Why a Study in Romans?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.'”
Why would we be looking at the book of Romans on a Prophecy site like Rapture Ready?
Some may think this weird. The book of Romans is one of the doctrinal books that I love to study as it covers a lot of topics that we should take note of. In Matthew 24 when the disciples asked Jesus what would be the sign of the end, He reminded them multiple times not to be deceived. In Matthew 24:4-5, 11, 23-25, Jesus is careful to mention that deception will be the thing to really be worried about as we get closer and closer to the end.
Right here in the first chapter, Paul confronts us with the ‘will of God.’ Verse 15 tells us that Paul wanted to come to them in Rome often, but was hindered. But he was ready to preach the Gospel. All of us men, especially men who are in the ministry, have plans and dreams. Pastors, missionaries and leaders all have dreams and desires, but we are to temper everything with the ‘will of God.’ He must lead, and we must never get out ahead and expect God to play ‘catch-up.’ He won’t, and you and I will lose.
Paul learned early in his ministry to listen to God as the Holy Spirit led. In Acts 16:8-10, we see this encounter that Paul had. “So, they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night, Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and pleading with him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ As soon as Paul had seen the vision, we got ready to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”
Paul had not intended to go to Macedonia, but he listened to the will of God and went there immediately. Waiting on God can be hard; it can seem as if you are wasting time and not getting the job done. But deception and haste go hand in hand; you do not take the time to discern the right way; you just plow ahead. Remember this: just because you are busy does not mean you are doing God’s work.
In Romans 1:18-32 Paul lays out for us what happens when a society, people decide that the creation and not the Creator is to be worshiped. What follows is the growth of sexual sins, the hatred for God, the disregard for right and wrong, and the removal of any shame at all when indulging in the grossest of sexual sins. In Romans 1:32 we see this verse: “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.”
There is no more shame to overt sexual sin; to the contrary, it is promoted and approved by the powers that be, including both the government and church trickling down to society. And now we have openly gay and lesbian couples everywhere. We have pedophilia being pushed like a normal sexual desire because, like homosexuals, they are ‘born this way.’ Then it is not long until now we have elevated the creation to the point that we are our own gods, deciding that God made us wrong. God made a mistake and we know better.
We have children ruling their parents, and broken homes, failed marriages and busted lives. But we know better than God; He is wrong about everything and, in fact, He really does not exist. Only idiots, even well-educated scholars (educated idiots) believe in God, in right and wrong and in standards. And, if you opposed them, you are a hater, intolerant and divisive. Everybody is wrong except me, of course. And, if you think I am wrong, then you are a bad person. Paul would not have tolerated these fools for very long.
In Romans 3 we have the sinfulness of man. We are not okay; none of us are. We are rotten to the core (Romans 3:10). In chapter 4 we are saved by faith, just like Abraham who believed God (Romans 4:16-22), and it was accounted to him for righteousness. We are saved the same way; by faith, we believe God (Romans 10:9-10). In Romans 5 we are justified; in Romans 6-7 we find the battle between the flesh and the Holy Spirit living in us. In chapter 8 we have security in Jesus.
In chapter 9-11 we see God’s plan for Israel. In chapter 12 the transformation of our old man into the image of Jesus. We are called not to live as hypocrites. This is one of the biggest complaints against the Lord’s churches and people today. We are hypocrites; we say one thing and do another. We are double-minded, torn between the flesh and the Spirit. We are also not real about our faults; we make ourselves out to be more than we are.
We are just sinners saved by grace. We struggle with the flesh; and as such, we need to have rules in place to minimize temptation. Men should not be in rooms alone with women who are not their wives or daughters. Be careful what we watch, what we listen too, what we say and to whom and how we say it. Think before speaking; think the best of others until the worst is proven, and be ready and willing to forgive to the point the world thinks we are insane.
In chapter 13 we learn about civil responsibilities to our governments. Our Prime Minister in Canada, Barbados (where I was born), the President in the US, the PM in The United Kingdom, and on and on we can go, are put there by God. Some are good leaders and some are not so good. We learn that the police are there for our protection. God’s people should not be part of insurrections. But we should also avail ourselves of all the legal freedoms that we have. Paul did. Acts 25:8-12,
“But Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favour, answered Paul and said, ‘Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and there be judged before me concerning these things?’ So Paul said, ‘I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know. For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.’ Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, ‘You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!'”
Even though Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin and a Jew, he was born a Roman and was a citizen. As such, when arrested he had the right to appeal his case all the way to Caesar. He took advantage of all of his legal freedoms under the law of Rome. Modern Christians have done the same thing lately, taking cases all the way to the SCOTUS, the modern version of Caesar, to get justice. There is nothing wrong with that. In chapter 14 we explore the laws of Liberty and Love, and we find that there must be a balance between personal freedoms and our love for others, especially weaker brothers and sisters in the faith. In chapter 15 we learn to bear each other`s burdens and seek to glorify God together in all things. Then we have Paul greeting the people in Rome and commending others.
The Book of Romans covers every aspect of the Christian walk; from the realization that we are rotten sinners to the Holy Spirit changing us to be servants, simply living to glorify God in all aspects. The book of Romans is raw and at times polished. It does not pull punches either when speaking to the individual or the collective. It confronts sin and promotes grace. It warns the unrepentant sinner of God`s wrath and offers the humbled sinner God`s security and God`s love. Romans empowers us to deal with deception; it gives us clear teachings that provide us with simple and clear understandings of the truth, thus equipping us to recognize lies and deceptions.
Lastly, chapters 9-11 help us to be prepared for the lies about Israel and that very common belief, even amongst supposed conservative Bible teachers, that God has replaced Israel with the local church and He has finished his work with Israel. They say this even when we have the revived Israel right in our midst. There are none so blind as those that refuse to see.
Deception is killing the modern church; too many want to be culturally relevant and not Biblically right. Too many want to appeal to the masses and not glorify God. Too many use the Bible as a springboard to whatever the current flavor is and refuse to do expository and exegetical teaching that makes them ask who is speaking, why are they speaking, to whom are they speaking, when are they speaking, and what did they say? They do not understand that the Bible, though it can be applied to 2020, must be interpreted as it was intended in 2500 BC or 40 AD or 90-AD and then applied here.
We need Romans in these last days; it is truth, it is blunt, and it is eye-opening. It offers us a gauge to measure things we hear and see against its clarity. This will be a deliberate journey that I pray the Lord will open our eyes and hearts to.
Let us finish with the very verses we began with. We do not need to water down the Gospel, we do not need to temper its message, we do not need to alter the message in any way, shape, or form; it is the ONLY hope for ALL mankind. Paul was beholden to the Law of Moses for a large part of his life. He lived it and breathed it. But when he found the Gospel, rather when the Gospel found him on the Damascus road, he let the Law go. He applied the same zeal to the Gospel of peace that he gave to the Law of sin and death.
We should not be ashamed of the truth, even an unpopular truth like the Gospel.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’ This one truth will help us to weed out a lot of deception in the last days. It will help you to find out where people stand very quickly and very clearly. It is like a tuning fork that will help you to hear when others are out of tune with God’s Holy Word.
See you along the Roman road in the weeks to come.
God bless you,
Pastor Sean Gooding
Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church