January 9, 2011

Romans Chapter 1

Romans 1:1-6

I am going to try to do something with Romans that I find very difficult to do—do a survey of the book. That is, giving the basic high and important points, as we move through it quickly.

Romans is arguably one of the most difficult books in Scripture. When I took Bible Doctrines in School, it was a study in the book of Romans.

This is a letter written about 57 or 58 A.D. by Paul from Corinth and sent to Rome by a woman named Phebe. This Roman Church is not to be confused with the present day Church of Rome, which was founded in the third century (312 or so), and is overrun with the heresies Paul confronts here.

This epistle by Paul is the most difficult of all the New Testament. There has been controversy over this letter every since it was written. The controversy comes from a unwillingness to admit the clear truths as presented by Paul. The natural heart is opposed to many of the things presented by Paul, particularly in chapters 9 & 11. Many even professed Christians will reject what Paul presents. Or they add men's traditions to Paul's words, confusing the issues even more.

Many things in this book can only understood according to Heb. 11:3, By faith we understand....

All the New Testament churches were predominantly Jewish. This church probably has its roots in the day of Pentecost, as recorded in,

Acts 2:5, and there were at Jerusalem Jews, devout men out of every nation under heaven.

These Jews took the message Peter preached back home with them to every nation under heaven. That included Rome.

Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (the end of the old Jewish dispensation, i.e. 70 AD.)

Christ's words were fulfilled in Acts 2:5

Furthermore, there is no evidence that either Paul or Peter, visited Rome until Paul appealed to Ceasar. And then he was a prisoner there until his death. From there, he wrote what are known as the Prison Epistles.

The Jews were scattered widely throughout the Roman Empire, building synagogues wherever they settled. The Roman religion of Paul's day was a worship of many gods, and especially among the higher class of heathens. Gentiles, saw the vast superiority of the Jews religion of one God. These synagogues then, where the Jewish religion met, had MANY Gentile converts, or proselytes, in them.

The devout Jews who had been in Jerusalem for one of the most holy of their holy days, Pentecost, 50 days after the passover, heard the gospel, believed and went back to their places of worship. In these synagogues there were many ready hearers.

Knowing only Peter's message as recorded in Acts 2, the Roman church was open to all kinds of false doctrine from the Jewish religion. This letter was written to counter the Jewish influence, as well as the Gentile misunderstanding of sound doctrine.

We see in chapter 2, that the Jewish believers considered themselves better because the law came to and trough them. Evidently, they were then treating the Gentiles as third class citizens.

Paul had a thoroughly Jewish background, so he knew exactly where the problems were. His books, especially Romans and Galatians, were written to counter the creeping influence of Judaism into the new churches.

Example: I was saved out of a "ask Jesus into your heart," "Turn your life over to him," "trust him to come into your life," background so when dealing with people I know where to put my finger.

The book of Romans here gives the very basic Christian Doctrine in contrast to the old Judaism (the Roman church today is a mixture of Judaism, Christianity and paganism).

This book of Romans is not the first Epistle of Paul, but it is the foundational book of doctrine, the most basic of the New Testament.

In Romans, Paul covers every major doctrine of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the rest of his epistles, he applies these doctrines to every day life.

He covers the doctrine of faith, grace, baptism, justification, election, divine sovereignty of God, doctrine of sin, total depravity of man, prayer and even the gifts of the spirit in chp. 12.

Ro 1:1-7 Paul, commending to the Romans his calling, greets them,

Ro 1:8-15 and professes his concern for, and desire of coming to see them.

Ro 1:16,17 He shows that the gospel is for the justification of all mankind through faith.

Ro 1:18-32 And having premised that sinners in general are obnoxious to God's wrath, he describes at large the corruption of the Gentile world.

Ro 1:1-7 Paul introduces himself to the saints at Rome, and greets them.

1:1 Paul.

His name had been Saul and when he was converted his name was changed to Paul, Acts 6:58.

The changing of a name was a common practice. Abram was changed to Abraham. Jacob to Israel. In the changing of the name we see the charge of character.

The Christians would remember Saul who had persecuted them. His new name would show a new man to the very ones he persecuted.

Our name was changed at salvation. We are now named after Christ. Does our charactor reflect our new charactor? Can Christ be seen in our character? Is the outside clean and white but the inside full of dead mens bone? (Hypocrite)

A servant of Jesus Christ.

This means a slave or one who is not free.

The Jews, especially a Jewish rabbi and a free born Roman citizen would have prided themselves in being free—that is, not anyone's servant or slave.

Jn. 8:33, they answered him, we be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage: how sayest thou ye shall be made free.

Elsewhere, Paul uses his being a free Roman citizen in his defense, but in his letters, Paul prides himself in being a servant to the Lord Jesus Christ. He knew the only true freedom was in serving Him.

