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Tag Archives: Apostle Paul

Romans 1.21

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Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

What has led to unrighteousness in the world? Why is the world so wicked? Why does the world ignore the truth of Jesus Christ?

Paul gives four clear reasons for this state of affairs in this verse.

1) They did not glorify God
2) They were not grateful and thankful to God
3) They became vain in their imaginations
4) Their foolish hearts were made dark

I believe this is an utterly comprehensive list. If you want to know why a community or a nation is unrighteous and wicked, it is that they did not glorify God, were not grateful to God, had vain imaginations, and their foolish hearts were dark.

Let’s make it more personal: if you feel far from God, if you feel like you are running on empty, feel confused, unable to deal with sin and conquer it, then I guarantee 4 things:

1. You are not glorifying God
2. You are not being thankful to God
3. Your imagination is out of control
4. Your heart is dark

Or let’s turn it around and make it applicable to you as a Christian who I would assume wants to have a dynamic excitiing relationship with God:

If you:

1. Glorify God
2. Thank God
3. Keep control of your imagination
4. Keep light in your heart

Then you: will always have a dynamic, intimate walk with God and have continual victory in every circumstance in life.

It is that simple. Let’s look at all four of these one by one and give a sentence or two on how to ensure they are active in your life. If you want a deeper study on these things, then I have a four part sermon series called “How Not To Be An Idiot” on our church website, if you click on the media tab, and this series covers each of these four points.

For the brief version, keep reading.

1. Glorify God. This is the Greek word doxa, which means to give weight to. Do you give weight to God? You do realize that God’s promises put on the scales with any of your problems will outweigh them a million times over? That Paul after being whipped, stoned, beaten and shipwrecked and continually persecuted – he called his problems “light”. Why? Because if you give God glory and weight in your life, you will be always praising, always dancing, always smiling. God is bigger than the problem!

2. Thank God. Many Christians spend their whole life thinking and dreaming about what they do not have. I dare you to thank God for everything you do have. It will take longer than you can ever imagine. Gratefulness leads to faithfulness.

3. Keep control of your imagination. Imagine what life would be like if God’s Word was true – NEVER imagine your future without God’s promises. Never imagine yourself sick, dying young, broke, in broken relationships. Imagine yourself healthy, happy, rich, flowing in the Holy Spirit with love and mercy, fulfilling your destiny.

4. Keep light in your heart. In other words, keep in the Word – there is light in the Word. Keep meditating God’s Word.

If you do those four things you will live in assured victory every single day.

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Kids’ Author says Jesus is not God (http://www.christian.org.uk/news/20090908/kid%E2%80%99s-author-says-jesus-is-not-god/)

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Kids’ author says
Jesus is not God

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

An atheist children’s author is to use his latest book to say that Jesus was not God, instead claiming the Apostle Paul imagined the idea.

In a new book entitled The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, Philip Pullman says the idea of Jesus being God came from the “fervid imagination” of Paul.

Mr Pullman is a strident atheist who has said his books aim at “killing God”.

Critics have described his work as “proselytising”.

Commenting before the launch of the new book Mr Pullman said: “For every man or woman who has been led to goodness by a church, and I know there have been many, there has been another who has been inspired by the same church to a rancid and fanatical bigotry for which the only fitting word is evil.”

Mr Pullman described Paul as, “a literary and imaginative genius, who has had more influence on the world than anybody else, including Jesus. He had this great ability to persuade others and his rhetorical skills have been convincing people for 2,000 years”.

He adds: “By the time the Gospels were written down, Paul had already begun to transform the story of Jesus into something altogether different and extraordinary.”

The new book is due to be published around Easter next year.

In 2007, the first of three planned series of film adaptations of Mr Pullman’s novels was released.

The first film sparked considerable controversy and after low box office ratings, plans for a sequel were dropped.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said Philip Pullman’s books are among his favourites.

Dr Rowan Williams, said he liked Mr Pullman’s work because he took the church “seriously” at a time when it appeared to be “drifting out” of mainstream intellectual debate.

The Association of Christian Teachers’ Chief Executive, Rupert Kaye said of the trilogy: “My key concern is that many young people (and adults) who read Philip Pullman’s trilogy will be left with an extremely distorted understanding of what Christians actually believe and what the Bible really says about the person of God.”

Tony Watkins, an evangelical media commentator said: “The trouble is, he blurs the line between fantasy and reality by giving interviews and talking about the Republic of Heaven in the world.

“And because he’s got all of this anti-God rhetoric in the real world that is even stronger than what’s in the book, I think he can’t get away with saying, ‘It’s just a story and you can read into it whatever you like.’ Because he does understand what he’s saying.”

