Book of Romans Chapter 2

Chapter 2     Part 1
Scripture taken from the NRSV translation

So Paul finishes his introduction on unrighteousness, now he will add fuel to the fire. Does being a Gentile or being a Jew give either one an advantage in the question of who is righteous?

Romans 2: 1-4
1 Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgement on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.
2 You say, ‘We know that God’s judgement on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.’
3 Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgement of God?
4 Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Man has no excuse for their sin before God. And Paul says that we who pass judgment on others condemn ourselves, so when we point fingers at who deserves God’s punishment for the things that they have done, we are also pointing fingers at ourselves. What might a person say if someone tells them that they might face God’s wrath for their sin. Some would say, as Paul repeats verse 3, that somehow it won’t apply to me, that I have improved a lot plus I know people who are a lot worse than me. God will understand, He will see me for who I tried to be and He will overlook my failures. As Paul says, do you suppose that we will escape God’s judgment? Maybe we assume that everything will work out because we think “so far, so good.” Paul says that we are thinking lightly of God’s kindness, tolerance and patience. Are we taking something for granted? We have an opportunity to repent of our sin.

2 Peter 3: 8-10
8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.
9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

Peter repeats Paul’s words. As the world waits for God’s judgment to happen as promised it hasn’t minimized God’s plan to carry it through. Judgment day hasn’t arrived yet, plus we shouldn’t take some comfort in the fact the we haven’t faced our own personal reckoning, both are coming. You could say that God’s delay is his patience and kindness towards sinners.

Romans 2: 5-8
5 But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed.
6 For he will repay according to each one’s deeds:
7 to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;
8 while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.

The time God has given us to repent of our disobedience and rebellion actually becomes our opportunity to increase God’s wrath, His anger against us. God renders to each according to their deeds (Psalm 62:12). God doesn’t show favoritism, and He doesn’t change the rules, you could say we each will get what we deserve. For those who seek to do good and glory and honor, they will receive eternal life. For those who seek for themselves, those who obey unrighteousness will receive God’s wrath. This moment is described in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 20: 11-15
11 Then I saw a great white throne and the one who sat on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them.
12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books.
13 And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what they had done.
14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire;
15 and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

On one hand in verse 8 Paul says all men are guilty and are under the same sentence of condemnation. But then Paul just said that God deals with people according to their deeds. Well the answer is found in those verses in Revelation. So in Revelation for those who were not found in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire, in other words eternal punishment, and all those who are in the book of life, survive. So Paul says God is fair to judge men according to their deeds, and so He does.

Now Paul is ready to deal with the issue of Gentile vs Jew.

Romans 2: 9-13
9 There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,
10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.
11 For God shows no partiality.
12 All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.
13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

Paul says that judgment falls equally for the Jews as to the Gentiles, God does not play favorites. We want to see this from a positive perspective of God being an equal opportunity savior. But Paul is speaking from a negative perspective of God being an equal opportunity punisher. Whether reward or punishment it does not matter if you are Jew or Gentile, Gentile or Jew.

Then Paul begins a comparison between what the Jews knew and received from God in terms of knowledge, as compared to the Gentiles and what they received and knew. For example, the Jews received instructions from God called the Law. But the Gentiles received no such instructions. Because of this Law does this make the Jews more guilty and the Gentiles less guilty? Or maybe it works the opposite way. Paul explores those possibilities and he begins with the Gentiles. Paul says that all who have sinned without the Law also perish without the Law, so those without the Law are Gentiles. Those under the Law, Jews, will find themselves judged by the Law, they will be held accountable for their inability to keep the Law. What about if the Gentiles play the “claim of ignorance” card?

Romans 2: 14-16
14 When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves.
15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them
16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.

Our conscience betrays us. As Gentiles, we still have a sense of right and wrong. Paul suggest that when the Gentile is doing the work of the Law, then they show evidence that God’s expectations have been revealed to them, and that the Gentile are showing obedience to God in their action. Paul’s saying that God reveals Himself to men apart from the Law given through Moses. So when the Gentiles feel a sense of guilt over their mistakes, they are bearing witness to the fact that they knew better.

To be continued



Book of Romans Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Scripture taken from the NRSV translation

Now we return to the beginning of Paul’s letter on righteousness, beginning with his theme statement
Romans 1: 16-17
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, ‘The one who is righteous will live by faith.’

Paul was saying he was not ashamed to preach the gospel anywhere because it was the power of God for salvation. Then Paul gives his theme statement which is referred to in Habakkuk 2:4
4 Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the righteous live by their faith.

