– Romans Chapter 1
I would say that a good subtitle to this chapter would be “Without Excuse.”
The Apostle Paul probably wrote this letter 20 or 30 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Paul had not visited Rome when he wrote the letter, which is unusual, because Paul normally wrote to the churches he himself had founded or had previous connections with.
He starts off in his usual way of introducing himself (verse 1), but quickly moves on to introduce Jesus (verses 3 to 6). Jesus was:
- The Son of God
- Of the seed of David
- Declared to be the Son of God:
- With power
- According to the Spirit of holiness
- By the resurrection from the dead
Paul’s greeting to the church comes after this in verse 7. Then in verses 8 to 15 Paul describes how he has longed to visit them, but he had been hindered. He is a debtor to them – in fact to all Greeks and barbarians, the wise and the unwise. How could he be in debt to them? God had given Paul the responsibility of bringing the gospel to the Gentiles, so he felt indebted to them, and was obliged to pay the debt. Do we have a debt to pay in this regard?
In verse 16 Paul leaps into teaching mode! This gospel, the wonderful gift he has to give, is the power of God to salvation. It is for everyone, but it has to be received and believed to obtain this salvation. The just shall live by faith.
Paul then goes on to lay the basics of the gospel. God’s wrath is against the wickedness of men (v 18), who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Around the world governments, universities and the media are suppressing the truth of the Word of God. Paul says,
“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 …” (verse 20).
In other words, to anyone who openly and honestly looks at the beauty and complexity of what we see around us, from the tiny atom to the vast universe, would realise that an amazingly wonderful Designer has been at work. Some of our brightest intellectuals have blinded their eyes to the truth, and are prepared to believe the unbelievable. They have become “futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts are darkened. Professing to be wise, they have become fools …” (verses 21, 22).
This arrogance leads them into greater and greater lawlessness and corruption, and as a result we see laws being changed and society being destroyed before our eyes.
Is there an answer to this? There certainly is! The gospel is the power of God to salvation to those who believe, to whom the righteousness of God is revealed.