Righteousness from God (1:16–17)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
What is the letter to the Romans all about? The Apostle Paul, in the letter to the Romans, was writing about how sinful human beings can get into right relationship with a perfect and just God. When we look deeply into our own hearts we may find selfishness, pride and rebellion there. It may be difficult to imagine what we must do to bridge the gap between man and God. The “good news” is that we can never do what God has already done by allowing his Son to be crucified on the cross providing a way for sins humanity and mankind to be forgiven. The righteousness of God Paul refers to is God’s liberating grace. A free gift that cannot be earned through works and good deeds. The good news preached by Paul is that righteousness from God – acceptance and right standing is freely offered to all sinners in response to …by faith. All God asks is that people turn away from their sins and turn to him in heartfelt faith.
God Reveals His Wrath
The Unrighteousness of All People (1:18-32)
Wrath is an attribute of God. He detests unrighteousness. There are many references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God. Wrath is defined as rebellion against God’s authority. God’s displeasure and indignation against evil. God is not malicious nor vindictive.
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them” (vs 18-19).
Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen by the things he made so that people are without excuse. For Although they knew God, they didn’t glorify him as God nor gave thanks to him, because their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles (v. 20-23).
So God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie,and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator (v. 24-25).
God gave them over to shameful lusts. Their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, in the same way the men abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. They committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error (v. 26-27).
They did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They became filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (v. 29-32). Sounds much like the world we live in today.
God Judges Sin
God must act justly and judge sin, otherwise God would not be God. Two things are presented here with respect to God; his judgment against evil; and his mercy, patience, and long-suffering with regard to the evil-doer, and his goodness inviting him to repentance. The one who continues in evil deceives himself by trying to forget the sure judgment of God and by despising God’s goodness.
God judges things according to their true moral character, and according to the advantages which the guilty one had enjoyed. Human beings have chosen to rebel against God, rejecting his sovereignty, refusing his love, ignoring his goodness. Judgement is the consequence of humanity’s rejection of God.
The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters! Romans 8:19 The Passion Translation (TPT)
When I read of God in the Old and New Testament I often wonder today are we serving the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets. The God of Moses, Joshua, and Deborah. The God of Peter, John and Paul. The writings of many of the prophets follows a pattern of judgment of unrighteousness and sin followed by the restoration of God’s chosen people of His love and mercy.
Righteouness and peace are interdependent. The effects of righteousness results in peace, quietness, and trust forever (Psa. 85:10, Isa 32:17). Amidst all of the chaos and shaking taking place today the Lord God is moving to restore righteousness and justice in the land. Righteousness rains down from the heavens. The clouds shower it down (Isa. 45:8).
God is love. He hates sin. A holy God cannot be true to himself and tolerate evil in his creation. He would not be God if he did not hate sin.
Love is essential to His nature. He is faithful and just to forgive our sins. He is long suffering wishing that none show perish. James 4:16 says, mercy triumphs over judgement.
May the grace, joy, and peace of God be yours through Jesus Christ our loving Lord. To Him be glory, now and forever.
Note: All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.