We All in Need

This month as I read thru the book of Romans going thru Berean Book on Paul’s writing of it. The first 3 chapters stick out to me, where Paul is writing to the church about the Gentiles and those who are Jewish of the time.

Paul in chapter 1 starts talking about the Gentiles and God’s anger towards sin.

“But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” – Romans 1:18 NLT Sin can not exist in the prescience of a holy God. Paul continued to say how even those who are not Gods people, the Gentiles, have no excuse. “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” – Romans 1:19-20 NLT

Which adds to what David wrote in the Psalms. “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” – Psalms 19:1 NLT For God does not hid Himself from people on earth, His qualities are seen thru all of creation. The wind, the seas, the birds in the sky proclaim His divine creation. The beauty of this world was not created by accident.

Paul continued with discussing how even greater than not excepting God, they would make their own gods. “Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” – Romans 1:21-25 NLT

The is a quote by author Matthew Henry in the book that I think greatly describes it. “It was the greatest honor God did to man that he made man in the image of God; but it is the greatest dishonor man has done to God that he has made God in the image of man.” Because when people make idols out of what is just purely a creation of the creator, they tend to write off and forget the creator of the thing that is being idolized. For them Paul continued to say for their foolishness would lead to God abandoning them or removed His restraints from them.

“Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.” – Romans 1:28-32 NLT

So, Paul continued in his writing in the following chapter to write about now the Jews of the time. Where often they thought they were above it all. “Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.” – Romans 2:3-9 NLT

For Paul was reminding them in a way that Jesus Himself did, where He instructed people about watching for the plank in their own eye before trying to remove the speck in someone else eye. For the Jews thought that because they were God’s people thru Abraham and that they had completed the ceremony of circumcision as a baby. That they were better than others of the time. Paul knew that the expression of faith of things as circumcision and baptism are indeed important because they are an outward sign of the expression of our inward faith. But, that true faith in God, is what is in our hearts. That as Jews they must have a heart that is right with God, not just continuing to live on being circumcised alone. “No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.” – Romans 2:29 NLT

Paul was writing this to show that it was not just the Gentiles who needed a savior but also the Jewish people themselves. He knew that truly none of them were righteous on their own. That they had all sinned in their lives. He knew that sin was widespread, universal, intensive, and personal. That sin effects the entire human race, that all people are in need of saving. “As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous— not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “They rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace.” “They have no fear of God at all.” Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” – Romans 3:10-20 NLT

Paul knew that the law lets them see what is sin, but it lacked the power to free them from sin’s control. That it serves as a mirror to see the sin in our lives. But all are in need of a soap per say to bring cleansing to their lives. “But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.” – Romans 21-26 NLT

For salvation would not come from anything the Jews or the Gentiles would do or could do, but from God Himself. Jesus took are place, His death on the cross is the atoning sacrifice for their sins. He died the death that they deserved. His death redeemed them and justified them, thru His power alone. Paul concluded chapter 3 with reminding them that. That either Jew or Gentile it was not who they were or what they did that saved them but the free gift of Jesus taking their place.  “Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.” – Romans 3:27-31 NLT

As it relates to today’s world, many people think that God hating sin means that He is an unloving God or a God of hate. But truthfully His hate of sin is truly an expression of His love. It can’t be unreasonable or unjust, because if God is not angry at sin. Then He could not be holy or righteous. Because of who God is, His righteous nature, He must resist sin and oppose evil.

I think that Paul writing in Romans is something that stays with time. That it is something that we must continue to read and have in our memory. I believe as Paul discussed to the Roman church the dynamic of Gentiles and Jews. That it is the same today for the dynamic of non-believers and Christians. We must all know of God’s divine nature and see Him in the world the He has created. That we must not worship other god’s before Him. That as Christians we can not become boastful and complacent in our faith. That we must remember that Jesus died and took the place for all mankind; which includes us, our family, our friends, our neighbors, our rivals, and our brutal enemies. That our salvation is a free gift, that none of us can claim by our own doings. That it is all from the doings of God Himself. And remember as Peter wrote that it is God’s desire that none shall perish, but that all would find Jesus and repentance thru Him.

That as believers we must do are very best to share and turn people to the gospel and to Jesus and not turn them away from it. That especially in our ever hosteling world, to remembering that Jesus is the answer to it all. That it is not what side of politics we stand on, or anything else that is trying to bring division to us all. But Jesus alone that is the answer. And that it is by His power everyday that we live. Because all of us are in need of a Savior!

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