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Romans 1.18

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For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

This is a very serious verse and one that needs considerable contemplation by all Christians. Let’s first of all define the phrase “wrath of God”. The Greek word is orge (pronounced or-gay) and it can mean violent emotions or it can mean punishment.

Most commentaries I read seem to lean towards defining orge in this verse as violent emotions. This goes back to the Calvinist idea that God is angry with the world. I even read one commentary that said that God hates sinners – that if you sin, God hates you until you repent.

I believe whole heartedly that this idea of “sinners in the hand of an angry God” is a false one. We are not sinners in the hands of an angry God, and we were never sinners in the hands of an angry God! We were sinners, but God was not angry. Now, as Christians, we are not sinners any more: we are righteous saints in the hands of a loving Father.

The preacher of “sinners in the hands of an angry God” first transcribed sermon was about how God will not save anyone who comes to Him in sincere faith, as God can do what He likes and God will only save who He wants to save! People in his church were so depressed by his preaching that some of them committed suicide, including his own uncle. He then said that it was God that made them kill themselves! If I thought that unless I was specially chosen by God there was no way I could be redeemed from sin, no matter how much I wanted to be, I think I would be suicidal too! It is utterly Biblically incorrect to say that we are sinners in the hands of an angry God, yet many Christians use this era of Christianity as their benchmark of living Christianity and ignore the book of Acts!

Let’s look at this topic of the wrath of God across the wider Biblical teaching of God and then let’s look at this within the context of Romans 1 and unpick what this verse means. I believe it means that the legal punishment of God is revealed, not God’s emotional anger.

Firstly, let me say that the Bible is clear that God is pure and righteous and holy. Godliness is about being pure and acting right and living holy. I am not for sin – sin is a killer: sin will keep you enslaved and take you places where death can attack and destroy you. However, the sin problem has been dealt with. Sin will never affect your relationship and intimacy with God.

You see when God created Adam and Eve and when they first sinned, God did not punish them. Pain in childbirth, having to work and sweat to make the world produce, difficulty in relationships, being dead spiritually and eventually dying physically were not placed on Adam and Eve by God – they were just the natural consequences of kicking God out of your life and your planet. God gave Adam and Eve planet Earth and they booted God out of it – no wonder the planet is in a mess! No wonder marriages are in a mess – they booted God out of marriage! No wonder child-rearing and producing a living are such hard work – they booted God out of these things!

God wasn’t punishing them, they were just dealing with the natural consequences of their actions. If you live a promiscuous lifestyle and catch a sexually transmitted disease, God didn’t put that on you – it is simply the natural consequence of you actions. If you eat 5000+ calories a day, and you have a heart attack – God didn’t do it. If you drink and drive and crash your car, God didn’t do it. If you sin and end up in hell because you never accepted the redemptive work of Christ at Calvary, God didn’t send you to hell – it is simply the consequence of your actions.

God found Adam and Eve and clothed them with the skin of an animal. God brought death into an animal, so that Adam and Eve could live. That is not the actions of someone who is “violently emotional and angry”. You don’t make a sacrifice for someone you hate.

Now, God continually showed love and affection to the human race. Cain murdered his brother and God marked him. The mark of Cain wasn’t judgment it was mercy: it said that you couldn’t punish Cain. It was protection. You don’t protect a murderer if you are violently emotional and angry.

However, people took the love and mercy of God and the goodness of God for granted. The world became more and more wicked, and people such as Lamech said essentially if Cain could murder and God still loved him, I will go and murder who I like. The goodness of God leads to repentance (Romans 2.4) but not if we take it for granted.

So God had to develop a system of laws. He had to wipe out everyone in a flood. But God did it as a discipline and a punishment for sin – not out of a temper. He is our Father – if a father disciplines and punishes a son, that is fine. If my son was rude or stole something, I would punish them in some appropriate way. But, if I did it out of violent anger (which I have on occasion lost my temper at my children and had to repent of it) then you would say that this was bad parenting. How much more is God a good Father?

He flooded the world because He was the judge of the world, not because He violently hated mankind. Someone in a violent emotional state would not have led Noah to build an ark and waited 100 years to discipline humanity, spending that time calling them to repent with a powerfully anointed preacher. Violently angry people do not wait 100 years pleading with people to change!

He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because He had to stop their wickedness spreading. Violently angry people don’t wait until people escape before destroying a city – God did.

You see this idea of God being violently angry and needing to be placated is actually a pagan idea, not a Christian one. The truth is that sin does need a punishment, a death, but God is the one providing the lamb that takes away the sin of the world, not the one looking for it. We are the ones looking for it, and we found it at Calvary – the love of God in a human, giving up His life for us. That is the nature of God.

