Read Romans 1:18 – 20
Today's text shows us that that God does get angry, and He will discipline. There are indeed certain things that make Him mad. I think it is important to know that God's wrath is different from human anger... which can be uncontrolled, hot and explosive. God’s wrath is a righteous anger, it is holy, completely controlled and stems from God’s hatred of sin and NOT the sinner. There are three acts of sin in this passage that cause individuals to never come to faith in Christ. Today we will look at the first act…
Suppress the Truth
The first act is how humanity is prone to suppress the truth. When you look at what Paul writes in verses 19 and 20 you see that God has revealed himself to humanity. He has revealed the truth of His reality to us through creation. God in his wonderful mercy gave humanity a glimpse of who He is (verse 19) and his divine nature and power through His creation (verse 20). I truly believe God gave us the beauty of His creation to point us to Him, the Creator. There is a theological term here you may or may not care about called general revelation.
General revelation is basically God revealing himself to humanity through creation (note this is a revelation that points to him and is not a saving one). God wants to be known. He wants humanity to worship Him; He desires that we give Him full acknowledgement of His divine power and nature. General revelation is simply a peek at who God is but not a full revelation of who he is.
How often have you ever been outside on a clear night and just sat in awe of the beauty and immensity of the stars in the sky? Have you ever viewed a landscape that literally took your breathe away and at that moment you had 100% certainty that God is real? I experience that often! God has revealed himself to me so clearly that I am without excuse. I cannot stand before God on judgment day and say, “I never knew you existed because you never revealed yourself to me!”
Paul continues by writing about people who know this yet they still choose to not believe. God has revealed himself to all humanity (God’s revelation) yet some choose to suppress this truth. The cost is too high for them and they choose not to follow. They are unwilling to exchange their supposed freedom, happiness, fun and individuality in order to follow God. Yet if they would truly follow Him they would know that only true freedom, fun, happiness, and individuality comes with a right relationship with God.
Read Romans 1:16 – 17
Paul declares, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel…” Why do you think Paul declares this so boldly? I believe he was in some ways “prideful” or “boastful” of the Gospel. Not because of anything HE had accomplished in his life, but because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. The cross of Christ and the Gospel was considered by many outsiders (and even today) to be foolishness. It was considered a crutch, superstition, or a fairy tale. People who followed the way of the cross were thus considered fools (read I Corinthians 1:18, 21 & 4:10). Paul however did not care. He was not going to shy away from proclaiming this Gospel nor was he going to hide it or try to act like it didn’t impact his life.
How many of us shy away from boldness in the Gospel? I know I am guilty. I use excuses like I don’t want to come across as a pushy Christian or I don’t want to be made fun of for my faith or I think that for some ridiculous idea I may come across as “overly righteous”. Paul assures I have nothing of which to be ashamed.
The word Gospel is derived from the Greek word Euaggeleion (Yoo-ang-ghel-ee-on) which means good tidings or good news. It is the glad tidings of the kingdom of God that is still to come and also the good news of Jesus the Messiah. The central theme of the Gospel is salvation through faith in the work of Jesus Christ. It is preaching the death of Jesus Christ for our justification to those who believe. It is preaching the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus Christ. It is declaring the return of Jesus Christ in majesty and His coming Kingdom.
Paul is bold (not ashamed) in the Gospel. So how can we take on this same attitude? We must understand that it is the power of salvation. The Gospel message is a declaration that mighty work of God has delivered, preserved and kept safe those who believe in Jesus in faith. It is our future salvation. The redemption we will all receive when we pass from this life to eternity. A.W. Pink states, “We are saved from the penalty of sin, saved from the power (influence) of sin, and the pleasure of sin” (no true believer can find pleasure in sinful acts without guilt to follow).
Unfortunately many Christians a wrong view of salvation. They think that the Gospel is a “get out of hell free” card or it is a “fire protection” policy. Salvation is more than being saved from eternal death. It is the guarantee of a fruitful and abundant life on earth and the inheritance of future glory (eternal life). Salvation is for everyone who believes. It is the saving faith or putting complete trust in God who justifies sinners through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, his resurrection and ascension. This, my friends, is nothing to be ashamed of.
Read Romans 1:10 – 15
The next part of Paul’s prayer is his desire for God to provide a way for him to come visit the believers in Rome. If you recall God had hindered Paul from going to Rome, yet he believed wholeheartedly God wanted him to go there (which he did eventually… in chains). Why did Paul want to visit? The answers are in Romans 1:11-15
To impart a Spiritual gift to strengthen the believers.
To reap a harvest
To preach the Gospel.
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