Day 13: Harming Nature

Romans 1:26-27 :

For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For their women changed the natural function into that which is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural function of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men doing what is inappropriate with men, and receiving in themselves the due penalty of their error.

If people believed in the Creator, they might come to realize that “nature” has an order that was put there by its designer. There are ways to detect this even if you disregard the designer. When a natural system works well it reproduces. When the a natural system deviates from the norm and starts to tear itself down, it may even attempt to guard itself from or remove the thing that is attacking it. When the system is unable to remove that which causes it to grow and live, the system stops or dies.

Mankind reproduces in a natural way too. There are natural passions and unnatural ones. Unnatural ones tear down nature and natural ones build it up. Just because we feel like going against nature doesn’t mean it is ok. We can’t expect to be praised when we go against nature because it is clearly destructive. Homosexuality is a departure from nature. You can’t make children with two men or with two women. A natural family has a man and a woman. Recognizing this gives glory to nature’s designer. Not only is homosexuality not acceptable, the Bible says that such unnatural passions are “vile.”

Why do we want go against nature? Because we are people who have decided to leave our Creator. Sometimes, the training that we received from our parents or schools may have had a part in it, but we add to it just the same. The sins we make affect those around us. If we become proud of these sins we merely continue the attack against the natural and tear down the earth and our environment. Isn’t it amazing that many people fail to recognize that mankind is a part of nature that should be preserved? Ideas that leave mankind out of nature don’t come from the one who made mankind, they come from one that wishes to destroy mankind. Christianity doesn’t believe in going against nature. Instead, it seeks to restore it someday by the power of Jesus.

Day 12: Vain Reasoning

Romans 1:21-25 :

Because, knowing God, they didn’t glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened.

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

In the last passage, Paul tells us that God has made Himself known to each person. God holds each person responsible for the knowledge of Himself that He has given. As I mentioned last time, God created the world and it is a fact that you must forcibly twist your mind in order to ignore. Here we learn that when we refuse to give God His due as the Creator, He allows us to go crazy in a way.

This is exactly what we see concerning “The Big Bang” today. It simply doesn’t make sense scientifically. Like I mentioned yesterday, getting something to come from nothing doesn’t make sense in a scientific world. It makes sense if you have an all-powerful, eternal God, but it doesn’t if you don’t. Every time we see a “Big Bang” in our world, it tears something apart, but according to man’s strange theories, a big bang created the basis for all of the order we see in the world today. This simply violates the most basic laws of science. Yet, that’s what people are choosing to believe. This is vain reasoning. Paul tells us that people get this way because God let them go dark. Now, talking to them is nearly impossible because they are willing to live with illogical and unreasonable beliefs.

In our world today, there are many who worship images of gods. In the west, they usually just worship “corruptible man.” Many now worship the achievements of science and industry. This is just another way to worship and serve “the creature rather than the Creator.” It only makes sense that if there is a creator, He deserves our respect.

Notice that the God of the Bible is “incorruptible” unlike the gods of many other religions.

Day 11: Wrath Revealed

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 of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse.

God is angry about some things. He isn’t an angry person, but He is angry about the things He should be angry about. He is angry against “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” How could God be a good God if He was “ok” with people being bad and doing bad things? God’s wrath is coming and people need to know about it. God is angry about the fact that people completely ignore Him when they know full well that He made everything. People are just making excuses and “educating” themselves to pretend that God doesn’t exist.

Believers in “Evolution” claim that it bolsters the position that science replaces the Creator. That is a point of view but it isn’t very reasonable. Science can’t prove history. It can only prove the present; what we can do experiments on. One-time events can’t be repeated in a laboratory. If we stop fooling ourselves we realize that Evolutionism is a faith just like Creationism and both are scientific as well. Neither, however are capable of being proven scientifically. There is no excuse for a man to hide behind evolution. Even if a person tries to believe in biological evolution, there is still a problem with the existence of the first piece of matter in the universe. Science cannot explain the existence of the first piece of matter. Believing that it just appeared and exploded takes quite a bit of faith. God already told mankind how it happened and He knows that it is not asking too much for us to believe what we can see and read about. Some people can’t read and may only be able to see the world, but I bet many of them don’t believe that it just appeared and then exploded. Many of those without education can still understand the law of cause and effect. In order to have all the order and wonder we see in the world, there had to be a cause. God expects for us to think about that. If it was made by someone, and we were made by someone, then what responsibility do we have to that someone? To completely deny it in the face of the facts is worthy of God’s anger.

Day 10: The Righteous Live by Faith

Romans 1:17 :

For in it is revealed God’s righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by faith.”

The word “righteousness” simply means to be right, but righteousness can be both our legal position and a way of life. In other words, if you do something wrong and owe a fine for doing it, after you pay it, you have made it right and you have a righteous position. If you never do anything wrong as you live day-by-day, it can be said that you live a righteous life.