God must punish sin. The wages of sin is death, and if you die in sin you will go to hell. Sin cannot enter heaven. God’s justice demands that sin is punished. But the love of God triumphs over sin through Calvary. Mercy has triumphed over justice.

This is what this verse is talking about, not a God in heaven looking at people enjoying getting them and blasting them and being violently angry at them. It is a God who knows that sin must be punished and needs to deal with that so that He doesn’t have to punish sin. God doesn’t want anyone going to hell, God doesn’t want anyone sick, anyone suffering, God loves people! Your ungodliness must be punished, your unrighteousness has to be punished! But Jesus was punished so you don’t have to be!

The context of Romans 1.18 is the gospel. The whole reason we need the good news of Jesus is the wrath of God. Not the capricious anger of God, but the punishment of God. God must punish every sin you have ever committed, every impure thought you have ever had. But far from being violently angry with you, God loves you so much that He gave up His only Son to die your death, to bear your iniquity, to take the punishment for your sin – so you could have eternal life, so you could be righteous and pure and so you could have a relationship with God! Selah!

You deserved hell, Jesus went there so you don’t have to. You deserved death, but you are going to live forever if you accept by faith that Jesus took your place. This is the good news. The wrath of God is what makes the good news good news. If there is no wrath of God, then the gospel is meaningless. If sin did not warrant death, then the gospel is useless.

But let that realization of a clear punishment for sin lead you to say that God is an angry God – He is a God who only has thoughts to prosper you not to harm you. Angry people cannot think like that. God is angry – but not at humans, He is angry at injustice, He is angry at ignorance, He is angry that the devil keeps tripping people up and lying to them and making them think that He hates them. He is angry at anything that stops you and Him enjoying fellowship and friendship. But He is not angry at you.

Look at Isaiah 54.7-8:

8In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
9For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.

God compares His never being wroth (angry) with us again like the promise that He will never flood the earth again. They are as important to Him. Every Christian knows that God will never flood the world again like He did. You need to know as well and as deeply in your spirit that God will NEVER be wroth with you. Ever.

Next time you see a rainbow, thank God that He is not and will never be angry with you. The wrath of God was entirely poured out on Jesus, the entire punishment for the sin of the world was laid entirely on Him.

That is good news!

Romans 1.15

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So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

I want to show you this verse in a couple of other translations before I dig into it:

So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the Good News. (NLT)

So, for my part, I am willing and eagerly ready to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome. (AMP)

Paul was eager to go to Rome to preach the wonderful, happy, good news. He was also ready to go.

If you read the KJV it says Paul was “ready”, if you read the NLT you find Paul was “eager”. The Amplified does what it does best and amplifies the word to “willing and eagerly ready”.

The word used here is the same word used by Jesus when He says the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. In fact, I think in Mark’s gospel it is translated “the spirit is ready” in the KJV.

Paul was willing and ready to preach the gospel. Are you?

I believe that Paul was willing because he was ready. Being ready makes you willing. No one is willing to do something they are not prepared to do.

I believe that because Paul knew the gospel so well, knew its wonderful power and wonderful benefits and knew he could preach and present it powerfully with signs and wonders following – that is why Paul was so eager and willing to preach. What you are prepared to do, you are enthusiastic to do.

If you start praying for boldness, start praying for open doors to preach the gospel, start studying the books of Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews (the three books Paul wrote explaining and defending and outlining the gospel) and start realizing what the wonderful news of our redemption actually is.

I guarantee that as you start getting ready to preach the gospel, you will start being willing. You will start getting excited to preach the gospel, start getting passionate about going and telling people in the street, in your work – even in your church (because not everyone in church knows!) – the good news.

Many people try and pray for willingness. “Oh God, give us a passion for souls.” “Oh God, make me love the lost…”

That is not a prayer God can or will ever answer. God is not going to give you emotional pain to motivate you to do something! That is not the nature of our Father. We are willing to do what we are ready to do.

If you want a passion for evangelism, get ready to evangelise! Study the gospel, study common objections and find Scriptures to counter those objections.

If you want a passion for worship, don’t beg God to force you to worship Him – God is not a forcer, rather get your Bible out and study the concept of worship. You will soon be singing praises to God.

If you want to be willing to give millions into the gospel, get ready. Find out what the Bible says about giving and receiving. Understand what the tithe is and how it functions. Soon enough you will be giving what you have and shouting with joy. You will start a life of financial fruitfulness that will change the world.

If you want a passion for the Word, study it, get into it, get ready to understand it.

What you are ready to do, you will be eager and willing to do.
What you are not ready to do, you will not be eager and willing to do.

So – don’t beg God to make you willing, but get ready, get ready, get ready!

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Romans 1.13

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Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

I love this verse. Paul says that he would not have the Roman church ignorant.

