we say yes and then we change or we do not do what we said we would we are untrustworthy and liars [Matthew 21:28-31].
So is the sinner, he does not keep his word, promises, vows, he is a covenant breaker, in the end a liar.
Yes such people are not worthy of trust, they are traitors. The believer instead is a person that should, and I say should, because often thye do not live faithfully to their word and their promises, well, the believer has to in every way keep his word and do what he proposed to do, no matter what, no matter how hard or inconvenient it becomes.
Psalms 15:1-5 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? 2 He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart; 3 He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend; 4 In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear the LORD; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change; 5 He who does not put out his money at usury, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.
Without natural affection This sin or let’s say that this part of the sinful nature is very grievous. This is transgression of several commandments, the fifth, sixth and seventh. Yes indeed, natural affection is something that should have a certain expression of love toward several people. Natural affection is something that should be demonstrated between parents and children ans also between husband and wife. In fact, both children and parents as well as husband and wife are natural relationships, relationships created by God. The family, this is true between relatives,brothers and sisters. We have seen in some previous verses that the idolatrous sinners, in other words men and women who reject God abandon the natural relationships to do that which is against nature. Also, this problem of being without natural affection is of the same category. We have seen that the natural relationship, affection, is between husband and wife only [Genesis 1:27]; [Genesis 2:18-24]
In addition the Bible tells us the unfolding of this sin right after the fall of mankind into sin and rebellion, when Cain killed Abel [Genesis 4:1-8]. Having hated his brother, Cain demonstrated what it means to be without natural affection, when one hates those for which by nature alone should have affection, love.
This is a great problem even today, today more than ever this sin is practiced in the society in which we live. Parents who do not have natural affection for their children and so commit all kinds of evil deeds and crime against them,in which case often they violate the sixth commandment, you shall not kill.
Parents kill their own children through abortion, they abuse them, abuse which often leads to the death of the children. In fact the abuse and abandonment of the children is committed because of the lack of natural affection.
This however is not only a modern issue, I want to bring to your remembrance or knowledge that for the same reasons we face today even in antiquity they sacrificed their own children to false gods, committing the most abominable idolatry see also the Section Commentaries-The Sanctity of Life and see the following passages [Leviticus 20:1-5];[Psalms 106:37-39];[Jeremiah 7:31];[Jeremiah 32:25];[Ezekiel 16:20-21];[Ezekiel 23:37].
This is not only between parents and children but also between children and parents, the same kind of lack of natural affection is demonstrated by children toward their parents, which brings to transgress the fifth commandment, because the children do not honor their parents, they mistreat them, abuse them, they abandon them and sometimes they kill them.
If of these situations there is no repentance, if the hearts of parents and children are not changed so there returns the natural love there needs to be, there is a curse on the land upon which these sins are committed
Malachi 4:6 And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
The same issue is found in the relationship between husband and wife. When adultery, violence and abuse sets in the marriage relationship it reveals the lack of natural affection there should be as the husband and wife unite they become one flesh, it is a natural affection which is lacking. Paul described this type of love and affection like this.
Ephesians 5:28-31 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
Such should be the way, unfortunately the natural affection missing does not give mankind the possibility to practice this kind of care toward the wife and viceversa, unfortunately this is present in the church also not only in the world.
Implacable and Unmerciful The word implacable is an additional word used by the translator, however in the Greek original text the word is one, unmerciful,without mercy. So it means just this, those who are without mercy. They cannot have mercy because mercy is part of God’s character and the sinners are without God, they are alienated from God’s life. The word of God tells us that those who are without mercy will not receive mercy
James 2:13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
God’s mercy toward sinners has triumphed over judgment as God’s mercy toward us was demonstrated by God in withholding judgment upon many who deserved it while pouring out His wrath, judgment and justice upon His only begotten Son. Jesus Christ the righteous, who paid in full God’s requirement for sin, so that God could be merciful to those who instead deserved judgment. This is how mercy has triumphed over judgment. However, only those who have experienced God’s mercy are merciful even as Jesus said it has to be
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
The merciful are those who have obtained mercy through faith in Jesus Christ and repentance, they will obtain mercy for eternity, they will continue to be merciful because they obtained it and have experienced it.
Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Instead these who Paul describes are unmerciful why? Well remembering what we have seen in verse 18, in other words, these are those who cover up, conceal their sins, they do not want to repent, the do not obtain mercy but judgment and wrath, for this very reason they do not know mercy. We can only practice mercy is we have known it through faith in Christ repentance which is the forsaking of our sins.
