Romans 1: 14-17
Paul was primarily the apostle (messenger) to the Gentiles. This is an amazing conversion…because, remember Paul had been a highly trained and high ranking Jewish religious leader. Before meeting Jesus, he persecuted Christians to the point of death for promoting Jesus (who he had thought was a false Messiah). Previously, he would have had nothing to do with “unclean” Gentiles. Now, we see Paul is serving Jesus to bring the gospel to all Gentiles, whether cultured or uncultured, wise or foolish. He sees it as his duty and obligation, yet he does it willingly and eagerly.
Paul is not ashamed of the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ. The good news of Jesus is God’s power to salvation and deliverance from eternal death. It is for everyone who believes with a personal trust, confident surrender, and firm reliance on Jesus…..for both Jew and Gentile. Through Jesus, God ascribes forgiveness and righteousness….for restored relationship with holy God. Do you realize that God sees you as righteous because you are in and with Jesus! Talk about a miracle! Truly, the gospel is very good news for everyone who will hear and believe wholeheartedly.
Romans 1: 16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ.” I have to admit that I need to work on this. I love Jesus and desire that all hear the good news, but I get timid about sharing it verbally. I usually just share in writing so people can choose to read or not, and verbally if they approach me with the subject.
But, initiating a verbal discussion about Jesus, I feel the pressure against it. I do not like friction and confrontation with people, especially risks with people I really love. Have you had the same experience? I know Paul and the other disciples also prayed for boldness to speak of Jesus.
The American culture has made it very uncomfortable, in many caases improper, to openly and publicly talk about Jesus and His Word (the Bible). There is an attitude of “I believe what I do…it is none of your business….I do not need your advice…do not offend me….keep the peace….we can all just be nice and love one another.”
But, maybe I need to ask myself some questions. When I keep silent, am I becoming ashamed of the good news of Jesus? Am I really loving others by not speaking the truth that Jesus is the only way to be saved from evil, saves them from eternal death, and brings Almighty God and the riches of heaven into their lives…..then that certainly is hoping the best for them. If I really love them, I should risk personal loss and even persecution, to offer them the Way and Life through Jesus, who is God’s Word incarnate. Speaking the Truth in love, boldly and confidently, regardless if some choose to turn away….because some will choose to draw close or closer to Jesus. Right? Paul was preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus here in Rome, a pagan culture that persecuted and killed Christians! What I am experiencing is so minimal in comparison.
Romans 1: 17-22
The gospel reveals a righteousness that the Father ascribes to us, through Jesus, and our faith in HIm. And that initial faith leads to more faith. So, we are made just and upright before God by faith and now should live by continual faith in Him. But, there are some who do not have faith in Jesus.
Remember that God’s wrath is on the wickedness and unrighteousness of man….which represses and hinders the truth to make it inoperative. God makes Himself and His right ways evident to them in their inner consciousness. God even displays His nature and attributes in His creation/His handiwork. So, people are without excuse. Yet, some do not recognize or honor God. Verse 21-22, “Instead they became futile and godless in their thinking (with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, stupid speculations) and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools”
That is still applicable today. The American education system from Kindergarten through PhD claims to make people intelligent, but it does not allow Father, Son Jesus, or the Holy Spirit in the classroom. Modern culture puts more honor on science and technology (which is the study of creation and its workings), than it gives Creator Father who designed and made it! It is often those who think they are highly educated who claim, “There is no god.” Humanism, which is saying that human is god, is the prevalent religion of our generation. This brings serious consequences….
Romans 1: 23-29
What are the consequences of not recognizing Almighty God, the Creator? They exchange the excellence of God to worship His creation of man and nature instead! They deceive themselves and think they are intelligent. But, people get all kinds of crazy thoughts! They now worship idols (something other than God), including man-made images resembling humans and animals. This is real! Think of pagan gods, Greek mythology, Eastern gods and goddesses, Aztec gods,etc….which are even sometimes images of part human and part animal. Today, some people honor nature more than they recognize and honor God. And our culture is permeated with “ME” and “SELF” focus or the idea that man can save him/herself. Others believe that success and wealth is the main goal.
Those without God follow the desires of their flesh….sexual immorality, vile affections, degrading passions, unnatural and abnormal sexuality including homosexuality. They degrade into a base and condemned mind to do indecent, loathsome things. They become saturated and permeated with iniquity, grasping greed, hatred, malice, envy, strife, murder, deceit, treachery, cruelty, backbiting, slanderers, gossips, hateful of God, insolent, arrogant, boasting, inventors of new forms of evil, disloyal and disobedient to parents, without conscience, merciless, heartless, and loveless. They know that doing these wrong things deserve death, but they continue to do them and even approve and applaud others who practice these things.
This is the ugly truth that we must face. Evil is extremely dark and ugly. And there are people who choose to follow and even habitually practice this evil way. I am grieved at how America has turned away from God and now experiences these degrading consequences, which continue to get worse and worse, especially in teh hidden secret areas of life. Oh, for a nation of people with a true heart of repentance and willingness to change by truly loving and following Jesus!