Living in Grace and Faith – Romans 2:1-11 – Week 5

Living in Grace and Faith

Romans 2:1-11

Week 5

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will begin Romans Chapter 2, and explore verses 1-11. In the last 4 Sessions, we moved through Romans Chapter 1 and looked at God’s indictment of the Roman pagan culture that Paul lived in, for their gross immorality. In Romans 1, we also see the moral slide of cultures and societies that abandon the knowledge of God and suffer in progressive degrees of unrighteousness being expressed in the people. In the context of Romans, Paul’s target was the common Roman culture and pantheon of its idols. Today, the target of Romans 1 would be our hyper-sexualized American culture.

As we explored Romans 1, we looked at the theology of the Judgment of God and learned how God’s wrath was and is revealed in 5 ways.

1 – Judgment of Nations (Old Covenant)

2- Eternal Judgment of the individual (Matt. 18)

3 – Judgment of Reaping and Sowing (Galatians 5)

4 – Judgment of the denial of God on societies (Romans 1)

5 – Judgment of the removal of Grace on the believer (1 Corinthians 5:5)

If Paul had stopped defining sin in Romans 1, moral people might feel really good about themselves and judge others who lived in open immorality and consider themselves better people. However, in Romans 2, Paul takes on the religious sinner, whose sin is not overt, but hidden in the heart, or sin that is seems of small consequence when compared to others. At the time of Paul’s writing he would have been targeting the observant Jew and moral philosopher. We could say Paul is taking on the religious spirit that condemns others, while excusing itself. See Luke 18:10-14. (Pharisee versus the Tax Collector)

In Romans 2:1-11, we see the following movements in the text.

1 – The religious sinner is as guilty as the overt sinner.

2 – God’s kindness is revealed in His patience dealing with all people considering their sin.

3 – We are all accountable to the way we live before God.

4 – Faith is the great equalizer of all people.

Romans 2:1

a) Jesus spoke to these same heart conditions in the religious sinner in Matthew 7:1-5. See Matthew 7:1-5. Our personal freedom in our hearts is dependent on our ability to live free from offense, free from letting the decisions and actions of others affect our hearts, and free from judging others regarding the conditions of their hearts. Notice that Jesus says that we are equipped to help others heal from sin, when we ourselves have healed.

b) The most outrageous form of hypocrisy is to label other people sinners and then
do similar things because it is blind to God’s mercy.

Romans 2:2-4

a) When God judges’ people, He does so in perfect justice and consequence. Considering that God is Light and in Him there is no darkness, or shadow of turning, that He is love, and He is holy, it is impossible for Him to pervert justice.

b) Because we are affected by the Fall, and have inherited Adam’s sin nature, we are incapable of judging people in equity and perfect justice. We are all under sin are dependent on God’s mercy in Jesus Christ. See Romans 6:23.

c) God shows all people mercy in 3 ways. 1 – Rich Kindness – Greek – ploutos autos chrēstotēs – rich benevolence and kindness. 2 – Forbearance – Greek – anochē – toleration, forbearance. 3 – Patience – Greek – makrothymia – patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance, forbearance, longsuffering, slowness in avenging wrongs.

d) All these Fatherly attributes of God are for the express purpose of bringing us to repentance. Not because we fear the eternal consequence of sin, which is staggering and horrible, but that we recognize His goodness and submit to Him through the revelation of His goodness.

Romans 2:5

a) The failure to recognize God’s goodness and turn our hearts to Him, accumulates the wraith of God towards us, and becomes manifest at the end of our lives, or at Christ’s return. Notice that the New Covenant understanding of God’s wrath is that which sees the active wrath of God on humanity stayed until the end of the New Covenant Age. See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 & 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11.

Romans 2:6-9

a) Paul quotes Psalms 62:12 and Proverbs 24:12. Our daily decisions have eternal consequences. In Luke 12, Jesus gave various commands and parables that encourage us in this truth. See Luke 12:42-46.