We will either serve your own desires and be a salve to them, or you will serve Christ and be free in him. Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.

called to be an apostle...

Paul was an apostle called out of due season. He did not walk with Christ while Christ was here, but Christ did personally instruct him.

He did not volunteer, nor did he seek the office. Rather, Paul was drafted against his will into the Lord's apostleship. At the start of each of his letters, he establishes his authority to write the doctrines that go so much against the human thought of his day.

Separated unto the gospel of God.

Peter preached the first gospel message in Jerusalem. God had a purpose in setting aside Paul from his anti-Christian fervor, and that was to take the gospel to the Gentile world. He did go to the Jews, who mostly rejected his message. After offering it to the Jews, he went to the Gentiles.

The new gospel of grace built upon its Old Testament Jewish foundation. Paul, in his letters, made sure that what was being spread was the trugh according to the established Old Testament law and prophets. If the new message was not firmly grounded in the Old Testament, the new churches would not have accepted it.

Christ himself said search the Old Testament scriptures to make sure the new message was true. John 5:39.

V. 2, though the gospel of Christ appeared new, Paul tells the Romans it was spelled out in the Old Testament. If its roots were not Old Testament, the gospel would have been soundly rejected by all. Paul makes it clear in all his letters that the Gospel is not new, but is according to what was prophesied.

Paul presented nothing new, nor did any of the New Testament preachers, or they would have been stoned. All that was presented in the Gospel was built on the law and the prophets. I will not take the time to tie the New Testament Gospel in with the Old Testament, other than refer to Isaiah 53.

"The gospel is, that Jesus Christ suffered in the place of all sinners who trust him as their Saviour, that he endured what they ought to have endured, and made atonement to God for all the sins that they would ever commit; and if you thus trust him you are saved. The simple act of relying upon the Lord Jesus as your substitute and Saviour puts away your guilt and sin forever." (C. H. Spurgeon, Aug. 17, 1873)

V. 3. Concerning his (God's) Son Jesus Christ our Lord which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

The problem while Christ was here was not his claim to be of the seed of David. The genealogy records were in the national archives, and any one could go check them.

V. 4. And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

The problem was that Christ claimed to be the Son of God, making himself equal with God.

Israel had been severely judged for their following after many other gods, and carried of into Assyria and Babylon. After their return from Babylon under Ezra and Nehemiah, Israel avoided more than one God. At they time of Christ, they were serving who they thought was the One True God, but that service had been greatly corrupted by traditions.

Christ claimed to be the Son of God, and proved it with great power. But he destroyed their traditions in which the religious leaders found their wealth and power, so they created an extremely hostile environment. So hostile, in fact, that they put him to death for his claim.

The final proof of his deity was his resurrection from the dead. Those who tried to retain their power even rejected that, though the fact was evident for all to see.

But the Gospel must be based in the death, bural and resurrection.

Christ was ALL GOD and ALL MAN.

This doctrine of the divinity of Christ was undermined from the very start of the Gospel Church. One of the first doctrines to be attacked was the deity of Christ. If Christ was God then DEITY demanded obedience to Him, which caused persecution from the state and conflict with the inner fallen nature.

In 451 AD, the church held a council to deal with the attacks on the Deity of Christ. It was called the Council of Chalcedon. Let me give you a excepts of what they said. There is really no way to put it better.

--We all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man--- Of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the virgin, the God-bearer, one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without charge, without division, without separation.

The distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two person, but one and the same Son and only begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ.

That is, Very man of very man and very God of very God, two natures in union without confusion.

Write that in the margin of your Bible there. Son of God, seed of David, the God-man. The Thrice-Holy God became man. The King of kings became a man that he might suffer and die for the sins of his people, in our place.

He is not a helpless babe a woman's arms nor in a manger. He is not a helpless man hanging on a cross.

The early pictures of Christ in the Masonic floors within the first several centuries show him crowned as king. Have we crowned him king in our lives? We do that by keeping his commandments.

Again, the Gospel is based in the Old Testament, and Isaiah 9:6, 7 best describes what Paul is talking of here:

6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Son of God.

This is not a title or office held by Christ but it is his very nature. He has the same nature as the Father.

It was not his resurrection from dead that made him the Son of God. Rather, the resurrection that proved who he was from the beginning. Paul tells us in Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Though the resurrection did not make him the Son of God, notice what it did do:

First, it proved there is a resurrection from the dead:

1 Corinthians 15:12, Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead.

Moreover, it proves that every person who ever lived will be raised from the dead and will stand in judgment before the resurrected Christ. He will answer for every deed done in the flesh:

2 Corinthians 5:10, for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. That everyone may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Second, it proved that just the same as all men die in Adam, all men can be made alive in Christ:

1 Corinthians 15:22, for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Third, it proved Christ to be the Son of God:

Romans 1:4, and declared to be the Son of God with power...