I think you could say that this verse is a thesis statement for this theological letter. It very briefly sums up much of what it is about

We will be learning that when we believe in Jesus, our debts are paid in full by Him and we are made righteous by our faith in what He did. At that point we have a position of righteousness. When we live on from that point in our lives as Christians, we have the opportunity to keep having faith in Christ as we live. This gives us the power we need to actually live righteous lives. So, you could say that we go from “faith to faith.” We start our new lives in faith and we walk on from there in faith. This is really the only way that the righteous can truly live. Those who are really living righteously, know that they aren’t doing it on their own. If you try to be truly righteous in the way that God expects, you find out very quickly that you are unable to do it from your own will and power. We must have faith in the One who is righteous in order to be righteous and live righteously.

Day 9: A Duty to the Wise and the Foolish

Romans 1:13-16 :

Now I don’t desire to have you unaware, brothers, that I often planned to come to you, and was hindered so far, that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am debtor both to Greeks and to foreigners, both to the wise and to the foolish. So, as much as is in me, I am eager to preach the Good News to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek.

Here, Paul explains that he had wanted to get to Rome for quite a while but was stopped by other work he knew he was supposed to do. Rome was probably the most important city in the world at that time and it probably had some of the most important people in it. It would make sense that if Paul wanted to share an important faith such as Christianity, that he would want to share it in Rome; however, Paul makes it very clear that he had a duty to share the gospel with the unintelligent people just as much as he had a duty to share with the intelligent people.

God loves all of his creation. He doesn’t see “intelligence” the same way that sinful mankind sees it. Paul had to keep his focus on the duty he had for the Kingdom of God. Someday we will all, as believers, give an account to our Lord regarding the work that we have done for His kingdom too. Our view of what is important should be shaped by that moment. Satan does all he can do now to shape our importance around the false ideas he plants in the world. These things distract us from what is truly important.

Just because Paul didn’t go directly to Rome with the message does not mean that he was embarrassed about it. Paul makes it clear that he has no shame about the Gospel of Christ. Notice that it is this Gospel that is “the power of God for salvation.” There is power in the message of God and especially in the message about the salvation that comes through Jesus. That power, however, is only “for everyone who believes.”

If you have been following along through Acts, you will recognize the last statement. Paul would always go to the synagogue first and preach. He was usually rejected and sometimes even beat up. After that he would go to the Gentiles. Here we read directly from Paul’s letter that this was intentional. God wanted him to go give the message to God’s own people, the Jews, first. They were supposed to be the wise ones. Thankfully, God’s message came to us, the foolish ones, as well.

Day 8: Encouragement is Mutual

Romans 1:11-12 :

For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, to the end that you may be established; that is, that I with you may be encouraged in you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.

The real leader in Christianity is Jesus Himself. Paul was a major figure and one that God chose to distribute information about the Gospel, but he was not higher than the others or less needy of encouragement. Paul expresses here that he wanted to go to Rome to encourage the believers there and to also be encouraged by them.

God has given us as Christians the ability to encourage each other and build each other up. That’s one of the reasons we get together as a church. We need to be encouraged by each other.

Notice that God had given Paul “spiritual gifts” that were to be used “to the end that you may be established.” We are all given spiritual gifts. These are gifts that are not natural but are given supernaturally by God’s Spirit. The reason for these gifts is to build up other Christians. It is important that we realize that Spiritual Gifts are not intended to be used for our own benefit. The spiritual life as a Christian is one that looks outward to help others.

Paul wanted to make sure that each church was “established.” He wasn’t a preacher who would rush in, produce converts, and leave. He wanted to make sure that the church as a whole would last and grow. When a church group uses their spiritual gifts in order to build each other up, it makes them healthy as a group.

Day 7: Longing to Help

Romans 1:8-10 :

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, that your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the Good News of his Son, how unceasingly I make mention of you always in my prayers, requesting, if by any means now at last I may be prospered by the will of God to come to you.

When people really believe in the grace of God it spreads like fire. That’s was the case with the Roman Christians. Although Paul had not told the Romans all the things about Christianity that He wanted to yet, someone had already explained it enough that they had become Christians and had gained a reputation in the whole world.

Notice that Paul thanks God “through Jesus Christ.” In fact, you will find that Paul does everything “through Jesus Christ.” I think it is extremely important for us to consider what this means. These are not words to pass over quickly because in them we have an example by Paul of how a real Christian lives a victorious life. Paul doesn’t do things alone anymore and no Christian should. We all have the Spirit of God within us and when we trust in Him as we do things as simple as thanking God, we are really living the Christian life the way it was intended to be lived.

Paul says again that he serves God in his spirit. God’s Spirit communicates with our spirits and teaches us how to serve Him. We just need to trust in Him.

When we trust in God and follow his Spirit in us we start praying for others and longing to be with them and do the things that God wants us to do for them. Our lives of selfishness turn upside down and we start living for others.