Thursday, September 21, 2017

Romans 2

God’s Judgment of Sin

1 You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. 

The word "judge" has two meanings; decide and condemn. We are absolutely not to condemn others. However, other scriptures make it clear we MUST decide between right and wrong and stand up for what is right, especially warning others when they are doing wrong so they have a chance to change directions.

2 And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. 

The tings mentioned in both the end of that first chapter and the condemning mentioned here.

3 Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things?  

 God does not tolerate hypocrisy.

4 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?

5 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. 

6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done. 

7 He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. 

8 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 most certainly IS a right and wrong and consequences for our choices.

9 There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 

 God doesn't care what our genetic makeup is. He cares what our choices are.

10 But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 

11 For God does not show favoritism.

12 When the Gentiles sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews, who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. 

13 For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight. 

14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. 

Those that choose to travel towards God behave with love to Him, put Him first, and love their neighbors as themselves automatically. They don't need the written Law to force them to behave righteously.

15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.  

16 And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.

The Jews and the Law

17 You who call yourselves Jews are relying on God’s law, and you boast about your special relationship with him.  

18 You know what he wants; you know what is right because you have been taught his law.  

19 You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a light for people who are lost in darkness.  

20 You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that God’s law gives you complete knowledge and truth.

21 Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? 

Jesus said that if we covet we are already stealing. Coveting is the same sin as theft.

22 You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples? 

Jesus also said if you lust after someone you have already committed the sin of adultery.

23 You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. 

24 No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.” (Isa 52:5)

25 The Jewish ceremony of circumcision has value only if you obey God’s law. But if you don’t obey God’s law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile. 

26 And if the Gentiles obey God’s law, won’t God declare them to be his own people?  

27 In fact, uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God’s law will condemn you Jews who are circumcised and possess God’s law but don’t obey it.

28 For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. 

29 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 God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Romans 1

1 This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. 

2 God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures.  

Paul was a Jewish man who was very well educated in what we call the Old Testament. It appears from other scripture that he was able to take those scriptures and prove that Jesus was the Messiah.

3 The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line,  

4 and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord (Boss)

5 Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.

Paul tried to preach to the his own countrymen, but the refused to listen to him. So he and his partners went to the gentiles. Other apostles had better success with the Jews than he did. 

6 And you (the members of the church in the city of Rome that he is writing to) are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ.  

7 I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

God’s Good News

8 Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in him is being talked about all over the world. 

9 God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son.

Paul had apparently not even met these people before, yet still prayed for them daily.

10 One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you.  

11 For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. 

12 When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.

13 I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to visit you, but I was prevented until now. I want to work among you and see spiritual fruit, just as I have seen among other Gentiles.  

It is generally believed that Paul wrote this letter from prison in Jerusalem just after appealing to Caesar. This appeal meant he would be judged in Rome instead of Jerusalem for the "crimes" he was accused of (believing in Jesus). So, he will soon be in Rome and get to meet these people he has heard so much about. 

14 For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilized world and the rest of the world, to the educated and uneducated alike. 

15 So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the Good News.

16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. 

17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

God’s Anger at Sin

18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 

19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 

20 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.

Everyone everywhere at some time realizes there is a God, if nothing else, from a beautiful sunset, busy bee, or a night watching the stars. At that time, everyone has the option to walk towards God or to walk away from Him. 

21 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. 

Chaos and idiocy happens when people refuse to follow God.

22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.  

23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 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. 

25 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.  

This includes not just bowing down to statues, but "worshiping" sex, entertainment, money. It includes many, many lies that are told in the name of Christianity and God that just simply are not true.

26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 

27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

Makes you wonder if AIDS isn't a whole lot older than we think it is. Anyway, the homosexual lifestyle is a violent one (did you all know that lesbians have a higher percentage of calling the police for domestic violence than straights do?) and the lifespan of gays is very much shorter than than for straights. No God who loves humans would condone the choice of this lifestyle.  

28 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.

There comes a point when your child is insisting on reaching for a hot stove when you just have to let them touch it so they can learn what "hot" means. 

29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 

30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents.  

31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.  

32 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.

This describes what I see in our culture today to a T.