Obviously, no one except God himself has the power over life; that is, create life when there is no life present.

Christ raised many from the dead while he walked among us, and then he raised himself from the dead. Who but God with us could do such things?

His resurrection proved that he alone was the Christ sent from God.

John 14:11, Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works sake.

I heard one of these faith healers tell his followers to bring the dead bodies of their loved ones and place them in front of the TV set. Then he said that there will be many brought back to life. And people still send him money.

Christ proved his claim to be God with us by the resurrection from the deat.

The resurrection confirmed that the claims of Christ were true, proof especially to the Jews as Peter reminded them in Acts chp. 2.

Fourth, it proved that Christ was holy, and did not die for his own sins.

He raised himself from the dead by the might of his own power, thereby proving that he was sinless, holy and did not die for his own sins but the sins of the world.

Fifth, it proved that the sin debt of his people was paid, the sacrifice was accepted by the Father, and that Christ is now seated in the heavens

Ephesians 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Sixth, it proved that Christ's destroyed the power of death and of the grave, and with that, the power of the devil.

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Paul explains how and why he is now an apostle.

V. 5. By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

How... He was called by God's grace to his apostleship. He did nothing to deserve his call. In fact, he was persecuting the new church. It was strictly by God's grace that he was called to apostleship.

Why... He was called and given supernatural grace for the obedience of the faith among all nations.

It is not surprising that God called a man steeped in Jewish religious tradition. He could recognize the Jewish influence in the new church, and could therefore deal with it in properly from the Old Testament Scripture.

Notice that he did not say, "To further the faith among all nations" or "to obedience to the gospel." He said, for obedience to the faith---

Paul's call is to call believers to obedience to the faith. Salvation is not based upon obedience to anything but the gospel of Christ. It is not based in obedience to the law.

Paul sums up the book of James in only 5 words: "Faith without works is dead."

His message was not, You have salvation now, so you are safe from hell fire. Rather, his message is that those who claim faith but do not prove their faith by their works, have no faith. James sums up Paul's message in 5 words, Faith without works is dead. That is, it is a dead faith.

V. 6.

Paul had said that responsibility as an apostle called by the Lord Jesus Christ was to call all nations for the obedience to the faith. He goes on to say that these Christians are also among those for whom he is responsible.

His responsibility?? To call all to obedience to the faith. They are part of the "all nations" of v. 5.

V. 7, he concludes his introduction by identifying to whom he is writing. He tells them that they are called by God to holiness and faithfulness just as much as he is called.

Grace and peace can only come from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This book should be read and even studied by every believer, and taught periodically by the leaders.

1. Paul as an apostle called by the gloried Lord Jesus had the authority to write this.

2. He anchors his doctrine in the OT.

3. He affirms both the deity and humanity of Christ.

4. He points to the resurrection as proof of the deity of Jesus Christ.

Others rose from the dead but non had made the claim that Christ did.

5. God appointed Paul to call all nations to be obedient to the faith which included these here in Rome and all down through history to today. Never separating FAITH for OBEDIENCE.

Obedience to the faith, not obedience to the understanding.

"If I understand it I'll do it." Then you expect us as preachers to help you understand so you can obey.

The preachers job is to point out the word of God and then the hearers' job is to obey it by faith.

(January 16, 2011)

Romans 1:8-15

We started looking at the book of Romans last week. The first chapter is divided something like this:

Ro 1:1-7 Paul, commending to the Romans his calling, greets them,

Ro 1:8-15 and professes his concern for, and desire of coming to see them.

Ro 1:16,17 He shows that the gospel is for the justification of all mankind through faith.

Ro 1:18-32 And having premised that sinners in general are obnoxious to God's wrath, he describes at large the corruption of the Gentile world.

Though the Epistle to the Romans is not the first letter Paul wrote, it is the most important in presenting Christian Doctrine, which is probably why it was placed as the first Epistle.

Last time, we looked at the first section of this chapter, vv. 1-7.

He starts that chapter and the letter by introducing himself to the believers at Rome. Whereas Paul's other letters are addressed to specific churches, the church at Corinth, this letter is addressed to the believers at Rome. They were meeting in individual homes, and not as a group as elsewhere.

Second, he establishes his authority to write the difficult things he is about to give them.

Third, he makes sure they understand that he will present nothing new. Every area he will touch is according to the prophets in the holy scripture, v. 2.

The purpose of the letter is to counter the false teachers from Jerusalem who have already crept in with their undermining influence.

Vv. 8-15 continues his introduction to the his letter. He expresses his concern for then, and his desire to come to Rome in order to strengthen them in the faith.

8 ¶ First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

Paul will cover many things in this letter, but he says, "Before I start, let me say this..." He does the same thing in almost all of his letters.

This letter to the Romans was probably written around AD 57. Nero was Emperor of Rome, 54-68, so this letter was probably written during Nero's reign of terrible persecution against the Christians in Rome, which is why these believers were scattered in small groups throughout the city.