Romans Chapter 1 Verse 32
Verse 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Now we are finishing describing the pagan idolatrous people who reject God and practice various idolatrous practices and religions, we have already seen that a certain point the Bible tells us that these although they know God have refused to glorify Him and thank Him. We now see that these who reject God have another knowledge, they know a very precise fact, that by the righteous judgment of God, they who practice such things, such things we have read, they know that they are worthy of death. Yes, because everybody knows they have sinned and fall short of God’s glory [Romans 3:23] and that the wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23].
The surprising thing is that people know the righteous judgments of God and that those who practice such things are worthy of death. This fact must make some people perplexed. How is it that the human being knows these things? There are many persons who absolutely are unaware of God’s decrees and that do not know the law of God, see in fact the pagans, indigenous people or those who practice the many religions of the world, in other words those who believe in different gods, these do not know first hand the written law of God, they are totally unaware of the existence of the Ten Commandments, how is it possible then? Is it even possible? Well, the word of God tells us it is possible in this verse and it says that they know God’s righteous decrees and that they are worthy of death for practicing unrighteous living, how do they know?
The answer is they know the same way they know God exists and that He is the Creator of all things, that He is God and Lord. Let’s remember that we already have seen previously this concept, they know God IS and they recognize His divine attributes through internal revelation and external revelation, so in the conscience and in nature,the character, power and moral, divine attributes are recognizable, in fact the Bible says they know all this [Romans 1:19-20],so that man is without excuse before God’s righteous judgment.
So, by consequence, mankind knows God’s righteous decrees and that those who practice unrighteousness and ungodliness are worthy of death, this is especially known through the conscience of man and in the fact that man is created in God’s image and likeness so that man knows God’s righteous judgments because they are a moral law written on the heart of man and confirmed by the conscience. We will explain this in more detail when we will study this subject in more detail in the next chapter, however let us read the confirmation of this fact as it is delineated for us in
Romans 2:14-16 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
Yes, exactly, when the pagans who do not know God’s written law do by nature the things in the law it means that they know the righteous judgments of God and this demonstrates that God has placed inside all mankind His law. In fact Paul says that this moral law is written on the heart and that the conscience which is the mechanism created by God as Scripture says, in EVERY human being, the mechanism with which man knows he transgressed or obeyed the moral law of God.
So this is the answer to the famous and often asked question “but what if the person in the jungle who never heard the Gospel dies, does he go to hell?”
Well after you have read all that we studied what is the right answer that is staring at us in the face?
The answer is YES, they will go to hell when they die, they too are sinners and they too have transgressed God’s law, but they do not go to hell based on the fact that they refused the Gospel, but on the basis of God’s righteous judgment based on the conscience and on the fact that even though they did not know the written law,they know it because it is written inside them and they know as it is written for us here and in Romans 2 . They know they are guilty, they know they have violated the law of God and they know that the just retribution for such violation is death. They know based on what we have read thus far, that God exists and His law is righteous.
God never condemns an innocent person, that is right, unfortunately for man however, ALL men are unrighteous and guilty , none are righteous [Romans 3:10-19]. So God has every right and the divine duty to Himself to condemn EVERY BODY if He wanted to
But, thanks be to God in His great mercy and love He provided through Jesus Christ, the one and only righteous man, that He would incur God’s judgment and wrath in the place of many unrighteous and guilty persons, so that some could be saved, those who have faith in Jesus Christ [Romans 3:20-26]. In the end that is the good news of the Gospel.
Therefore, man knows that God’s law written in his heart condemns him, and he knows that the condemnation of those who behave in the way described so far by Paul, is death, and even knowing all this, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Now here we understand that this is true observing people, the way they reason and the way they behave. Usually this happens in a categorized manner.
I will explain better. A homosexual for example will approve homosexuality and other homosexual’s behavior, perhaps they will condemn murder but approve instead adultery or other things. The moral religious man perhaps does not approve of adultery, but perhaps approves and practices envy, greed or other things, perhaps he is a liar. Thieves approve other thieves and so on. So man approves in others the same sins he or she commit. This is hypocrisy, because man selects some sins that he commits and approves them and those who practice them as well, but selects the sins he or she does not commit and condemns those who practice those, however all are sinners nevertheless.
In fact chapter two opens up exactly speaking about this subject, the subject of hypocrisy of he who judges the sins of others while approves his own and those who practice the ones he does. In the end however all approve the sins of everybody else.
Did you ever ask yourself why multitudes of people watch such garbage on TV or why they frequent such places or certain environments? The reason is that they approve those who sin as they do and they like the same things.
Such is the conclusion of this matter, sinners love to sin and they love those who sin as they do.