Today I began reading Paul’s letter to the beloved saints, the believers in Rome. Romans is an amazing book. It’s mostly a book of doctrine; if you want to know what salvation is, study Romans. I’m not an academic scholar; I don’t have a degree in theology, but I don’t think you need one to glean truth from this book. I think we can read it in a straightforward manner and take God at His word as he inspired Paul to write it.
You can’t read the first chapter of Romans without connecting it to what has happened to our world, particularly in America. You know, America is a relatively young nation. We’ll celebrate our 250th birthday in just a few years (2026), if God lets us exist that long. Naysayers will deny it, but America was founded on Christian principles by men and women who believed in God. They weren’t all followers of Jesus, but they knew there was a God, that He created us, and that we are accountable to Him for our actions. They weren’t perfect; they got some things wrong (i.e. many Christians supported slavery, which, thankfully, God brought our nation out of). But by and large, the Bible was respected, and the documents they wrote that formed our nation were forged out of prayers for wisdom from their Creator. Our founding fathers knew to honor God and live by His principles would create the opportunity for success and blessing. Even if you don’t know Jesus, God’s ways work, because He designed this life for us.
Romans 1:18-32 is a prescription for the demise of a nation, of a people, of individual lives. It begins when we deny the obvious truth that the created world teaches us about its Creator, God, and instead substitute the worship of created things.
Romans 1:18-20 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Study (or simply observe) any part of our created world and you will have to work very hard to deny the existence and power of a Creator. God has revealed enough of Himself in the construction of our eyeball to recognize we didn’t simply morph out of a one-celled piece of sludge that crawled up out of the mud after a big bang. I do believe in the “big bang” however; God said, “Let there be light!” and BANG, there was light!
With this knowledge, comes accountability. If God created, why? Who am I relative to my Creator? What is my purpose? What does my Creator require of me? The rest of the Bible gives us the answers to those questions, but right here in Romans 1, we see what happens when we deny the existence of God as Creator. In time, and without His redeeming power in us, our sinful hearts will naturally degrade into the only place they can lead – depravity, unrighteousness, ungodliness, and futility of mind that darkens and hardens our hearts. Professing to be wise, they became fools… (Romans 1:22).
This foolish, darkened heart tells us the lie that homosexuality is acceptable to God (1:26-27).
This foolish, darkened heart tells us the lie that worshipping the creation is normal (1:23,25).
This foolish, darkened heart tells us the lies that lead to a depraved mind, not only to do those things that offend God, but to give hearty approval to those who do (1:28,32).
Today we’re being led by foolish, darkened minds that tell us we can “choose” our gender, that “love is love,” whether men with men, women with men, or God-forbid, adults with children (all lies that keep us under the wrath of God). Our children are being groomed for a hopeless life in depravity by perverts in government, schools, entertainment industries (DISNEY), and social media. Libraries host read-alouds with drag queens. Teachers instruct elementary-age children on sex. And we’re supposed to accept it, believing it’s all normal, progressive, and good.
We’re experiencing what Paul describes in Romans 1 in living color, and the saddest thing is, most of the world is proud of it.
The good news is coming, however. Lest any of us who have been blessed to know and understand truth think we’re better than the depravity that surrounds us, Paul is going to teach us tomorrow that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We ALL need a Savior. Until we repent and come to faith in Christ alone, we are ALL equally under the wrath of God. Romans 1 doesn’t just talk about sexual sin. Rejecting God as Creator leads to greed, envy, strife, malice, gossip, slander, arrogance, boasting, disobedience to parents, and being without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. (Did we step on your toes, yet?) There are no “bigger” or “smaller” sins in God’s eyes. There is only sin, and it ALL leads to death.
Romans is a book that will confront us with our need for God, but then tells the wonderful, amazing story of salvation by grace alone – freely offered to all who will believe. If we are bound up in sinful depravity, living under the wrath of God, we don’t have to stay there.
There is a way out, and His name is Jesus.
I can’t wait to read the rest of the story.