28 January 2017

Stone 39 - Romans

This week we will take a look at Paul's letter to the Romans.

So much going on here. Getting started, Paul addresses his audience and lets them know that he is eager to come and visit (Rom 1:10-11) just before he dives in and declares that he is not ashamed of the gospel (Rom 1:16).

**This 2017. Depending upon the culture or community that you are in, there is a subtle and not so subtle attitude that is held towards the Christian that dare I say would cause many who believe to want to hide the fact that they are followers of Jesus. I am brought back to the post on the book of Esther. Remember Mordecai and Esther? One of the arguments is that Mordecai chose only to reveal that he was a Jew when there was a recognition of something "in it for him".

Romans 1:18-19 talks about people who suppress the truth despite the evidence while verse 22 declares that they became fools by claiming to be wise. As a result, God delivered them over to the cravings of their hearts (Rom 1:24).

**God will not force us to love Him or to follow Him. God gave us the freedom to choose whether or not to follow Him. I have often considered my own military experience. I served to help support the many freedoms that we enjoy here in the United States even when some of those choices are not good for those who make those choices. Although, as of this post, we have not looked at Corinthians yet, I am reminded of 1 Cor 10:23 that says everything is permissible but not everything is helpful.

**Just because the choice is available, the law does not prohibit it, and culture encourages it does not make it a good choice.

Romans 2:15 talks about the law being written on our hearts. The idea being that a person does not need to be a believer in God in order to do something that is right. People have an intrinsic sense of what is right and wrong already. The question is that if you do not believe in God - how do you ground that sense of morality?

Then we have Rom 2:24...! "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." Ouch!
Referring to those who follow in word but not in deed. I have often said to friends that as Christians, we are our own worst enemy and have done more to hurt than help. And here it is folks.

Such a convicting chapter as I reflect on my own heart. 2:29 talks about circumcision of the heart. Cut away and discard the evil flesh - Thinking back to Joel 2:13 that encourages us to tear our hearts and return to the Lord. I like the ESV translation on this one that says to rend our hearts. Break it open. How well do I do that? I must do better. So much cleansing yet to do.

Romans has some very popular verses, and rightfully so! One such verse is Romans 3:23 which states that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.


Another is 6:23 which states that the wages of sin is death.

So I recognize that I have sinned and deserve to die. Don't mistake that statement. I am not contemplating suicide. However, as I originally wrote this thought down about mistaking the statement as some sort of announcement that I am in a downward spiral that requires intervention. I realized that it is exactly that. The human fleshly condition has fallen and intervention is required. It is a recognition and affirmation that what I need is a savior. Fortunately, Jesus has already come to intervene and rescue us from that fate. He presents us with the gift of life.

We have but to accept that gift.

Is that it...?
I think not.
Open it!
Note that this gift does not give license to sin (Rom 6:1-2).
Flee from sin! Let the Spirit reign in your heart and make it new.

Again we see this charge to love our neighbor as ourselves in Rom 13:9 and in verse 14 we are called to put on Christ and to make not plans for satisfying our fleshly desires.

Easier said than done, isn't it?
May we join together in support of one another.

Please enjoy these videos on Romans from our friends at the Bible Project.

Until next time,

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