Columnist Melanie McDonagh warned about His Dark Materials, a trilogy written by Pullman, saying it was “actually setting up a parody of Christianity as a thing itself.

“Now, that’s fair enough as Mr Philip Pullman’s own belief but I think it is something that readers should be alerted to because it is a proselytising agenda,” she added.

Romans 1.8

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First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

If you were asked right now to pray for your church or to pray for another church or Christian that you know, what would be your opening sentence? What would you start with?

If you are like most Christians I hear pray for churches and for Christians you would first ask for something for them. You would go “God, please help Brother X in ….”, or “Lord, send revival to our church, send your Spirit…”

Now I hope that most of you reading this are enough of a faith bunch never to ask God for something you already have (e.g. health, joy, the Holy Spirit) and I reckon most of you are sensible enough not to ask God for something that He told you to do (“give us 100 converts, Lord” when we don’t witness, evangelise or follow up!), but I still reckon most faith Christians start their prayer times for others with asking.

Paul did not. Paul said this:

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all

I have a sermon on thanksgiving on my website which I think everyone should listen to because I think thanksgiving is so crucial to a successful faith life. But look at this: before asking God for anything for the Romans, Paul thanked God for them.

I dare you for everyone you pray for this week to thank God for them first and spend more time thanking God for them than asking for stuff for them. I bet they end up with more stuff than if you had just asked for stuff for them.

And why did Paul thank God for them?

that [their] faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

You might say that the people you are praying for do not have their faith spoken of throughout the world, but why not thank God for something that they do have and then pray for their faith to be spoken of throughout the whole world.

If you cannot find something to thank God for with someone or with a church, you have a problem.

D L Moody made it his business to thank everyone he met or compliment them for some reason. He was determined to see and highlight and enhance the good in people.

One evening he was on a train and a smelly, dirty, drunk was tripping over himself moving from carriage to carriage putting a bottle of whiskey under everyone’s noses and telling them to drink it. When they refused, he yelled at them for not taking it.

People started watching Moody to see if he could find good in this man. When the man pushed the bottle of whiskey in Moody’s face and snarled at him to drink it, Moody said to him gently:

You must be such a generous hearted man, you clearly love whiskey and you clearly have little else, but you are so willing to share it, that is an admirable thing.

The man stopped shouting, sat down and spent the rest of the journey listening to Moody share the gospel.

If you can thank someone in a prayer or in a personal way, you will succeed with that person in a way that asking and telling never will.

If there is someone you are struggling with, or someone you love and are praying for, or if you are just generally praying for your church:

First of all, give thanks.

Romans 1.1

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Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

I am going to daily post a sequential verse of Romans and make commentary on it.  I hope you enjoy.  Please feel free to make comments as per the blog system, regards.

The gospel is the Greek word euaggelion which means good news or happy news. There is no Hebrew equivalent because the Old Testament does not bring good news, only the news that Jesus Christ has completely paid the price for your sin, that you are not under law but under grace, that you are completely free from sin, sickness and poverty is good news.

Paul was separated to the gospel. What are you separated unto? Paul was utterly devoted to the gospel – anything that got in the way of the gospel Paul just did not pay attention to. Think about that – if anything in your life does not increase the gospel in your life: does not increase the amount of good news that is in your heart, then just ignore it. Turn that TV programme off, distance yourself from that person, and throw that religious book in the bin. If it is not making you glad, what is your fascination with it?

Get separated unto the gospel. Whatever it takes get it. Because what you are separated to, what you fill your heart with will produce in your life. You are what you think, so think the gospel.

Glory and freedom,

Benjamin

Run Through Romans (4.9-13)

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This is some beautiful teaching here from the apostle of grace, Paul:

9Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

Paul is taking here about the blessedness of not having your sin held against you.  As I said in the last post, the is the most remarkable blessing.  Because of what Jesus did on the cross in becoming your sin, if you put your faith in him then you will never have your sin held against you.  God will treat you as if you never sinned.  I have heard people say it like this: justified means just-if-i’d never sinned, and that is 100% correct.  If you have your faith in Jesus, you can relate to God as if you never sinned.

Now Paul is asking the question: does a person have to be circumcised to have this blessing?  Some people, often called the Judaizers by scholars, were visiting the new churches that Paul was planting and telling people that they could never be right with God, never enter heaven and never enjoy heaven on earth until they were circumcised.

Now I have never in the 21st century heard someone make such a claim: that unless someone is circumcised that they cannot enter heaven when they die or enjoy heaven on earth.  However, I have heard many equivalent claims and so have you.

