Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Living New Life

Romans 6:1-14

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 

Who am I?

Have you ever thought about this question?

“Who am I?”

This, I think could be the most fundamental and important of questions that a person can ask him or herself

Who am I?

When I strip away all the clutter in my life, all the expectations, all the ambitions, all the dreams, what lies at the root of my existence?

Who am I?

I have a friend who was asked this very question, and as he thought about it, as he looked down deep into his soul, after everything was stripped away, he answered, “I am a child of God”

I don’t know if my friend knew the significance of his statement at the time – I don’t know if he knew how fundamental this was – But I do know that he was clear on it – This was not a grey area in his life – This wasn’t something that he thought twice about – This was something he believed, something he owned, something he lived – And is still living today!

Who am I?

The apostle Paul is asking us the same question, “Who are you?”

Or perhaps a better way to put it is, “Who do you think you are?”

In chapter 5 Paul is talking about the amazing power of God’s grace – The fact that sin can never out-do grace!

The grace of God is so powerful, so amazing, that it has the ability to cover any amount of sins that I commit

God’s grace can never be out-done!

And so now, he’s asking us the question, “Who do you think you are?”

Do you think of yourself as a sinner, or do you think of yourself as a child of God?

The reason I ask this question is because our lives will always follow the perception that we have of ourselves

Think about a person with low self-esteem – What does a person like this do?

When they ask themselves the question, “Who am I?” What do they answer with?

It’s usually something like, “I’m a no good person, I have nothing good to say, I’m horrible”

Then what happens?

Their lives usually show what they have concluded in their hearts – Because when they continually tell themselves that they are “no good,” “have nothing good to say,” and “horrible” they actually begin to do those things

It’s what psychologists call the “self-fulfilling prophecy”

Listen to this definition:

“The self-fulfilling prophecy is a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original conception come true”

In other words, a self-fulfilling prophecy is me having a false idea about myself, which leads me to act differently because I have implanted that false idea in my brain, which leads to the false idea coming true

I believed a lie, and now the lie has come true

Please don’t understand me, I am not talking about “positive/negative thinking” or “name it and claim it” type things – I am only talking about false perceptions that we have of ourselves

I am talking about truth and lies – There are truths that the Bible teaches, then there are lies that Satan continually bombards us with

Are we believing truth, or are we believing lies?

Paul says, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? [LIE] By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? [TRUTH] Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life”           Romans 6:1-4

Paul is saying that if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have died to sin – Just like Jesus died to sin

The Bible teaches that Jesus had temptations just like any of us, yet he did not give in to those temptations, but instead considered himself dead to them – In fact this is exactly why he came to earth – To die for sins – To pay the penalty for sins

Hebrews 4:15 says, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” Hebrews 4:15

Jesus had a choice to sin, but every time he was faced with that choice he always chose not to indulge in it – He always chose the right thing because he knew who he was, and he knew what his mission was

When he asked himself the question, “Who am I?” the answer was, “I am the Son of God and I have come to take away the sin of the world”

And this is precisely what kept Jesus from sinning – Because he held on to the truth and rejected lies (think about the temptations in the wilderness. Matt. 4:1-11)

What did Satan say to Jesus? – If you are the Son of God…”

Satan was tempting Jesus to sin based on how Jesus saw himself – There is no doubt that Jesus saw himself as the Son of God, but Satan was saying, “Prove it, prove that you are the one that you think you are”

Satan was trying to get Jesus to believe a lie (this is exactly what he did to Eve)

Well, Jesus knew who he was, and he wasn’t going to fall for Satan’s schemes

And this is what Paul is telling us in Romans 6 – He’s saying, “Wake up Christians, don’t you know who you are?” – “How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

Paul is telling us who we are in Christ – He is telling us what God did for us through his Son Jesus Christ

Jesus died to sin, now we too ought to die to sin

He’s saying that because Jesus has triumphed over sin, that is why God raised him from the dead, showing to the world who he is – And now when we live for him, we become identified with him – So, just like Jesus was raised from the dead, we too will be raised from the dead

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:3-4

What Paul is saying is, “Because we have died with Christ, we now have new life just like Christ”

Well, what does all this mean?

It means that: In Christ we have the power to overcome sin

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, [lit. abolished] so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Romans 6:6-7

What Paul is saying here is that those of us that have given our lives to Jesus, those of us that have accepted him into our hearts – Made him Lord and Savior – The moment we did that, we died to our old self – The old me died that day, and the new me was born

This is why Jesus said, “You must be born again” John 3:7

You see, the Bible teaches that the old self is corrupted, that’s why it’s so easy to sin – But this is exactly the reason why the old self must die, and a new self be born in its place

And Paul is telling us here that we have died, and we are now living a new life

So live the new life that is yours!