Romans 2:10-11

a) Our perseverance of faith will be richly rewarded when we are received into eternal life. The power of our decisions is almost unimaginable in scale when we look at them in the light of the eternal reward for being faithful to God throughout our lives. This is not a works-based approach to God, but a life long relationship with God that is expressed through us that mirror what He does, and desires to do through us.

b) The favor of God is not dependent on who we are, but on whose we are and our response to His rich kindness, forbearance, and patience. Faith is the great equalizer. Just as the Lord interacted with Moses, Abraham, Paul, Peter, Deborah, or Miriam, he will relate to us in the same way as we live in faith, express faith and are faithful sons and daughters to Him.

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Living in Grace and Faith – Romans 1:21-32 – Week 4

Living in Grace and Faith

Romans 1:21-32

Week 4

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will explore Romans Chapter 1, verses 21-32. I want to spend some time on the introduction in this Session, because it is important that we understand the macro-view of Romans chapters 1-2 in totality. The narrative that Paul puts forth in these 2 chapters promotes the thought that all people are deficient before God, we all sin, we are all hypocritical in our attitudes and mindsets, and we all need redemption from the curse of the Fall, the error of sin and healing in our lives. Paul is building the case that Gentiles and Jews alike cannot trust in our human works of righteousness to cover our sins or redeem ourselves, but that all people will find our redemption and forgiveness for sins in Christ. Through Romans, Paul makes the case from the Law and the Prophets that Jesus is the Promised Messiah and that he fulfilled the righteousness of the Law by living a perfect life in obedience to the Father, therefore becoming the perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity. Jesus is Eden restored, as He is the Second Adam.

Before we exegete the text in this Session, we need to frame Paul’s condemnation of the Gentile world in the context of the culture he writing to and writing in. 1 – Paul was writing to the Church in Rome, and to a Church he had not met. Rome being the capitol of the Roman Empire was the seat of Emperor worship, the Roman Pantheon of Gods, as well as the intersection point for the mystery cults that were scattered across the empire. 2 – Paul describes the abandonment of God in people groups in progressive revelations of God’s wrath. The farther people move away from the knowledge of God, judgment is manifested by His withdrawal from them and becomes apparent by the loss of their moral compass. Paul’s Roman Empire was much more morally debased than anything our culture has ever seen. He is describing what he is seeing through the revelation of the Holy Spirit as he writes the Church at Rome.

In Romans 1:21-32, we see the following movements in the text. 1 – The abandonment of the knowledge of God is a descending scale of lawlessness manifested in humanity. 2 – The abandonment of God in cultures and societies cause God to honor these decisions and withdrawal from them and is a manifestation of judgment. 3 – The inner moral compass of humanity stands as an eternal witness that unrighteousness and lawlessness deserve a consequence.

Conversely, in light of these negative consequences of judgment and the loss of goodness in cultures and societies, the Church stands as the change agent of nations. Not only do we release restoration and reconciliation between God and people by proclaiming the gospel, we occupy these gains by active discipleship, and transform culture by living our destinies out in God.

We will have another Q&A at the end of our Session.
Romans 1:21

a) Humanity possesses an internal moral compass because we are all made in the image of God. The conscience is the inner witness of our divine origin as those created by God in His image.

b) Paul seems to be peering deep into the Biblical account of the table of nations in Genesis 10 as the backdrop for these verses, when all nations knew God as they sprung out of Noah. See Genesis 9:1-7.

c) Societies degrade in the following ways. 1 – Deny God His rightful place as Creator and Sovereign. 2 – Not giving thanks to God for their lives and His goodness towards humanity.

d) The first things people groups lose when they abandon the knowledge of God is the loss of wise rational thought and the loss of revelation light. Greek – asynetos – without understanding, unintelligent, by implication morally depraved. Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Romans 1:22-23

a) Since the knowledge of God, i.e. the knowledge of His nature and character, is wisdom and truth, any mental reasoning devoid of the knowledge of God is human wisdom that that is subjective and not authoritative because it is not subject something transcendent from humanity, God.

