16 I am not ashamed of the good news. It is God’s power. And it will save everyone who believes. It is meant first for the Jews. It is meant also for those who aren’t Jews. 17 The good news shows how God makes people right with himself. From beginning to end, becoming right with God depends on a person’s faith. It is written, “Those who are right with God will live by faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4) 18 God shows his anger from heaven. It is against all the godless and evil things people do. They are so evil that they say no to the truth. 19 The truth about God is plain to them. God has made it plain. 20 Ever since the world was created it has been possible to see the qualities of God that are not seen. I’m talking about his eternal power and about the fact that he is God. Those things can be seen in what he has made. So people have no excuse for what they do. 21 They knew God. But they didn’t honor him as God. They didn’t thank him. Their thinking became worthless. Their foolish hearts became dark. 22 They claimed to be wise. But they made fools of themselves. 23 They would rather have statues of gods than the glorious God who lives forever. Their statues of gods are made to look like people, birds, animals and reptiles. 24 So God let them go. He allowed them to do what their sinful hearts wanted to. He let them commit sexual sins. They polluted one another’s bodies by what they did. 25 They chose a lie instead of God’s truth. They worshiped and served created things. They didn’t worship the Creator. But he must be praised forever. Amen. 26 So God let them go. They were filled with shameful longings. Their women committed sexual acts that were not natural. 27 In the same way, the men turned away from their natural love for women. They burned with sexual longing for each other. Men did shameful things with other men. They suffered in their bodies for all the twisted things they did. 28 They didn’t think it was important to know God. So God let them go. He allowed them to have dirty minds. They did things they shouldn’t do. 29 They are full of every kind of sin, evil and ungodliness. They want more than they need. They commit murder. They want what belongs to other people. They fight and cheat. They hate others. They say mean things about other people. 30 They tell lies about them. They hate God. They are rude and proud. They brag. They think of new ways to do evil. They don’t obey their parents. 31 They are foolish. They can’t be trusted. They are not loving and kind. 32 They know that God’s commands are right. They know that those who do evil things should die. But they continue to do those very things. They also approve of others who do them.
I love Romans and I think I may have read chapter 1 maybe 50 to 100 times in part or in whole, but in reading it this morning with fresh eyes, I have found new joy in reading it and I have learned to see an aspect of the Gospel in a fresh light.
The contrast that Paul makes in verses 16 to 19 actually underpins the rest of this chapter and I have missed this before, possibly because of the heading that was inserted after verse 17. (These headings were inserted quite recently in biblical history and we're not part of the original text)
Previously when I have read verses 17 to 32 I felt that Paul was emphasising the wickedness of humanity even though we should all be able to recognise our creator and do what is right.
The point that I feel like Paul is actually making here (that i an now reflecting on) is that the Gospel is the revelation of Gods righteousness AND his wrath (vs 17 and 18) and the second half of the chalet is not just referring to global humanity, but particularly those who have experienced his revelation and “suppress the truth” and continue to do what is wrong.
I am certainly not ignoring verse 20 here, but I feel that God has given me a new emphasis of this scripture through his living word.
Lord, help us to read the Scriptures with new eyes everytime we open your word.
Written by Justin Ware