Rome was the center of the known world. The Empire had built paved roads to every point in Europe, even in the British Iles. They were military roads used to quickly move the army from one part to another. Many of those roads are still in use today.

It is interesting that our railroads and cars today are built to Roman chariot specifications.

Though the roads were built for military purposes, the roads made it possible for the quick spread of the Gospel of Christ. The roads also meant that whatever happened in Rome quickly made its way to the rest of the world.

Thanks... We live in a world full of unthankful people. We even allow ourselves to become influenced by this thankless attitude and forget that God knows of our unthankfulness. We will cover more of this in v. 21.

Scripture reminds us often to give thanks. We are to give thanks to God for his unspeakable gift in Christ, as well as his daily grace for living. We are to give thinks to others at every opportunity. We must work to avoid a spirit of expectation, that leads to ungratefulness.

I read of a man who fractured his spine during a fall and ended up in a wheelchair. At first he cursed God for it, but after he was saved he said, "When I stand before God's throne, I will thank Him for breaking my back. If God would have let me live the way I was living, I would have gone to hell." Though we might not in this life feel thankful for our difficulties, but in that day we will see why.

Paul was going to say some difficult things to this church, so he starts on a positive note: I thank God... We should be able to always find something in others for which to be thankful.

For you all... Sin had been kept out of this church, quite unlike most of the other churches Paul wrote to. Evidently, this was a strong church, for he certainly does not give them milk in this letter, but strong meat. Quite unlike the church at Corinth.

His desire was that they would understand more of the faith they were already acting on.

Faith spoken of...

Rome was the capital of the Empire that controlled the world of its day. It was a city known world-over for its unbridled wickedness. Yet these Christians were known in the Christian Churches world-wide for their faithfulness to the total Gospel of Christ, as they knew it at the time. Probably in the face of Nero's persecution.

V. 9, Paul had never met these Christians. Yet he refers to God as his witness to show these Christians his love, his interest in, and his commitment to their well-being in the faith.

Notice he prays not only for family and friends, but for those he had never met.

V. 10. He had heard of their faith; that is, he had heard of their obedience to their understanding of the gospel, even in the midst of the persecution. That obedience was not simply saying that they believed something, but they acted out their faith. Faith without works is dead, and he had heard of their works.

He had been praying that he would have a pleasant and successful journy to go see them.

He said, if by any means... He did get to go see them, but it was as a prisoner. The Jews were intent on killing him in Jerusalem, and he appealed to Caesar. He went to Rome as a prisoner.

By the will of God. He prayed as we all should pray. His request was conditioned on the will of God. He went, but not in the manner he expected to go.

God's answers come in his manner and in his time.

V. 11, he greatly desired to see them.

The desire was not a desire for a personal fulfillment, as are many of our prayers. Rather, his desire was based in what would benefit these people in the faith. His desire was to further establish and strengthen them in the faith. He wanted to establish them in the meatier things of the faith, not just the basic belief in Christ.

V. 12. That I may be comforted...

Notice his humility. Though an Apostle, his desire was not based in what he could do for them. Rather, it included what they could do for him.

He expected to be strengthened in his faith as he was with them and would see first hand the faith that was spoken of throughout the world.


1. As we see in Paul, a Christian will desire to be around other Christians of like faith, especially those of good reputation:

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Even Paul was looking forward to being with a group of people who were known for their godliness.

2.The best thing to produce growth in grace and knowledge is to have one or more good Christian friends. I cannot remember all the Christians who abandoned their Christianity by hanging around non-Christians or with those who were Christians in name only.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

3. We also see here that Paul expected to learn from these Christians. He expected to be strengthened in the faith by this group of people whom he had never met, and were new in the faith.

Calvin said, "There is none so poor in the church of Christ, that he cannot make some addition of importance to our stores." That is, even the least Christian can add to our Christianity if we have a willing heart.

V. 13.

Paul wanted them to understand that he had many times tired to go to them. He wanted to see the

Grace of God at work in Rome, the capital of the pagan world of its day. But he had been hindered. How? We do not know. We only know that it was not in God's timing yet.

We can speculate that by going to Rome as a prisoner, his testimony to this church and world wide would have been greatly strengthened. Nero was known for imprisoning about anyone he could, particularly Christians. When Paul went as a prisoner, it would have opened many doors for him that otherwise might not have been opened.

Have some fruit...

He did not want to go to see the country, nor to see the capital of Rome, nor because he liked to travel. His desire was to have some fruit among them.

Fruit... His desire was to fulfill our Lord's words:

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Not only was his desire for the salvation of souls, but fruit can include instructing and strengthening believers, which he will do in this letter.

V. 14, I am a debtor...

Paul preaches against debt, except in this one case found in Romans 13:

V. 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

What was his debt?