b) When humanity is subject to God or acknowledges His Person, we make lesser gods in the images of ourselves or the created order. Notice the Greek word is eikōn – an image, figure, likeness. Humanity is redisposed to believe in something transcendent to ourselves, so when we lose the knowledge of God, we make a god that reflects us, instead of communing with God in relational ways release His wisdom into our lives.

c) Notice the progressive slide of man-made religion. 1 – Idols made in the image of that which is made in the image of God. 2 – Idols that are made in the image of created things that are devoid of the image of God.

d) Many Christians are in danger of creating an image of Jesus that looks like us, acts like us, and in that image of Jesus, we are not accountable to Him as Lord.

e) See Isaiah 40:13-20.

Romans 1:24-25

a) In verse 24, we see the wrath of God being revealed by His withdrawal from cultures that reject Him. When God is present in a people, goodness is present.

b) The first manifestation of a godless culture is the loss of self-control regarding sexual immorality. 1 Corinthians 6:18 – Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Greek – atimazō – to dishonor, insult, treat with contempt.

c) Christian sexual purity is a boundary that proves God’s care for people. 1 – We are protected from emotional soul and spirit damage because we are following original design for man and woman. 2 – We are protected from disease. 3 – By
maintaining purity we are demonstrating the power of Covenant. 4 – We are prophesying the Christian message of Covenant Marriage being the witness to the world around us for the type of relationship that Jesus Christ enjoys with His Church. See Ephesians 5:21-33.

d) Part of the Christian worldview is lie versus truth.

Romans 1:26-27

a) Before we proceed further, I want us to keep in mind 2 things. 1 – We are all deficient regarding righteousness and holiness. Paul is making the case for a need for the Savior. 2 – After Paul builds a case against the Gentile world, he builds a case against the religious Jews. Consider that we are in the section that exposes the Gentile sinner and the religious sinner will be exposed in Romans 2. Romans 2:1 – You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Matthew 7:1-2 – Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

b) Widespread acceptance of homosexuality in a culture is the continuation of God’s judgment on a society. Notice that God honors the decisions of people. Their decisions either bring glory to Him or the loss of the knowledge of Him. Sin is sin, and all sin leads to separation from God.

c) The Christian perception of homosexuality is that it is sin, just like the other sexual sins that are manifested in humanity. The penalties are the same. Colossians 3:5 – Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

Romans 1:28-32

a) The accumulation of the expression of sin in a culture is a judgment of God by withdrawing from these cultures, honoring their collective choices as they reap what they have sown by their choices.

b) No understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy – Societies that do not maintain the knowledge of God are hard-hearted, dangerous and damaging to people.

c) The fullest manifestation of godlessness in a society and culture is the approval of all things contrary to God’s nature and character.

Living in Grace and Faith – Romans 1:14-20 – Week 3

Living in Grace and Faith

Romans 1:14-20

Week 3

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will explore Romans Chapter 1, verses 14-20 and look at some of the highest and complex theological thoughts regarding humanity’s relationship with God. We will slow down and take our time exploring these verses because of the theological complexity of the subjects we will encounter in this Session. After, we will have a Q&A so that everyone’s questions are satisfied.

In verses 14-20, we see the following movements in the text.

1 – All Christians are obligated to love and proclaim the gospel to all people groups.

2 – All Christians should possess a state a readiness to serve God and manifest His Person to others.

3 – The gospel possesses inherent power to save.

4 – The righteousness of God is imparted to us and lives in us by faith.

5 – The wrath of God is revealed in metered ways in the New Covenant Age and will be revealed in fullness at the end of the New Covenant Age.