The righteous live by faith, the righteousness of God. But what does Paul mean by this phrase? It’s meaning in the New Testament comes mostly from the Old Testament Hebrew understanding of the word:
1. It means being declared innocent in a law of court – justified
2. It describes an attribute of God
3. It means God’s faithfulness to His promise.
So salvation is found in the righteousness of God. So Paul says he preaches the gospel because it was the means of revealing God’s righteousness through the faith of men.

Are we a good person?
Luke 18: 18-19
18 A certain ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’
19 Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.

Here Paul is ready to give us his best explanation of men reaching for heaven, how the righteousness of God is revealed in them. Man is not always good and they are not 100% bad, only God alone is good. So Paul sets about proving that God’s righteousness is revealed through the gospel by pointing out our needs first.
Romans 1: 18-23
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth.
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
20 Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse;
21 for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened.
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools;
23 and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

Paul is now talking about how wrath is revealed, rather than righteousness. Paul isn’t speaking to just one section of society but is speaking to all men, God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness in men. God’s wrath is revealed against them because mankind can generally understand God is evident yet nevertheless reject him. His invisible attributes are visible in the creation itself.
Psalm 19: 1-4
1 The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,

We can understand a lot about God by examining what has been made, Paul says in verse 20. A God of power, a God of order not chaos, a God of mercy, a God of purpose, and a God of wrath against rebellion. Not only did God reveal Himself in the creation but to certain men once knew God personally verse 21. That verse further tells us that they knew God, they didn’t honor Him as God or give-thanks, they rebelled, their hearts were darkened.

The second step in rebellion was idolatry.
Genesis 4:25-26
25 Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, for she said, ‘God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, because Cain killed him.’
26 To Seth also a son was born, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to invoke the name of the Lord.

Genesis 6: 5-8
5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.
6 And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
7 So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’
8 But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord.

When Noah’s father was alive, Adam was still alive. In other words, the wickedness of earth was great, and yet the first man was still alive on earth. That’s why Paul can say that men knew God.

Now let’s look at what did God do?
Romans 1: 24-32
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves,
25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural,
27 and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done.
29 They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips,
30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious towards parents,
31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
32 They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them.

Third and final stage of rebellion: impurity. God gave them over to their lust. Looking again at verse 17-18, God’s righteousness is revealed in the gospel being received in faith. The negative is also true, God reveals His wrath for unrighteousness by giving men over to their lust. Verse 28, as they disapproved of God in their minds, so He also gave them over to depraved minds. Their minds led them to all manner of greed, envy, murder, strife, and malice. All the sin we see in the world today, all the bad things that mark our world is the result of disobedient men and women.

What conclusion can we make from Paul’s opening?
Romans 2: 1-2
1 Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgement on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.
2 You say, ‘We know that God’s judgement on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.’

All men are guilty and we are all under the same sentence of condemnation.

The Book of Romans Paul

The Beginning —– part 2
Romans 15: 14-19 (NRSV)

Then in verse 17 Paul delivers his theme for the rest of the letter.

14 I myself feel confident about you, my brothers and sisters,* that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct one another.
15 Nevertheless, on some points I have written to you rather boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God
16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast of my work for God.
18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished* through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed,
19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God,* so that from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum I have fully proclaimed the good news* of Christ.

The most brilliant theological essay is complete, and Paul has returned to the reader to explain his motive in writing, but now Paul has their attention and hopefully their appreciation. And in chapters 12-14, Paul spoke of righteousness lived out in the life of a Christian, so now Paul says as far as you are concern, I am convinced you are full of goodness, meaning moral perfection.

In verse 15 Paul returns to his defense for waiting so long to write and come to them. Paul’s only mission was first and foremost an apostle to Gentiles and he must focus on Gentile conversion. The tremendous Gentile conversion and acceptance of the gospel stood as a testimony of God’s work through Paul. Paul preached the gospel.

Romans 15: 20-25

20 Thus I make it my ambition to proclaim the good news,* not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on someone else’s foundation,
21 but as it is written, ‘Those who have never been told of him shall see, and those who have never heard of him shall understand.’
22 This is the reason that I have so often been hindered from coming to you.
23 But now, with no further place for me in these regions, I desire, as I have for many years, to come to you
24 when I go to Spain. For I do hope to see you on my journey and to be sent on by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a little while.
25 At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem in a ministry to the saints;

Paul’s goal was to preach the gospel where it wasn’t, not where it was already. It was done so that the scripture be fulfilled that the Gentiles would hear and believe the gospel (Isaiah 52). But now the region has been covered and it is time to move on, so now Paul can go to them. Now Paul tells them that he is coming to see them on his way to Spain, plus he needs their help to fund his work in Spain. But before he sees them he needs to go back to Jerusalem one last time. And Paul say why….