We are no longer slaves to sin, because that was part of our old self – We have been delivered from that – Now, live the new you!

Well, what does this new life look like? What are some examples?

The new life looks like a man who has been addicted to pornography but has stopped indulging in it – But he didn’t stop because the temptations went away, rather, he stopped because he continually puts to death those temptations

The new life looks like a woman who all her life wanted to be like someone else, she always struggled with envy, always comparing what she has to what they have, and then hating them because she doesn’t have it – But now she suppresses those feelings knowing that they are destructive – Instead, she begins to praise God, thanking him for what she has, and praising him for his goodness to those around her – How He blesses those around her

The new life looks like a man who all his life struggled with greed and selfishness. He never gave when people asked of him, never helped out a friend – Instead he always found an excuse not to give or to lend to them. He only thought about himself and his own well-being – But now he recognizes that all that he has is because of God, so he suppresses his natural reasoning and does away with his excuses – He begins to give and not expect anything in return

You see, what Paul is telling us is that we are no longer slaves to sin, because we have died to sin – And now we live in the power of God that has overcome sin

We have the power not to sin

This is what Jesus has done for us – He has given us new life in his Spirit and now he commands us to live the new life

Verse 10 says, “For the death he [Jesus] died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus”Romans 6:10-11

In other words, “Count, Think, Judge, Consider yourselves dead to sin – And alive to God” – “Do it, count on it, because this is the reality, this is the truth! – This is who you are!”

We have the power in Christ to overcome sin, because we have died to sin – We do not belong to sin anymore, we belong to God!

So, “Who are you?”

Are you a sinner, or are you a child of God?

Are you living in the lie that says, “I can’t help it, it’s just who I am”

Or are you living in the truth that says, “I have all the power to overcome this sin – In fact, I have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead available to me, this is the power that lives in me, yet it’s not my power, but God’s power, and He has given it to me”

Will I believe the lie, making it true – Or will I believe the truth and live in victory?

Life's enjoyment

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The Effects of Sin

In the last few weeks we have been discussing the fact that we are all sinners, we are all guilty – No matter who you are, where you come from, or what time you live – All are guilty before God

Paul makes this clear as he writes the first chapters of the letter to the Romans

He tells us that we have all broken God’s laws – And because we have broken them we are all guilty – But even though we are guilty, we have been “justified” (declared not guilty)

He says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift” Romans 3:23-24

And this gift is not a result of doing good things, but is only received through faith

He says it this way in 3:28, “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law” Romans 3:28

So, what Paul is saying is that the free gift of salvation is by faith and not by works (not by doing good things) – It was never by works, it was always by faith! – And if you were to argue with him, he would simply point you to the story of Abraham as found in the pages of Genesis

So, now, Paul wants to flush this out a little – He wants to communicate to his audience how this all came about – Why is it that all are guilty before God? And why is it that Jesus is the only way to be saved?

Romans 5:12-21

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

What I want us to consider tonight is this

What is the end result of sin, and what is the end result of the free gift?

If we are all guilty then we need to know why, and if we have salvation in Jesus we need to know why as well

This is what Paul does in this passage

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. Romans 5:12

Well, before I get into this, I would like to ask, “Who is the one responsible for sin in the world?”

Yes, It’s Adam – Now, the next question is, “How is Adam’s sin responsible for the sin of the world?”

This is a harder question, isn’t it?

So, we know the “Who” but we don’t really know the “How”

In other words, “How is it that Adam’s sin affects me, that I become a sinner like him?”

Well, there are two views on this, and they both come from this verse, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” Romans 5:12

Now this may get a little academic but I think its important for us Christians to know these things – So, when people ask us about original sin we can tell them – When they ask, “How did sin enter the world? We can tell them

It’s also important because the whole world is asking this question – It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, or an Atheist, everyone wants to know how sin entered the world – Where evil comes from – And whether they call it sin or something else, that doesn’t matter – What matters is that it is here and it destroys

The first view is called the Federal Headship view

In this view Adam is the representative for the entire human race – What Adam decided to do affects all of us, even though we were not there, even though we did not participate in it.

We may object to what Adam does, and if we were there we would never do as he did – But according to this view, this doesn’t matter, Adam is the “Head,” and we are not – So, what Adam does affects us, whether we like it or not

So, according to this view, we became sinners because Adam became a sinner

His actions affected us, even though we didn’t do anything

And you may be thinking, “Hey! That’s not fair, I didn’t vote for Adam!”