1 Corinthians 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

He had been set aside by God to reach both the Greeks and the Barbarians with the gospel of Christ. He considered himself in dept in getting the gospel to them.

Greeks – those who prided themselves in knowledge. The Greeks are exalted even today for their humanistic knowledge. Plato and Aristotle are the best known Greeks of the past.

Barbarians – those who were not Greeks were considered Barbarians. Barbarians probably meant all those who did not speak Greek. The world even today considers all who do not hold to ancient Greek thought Barbarians.

Wise – This class of people would be included in the Greeks, who prided themselves in their worldly wisdom.

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which 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. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Unwise – This would be those whom the world regards as ignorant and unpolished. The learned and unlearned. Today, those who have finished school and gone to college, or have not advanced in the education held so important by the pagan world.

There is an interesting passage in Isaiah 29:9-16:

9 ¶ Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. 10 For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. 11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: 12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. 13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: 14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. 15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? 16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

Note here that being wise or unwise–that is, learned or unlearned–is not what determines understanding the Word of God.

V. 15. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

At every opportunity and according to his ability, he is ready to preach the gospel.

He is ready to show the power of the gospel even in the wicked capital of the world, Rome. He is looking forward to every opportunity that the Lord might offer to make known the gospel, which includes the serious and hard to understand doctrines that he will offer in this book.

2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

V. 15 closes the introduction or preface to the epistle. He has shown his deep interest in their welfare. Now he proceeds to lay out the great doctrines that he wants them to understand.

The next section is Romans 1:16,-18, where he shows that the gospel is for the justification of all mankind through faith.

V. 16, I am not ashamed of the gospel...

It is very easy to be intimidated by the paganism around us. We are made to feel ashamed of the Gospel.

We place too much attention on what people think, rather than placing our attention on the power of God in the Gospel.

Paul, as well as the rest of the Apostles, had been persecuted by the Greeks, the Barbarians, the wise, particularly those Jews who considered themselves the only men of Scriptural knowledge of the time, and also by the unwise–those considered beneath the wise.

Of Christ. The problem was over the claim that Christ was the long expected Messiah. Though rejected by many, particularly the Jews, Paul was not ashamed of the gospel which stirred up such turmoil everywhere it was preached.

Power... He was bold in his presentation of the gospel, for he knew it alone had the power of God to change men, and thus change the world.

1. It is God's power not men's.

2. It is designed to overcome all obstacles.

3. It is mighty. It is power, the power of God.

2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Unto salvation...

The word salvation (soteria) means deliverance, preservation, victory, and health, and it refers to material and temporal deliverance, as well as personal, national, temporal and material triumph. The biblical doctrine of salvation is so clearly one of victory, that it must be emphatically stated that salvation is not escape. Many pagan concepts of deliverance are really doctrines of escape. (R.J. Rushdoony, Salvation and Godly Rule, p. 1. Ross House Books.)

With the above definition of salvation, we must say that a great amount of "salvation" preaching even in professed bible believing churches is but a pagan version of escapism.

To everyone that believeth... God's power unto life is not revealed to everyone, but only to those whom he chooses, as Paul will make clear. God's power is revealed in nature, in earthquakes, volcanoes, and weather of all kinds. But none of those displayes of power lead to life everlasting as well as victory over sin and the allures of this world.

Jew first... In the order of the presentation, the Jews were first offered salvation. The Apostles normally followed this order, and then when the Jews rejected the offer, they would go to the Greeks—that is, those outside of the Jewish race.

The gospel was the same for both the Jews and the Gentiles. The gospel message was always the same.

V 17. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is {w} written, The just shall live by faith.

This verse is a difficult verse to say the least. There are many opinions on it. I will only point out:

First, the gospel of Christ reveals the righteousness of God. It is the righteous deeds of Christ that saves us, not any righteous deeds we might do.

Salvation is not dependant on how we might feel, but on what we did with Christ.

Second, faith. Faith is a firm confidence in God and a steadfast trust in Him who has done all that is needed to save us.

Third, that faith translates into a faithful Christian life, as we live according to that faith. Paul then quotes an Old Testament Prophet, as he mentioned in v. 2:

Habakkuk 2:1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. 2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. 4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

V. 18, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

This is a very harsh verse, and rejected by the natural man, who wants us to believe that God is a God of love. He would not judge anyone as harshly as is mentioned in Scripture.

All ungodliness...

V. 19 starts God's list of unrighteous human actions that bring down God's wrath from heaven. But notice in v. 18: First on his list are those who hold the truth in unrighteousness.

That is, they claim to know the truth, yet they manipulate if for their own purpose. God's wrath from heaven first of all is against them.

Paul writes to instruct these people at Rome who are being influenced by the teachers from Jerusalem who were corrupting the gospel.

In this section:

First, Paul was under a debt load to preach the gospel, and his desire was to go to Rome to discharge that debt. However, it was good for us that he was unable to go.

