Romans chapter 1 is found in the book of Romans in the Bible. It was written by Paul and is actually a letter to the church in Rome.
Paul lays out the Gospel throughout the entire book, but to fully explain the good news, he has to deliver the bad. When you take on reading Romans, you should understand that Paul is wants the readers to recognize their own sin first. It is only by this admission that a person can come to realize their need for Christ’s gift of salvation. It is for this reason I encourage you to stick with it through chapter 3.
Paul’s desire to visit Rome
Throughout his ministry, Paul deeply desired to visit the church in Rome (Romans 1:9-12). He spends a few paragraphs detailing this wish, and how God’s calling has continually led him away from Rome. The ironic thing is that once Paul finally made it to Rome, it ended up being where he was killed.
The Case for Christianity
Paul then proceeds throughout the rest of the chapter to line out the case for Christianity. He challenges the thought of many early converts who felt that salvation was only for the Jews, station that it was also for Greek (Paul uses the term Greek meaning gentile in this chapter).
Many of the gentiles (non-Jews) felt like they should be exempt from judgement because only the Jews had been given the law from God. It was the old ignorance of the law argument. Paul says this argument doesn’t hold water because God’s nature should be evident as he has made himself known to all (Romans 1:18-19). As a result of this knowledge, no one has an excuse for sin.
As gentiles slipped into idolatry, they denied God his glory and did not show any gratitude to him. This caused God to allow them to continue in their depravity and become ignorant. Thinking themselves to be wise, they became foolish and God turned them over to their cravings. They exchanged truth for a lie and ended up separated from God.
Controversial Opinion or Painful Truth?
Verses 26 and 27 are among some of the most controversial written. In them, Paul condemns homosexuality, claiming women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, and men did as well (Romans 1:26-27). If you want to stop reading here, I promise you Paul doesn’t end here. If you are against homosexuality, don’t be so quick to use these verses unless you continue reading through the next two chapters.
If you are pro-homosexuality, know that there is no translation of these passages in which Paul could mean anything here other than homosexuality. Is homosexuality a sin? Yes. But it is one of many sins, and many people sitting in church pews every week have a host of sins they commit, all of which separate them from God.
This passage is more about people failing to recognize God and give Him the proper glory and honor He deserves. Paul also mentions a host of other sins: evil, greed, wickedness, envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. Also listed are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful (Romans 1:29-31).
Good News or Bad News?
While this chapter does seem to deliver some bad news at the end, Paul’s main objective here is to outline that there is good news for people no matter whether they have committed these sins, or any of the other sins against God.
Join me again for Romans Chapter 2, where you will see Paul has more bad news to deliver, but not to who you think…
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