Romans 15: 26-33

26 for Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to share their resources with the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.
27 They were pleased to do this, and indeed they owe it to them; for if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material things.
28 So, when I have completed this, and have delivered to them what has been collected,* I will set out by way of you to Spain;
29 and I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing* of Christ.
30 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,* by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in earnest prayer to God on my behalf,
31 that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my ministry* to Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,
32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.
33 The God of peace be with all of you.* Amen.

Paul has a donation for the poor Jerusalem church from the wealthy Gentile churches in Asia Minor. After finishing his work in Jerusalem, Paul will be going to Spain and will come to the Roman church first. Paul ask them to pray for his work in Jerusalem for the disobedient. Interesting — believing Jews saw unbelieving Jews as disobedient.

Paul’s purpose in writing this letter was to establish a new base in Rome for spreading the gospel to a new region of Gentiles. And he is asking their help for his mission.

May the Peace of Jesus Christ be with You

The Book of Romans Paul

The beginning
Romans 1: 1-7 (NRSV)
1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures,
3 the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh
4 and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name,
6 including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
7 To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s salutation to the Romans is very similar to many other letters. Paul first identifies who he is, that he serves the Lord with joy and personal commitment. He also defends his authority to teach and that he was called to be an apostle and set apart to preach the Gospel. The Roman church, the Jewish believers probably remember turmoil that a man called Saul committed against the church in Jerusalem. Paul let them know that God took him off that path and set him on this new mission of life, a mission he felt obligated to pursue.

Then Paul describes what his mission was, and that is the gospel, through the prophets in the Scriptures concerning Jesus, the descendant of David by the flesh. And yet Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power over the resurrection of the dead by the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ the Lord. This is Paul’s mission to spread the good news. The beginning of Paul’s letter appeals to the Jewish believers.

In verse 5 Paul begins to make a path between the wounded pride of the Roman church and himself. Paul tells them that through Jesus, we have received grace and apostleship, meaning that the Jewish church shares a common mission of apostleship. And together they have received grace, the opportunity of sharing the gospel message to others, mainly the Gentiles. Paul suggest a common mission with the Jewish church, to bring about the obedience of faith to the Gentiles for Jesus sake.

Paul says to the Jewish church that he is writing to glorify the grace of God to them. In this salutation Paul knows that he needs to repair damage and he needs to win them over. Paul begins to appeal to their pride, at least for the moment, and he appeals to their sense of superiority as Jewish believers. Paul is carefully bring them to his side by describing to them as sharing in his mission. Paul plays to their pride, their feeling of superiority that they are above the rest of the church.

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world.
9 For God, whom I serve with my spirit by announcing the gospel of his Son, is my witness that without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers,
10 asking that by God’s will I may somehow at last succeed in coming to you.
11 For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—
12 or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
13 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as I have among the rest of the Gentiles.
14 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish
15 — hence my eagerness to proclaim the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Paul continues the charm in verse 8, though his words are completely sincere and honest. Paul thanks the Lord for this church, because their faith is well known through out the Empire. The Jewish church was rich, it was wise and very knowledgeable group of believers, it was a large group and they were still growing; and yet they weren’t known for their money, knowledge or size. This church was known for there faith, their strong belief in the gospel. Paul let them know that he holds them up as an example to the other churches. That Paul thinks highly of them and their work for the sake of the gospel.

Paul says his prayers are to be able to grace them with his presence and offer a spiritual gift. This does not mean he’s giving gifts, but rather a spiritual benefit or gift to the church that they would be a source of help to him in establishing and maintaining other churches. Paul continues to place his ministry on equal terms with the Roman church. Paul in verse 13 saying, I really want you to know that I want to come bear spiritual fruit with you – even as I have within the Gentile church, but he has been prevented from coming. And what or whom would prevent Paul from coming to them? It’s been hinted at or pointed to the Holy Spirit, and why would God prevent Paul from going to the Roman church? Paul does say he has a commitment to Greek and barbarians, to the wise and foolish. Paul tells them he is under authority by the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel to these people rather than them, the Roman church. Paul defends his absence by saying he wasn’t ashamed of the gospel and that he’s to bring the gospel to everyone, even the learned Jewish believers. The words of the gospel hold the power to save men. Unless we deliver the gospel of Christ, we do not bring the power of God to save. Paul says the message must go to the Jews first then the Gentiles.