Second, are we thankful?

Third, do our prayers include believers everywhere?

Fourth, are we ashamed of the gospel, which is the power of God?

(January 23, 2011)

Romans 1:19-32

(Scripture, Ps 19)

This started out to be a short message, but because of several news reports, it got lengthened.

Attempts are made today, even from many pulpits, to assure us of the greatness of man — he is basically good and moral, and is getting better. We particularly like to think this of our children and grandchildren. But Paul shows us that such thinking is a total lie.

Man has no strength in himself for good and salvation. God does not come to strengthen the sinner so he can be good enough. Rather, he came to provide his righteousness through faith in Christ, which is a major theme of Romans.

Now God will be very blunt as he honestly describes how deep into wickedness man has fallen.

Three times we read that God gave them up...

V. 24, to uncleanness...

V. 26, to vile affections...

V. 28, to a reprobate mind...

When a man turns his back on God, God turns his back on man, and he falls deeper and deeper into his evil thoughts and actions.

V.17. As we mentioned last time, Paul builds upon one of the key passages of the Old Testament, Habakkuk 2: 4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

Faith means stability, faithfulness to what is revealed in the Word of God. The apposite of living by faith is living in unrighteousness.

V. 18, wrath from God upon all unrighteousness, which includes against both saved and unsaved. Unrighteous Wrath from heaven is seen today in the turmoil of nature. World wide, man is at war against God, so God's nature is at war against man, as promised in Deuteronomy 28.

Then Paul starts his list of unrighteous actions.

V. 19 gives the justification for God's wrath against all unrighteousness.

Paul will tell us in 2:13-15, that at creation, God wrote his law in the hearts of all men, and no matter how hard man tries, he cannot erase it. That is, man was made in the image of God, and he has built in a basic understanding of God and his requirements upon men.

But the natural man willfully suppress the knowledge of God. Some are more sucuessful at suppressing that knowledge than are others. And the Spirit must remove that suppression.

V. 20, not only is the knowledge of God written in the heart from Creation, but God's glory is seen in all his creation.

from the creation. At creation I believe God took Adam out and showed him the heavens and explained the gospel to Adam from the star (Ps. 19:1).

I have a series of messages on this very thing, I think Romans 10:18 (But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.) as well as Psalms 19:1-6, 7-14 and many other scriptures speak of the gospel written in the heavens. Many names of stars still survive to this day that point to Christ and the gospel.

The constellation ORION (name means, "He who cometh forth as light, the brilliant one), has one of the brightest stars in the heavens in it. This star is Betelgeuse and is a major navigation star. The name mean, "The branch coming." There are still hundreds of names surviving on all star navigation maps that point to God the Creator and his Son Jesus Christ.

V. 20, Those who want to understand about the God they see in creation, will be made to understand. Paul is clear, so they are without excuse.

How will they be made to understand? Ask Paul.

But fallen man does not know because he does not want to know. He has blanked God out. He has willingly suppressed the knowledge of God. Fallen man does not want a God he must answer to. Man wants to be his own god, and he does not want competition in his godhood.

It is interesting that God never justifies his existence.

V. 21, Because when they knew God they glorified him not as God.

Every person since Adam, whether saved or unsaved, knew God. This knowledge is built into every person. Yet fallen man does not want to know God in the sense that he must obey God. So though he knows God, he suppresses that knowledge, and refuses to glorify God. Paul will have a promise based upon glorifying God:

2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

Many Christians consider salvation not much more than a vaccination against the results of their sins, as listed in v. 29. Salvation many times is nothing more than a fire escape, which will leave many surprised in that day.

In other words, vv. 18-32 applies to ALL UNGODLINESS AND UNRIGHTEOUSNESS that remains outside of Proverbs 28:13, 14.

13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. 14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

I Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Christ redeemed us to free us from having to obey our lusts (Romans 6:11-14) not to free us from the results of sin. He frees the believer from the cause not from the results.

God's wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and we are seeing that wrath falling in illnesses of all kinds, as well as natural disasters world wide, as the whole world has gone after the lusts of the flesh,

Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

Of course, not all illnesses can be traced directly to sin, but all reap the results of sin.

The physical result of sin is no respecter of person (2:11) as God renders to every man according to his deeds (2:6) here in this present life.

In Christ, the believer escapes the wrath to come (Romans 5:9), but we are not immune to the results of our sin here in this life.

There are many examples in Scripture of the results of sin even in the best of men who allowed their children do as they pleased, such as Jacob and David.

Vv. 18-20, the basic knowledge of God's righteousness is built into everyone, leaving man without excuse.

No one will be able to plead ignorance in that day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, 2:16.

Throughout Scripture, God argues from the saved to the unsaved. That is, he points out the judgment that awaits his people for their indifference and paganism, and then he points out how much worse will it be for those outside of his people. We will not look at it, but Hebrews 12 and Psalms 73 are good examples.