Romans 1:14-15

a) As Paul continues his introduction to the Church at Rome, he communicates his heart for all people. Just as Jesus Christ died for all the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, those who carry His message are obligated to all people groups.

b) Most English Translations read “under obligation to Greeks and barbarians”. For us to understand this verse, we must consider the context of the culture. When Paul refers to Greeks, he is referring to the education, culture and language of the people of the civilized Roman Empire and not the Greek nationality per se.

c) The reference to barbarians is in the context of people who were not Hellenized in their culture and language. This would be the tribal of people of Britain, Germans, northern Europeans, and east Asians.

d) The reference to the wise and foolish are to be taken in the clear cultural context that people who were Hellenized were educated in philosophy, science, technology, art, culture, and common language. This would have included the learned people like Jews, Romans, Egyptians, Persians, and Hellenized Greeks. The reference to the foolish would be a reference to the unlearned, i.e. the tribal peoples who did not possess the common technology of the great ancient empires.

e) Paul was eager to preach to them because Rome was the center of the First Century world where all people groups intersected. His opportunity to reach all kinds of people was an unprecedented opportunity in his ministry up to that date. f) Notice that the NKJV reads “I am ready” – Paul was ready to serve God, Paul was ready to suffer, Paul was ready to manifest the power of God, Paul was ready to die for Christ.

Romans 1:16

a) Notice that Paul possesses boldness in his convictions of what he believes to be true about Messiah.

b) The gospel has inherent power, in the message itself. If we consider the scale and scope of the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can see that the blood of Christ spans billions of souls and millennia, and every need that any man or woman may have.

c) Salvation understood in the context of the First Century, was understood in the sense that mankind was sick and needed an intervention. Greek philosopher, Epictetus called his lecture room “the hospital for the sick soul.” Epicurus called his teaching “the medicine of salvation.” Seneca said that because men were so conscious of “their weakness and their inefficiency in necessary things” that all men were looking “towards salvation.” Epictetus said that men were looking for a peace “not of Caesar’s proclamation, but of God’s.” Presently, we should consider asking ourselves, “what are saved from?” (Barclay & Guzik).

d) The power of the gospel is released when people proclaim it, and the power released corresponds to content of the message.

e) The power of the gospel is inherent in its content and activated when people believe.

f) First to the Jew then the Gentile – this was Paul’s ministry strategy. Preach to Jews who possessed the knowledge of God, understood the Covenants and the promises of God in waiting for the Messiah. They would have easily understood Paul’s preaching that Jesus Christ was Messiah. Once Paul won a remnant for Christ, he would then shift to focus on others in that city. He would have naturally had helpers in the Jews who received Christ who could help disciple the Gentiles who received Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Romans 1:17

a) The gospel reveals the righteousness of God, should be understood in the sense that God imputed His righteousness to the sinner who receives it by faith. Greek – dikaiosynē – in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God.

b) The message of the gospel not only gives the hearer a revelation of their sin, but also releases a revelation of God’s great love for humanity. Without the atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross, and the faith of believers being joined to that sacrifice, the righteousness that God possess is totally unattainable. It is the most freeing thing to know that God’s righteousness has been given to all who believe.

c) First to last, or faith to faith – This shows us that the righteousness of God lives from faith and only faith from the time we know Christ throughout our whole journey with Him. Roland Kenneth Harrison – “Perhaps what it conveys is the necessity of issuing a reminder to the believer that justifying faith is only the beginning of the Christians life. The same attitude must govern him in his continuing experience as a child of God.”

d) See Galatians 3:1-3 & 5 – You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to
learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

Romans 1:18-20

a) The reason humanity needs to be covered and imputed with the righteousness of God, is the wrath of God. The gospel not only communicates God’s great love in pursuing humanity in relationship, but also acknowledges that God will not violate His nature and character regarding His perfection, purity, holiness and righteousness. It is true that God’s demand for righteousness is met in the atonement of Christ and that God is relating to the world through a grace invitation to be in relationship with Him in the New Covenant; however, the wrath of God will be revealed at the end of the New Covenant Age.