Ignorant in the Greek is agnoeō. It literally means without knowledge or without awareness. The English word “agnostic” comes from this root – so just think when someone tells you that they are an agnostic, they are saying “I know nothing”!

I love Paul because he wasn’t some kooky emotionalist – he knew that the key to victory in the Christian life isn’t goosebumps, isn’t falling, isn’t laughing, it is knowledge.

Hosea 4.6 says that people are destroyed by lack of knowledge, Isaiah 5.13 says that people are held captive by what they do not know.

So – my challenge and question to you today is this: what are you doing to increase your knowledge?

Do not complain about areas of your life where there is destruction, where there is captivity, if you are not doing something to increase your knowledge.

Are you in a church where the preaching of the Word increases your knowledge? Have you this week read a book on the Word of God (one that exalts the Word and expounds it, not one that attempts to judge it!)?

Have you learned something new about your career this week? Are you studying something?

What do you know about healing? About prosperity? About dominating your emotions? Do you know enough? Where are you going to get new knowledge?

Do you know which websites have faith-filled life-changing messages and which ones are just the shouters and the beggars?

Do you waste your life in amusement? Remember our Greek word agnoeō? It comes from the Greek word gnoeo which means understanding. The “a” at the beginning means “without” or “the opposite of”, similar to how we might use “un-” as a prefix in the English language to change the meaning of a word. For example, happy and unhappy.

Amusement also comes from the Greek language, muse comes from the Greek word mousa meaning to contemplate or to be creative. Amuse literally means without contemplation or creativity.

That is what nearly all amusement is: what you do without contemplation or creativity. Watching hours of TV, listening to most chart music, playing computer games, all these things. I am not saying these things are wrong, but I will tell you that you only have 24 hours every day, and every hour you spend in a-musement is an hour you cannot spend in “musement”. Remember – God would NOT have you ignorant.

I remember a pastor in my city saying that if he had to work out how successful someone was in life just from their house, his formula would involve the inverse of the size of their television and the size of their personal library.

I think that he would not be far off in his guesses.

The world says that ignorance is bliss. It is not – it is deadly, it will keep you captive, it will destroy you.

What are you doing to destroy your ignorance before it destroys you? Don’t just hope it will go away, it won’t. Make a plan. Decide which 5 books you are going to read before the end of the year.

Decide how many books of the Bible you are going to read before the end of the year. Change church if you need to, find out a Christian conference and take the time off work and get yourself there.

Don’t just sit there and stay ignorant!

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Romans 1.10

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Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

Paul is requesting that he might have a prosperous journey to visit the Romans. The NLT makes this verse very simple:

One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you.

Paul is praying for the Romans what he is praying for is the chance to see them. We all know Paul’s great hymns of praise (cf. Romans 11.34-36) and Paul’s theological prayers (cf. Ephesians 1.16-23) and they are beautiful. Paul was a deep man.

But just because someone is deep doesn’t mean that they are not a human! Paul is praying for the Romans – not for deep revelation, not for truth and life, for wisdom, for the will of God – no, Paul is praying that he can get a chance to see them and visit them.

It is perfectly acceptable to pray for things that you might think are mundane. Not every prayer has to be for a worldwide revival and power and glory sweeping the earth!

It is ok to ask for a parking space, to ask God that you would bump into an old friend that you miss, that someone in church would give you a lift home. That is great.

Notice as well that Paul did not know the will of God – here he prays that he would journey to them by the will of God (Paul was not asking for the will of God to be that his journey was prosperous, but that God would allow him to go!).

Paul prayed about things that he didn’t know what God wanted. That is fine. It is ok to say “if it by Thy will” when we pray.

Sometimes as faith people we get the revelation that when we are praying for something that the Bible clearly tells us is the will of God, then it is sin and doubt to pray “if it be Thy will”, and then we go overboard and never pray “if it be Thy will” again!

Listen if the will of God is clearly revealed in Scripture or by revelation, DO NOT pray “if it be Thy will”. The Bible says “By His stripes We Are Healed.” Never pray for healing “if it be Thy will” – what an insult to the stripes. Never pray for prosperity or joy “if it be Thy will” – pray the Word.

But some things we don’t know. Paul didn’t know at that stage if God wanted him to go to Rome or not. You might not know if someone is the right person to marry, or if a church is the right church to go to. At times like this there is nothing wrong with asking God “if it be Thy will, I want to go to Rome”, “if it be thy will, I will marry her/ him or not”, “if it be Thy Will, I will join this church”.

Or whatever. Don’t get silly about it, there is no need to pray for which breakfast cereal to eat. Grow up – remember God is our Father. If my children asked me to tell them what cereal to eat, I would be stunned. If I replied to such a ridiculous question it would be to say “Eat the one you fancy, it doesn’t matter”.

