Hey Church – How has Your 75 day journey been going so far?
We left off in Acts chapter 7, and hopefully, you have been taking ownership of this journey, and you were able to relish in the incredible history of the global church that is the book of Acts.
We are now into the first chapter of the book of Romans! So if you are behind, I encourage you to catch up. Take some time tonight before kicking into romans to read anything you missed.
Alright now into Romans.
This incredible book is actually a letter. The writer is Paul who we have seen have this incredible transformation in the book of Acts and we leave off with this 30 For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense. He welcomed all who visited him, 31 boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him.
Now we see Paul addressing this church which he is so invested in.
Todays devotion comes from Jonny Pragashpathy, and he addresses what is admittedly, a hard topic. Wrath.
Hey guys, the passage that well be focusing on is from verses 18-31 which is headlined as God’s Wrath Against Mankind. Within this passage we can find one of the biblical arguments regarding different sexual relationships, idolatry towards materialistic things, and even beliefs that revolve around mythology.
As encouraging and challenging as Paul is as he writes to the churches, he is quite brutal over here. In chapter one, Paul is super thankful for the believers and their work for the Kingdom; he also goes on to say that there are no differences between the Jew and the Greek. This sets up Paul’s target for the rest of the book; as much as he is addressing a church,, he is speaking on a global level. We start to see this later on in chapter 2; where God’s wrath is not just for the roman church, but for everyone in the world and is prophetic in the way that people today act just as they did back in the early church.
A key word in this chapter is “truth” which leads to God’s reality and goodness. We get this from reading verses 19 and 20; since the beginning of creation everything was made clear to them, God’s invisible and eternal power and divine nature was made visible to them. In terms of timeline, this book is written after the Gospels, and Paul has interacted with Jesus already, so this “visible manifestation of God” also includes Jesus who is God in the flesh. Since this is talking about creation and onwards, it is safe to say that the main addressees of this passage are Jews. Paul is retelling different instances when they decided to exchange God for idols and other sins (trading the truth for lies). Like the time when Moses was leading the people out of Egypt into the Promised Land, until the rescued victims who were praising God decided to turn away from Him and create gods of their own. Sure this talks about the Jews’ problem – but we aren’t exactly off that boat; as we could also turn away from God (let’s not start a Calvinism vs Arminianism debate on election).
We, as Christians, are covered by grace but that does not excuse us for sin, which in fact leads us to death and severe punishment. My friends, we don’t deserve grace; actually, we don’t deserve anything aside from death. Now I’m not here to shame those of us who struggle with leading a life worthy of the cross; we all have that struggle in one way or another. Paul’s recap of the world’s social evolution of sinful living simply warns us that we need to avert our gaze and lifestyles from godlessness. In the heat of the moment of sin we temporarily exchange the truth of God’s goodness and satisfaction, for the malicious and deceitful illusion of joy that sin provides. We need to recognize these sins and deal with them prayerfully and in community.
Verses 26 onwards paints a really dark picture for people; 28-31 especially makes us look like absolute villains who need to be executed. “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness”, Paul could pretty much say that they were filled with the Devil…thankfully through the Holy Spirit, we are renewed, transformed, and every time something bad tries to come in; there’s a little joust; however, if we keep allowing sin into our lives, we actually end up strengthening the Devil and increases the risk of us losing the joust. So yes, Paul warns us in a very serious tone so let’s heed his advice.
Finally, verse 32 is pretty clear on how we should approach our brothers who struggle with sin. It’s okay to struggle, but don’t you dare say that sin is justifiable and acceptable. There’s a massive difference between saying it’s okay to fight this war and saying it’s okay to get killed; sure we may lose often, but that doesn’t make it right – in fact it’s extremely wrong. So let’s fight with all we got, and don’t compromise or think that it’s alright to sin.
Father we thank you for your word and the warnings you give us about the world we live in; Lord we know that a big battle is approaching and that You will equip us well to tackle it. Let us all stand together with you and conquer the sin in our lives; may all the glory go to You. Amen.