Howdy folks! I had the nicest mental break and vacation. I feel so refreshed! I hope you all stuck with your reading, and that you're ready for the wild ride to start up again. Since Chronicles is so much repeat, and since this is my first day back, I'm going to focus on Romans today. In fact, I'm going to back up to Romans 1 and catch up. Happy reading!
This is truly going to be an exciting read this time through! We're going to use some comparisons between NASB and the Concordant Literal Translation to assist us on this journey. Feel free to follow along in the NLT, too!
1:5 ...through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name's sake... This is the mission of Paul.
1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. This verse is interesting in light of Matthew 24:14:
"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Gentile). This is a verse rich in meaning. Let's review what the gospel is. According to the writers of "The Gospels," (and help from the Messianic Jews) it is the "gospel of the Kingdom." It is the Good News about the Kingdom where Jesus will reign as King for 1,000 years, bringing peace and rest to earth! It is the reward offered to everyone who believes, and is given by grace, first for Jews (they were offered this gift first) then for Gentiles. What a very special time it will be!
1:18-19 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. I read this through new lenses tonight. It appears Paul is talking about men who knowingly suppress truth, not those who are ignorant of it. Again in verse 21, it says, "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened." This sounds like "religious" people who become futile in their thinking and don foolishness by suppressing truth. Until now, I always thought this was only about unbelievers, but these people knew God. I suppose the Pharisees were the primary people who fit this bill in Jesus' day. Who would it be now?
1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. I have always loved this verse, and I believe it. Whether through looking at the complexity of nature around us, or the miracle of new life--the utter impossibility by scientists of explaining life or how it began, there is plenty of evidence for our Creator! His artistry in nature completely woos and captivates me (be sure to check out my homepage journal for some pictures of nature from my recent trip to Oregon)! Anyhow, I also see in this verse that it is the POWER of God entrusted to those who He revealed Himself to that are going to be accountable for believing and sharing. Is God really ALL-Powerful? ALL-Loving? ALL-Victorious? ALL in ALL (1 Cor. 15:28)? We whom He has revealed Himself to are without excuse in believing and declaring these truths and His power!
1:28-32 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. As we continue reading through the end, it is clear that these were once believing people who turned away from God, and it explains to me the corruption in the Church throughout the centuries. It also explains the people in my life who claim to know God and yet treat others with many of these behaviors.
2:5-6 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS... Remember who is our audience here. It is the Gentile church at Rome, and these are believers Paul is talking to. Paul is making it clear that every person will be judged individually for his/her deeds, and that stubbornness and unrepentance will bring about wrath on even believers in the Day of Judgment.
2:8-11 But to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. I think I have stated on this blog that I do not believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. I believe that teaching is unbiblical and a concoction of the modern day church (the notion came about in the late 1700s or early 1800s). It is my understanding that during the tribulation, the faithful believers will not incur the wrath of God (poured out on the earth as judgments shown in Revelation). Clearly we can see in this verse that the corrupt believers will encounter tribulation, which is whom Paul was warning. As far as a "rapture," the Messianic Jews (and I) believe that true believers will be resurrected at the END of the tribulation on the Feast of Trumpets and taken out of the world for 10 days as the worst judgments of God are poured out on earth. They will return with Jesus ten days later on the Day of Atonement when Jesus sets His feet on the Mount of Olives and is inaugurated a week later on Feast of Tabernacles to begin His 1,000 year reign. Happy dance!
2:28-29 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. This verse really breaks down the walls between Jew and Gentile. After reading the requirements, are you a true "Jew?"
11:7 For the LORD is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will behold His face. I thought this Psalm went perfectly with our Romans reading today. The upright will get to live in His Kingdom, beholding His face. What joy it is to be obedient and faithful, anticipating that day.
19:12 The king's wrath is like the roaring of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass. Yet another confirmation of the above principles! Would you rather hear the roar or feel the dew?