Well, according to this view, that doesn’t matter – Adam is still the “Head”

The second view is called the Natural (Seminal) Headship view

In this view Adam is not so much our representative as he is the first of many that would come after him – Adam is the first person of the human race, and we all come from him

So, this view says that when Adam sinned, we sinned too, because we were in Adam

And your thinking, “What? I wasn’t even there!”

Well, the logic is that even though we were not there in a physical body, we were there physically in “seminal” form – We were there in seed form in Adam

And if the entire human race comes from one man (which it does) that means we were all there with Adam (in seed form), we just did not have physical bodies yet

So, when Adam sinned, we sinned with him – This view says that we did participate in the first sin

And your thinking, “That’s kinda weird!”

Well, before you throw this view out, let me just say that there is biblical evidence for it, let’s read Romans 5:12 again, 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned Romans 5:12

The last three words say, “because all sinned” – It’s written in the past tense, and its referring to us while at the same time referring to Adam

So, Paul is telling us that when Adam sinned, we sinned as well – It was one act – When Adam disobeyed God, we too were disobeying God (we did it together, all of us) –  In this view we are not just passive observers but are participants in Adam’s sin

Another verse that could be quoted to support this is Hebrews 7:9-10, One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.” Hebrews 7:9-10

So, according to the Natural (Seminal) view we all disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, it wasn’t just Adam, it was me, it was you

And because we sin, it just proves that we became sinners like Adam when Adam became a sinner

Well, whatever view you take, the fact of the matter is, we are all sinners

We sin because we are sinners, and we are sinners because we sin – This is who we are

We may never know the “How” question, but without a doubt what we do know is that we are sinners

So…

What is the end result of sin, and what is the end result of the free gift?

Well, let’s find out

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. Romans 5:12-14

What happens to 100% of the human race – What is it that we all have in common?

We die – Everyone dies, no matter who you are, where you live, how rich you are, how poor you are – We all die

Some of us will live longer than others, but eventually we all end up at the same place – We all end up in the ground

What Paul is saying here is that death is a result of sin – We all die, because we all sin – Sin is the primary cause of death

It’s not because we get old and our bodies wear down – It’s not because we live in a chaotic random world where freak accidents happen – It’s not even because there are diseases that kill our bodies – It’s because of sin

Yes, these things all happen, but the Bible teaches that they are a result of sin – If it weren’t for sin, they would not exist!

What did God say to Adam when He put him in the garden?

16  “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17

God is not only talking about spiritual death here, He is talking about physical death as well

And we know from the narrative that both of these happen – Adam and Eve die spiritually, and then they die physically

Their spiritual death was instantaneous – It happened the moment they disobeyed, but the physical death took some time to mature (like it does in all of us)

Adam and Eve died, Abel died, Cain died, Abraham died, Moses died…

We all die because we are all sinners; we are all sinners because we all die

And so we can say that if it weren’t for sin, we would not die, we would live forever – We would never die

You see, this is why the resurrection of Jesus is so important

Because Jesus is the only man who never sinned, this is why death had no power over Him – This is how He conquered death – This is how He was raised from the dead

You might say, “But Jesus did die, and if death is a result of sin, then Jesus must have sinned”

No, what did Jesus say before he died?

In John 10:17 He says, 17 “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, [not even sin] but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:17-18

Jesus’ death is the only death that was not a result of sin, He laid it down of his “own accord” – He gave His life, so that those that don’t have life can have His

You see, if death is the result of sin, and Jesus did not sin, then death had no hold on Him – But the gospel message is that He laid down His life anyway – He laid it down for us – He died for us

And because He did this great act, He is able to rise from the dead and give us life in Him

Listen to what Jesus says to Martha, as she grieves the death of her brother Lazarus, 25 “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

Here, the people are mourning the death of their friend Lazarus, the fact that sin has taken another person – But Jesus, wanting to demonstrate His power over death does His greatest miracle – One that will point to Him as well – He raises Lazarus from the dead!

And this is what Paul is telling us, he’s saying that there are only two kinds of people – There are those that belong to Adam, and there are those that belong to Christ

Unfortunately, even though we belong to Christ we still die, but this is only sin running its course – If we belong to Christ we “will never die” as Jesus says

We will be resurrected as He was resurrected!

We will live as He lives

What an awesome thought!

Paul says in 1Corinthians 15:21-22, 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1Corinthians 15:21-22

What a great hope that we have! That even in death we will live once again – Death ultimately has no hold on us, just like it had no hold on Jesus

But Paul is saying that this is only for those that put their faith in Christ – This is only for those that have died to their own self already and are living for Jesus now! – That even though they die, they will live again!