V. 21. Even Christians, and we should know better, fail to glorify God as God, and be thankful.

We are seeing today that a society is never destroyed for the wickedness of the heathen; it is always destroyed because of the worldliness of God's people. God's people refusing, failing to glorify Him as God in every thought, word and deed.

Maybe they are not taught to glorify God, but we see in vv. 19, 20, that is no excuse.

V. 21, God turns the lawless mind over to its desires, which results in a completely lawless body. Sodomy reverses the very basic of God's established order.

Instead of glorifying God as God, man sees himself as god able to decide for himself apart from God's word. The end result is that God simply allows man's vain thought to control him. God withdraws his restrain and man rushes headlong to destruction. 1 Corinthians 5

Sin is punished by more sin. The reward of good is good; the reward of evil is more evil. Sin follows sin as an avenger, which we will see in chapter 2.

Our natural tenancy is to blame God for the results of our sins. But Paul shows in this letter that the mercy of God holds back the results of sin, giving us a chance to repent and change. In the end, however, if man remains hardened in his sin, the natural results will come to pass, as defined in 24-28.

We see throughout Scripture that God does not give up on man until man gives up on God.

V. 25, the truth of God has been subtlety changed into a lie for many reasons. It has taken place so slowly that the change has been accepted by the vast majority of Christians.

If anyone should know about glorifying God as God and the judgment of God against all unrighteousness, we should. It is God's people who must get back to glorifying him as God before we can expect any kind of return of society to godliness.

The fallen nature is shown in Abraham. He was born only 292 years after the flood. Noah and Abraham were alive together for 58 years, Shem lived for 502 years after the flood. The destruction of Sodom happened 400 years after the flood or 102 years before Shem died.

In fact, Shem lived for 150 years after Abraham was born and for 30 years after Jacob was given Rebekah for a wife.

All of that to say this. Shem lived through the wrath of God revealed from heaven in the flood. Though he was still alive as a living testimony, men still became completely wicked to the point Abraham was the only one who believed God enough to walk by faith, and became so wicked that Sodom had to be destroyed.

So we can see from Romans 1:21-28, that though men know God, they refuse to glorify him as God, and the result is all manner of wickedness and uncleanness to where everything they do is against nature, v. 28.

Man wants a God who:

* will allow him to sail to heaven on a smooth sea and following whichever win blows the hardest.

* Will allow him to go to heaven without no real commitment on man's part.

* Who does not demand a clean holy life of them.

* Who will allow man to live as he feels he should.

into a lie. Anything that is not what it pretends to be is a lie.


V. 26, for this cause. Man willingly changes the truth of God into a lie. The result is that God removes the restraints, and lets man destroy himself:

1.) For even their women... The first sign is that women turn their backs on men.

I will have to admit that the real men are few and far between today.

The women are the last to be affected by moral decay and when we see corruption among the women we know that virtue is lost.

I am not that old, but I am shocked to see the downward slide of women just in my few days on earth.

Drudge report at times has news of what is taking place on college campuses. I am always shocked to see beautiful young women given over to complete abandonment to evil of all kinds.

Women used to take pride in their modesty. Now its just the opposite. They take pride in their nakedness as they reveal as much skin as possible, and still keep vital parts covered. And that includes professed Christian women.

God's restraints have been removed from the entertainment industry, particularly from TV.

The new MTV series, SKINS, has been the butt of major protests. From what I have read, it uses 15 year olds to depict drunkenness, drugs, sodomy, sex and all kinds of debauchery.

The young female star, who portrays a lesbian, justifies the show:

"It's what teens are doing. It's the way teenagers believe, I think, especially you know in certain situations when you come from home lives where your parents don't really support you or really listen to you. That's what most of these kids are going through. And so, um, the drugs and the sex, they're vices, and that's what teenagers have." (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/skins-star-defends-shows-racy-74455)

Under parental pressure, Toco Bell, GM, and others are pulling their adds from the show.

In the mean time, VIACOM, who owns MTV, is raking in a lot of money, and has increased their CEO's compensation to $84.5 million.

The Parents Television Council is calling for congregitional investigation into the show for its child pornography because of its use of 15 year olds as actors.

But the problem is the parents who pay for MTV to be brought into their homes, so their children can watch it.

God's restraints have been removed from the education establishment.

Just under the Drudge headlines about SKINS, is another headline:

Teach suspended after 2nd graders ‘Sex Acts In Class...'

The article states:

"I think everyone is taken aback over this shocking incident," Troy Flint, the spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District, told CBS 5. "Of course, it is hard to understand how that could have occurred."


Romans 1:28, And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Of course, it is hard for those who have consistently rejected the God of Scripture to understand what is taking place. There faith in their god is failing them.



