Episode #118. Today we’ll read 1st chapter of Romans together. Paul greets and blesses the church in Rome, tells them that he longs to visit, and reminds his readers that the righteous live by faith.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #118. Today we’ll read the 1st chapter of Romans together: Paul greets and blesses the church in Rome; tells them that he longs to visit; and reminds his readers that the righteous live by faith.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
We’re starting a new book today! It’s the book of Romans and it’s a powerful letter. Before we talk about Romans specifically, I want to say that every single book to the end of the New Testament – with the exception of Revelation – is a letter, either to a church or an individual. Some are what they call circular letters which was a letter intended to be passed around to several churches.
Up till now, our reading has been pretty much chronological…we walked thru the life of Jesus and then directly after His resurrection, the birth of the Church and the spread of the Gospel. However, from now on, you’ll need to consider where along the timeline each letter should be inserted. We always want to be asking ourselves, “Who is he writing to?” “When?” “Why?” “How are those circumstances the same – or different – from today?” I believe it’s only then we can fully understand what God is trying to tell us today.
Paul wrote this letter to the church in Rome while he was in Corinth toward the end of his third missionary trip. (I hope you kept that Biblical map handy.) It is thought that the Roman church was started by some of those who were converted in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Paul had always wanted to visit this church but had been prevented from doing so. However, by being prevented from actually visiting and engaging with the people directly, you and I are the recipients of his “longest and most systematically reasoned” letter. So put your thinking caps on! We’re going to have to go beyond all of our preconceived notions and will have to practice seeing through God’s eyes.
I am reminded of Hebrews 4:12 where it says, “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Oh yes, friend…Romans qualifies.
Romans Chapter 1
The Gospel of God for Rome
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God — which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures — concerning his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh and was appointed to be the powerful Son of God according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection of the dead. Through him we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the Gentiles, including you who are also called by Jesus Christ.
To all who are in Rome, loved by God, called as saints.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul’s Desire to Visit Rome
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because the news of your faith is being reported in all the world. God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in telling the good news about his Son — that I constantly mention you, always asking in my prayers that if it is somehow in God’s will, I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I want very much to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, that is, to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
Now I don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I often planned to come to you (but was prevented until now) in order that I might have a fruitful ministry among you, just as I have had among the rest of the Gentiles. I am obligated both to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
The Righteous Will Live by Faith
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.
The Guilt of the Gentile World
For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse. For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.
Therefore God delivered them over in the desires of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.
From Idolatry to Depravity
For this reason God delivered them over to disgraceful passions. Their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. The men in the same way also left natural relations with women and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error.
And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a corrupt mind so that they do what is not right. They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, senseless, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. Although they know God’s just sentence — that those who practice such things deserve to die — they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.
Don’t miss Paul’s greeting in this letter. It virtually tells the entire Gospel. And then verses 16 & 17 really do summarize the entire book. “The righteous will live by faith.” Paul is quite far along in his ministry, probably 20 or so years after Pentecost. He is bolder and the church in Rome had never had the benefit of direct apostolic teaching.
Verse 18 on describes human depravity, and that goes for all of us. When we read the Old Testament next year, you will see how God tried over and over to draw His creation back to Himself. He forgave, He sent prophets, but we are stubborn and prone to sin. So God Himself stepped into our world in the form of Jesus the Son and made the once-and-for-all sacrifice to atone for sin. And it is by faith in that sacrifice, we are saved. Not by works, lest we should boast. But grace.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank You for preventing Paul from making it to Rome. Thank You that this mature-in-faith Paul, who had a heart for people to know the Gospel, had to write this beautiful letter that we now benefit from. Father, we need faith…extra measures of it…some more than others. Thank You for looking beyond our foibles, beyond our sin, and seeing our hearts. Hearts that yearn for Your truth. Equip us now, Father, with understanding, so that we may see clearly that truth. Thank You, Lord. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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