In John 6 Jesus says, “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” John 6:40

What a wonderful hope that we have – To know that this life is not the end – To know that even though death reigns in this world, we do not belong to this world – To know that even though we die, we will not stay that way, but will be like (As Jesus says) “The angels in heaven” Matt. 22:30

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Suppressing the Truth

The last time we met we talked about obedience – We learned that obedience does not come naturally to us, but rather is learned. Willful Obedience

We learned that there is something in our human nature that wants to rebel against obedience, and against authority.

If someone tells me not to do something, my first inclination will be to do it!

This is what the Bible calls the sinful nature

It’s in our nature to rebel – We can’t help it – It’s who we are – It’s a part of our DNA

But even though by nature we are disobedient, God still calls us to obedience

How do we do this if our bodies won’t let us?

The Bible says we do it by faith – Verse 5 says, “We have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith” Romans 1:5

So, obedience comes through faith

Last time we met we talked about how God wants our obedience, not because we have to, but because we want to

We will talk more about this in the weeks ahead

But for now (since we’re starting the book of Romans) I would like to talk a little about how a letter is usually structured

If I was to structure a letter, how would I do it?

Well, usually the way a letter is structured is, the author tells us what he wants to tell us, then he tells it, then he tells it again

Thesis (main point), Body (talking about main point),  Conclusion (summary of the main point)

In other words, Paul would say, “I’m going to tell you what I want to tell you (thesis), then I’ll tell it (body), then I will tell it again (conclusion)”

And this is exactly what Paul does in his letter to the Romans

And what he wants to tell them and us is (his thesis) found in chapter 1:16

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

So, Paul is telling us that this is what he wants to discuss in this letter – The fact that God’s righteousness is not found in doing good things, but rather is found in faith through the person of Jesus Christ

In other words, “We don’t become right in the eyes of God by doing good things, but by believing in His Son Jesus Christ”

In a nutshell this is the message of Romans

Paul is saying that justification is by faith alone

So, from here Paul shifts gears and begins to write about human nature and why we will never be able to be justified in God’s sight by being good people

He begins with the depravity of man

Just so you know, the depravity of man simply means that we have been corrupted – It means that we are broken and can’t fix ourselves

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Romans 1:18-23

 

What I want us to consider tonight is this:

Is the wrath of God unjust?

This is a hard passage to read because it paints God as an angry God,a violent God, unmerciful, and unjust

Why would a good God send his creatures to hell?

This is a question that has been asked from the beginning of time no doubt

So what Paul wants to do is settle this question and help his readers understand who they are and what they have done to the Almighty God – Their Creator

He begins by saying, that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” Romans 1:18

The key words here are “suppress the truth”

The point that Paul is making is that all of creation, all of humanity knows that God exists and that they owe their allegiance to Him, but they do not do it – This is what the Bible calls sin and what Paul refers to as “suppressing the truth”

They know the truth that God created all things, they know the truth that they should live their lives in humble submission to Him but they don’t – They rebel against this truth – They suppress it

Think about this – What do we do when we “suppress” something?

When I think of this, I think of something that wants to come out of something but I don’t let it

It’s like when I look up into the night sky and I see all the stars shining it causes something in me to come out – It causes me to want to say, “God you’re amazing, look at what you’ve done!”

But if I “suppress” that inclination, that truth, and instead say, “No, there is no God, this is all just a cosmic accident” – What I’m doing is “suppressing the truth” – I am rejecting that which is plain to me

Psalm 19 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day it pours out speech, and night to night it reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” Psalm 19:1-4

In other words, the creation speaks for itself – The creation screams of God’s glory

And when we “suppress” God’s glory, when we “suppress” that which is plain to us, that which speaks for itself, what we’re doing is rejecting God

We’re rejecting the One who created us, the One who created all that we see – We reject the One who gives us life, a sound mind, a functional body, air to breathe, food to eat, and a mind to think

This is why this is so important and the reason why Paul begins his letter with it – Because when we “suppress the truth” what we’re doing is rejecting God

It’s kind of like this…

Suppose you are in a fine restaurant and you order a dish – You’re food arrives, you eat it, you enjoy all the flavors that it brings, it satisfies your hunger, it causes you to be glad, you’re content, you’re satisfied – It was the best meal you had ever had!

