Hello readers! I’m really excited to begin this series on Romans. It’ll be similar to a Bible study in a sense, but I won’t have time to cover every single verse. Instead I’ll note key verses, and share my thoughts about them. My desire is that God will use this study to work in my life as well as yours. I hope it encourages you to dig in deeper and study the chapter more fully than I could here on the blog.
Disregard the email list idea thingy
Last week I mentioned something about signing up and having an email list to go along with the series. I later noticed that I had never included the sign-up form, by the time I got it in most everyone had already seen the post. Anyway, I won’t be doing an add-on email list to go along with the series. So please, forget that idea.
Let’s get started
 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,  which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,  concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh  and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,  through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,  including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,  To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.  For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you  always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.  For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.  I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.  I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.  So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.  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.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  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.  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.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools,  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.  Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,  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.  For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;  and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.  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.  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,  slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,  foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
(Romans 1 ESV)
The gospel is the power of God to all who believe (v. 16)
Paul’s reputation portrayed throughout the New Testament obviously is not one to be seen as ashamed of the gospel. Rather, it’s an astounding testimony of the gospel. His love for Jesus and the Gospel often puts him in tight spots and tremendous physical persecution for the gospel.
Why? After all that Paul has gone through for the Gospel, why does he continue? Why is he not ashamed of the Gospel?
He continues to love and spread the gospel because not only was he commanded by Jesus to do so, but Paul really loves people. Paul’s concern for people’s eternal destiny is what drives him to share with others the love of Jesus and the truth of the Gospel. He continues because the Gospel is the power of God to all who believe.
If Paul isn’t afraid of sharing the Gospel with others, then why are we? If Paul has the faith to continue sharing the Gospel throughout persecution, then why can’t we have that same faith? Seeing Paul’s testimony should influence our lives toward the Gospel, and ultimately toward Christ.
The ungodly are without excuse (vs. 19-20)
Paul says that those who deliberately pursued sinfulness–specifically the Gentiles in this context–are without excuse. They have no reason for their actions. God has provided all they need, yet they reject it and pursue ungodliness. We have revealed to us through the Bible God’s grace and justification for our sin. The Gentiles must repent and put their trust in God, despite their knowledge of that fact, they continue to refuse God’s gift of grace.
The ungodly exchanged God’s glory for their sinful pursuits (vs. 22-31)
“It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into nothing. Murder is no better than lies if lying does the trick.”—C. S. Lewis
No sin is too small to deserve God’s wrath. We see in these verses that God’s punishment for the Gentile’s sin is sin. Because the Gentiles reveled in their sinful desires, God gave them up fully to their pursuit.
The result of God’s condemnation of the Gentiles for their sexual perversity and idolatry was to give them over to further sexual immorality including homosexuality. Not only did they commit these sins against God, but they also encouraged others to sin as well.
The Gentiles were full of sexual immorality and idolatry, they worshiped the creation rather than the creator. Because of their sinful pursuits, God gave them up entirely to that which they were involved. They were so deep in sin that they could never experience the glory in Christ Jesus.
It’s easy to immediately dismiss the idea that we would ever be involved in sins like those that the Gentiles were involved in. But like C.S. Lewis said, it doesn’t matter how small the sin is that you battle is. Every sin, no matter its size or level of moral corruptness, deserves God’s wrath and eternal punishment. This is a reminder to us, as believers that every sin we commit is an offense to God, no matter how small or big we might think it is.
Let this be a reminder to us to continue on in our battle against sin. With the help of the Spirit, we can overcome any sinful habit, big or small.
I hope that we won’t take these things lightly, but rather I hope we use this as a reminder to put to death any sin we struggle with and run to the cross.