Book of Romans


Paul    part 2

Paul has had a very busy life, he has traveled Asia Minor three times, he has founded a multitude of churches and to help them build a strong foundation he needed to revisit them. With these letters to these churches, he pretty much pen the New Testament. The farthest west he got was Greece and he never visited Rome, the powerful Roman church and after all those years of waiting for Paul to visit them, the Roman church was beginning to feel a bit slighted, just plain neglected. As we know the Roman church was Jewish believers in the beginning of the church. So the Roman church came up with all kinds of reasons why Paul neglected them. Some of the suggestions was that Paul favored the Gentiles, that he cared only for the churches that he founded, or maybe he was ashamed of the gospel and was afraid of confrontation with Roman authority, or that the Jewish believers were smarter that he, Paul, was and he would rather deal with the ignorant Gentile converts.

Paul had a challenge on his hands with the Roman church. He was going to visit them but he was going to do it on his terms. His plan was to travel to Rome, but mainly as a stop over on his way to Spain. On top of that he was planning to ask the rich Roman church for money. Paul’s plan was to have the financial support from the Roman church for a new church plant he planned in the western edge of the empire.

So we have Paul writing to the Roman church who is a critical piece of the next missionary focus, and they have a chip on their shoulder and they are holding a major grudge against Paul. What does Paul say to a church that he doesn’t know, and has never visited, and yet he desperately needs them? He would need to write the single greatest theological explanation of righteousness and redemption ever written. He would need to provide this church, which resides at the center of the known world, with a foundational writing on the Christian faith from which the truth can be spread to the world. And while writing all this he will explain his absence and his love for that church —-And in the end he will ask for money.

Before we get into the Book of Romans we will take a quick look at the beginning and the end.

The Book of Romans

Paul        (part 1)

We will study the book of Romans , but first let’s look at Paul.

Paul is writing to a group he has never meet and a church he didn’t even establish. The Roman church was founded by a group of Jewish Christians who were traveling from Jerusalem, probably sometime after Pentecost.

The Roman church was very much an established church and had a very strong faith when Paul wrote his letter to them. Paul was writing to a church with an extreme amount of pride for who they were and the fact that they were a church at the capital of the Empire, plus it was also famous for it’s faith and the growth it experienced considering where they were located. This was the only major church established without apostle authority.

Paul was famous also in his own day as chief evangelist, and yet he was the least of the apostles. With Paul’s reputation, his presents was sought by every church. The Roman church saw themselves as the crown jewel of churches and very much worthy of honor specially worthy of Paul’s attention. There was friction between the two of them.

The first three years of Paul’s missionary pursuit took him from Damascus to Arabia, then back to Damascus then to Jerusalem then to Tarsus which was his home base for the next six years. Barnabas invited Paul to Antioch (Syria) for the next five years. Then he began his missionary journey, the first was to Asia Minor for two years where Paul began his writings with Galatians. Sometime after the Jerusalem Council, Paul heads out on his second trip through Asia Minor and into Greece for two years. He then writes Thessalonians and then he heads back to Syria. Paul’s third journey takes him back to Asia Minor and while in Ephesus he writes Corinthians and while Paul is in Corinth he writes Romans. Paul returns to Jerusalem where he is arrested and sent to Rome and while in prison he writes four more letters. Then he is freed, Paul returns to Greece where he writes 1 Timothy and Titus. Paul then writes 1 Timothy. In AD 68 Paul dies.


May 28 2017

Read: Acts 1: 1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1: 15-23 Luke 24: 44-53

The ascension of Christ, the risen Jesus departs into heaven after his final appearance to his disciples.

Acts describes the ascension. The disciples are called to live obediently and faithful lives, they are called to witness, they are disciples of Christ.

In Luke we find a shorter version of the ascension. In these scriptures we have an understanding of the Messiah and his destiny, we are to witness of these things, and we are to worship.

In Ephesians the connection between the ascended Christ and the church as a body in Christ already found in 1 Corinthians, changes so that the church itself is the body of Christ. This grounds the church in the power of God.

In Psalms we see the festival of Ascension, but its not about the body of Jesus into heaven. It’s a celebration of Jesus ascending to the throne. It is also a celebration of Jesus’ presence in the church

May the peace of Jesus Christ be with you.