And then you leave, and you don’t even for a moment acknowledge the one who prepared the meal for you, the one who took the time to cut the vegetables, cut the meat, and add the spices

You see, the meal points to the one who made it, but all you do is enjoy what has been made for you and not even thank the one who created it

But in addition to not thanking him you don’t even think of him! – The thought of where the meal comes from didn’t even enter your mind – You simply enjoyed what the chef created for you, and then left

This is how it is when we breathe God’s air, eat His food, use the body that he gave us and not even thank Him for one of them, and not even think of Him in the process

This is what Paul is saying when he says that God’s wrath is being “revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness” of men, who “suppress the truth”

God’s wrath comes as a result of enjoying all that He has made, and not giving thanks to Him

Listen to what the text says,

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:18-21

Paul is stating here that all of humanity, every single human being that ever lived and is living today knows that there is a God

But what do they do?

They “suppress” it – They shove it down – They remove it from their mind

21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21

 

My question is, “What are we supposed to do?”

What did Jesus teach us to do?

Mark 12:30 says, 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

But do we do this? I think not

You see, when we continually “suppress the truth” what eventually happens is that we become fools and our hearts become dark – And our thinking becomes pointless, it becomes hollow and empty – And then we begin to do other things that are pointless, hollow, and empty

In the text, the pointless things the people did could be found in the next verse, Paul writes, 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Romans 1:22-23

What Paul is saying is that in rejecting God, the people became fools and began to worship wood and stone instead of God – The One who created the wood and the stone

“Their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools” Romans 1:21-22

So what did God do?

Verse 24 says, “[He] gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity”

This is a scary verse, because it tells us that if someone continually suppresses the truth, if they continually shove down what they know to be true, eventually God will give them up to what they want – And what they want is folly – What they want is to bow down to wood and to stone – What they want is contrary to nature – What they want is to be fools

So, eventually God gives them up to it

Why?

   25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served          the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:25

The judgment of God falls on those who continually “suppress the truth” and                   exchange the glory of God for idols

What does that mean?

    An idol is anything that takes the place of God

An idol is anything that        

becomes more important than God – An idol is something that we love more than God

Idols are not only ancient false gods that we read of in the Bible, idols are an everyday temptation for us as we live in the 21st century

Anything that I am devoted to above God is my idol

Whether that is my favorite sports team, my career, my business, my family, or even my child – Anything that I am devoted to above God has become my idol – It has become my god – It is what I worship

And what Paul is saying is that if we continually “suppress the truth,” continually reject God, eventually God will let us have what we want – And what we want is our idols – We want to worship sports, worship a career, worship a business – Eventually what we do is we begin to worship ourselves

And it only gets worse, verse 28 says, 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” Romans 1:28-31

And the list goes on, the point being that when you reject God – When you exchange the truth of God for a lie what you do is you start down a road that leads you to all the places you would not go otherwise

But you don’t see it, you’re blind to it because you’ve exchanged wisdom for folly, righteousness for unrighteousness, good for evil – To you folly is wisdom, unrighteousness is righteousness, evil is good!

This person’s mind has become “debased” – It has been corrupted

So, why does Paul begin his letter this way?

He begins it this way to communicate to his readers that all of humanity is guilty of this to one degree or another – All of humanity has chosen its own way – All of humanity has “suppressed the truth” to some degree – All of humanity has rejected God

What Paul is doing is building his case against the belief that we are okay if we do good things – We’re not okay! – What he is trying to do is communicate to his audience that all of humanity has chosen the wrong road – And the only way we can get on the right road is by Jesus Christ – By putting our faith in the One who took the right road from the beginning

Well, I asked a question earlier, I asked, “Is the wrath of God unjust?”

What do you think, is it?

Or you may be asking, “Why is it just?” “How could it be just?”

It’s just because, like a child willfully rebels against you, so we too willfully rebel against God – We willfully shake our fists at God and yell, commanding Him to leave us alone – And so when we do that long enough He gives us what we want – Sadly, it ends in our destruction

But this is why Christ came – He came to save us from all that we could not save ourselves from – We broke the law, He kept it – We shook our fists at God, He praised God – We chose our own road (the selfish road), He chose the selfless road – We step on others for our gain, He allowed Himself to be stepped on for our gain – We expect to be served, He served – We will do anything to save our life, He willingly gave up His life

You see, Jesus is the answer to all this – He is the answer to all your questions

He is what your longing for – He is the One who will give you purpose – He is the One who will give you life

You see, God poured out His wrath on Christ, so that you don’t have to face it

Question is, do you accept Him, – Will you let Him in – Will you open the door of your heart to Him – Will you acknowledge your need for Him – Will you accept what He offers you – Will you do what your heart is telling you to do right now?

Translations


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