How about: “if you quit going to this church you will never succeed on earth”.  Anyone heard that?  It is a lie.  You are righteous by faith and you will succeed on earth because of what Jesus has done.  I was in a church once where people were told they were going to hell because they were wearing sleeveless tops.

What about you have to speak in tongues to go to heaven?  What about you have to not have a certain amount of money?  You have to wear certain clothes to fit into the church?  You have to do certain things on a Sunday, or not do other things?  I remember back when I was a brand new Christian, I went into a B&Q with a friend to buy a screwdriver for a model I was building.  I was only about 17, and it was a Sunday after church.

We were walking in the store chatting away when my friend suddenly grabbed my shoulder and pulled me behind the shelving and into the next aisle.  I was a little shocked to say the least.  When I demanded an explanation, he told me that he had just seen a deacon from our church walking down the aisle we were in.  We were absolutely not allowed to let him see us in the shop!

Even my teenage mind was lightning fast to realize that for him to tell the pastor we were in the shop that he would have had a very obvious question to answer himself, so  I really wasn’t concerned!  But that is the attitude of very many churches.  The fact is that being right with God, being accepted has nothing to do with our actions.

There is actually in several churches a movement to go back to the “Hebrew” roots of the church.  People are dressing in Jewish clothes, celebrating the passover, and adopting Jewish customs and practices.  This is absolutely unnecessary and can be spiritually very dangerous.

If all you are doing is keeping a passover to examine the typology of Jesus and marvel at how the Lord accurately portrayed the death of Jesus to the Jewish people hundreds of years before it happened, then that is fine and may actually be beneficial.  But the second you start to judge people on the days they keep, the festivals they are involved in, the second you think that these things contribute to your righteousness, you are stepping away from the truth of salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

10How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

Paul is pointing out that circumcision cannot possibly be necessary to be righteous because Abraham was declared righteous BEFORE he was circumcised.  This principle is an excellent principle if you want to know if I have to do something to be accepted by God.  All you have to do any time someone says you have to do A, B or C before you are right with God is ask yourself if Abraham did it before he was declared righteous.  If the answer is no, then you do not need to do it before God declares you righteous.

I was in one church that said if you did not read your Bible EVERY DAY, God would not accept you.  In other words, your righteousness was not dependant on the complete work of Jesus but on your ability to read.

Ask yourself the question: did Abraham read his Bible every day before he was declared righteous.  The answer is an obvious no because there was no Bible in Abraham’s day.

The fact is this: Abraham was declared righteous before he was circumcised, hundreds of years before there was a Bible, hundreds of years before the first church service (yes! you don’t have to go to church to be right with God!), before he tithed, before he saw a manifestation of God’s goodness, before he did anything.  All he did was believe.  It is that simple.  We overcomplicate it, and there are always people who will tell you that you have to pray this long, fast this long, read the Bible this much and go to church this many times to be right with God.

It is the same error Paul is dealing with in Romans.  You do not have to do anything to be right with God.  It is only by faith alone in grace alone.

11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

Abraham’s circumcision only happened after he was declared righteous.  We like to put the cart before the horse.  We like to tell people: quit smoking and you will be right with God.  It’s nonsense – quitting smoking cannot make you right with God.  You will just smell a bit nicer and have a bit more money, but you won’t be righteous.

What we should tell people is: you are right with God.  They will then quit smoking.  They were only smoking because of fear and anxiety.  Now they know that they have peace with God and they are enjoying heaven on earth, they forget about the cigarettes.

(Obviously cigarettes is just an example, this works with every situation!)

12And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

And to be like Abraham it is not the outward thing you need to do to be like Abraham, but the inward thing.  You don’t need to look like Abraham, be circumcised like Abraham, but you need to believe like Abraham.

We still copy the externals of people not their heart.  We miss it by so much.  Years ago I loved Derek Prince more than any other Bible teacher.  I listened to him every day.  I started to try and be like him in the pulpit, I would lecture and adopt his mannerisms and his phrases.  I even bought myself a three piece suit because that is what he always wore.

Now I realize I should have followed his faith: the fact that he always simply accepted the Word of God over any tradition and any circumstance, the fact that he was a man of humility and integrity.  I should still preach like me (if you have ever heard me preach, I am not like him in the pulpit at all… well, not in style, I hope in substance I am like him), should still dress like me, and still be me.

If you have spiritual heroes, and there is not a problem with that, we were designed to have heroes, don’t emulate their external behaviours but emulate their faith and their spirit.

13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Abraham was told by God that he would inherit the world!  If you believe in Jesus, you are going to inherit the world.  Blessed are the meek, because they will inherit the earth.