2.) The next step is men with men. Women are concerned with women. Men are concerned with men. Women lusting after women. Men lusting after men. HOW WICKED. It is total revolt against God's order.

V. 27 receiving in themselves---

These who God has allowed to go into the lust that they wanted to now receive in themselves the recompense of their error. The payment comes due: Distress, sickness, terrible disease.

I believe that in our day we can even include the corruption of our food supply, as men seek to play god over our food supply: GMO, manufactured food, and many other things. The payment comes due in the name of hugely expensive medical costs.

V. 28 is the third time they push God aside. Then God gives them up to their debased mind, or to their perverted way of thinking, which leads to v. 29-31.

The public schools, with Christian support, have continually refused to retain God in their knowledge, and then they and the parents stand amazed that things like this take place in their domains. They have become so perverted in their thinking, that they cannot understand what is causing the evil.

V. 28, reprobate – that is, "that which does not prove itself such as it ought." The word is also translated as castaway, and rejected, both by God.

Reprobate refers to anyone in a school room or in life who cannot pass the test. It means a failure, and goes as far to pass itself off as a success, or good.

A good example is the sodomites, both female and male. They reject the truth of God that is built in them, and now consider what they are doing as good, and demand that everyone else also accept them as good.

Men, both saved and unsaved and for whatever reason, desert God in order to be their own god, able to determine for themselves what is right and wrong. We should say, they desert God for the god of this world, money. God then deserts them, leaving them to reap what they have sown.

However, we know that there is still:

Isaiah 5:25 Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

Isaiah 9:17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

In other words, up until the time when there is no breath left in the sinner, the Lord's mercy is still available if he is willing to turn to the Lord.

If our actions do not stand up to the "Christian" test, we are also considered reprobate.

Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

They profess Christ but their actions fail the test.

1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (Or reprobate.)
In other words, God can give up even his people who insist on worshiping the creature rather than the Creator.

Lawlessness will have the same results whether in the saved or unsaved.

Let me quickly sum up this section:

Vv. 23, 24, When people abandon the glory of the incorruptible God and replace him with a god more like himself, one who will all them to pursue their own lusts.

Even Christians have changed the Lord God Almighty into an image made like to himself.

Psalms 50:16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? 17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. 18 When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. 19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. 20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. 21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. 22 Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. 23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.

The result of every man serving his own god fills the news reports, and are seen all around us even in our small community.

V. 29-31 gives a list of where man goes when he serves his own god. These things are prevalent even here in our own small, out of the way community.

Many things are excused under "alternative lifestyle", and we are told over and over that even Christians are to accept these evil lifestyles. We must not be judgmental, for these people are only doing what is best for them.

However, God is certainly judgmental, and God does not condone any kind of alternate lifestyle other than the one he laid out in his word. He is not such an one as we. The wicked are receiving or will receive their just reward in themselves.

Israel could not blame God for allowing, even sending, Nebuchadnezzar to come against her, destroy Jerusalem, and carry captive those he did not kill:

Jeremiah 2:17 Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when he led thee by the way? 19 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.

Hosea 13:9 O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.

There is no one to blame today for the terrible mess we are in but My people which are called by my name who have turned from God.

There is a news story out of PA of an abortion practitioner who killed 7 babies who were born alive, and one lady patient. His excuse is that he wanted to help those whom he grew up among. He has absolutely no conscience nor remorse.


The same can be said of those in vv. 29-31. They know the judgment of God against those things, because the basic knowledge of God is built into every man. Knowing his judgment, they continue on in their evil.

V. 32 goes further. Those who have turned from God not only do things worthy of death, but they fail to condemn those who are doing those things.

This is a very serious incitement against Christian parents who send their children to the government education system.

V. 19 clearly tells us that those who do these things, including sending their children to government schools, know that God condemns these things, but they do not care. Rather, they live their lives as they please, and find others who will agree with them, and who live the same way.

Honoring and serving the creature more than the Creator receive in themselves the just rewards of their error.

God made man to serve him, with their lives, bodies and children. When he does, he will experience joy and happiness. But when man refuses to serve God and keep his commandments, then God gives him over to vile affections to do those things that are against nature itself.

The truth of God is being changed into a lie, even in supposed western Christian countries. And then those who speak out or stand against the unnatural things that are taking place face persecution or even prosecution.

There is a pastor in California who stood publically against the sodomites, and they burned his house down.

V. 28. The unthankful, vain and foolish continue to push God aside.

Many of us were like the ones described in vv. 29-31, but then Christ changed all of that.

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

At the time, their may have been a certain amount of pleasure in these activities, but then the Spirit of God revealed differently.

Because God gave them up, took his restraint off this does not release man from his responsibility.

Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Christ took our eternal death, not our physical death. He suffered and died to free us from the present power of sin over us. Not from the present result so we could go on in our own sinful ways, as Paul points out here.