If at any point it did matter, I would let my children know. “Adam, the milkman hasn’t come, don’t have cereal because you will use all the milk, have some toast and a croissant.” He is my son – the lines of communication are open, so I don’t expect silly questions.

Some of ask God the most silly questions – I know someone who used to pray what socks to wear in the morning. Now if it bothers you, then He is touched with our infirmities. God is our Father and loves us – and that is fine. If you ask him “look, Father, which tie looks best with this shirt”, He will tell you if it matters to you. He knows what is important to you.

But in general, we should not be asking about trivial things – God expects you to just do them. Even in the street, people ask God should I talk to that person when the Bible says preach to every creature. If you are asking the question, you should be speaking to that person!

But for important things – which church should I go to, should I go here or there, where should I go on holiday – ask Him, and freely say “if it be Thy will”. By saying this you are letting God know that He is GOD! That if He says go to Rome, you will go to Rome. If He says don’t go, then you won’t.

Be that kind of person and you will very soon find out the will of God for your life. If you are prepared to do anything, you will quickly find the something you are called to do.

Romans 1.3

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Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

The next wonderful thing Paul tells us about the gospel is that it is always about Jesus Christ, God’s Son. You cannot preach good news without it being totally centred on the person of Jesus Christ.

Some people take the principles of God – because God is a God of order He works by principles – and they teach you how to work them without the person of Jesus Christ.

This happens in the world, for example “The Secret” is simply the divine principle of what a man thinks in His heart, so is He; but completely divorced from the person of Christ. A Christian shouldn’t be reading the Secret because it is wrong, but because they should already know the principles from the Word of God – we don’t need the world to confirm the Word thank you!

But it happens in the church as well – messages that are 7 steps to healing. Healing isn’t a step – it is knowing the Healer. Prosperity isn’t a step – it is knowing the Prosperer.

There are principles, and there are Christians who are intimate with Jesus who don’t know the principles. The principles bring the prosperity and the power of God, but the person of God brings the presence of God.

We all know those elderly saints who bring the presence of God into the room, but they are as broke as a beggar and have ailment after ailment. Presence without power because they know Him but don’t know His Word.

However, we are in danger of a far worse condition: knowing the principles, working the power, and forgetting about Him in the middle of it.

In the midst of the Azusa Street revival, Frank Bartleman – a powerful apostle from the most influential revival ever to impact the world – said the greatest danger for the Pentecostal is to have a spiritual ministry that is not focussed on the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ensure that everything you do, every increase you have is concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

Glory and freedom,

Benjamin

Romans 1.2

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(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

This verse here is speaking about the gospel or good news (happy news) that is mentioned in verse 1.

Paul is telling us two things about the good news:

1. It was promised before it happened
2. It is found in the Scriptures.

Point 1 is just remarkable – no other religion has a leader who fulfills prophetic word after prophetic word after prophetic word. We knew hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born that He would be born in Bethlehem, born in the lineage of David, born to a virgin, that He should grow in grace, heal the sick, be a light to the darkness, preach the good news, open blind eyes, preach liberty to the captives. We knew He would be nailed to a cross, with pierced hands and feet, surrounded by evildoers, buried by a wealthy man, and that He paid the price for our sin and our iniquities.

There are 333 prophetic words just about Jesus’ first coming in the Old Testament. Here are just a few for your study time:

His Birth
Old Testament Prophecy: Isaiah 7:14
Fullfillment in Jesus: Matthew 1:18,22,23
His Birthplace
Old Testament Prophecy: Micah 5:2
Fullfillment in Jesus: Luke 2:4,6,7
His Childhood in Egypt
Old Testament Prophecy: Hosea 11:1
Fullfillment in Jesus: Matthew 2:14-15
The Purpose for His Death
Old Testament Prophecy: Isaiah 53:4-6
Fullfillment in Jesus: 1 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24
His Betrayal
Old Testament Prophecy: Zechariah 11:12-13; 13:6
Fullfillment in Jesus: Matthew 26:14-16; 27:3-10
His Crucifixion
Old Testament Prophecy: Psalm 22
Fullfillment in Jesus: Matthew 27
His Resurrection
Old Testament Prophecy: Psalm 16:9-10
Fullfillment in Jesus: Acts 2:31

(List from Campus Crusade for Christ)

If you think about it this proves beyond the shadow of a doubt to anyone with an open mind that Jesus is Lord and that God is real.

The second thing Paul tells us about the good news is that it is found in Scripture. Your source of power, your source of life is not found in the TV, not found in church, not found in prayer, not found in friends, not found in emotions, not found in the latest worship song, but found in the Scriptures.

If you want to be separated to the happy news and be a happy person spreading love, joy, healing and prosperity wherever you go: get in the Scriptures, that is where the news is found.

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

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

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