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Table of contents

For it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes : This is why Paul is not ashamed of a gospel centered on a crucified Savior. He knows that the gospel — the good news of Jesus Christ — has inherent power.

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We do not give it power, we only stop hindering the power of the gospel when we present it effectively. The gospel is certainly news , but it is more than information; it has an inherent power.

It is power. It lifts them up. Despite all their power, the Romans — like all men — were powerless to make themselves righteous before God. Philosophers knew that man was sick and needed help. God will not withhold salvation from the one who believes ; but believing is the only requirement. For the Jew first and also for the Greek : This is the pattern of the spread of the gospel, demonstrated both by the ministry of Jesus Matthew and the initial ministry of the disciples Matthew This means that the gospel was meant to go first to the ethnic and cultural Jew , and then to the cultural Greek.

It did not mean a native of the country of Greece… [a Greek] was one who knew the culture and the mind of Greece. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed : Simply, the gospel reveals the righteousness of God. It is essential to understand exactly what the righteousness of God revealed by the gospel is.

It does not speak of the holy righteousness of God that condemns the guilty sinner, but of the God-kind of righteousness that is given to the sinner who puts their trust in Jesus Christ. If God justifies a sinner, it does not mean that he finds reasons to prove that he was right — far from it.

It does not even mean, at this point, that he makes the sinner a good man.

It means that God treats the sinner as if he had not been a sinner at all. This declaration is even greater when we understand that this is the righteousness of God given to the believer. It is not the righteousness of even the most holy man , nor is it the righteousness of innocent Adam in Eden. This faith trust in Jesus Christ becomes the basis of life for those who are justified declared righteous ; truly, the just shall live by faith.

They are not only saved by faith, but they live by faith. The same attitude must govern him in his continuing experience as a child of God. The wrath of God : We sometimes object to the idea of the wrath of God because we equate it with human anger, which is motivated by selfish personal reasons or by a desire for revenge.

Liberating Spiritual Realities

We must not forget that the wrath of God is completely righteous in character. In Romans , Paul spoke of salvation — but what are we saved from? First and foremost we are saved from the wrath of God that we righteously deserve. The wrath of God is not revealed in the gospel, but in the facts of human experience.

Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man; and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Unrighteousness refers to the sins of man against man. Who suppress the truth in unrighteousness : Mankind does in fact suppress the truth of God. Every truth revealed to man by God has been fought against, disregarded, and deliberately obscured.

Approved unto God with Facing Reality

His invisible attributes are clearly seen : God shows us something of His eternal power and divine nature through creation, by the things that are made. He has given a general revelation that is obvious both in creation and within the mind and heart of man. Clearly seen : The universal character of this revelation and the clarity of it leave man without excuse for rejecting it.

Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God : The problem is not that man did not know God, but that he did know Him — yet refused to glorify Him as God. Therefore, mankind is without excuse. Instead of glorifying God we transformed our idea of Him into forms and images more comfortable to our corrupt and darkened hearts. Tragically, we inescapably become like the God we serve.

It is absolutely essential that we constantly compare our own conception of God against the reality of who God is as revealed in His Word.


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We can also be guilty of worshipping a self-made God. Image in Romans is the ancient Greek word eikon. It is a dangerous thing to change the glory of the incorruptible God into an eikon image of your own choosing. A godly preacher, finding that all that there was for dinner was a potato and a herring, thanked God that he had ransacked sea and land to find food for his children. Such a sweet spirit breeds love to everybody, and makes a man go through the world cheerfully. Instead, it makes mankind futile in their thoughts , and makes our foolish hearts darkened — and we become fools.

The fact is once a man rejects the truth of God in Jesus, he will fall for anything foolish, and trust far more feeble and fanciful systems than what he rejects from God. Part of His judgment against us is allowing us to suffer the damage our sinful course leads to. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.

For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Therefore God also gave them up : In His righteous wrath and judgment, God gives man up to the sin our evil hearts desire, allowing us to experience the self-destructive result of sin. This phrase is so important Paul repeats it three times in this passage.


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It is actually His wrath that allows us to go on destroying ourselves with sin. Who exchanged the truth of God for the lie : In every rebellion and disobedience against God we exchange the truth of God for the lie of our own choosing, and set the creature before the Creator. Paul uses the definite article — it is not a lie , but the lie. The lie is essentially idolatry — which puts us in the place of God. It says in verse 10 of Acts 17, "And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea who coming there went into the synagogue of the Jews.

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind. Boy, here are some open minds. They want to know. And their minds are open. Therefore many of them believed. I believe they were true Old Testament saints. I believe they knew God under the terms of The Old Testament and now their hearts were cracked wide open when the gospel came in their openness to receive and they searched diligently. By the way, the term for search is a judicial term meaning an investigation. They really got into it and investigated to see if it was true.

Listen, you need to be diligent in your Bible study. So that you can rightly divide it. Oh, that word approved is a great word — dokimos , dokimos , proven, tested, shown to be of high quality, a high-quality Christian, an approved Christian, who has no flaws for which he will be ashamed, as one who is diligent to study the Word of God, to cut it straight. There was no super goat, so you had to cut little goats and fit them together, see?

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And so you must deal with the Word of God, cutting every portion straight and then fitting the whole together. And that takes work. As I told you before, G. In 1 Timothy chapter 5, the Bible indicates this as it writes about elders. Secondly, you must be diligent.

Thirdly, and maybe this should even be the apex of our thoughts, you must have a great desire. In fact, nothing ever happens by accident. Certainly not becoming a good Bible student.

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First Peter You can do anything you want around the house.