If you realize that because of Jesus that you are going to inherit the earth, you are going to be promoted, you are going to prosper, you are going to be wealthy, and that your actions will not change your righteousness, that your sin is not and will never be held against you, then you will be a happy person!

Blessed are you forever,

Ben

Run Through Romans (chapter 2)

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If you have to sum up Romans 2 in one sentence it would be this: religious people are filled with unrighteousness. We operate in the misconception that religious acts and rituals make us better than everyone else. Let’s look at the text and examine it:

1Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

At the end of Romans 1 we find out that all nations have fallen to some degree or another into a spiral of unrighteousness, their minds becoming darker and darker.  The natural response of a religious person when they see the nations and their communities acting unrighteously is to judge them

Paul is saying here something very powerful: he is saying that religious people who judge the unrighteousness of others are just as unrighteous and do the same sinful acts.  Why do religious people judge others then?  They think that their religious acts and deeds make them righteous even though they have committed unrighteous acts.  Even though they have been selfish, ungrateful, they have lied, they have stolen, they have lusted after women and men in their hearts, they actually believe – and many people believe this today – that performing religious rituals makes them righteous!

We need to realize that righteous and unrighteous are legal terms.  We could replace them with innocent and guilty.  Do we honestly think that a man in a court of law who has brutally murdered a child could be found innocent because he has read a nice poem?  That because he goes to church every week he should be innocent?  No – we know that a court of law is not based on ritual but on actions.  Paul is saying that the court of heaven is the same: merely being religious and going to church and reading your Bible is not going to make you righteous.  If you have done unrighteous deeds, you are unrighteous, and God declared you guilty.  You will endure hell on earth and go to hell when you die, and religious can not and will not save you.

2But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.

3And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

Paul is saying that God judges fairly – according to truth.  You do not become God’s buddy because you read your chapter today and therefore God will let you off from your actions that have made you guilty.  God is not a corrupt judge but a pure, honest and truthful judge.  If you are guilty of breaking God’s law on even a single point, you are guilty.  You are unrighteous.  And a religious ritual cannot mean you can avoid God’s judgment. Let me say this unequivocally: there is NO religious ceremony that can make you innocent before God.  In fact, there is no action you can take, religious or otherwise, that can make you innocent before God.

4Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

I love reading Paul’s writings.  He is a man with such a passion for the Lord.  Paul is trying to make a logical argument.  This step of the argument involves Paul teaching us that religious ritual cannot make you righteous before God.  But two whole chapters before he introduces the solution, Paul cannot help but blurt out: “the answer is in the goodness of God.  That makes us change.”  It is wonderful to know that God, in His goodness, has provided a solution for man’s unrighteousness.  We shall examine that solution in Romans 4 and 5, but for now just know: the solution to the universal, inescapable unrighteousness of mankind is found in the goodness of God.

5But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

Even your rituals cannot save you if your heart is hard.

6Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

God is not judging you by your rituals or your religiosity but by your actions.  If you have committed one unrighteous act, you are unrighteous and you will be found unrighteous.

7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

8But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

9Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

10But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

11For there is no respect of persons with God.

God rewards good and punishes evil.  He does not play favourite.  Being Jewish will not make you righteous.  Going to church will not make you righteous.  Only consistent good actions will make the grade, and no-one has ever lived according to that standard – even religious people.

12For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

15Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

16In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

If you have never been told about God’s law, will God be fair in judging you according to it on the day of Judgment?  The answer is yes because God has put a law in your hearts and will judge you according to that.  Every time you do something you know in your heart is wrong, you are unrighteous and will be judged by God on judgment day and no amount of religious ritual will count for you.

God does not have a giant set of scales in heaven and He weighs all your good deeds against your bad deeds.  That is heresy.  Muslims believe that, some Christians believe that, but it is the exact opposite of the Biblical teaching.

One act of unrighteousness makes you unrighteous, and no amount of religius ritual can change that.

17Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,

18And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;

19And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,

20An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.

And those that have heard the law of God will be judged according to the law.  If you have the law of God and think it makes you better than other people, actually all you are admitting is that you had more knowledge of right and wrong than other people and yet you still acted wrong.

21Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?

22Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?

23Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?

24For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

In fact, doing religious acts while being unrighteous simply makes you a hypocrite.  You steal and then go to church.  You lust and then pray, you make idols and worship them and then worship God.  Not only that, but your hypocrisy blasphemes God’s name because everyone realizes that religious people are just as bad as anyone else.

25For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.

Here Paul is specifically dealing with circumcision and saying it is worthless if you have ever broken the law of God.  But his argument could apply to any religious ritual.  You understand if you are unrighteous, and you go to church, going to church is worth nothing.

