June 4, 2012 – Devotion Sharing (Romans 1)

Submitted by Conrad C. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Romans 1:1-3:20

What is the main topic is being addressed here?   Summarize this section in a few sentences. 

Apostle Paul is writing to the a newly birthed church in Rome.  The gospel has reached this Gentile territory before he is able to have gone there himself.  And of course, being Rome, it’s the most significant city in the entire Roman Empire, being both the seat of government, power and influence.  And so, in the first three chapters, Apostle Paul’s main purpose is to address the foundations of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Perhaps confirming what they might already know, or providing guidance and corrective, his letter is intended to set a canon of record for understanding how the “righteousness of God” (which later is revealed is Jesus) fits into the framework of man’s history and spiritual predicament.  I think it’s quite significant that immediately after mentioning the gospel being “ a righteousness of God … revealed,” the apostle launches into a three chapter treatment of man’s sin, its effects, and God’s due wrath in response.  Certainly, before talking about the wonders and glories of the good news of salvation in Jesus, Apostle Paul is making clear that we need to know what we are being saved from.  In order to appreciate the light, he will go into great lengths to describe the shadowy darkness from which it shines.

It’s a statement of the goods news springing out of the “bad news” of mankind, of which, I personally know is far more uncomfortable to consider than the former.  Apostle Paul, in his description of man’s state apart from God, begins with man’s brokenness, first at the most natural level, his sexuality, all the way to his “depraved mind.”  Sin not only has broken us physically but to our very intentions, desires, and will.  His sweeping coverage of the depth of man’s sin is not just against God, but to one another, for even commonest things like deceit and malice are included.  And if Apostle Paul’s list of offenses before God wasn’t enough, man is proud and bold in his sin: “they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

Lastly, Apostle Paul speaks specifically about the Jewish view of righteousness–namely through birthright and circumcision.  Knowing the law is worthless if it is not obeyed, and the further challenges us to ask whether we have done wrong: “You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?”  In other words, for Apostle Paul to establish the universal applicability of Christ’s salvation, he has to show that even the best of religious effort fall short because in the end, we still sin and are still identified as sinner through the judgment of the law (the divine standard in legal metaphor).  In other words, it doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been at church, or even how well you know God’s word.  Before God, we are all sinners.  And it’s not something that I believe just because God thinks so.  Apostle Paul is saying it should be easy for me to arrive at that same deep conviction through a plain, honest examination of my own life and behavior.

Submitted by Rosalin K. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Romans 1:1-3:20

What is the main topic is being addressed here?   Summarize this section in a few sentences.

In Romans 1:1-3:20, Apostle Paul addresses the Jews in Rome about God’s wrath as a consequence of their sinful desires and reminds them to be righteous before God as they understand the law in their heart and mind rather than merely observing the law. Apostle Paul is first making it clear to them his own identity as a servant of Christ and the reason why he is writing this letter to them, which is to “impart spiritual gift” to them to make them strong in their belief in Christ. Apostle Paul illustrates the impact of not giving thanks to God or glorifying God even though they had knowledge of God. The result of such attitude towards God is that they gave themselves into sexual immorality, shameful lusts, and depraved mind.  Apostle Paul then reminds them of God’s judgment and how their sinfulness will lead them to face the judgment according to their sins. And he also emphasizes the importance of being a Jew inwardly and not merely observing the laws, having understanding of the laws in their heart, and the Holy Spirit affecting their actions.

Every time I read Romans, especially Chapter 1, I am just amazed at how our sinfulness remain same whether we lived 2000 years ago or we live today. Basically when we sin, we ignore God and his words but give ourselves into the sinful desires such as sexual immorality, shameful lusts, and depraved minds (wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolence, arrogance, boasting, …). Sin happens when we simply ignore God in our lives but listen to our own thoughts and desires, which are often filled with what’s listed above. I can totally identify my sins with each sin listed above and that we live in the world where it is full of such sins. However, I am not hopeless or depressed about these sins because Apostle Paul clearly states how I can avoid living such sinful life; I need to know the Word of God and engrave them into my heart so that I am conscious of such sins and so I can actively resist such sins by resorting to God’s Word. The fact that I will face judgment and the reminder in how I need to become conscious of sin through knowing the law given by God gives me hope and motivation to actively fight against the sinful desires within myself.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Response