Think about it: if someone picks up something you have dropped and is kind to you, that will mean something to you.  If you later find out that the person who was kind to you is a serial killer and worse, their act of kindness is meaningless to you.  It is the same when someone who lies or steals goes to church to worship God, it is meaningless.

26Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?

27And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?

28For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

29But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

I am not going to engage the question what is a real Jew because I want to run through Romans not crawl!  If you want to discuss that issue, leave a comment and we can do it there.  However, let me say this: Paul concludes this chapter by saying the single most important religious ceremony of the Jewish faith is of no value at all if you are unrighteous.

And we know from Romans 1 that every human is unrighteous.  Soon we will find out the solution of God, but like Paul does in Romans, we need to realize how precious that solution is.  The only way we can realize how great our salvation is, is to realize how great our unrighteousness is and how futile religion is at dealing with unrighteous.  Too many Christians have failed to realize that it is essential that we know that we by our actions are unrighteousness and that religion is no solution to the problem of unrighteousness.  Therefore their salvation is shallow and their lives are unfruitful.  So many Christians who love Romans 5 and Romans 8, but don’t know how Paul logically took the Romans to those chapters.  By going through the book like this, we are forced to follow Paul’s argument.  It will make us stronger Christians, and more effective witnesses.  It will also make us more peaceful and more joyous.

There will be many people on Judgment Day expecting their rituals, their rites, their religious acts to weigh against their bad deeds.  They are so wrong.  There are many people judging themselves against other people, saying they are so bad, but I am not so bad.  But Paul’s words are as true today as they have every been: you do the same things.

James says it like this: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2.10).

Imagine that: you break one law and you are unrighteous, as guilty as if you had broken them all.  That is the truth of the Bible.  God will judge you on Judgment Day and your punishment will be eternal hell unless you know the answer to the question: how can a man be made righteous.  Unless you realize that Romans 1-3 shows that conclusively there is none righteous no not one, then the righteousness that you will see in Romans 4-5 wil be meaningless to you.

In the next couple of studies we are going to examine this in detail.  You will not ever be able to say you do not know how to be made righteous.  And you will not ever be able to say you did not know how unrighteous you were.

Every blessing,

Ben

Run Through Romans (Intro)

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I want to work my way through some books of the Bible, just giving a brief overview of each chapter and any highlights. The church is suffering from a lack of knowledge from the Bible. We know a Scripture here and a Scripture there, but we need to be able to know the context of a Scripture and the context of a book so we can study to show ourselves approved of God.

I am going to start with the book of Romans for two reasons. One, it has been divided into chapters exceptionally well. You may or may not know that the Bible was only divided into chapters in the 12th century and the verses were only added in the 16th century. Sometimes the chapter divides are arbitrary and do not match the topics of the chapters. Sometimes they cut up a train of thought.

But in Romans for the most part, the chapter breaks match the content of the book well.

Secondly, Romans deals with what is in my opinion the most important question for mankind to know the answer to: how can a human be righteous? So many religions – and so many churches – give an answer to this question which is unbiblical, unpractical and will leave you in hell on earth and in hell when you die. Studying Romans will give us the Bible answer to the question.

So before we examine Romans 1, I want to just give you a little information about when, how and why the book was penned.

Paul, the apostle of Christ Jesus, wrote Romans about 57AD. Most scholars consider Paul was in Corinth when he wrote Romans (cf. Romans 15.25-26 where Paul says he is keen to visit Jerusalem and Acts 19.21 and 20.1-3 where Paul is going to visit Jerusalem. If these two visits are the same then Paul wrote Romans from Corinth).

Romans is a letter that Paul wrote to a church that he did not visit. Paul intended to visit and use the church as a base for taking missionary journeys west into Spain and beyond. To those ends Paul wanted the church to know the answer to the foundational question: how can a person be righteous. The church in Rome had Jewish and Gentile Christians and there was often conflict between them about how someone can be righteous. Some people were suggesting that there were different ways of being righteous for the Jew and the Gentile, and Paul is determined to show that there is only way to achieve righteousness.

The letter was taken to Rome by Phoebe. Just as an aside – Paul was more than happy to send possibly the most important letter every written in all of history via a woman. He was not the misogynist some people claim he was!

The book of Romans has changed the world. Without this book, the entire Protestant Reformation would never have happened. It is unlikely that the charismatic move would ever have happened. Luther said “it is the chief part of the New Testament”, and I agree with him. I hope as we run through this book giving you an overview of each chapter that it inspires you to study it for yourself and to learn how the just shall live by faith.

I shall put the overview of the 1st chapter live either this evening or tomorrow evening.

Every blessing,
Ben

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