b) The objects of the wrath of God are those who have abandoned the knowledge of God. These verses introduce us to what theologians call Common Faith. This is not saving faith, but a common belief that God exists. When nation states stray from this elementary belief that God exists, they are given over to the progressive degeneration of morals, injustice and tyranny. This downward spiral of degeneration is outlined in detail in Romans 1:18-32. The failure of nation states and people groups to recognize the Person of God, invites the judgment of God in the form of immorality, the loss of wisdom, idolatry, depravity, loss of social graces and eventually death.

c) Considering that we are exploring the theology of the wrath of God (orge) we would say that wrath is revealed in God’s judgment. There 5 judgments of God that reveal God’s wrath. 1 – Judgment of Nations (Old Covenant), 2 – Eternal Judgment of the individual (Matt. 18), 3 – Judgment of Reaping and Sowing (Galatians 5), 4 – Judgment of the denial of God (Romans 1), 5 – Judgment of the removal of Grace on the believer (1 Corinthians 5:5).

d) Romans 1:20 makes it clear that all humanity is without excuse because the revelation of God is clearly seen in His creation. God is revealed in all things created, immaterial and living. Humanity itself manifests God’s nature and character in our moral sensibilities, our creativity, our love of beauty, and the need for justice that is inherent in all people groups.
Q&A –

Living in Grace and Faith – Romans 1:5-13 – Week 2

Living in Grace and Faith

Romans 1:5-13

Week 2

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we explore Romans Chapter 1, verses 5-13, and progress deeper into Paul’s lengthy introduction to the Church at Rome whom he had never met. In the introduction in the last Session, we spent most of the time defining the context, the occasion, the history and the culture of the Church at Rome. In effort to save time, we will pick up the text in verse 5 and begin.

In verses 5-13, we see the following movements in the text.

1 – Grace empowers our ministries.

2 – Faith must produce transformation in our lives.

3 – We are loved and set apart as God’s people.

4 – The faith reputation of the Church at Rome was widely known.

5 – Pure ministry proceeds from being aligned with Christ.

6 – Spiritual gifts can be imparted to others.

7 – We should expect a spiritual harvest in our ministries.

Romans 1:5

a) In Paul’s introduction, he introduced himself as a servant of Christ first and then an apostle who was set apart for the Gospel. As we mentioned last week, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the narrative of how God worked salvation for humanity through His Covenants, through the prophets and revealed and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. We preach the Gospel today through the Word with demonstrations of power that prove the Word. Now in verse 5, Paul tells the Church in Rome the purpose of his apostolic ministry, which is to call the Gentiles to the obedience in the faith.

b) Notice that Paul mentions grace before his apostolic ministry. This shows us that all our ministries begin by receiving grace from God. Grace is not only unmerited favor from God, but grace is empowerment from God to be able to things for Him that we could not do in our own strength.

c) The mission or purpose of Paul’s ministry was to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom with the fruit being obedience to Christ in the people who received the Gospel. See Luke 6:46-49. d) Faith in Christ must produce change in us, considering who we are in relationship with through faith, God.

Romans 1:6-7

a) Paul encourages this church by including them in God’s family. When we consider being called to belong to Christ, we should see understand this in the context of the Omniscience and Omnipresence of God, who knows beginning from end. God knows those who will receive Him and those who do not choose Him. God desires all to know Him, and God knows who will choose Him, the called. 2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

b) Notice that we are loved by God. Greek – Loved – Agapētos – beloved, esteemed, dear, favorite, worthy of love.

c) Called to be God’s holy people, or people set apart for God. Many people focus on spiritual identities, like son, but avoid identities like disciple or holy people. d) Grace and peace – Grace will always proceed peace. When we find grace from God, our hearts become settled and we live in peace with Him and in Him. Peace in our lives is an evidence and an assurance of faith.

Romans 1:8

a) In our introduction, we learned that the Church of Rome had been started organically from Christians all over the Empire who first heard Peter’s message at Pentecost (Acts 2), and then by others who traveled to Rome from the east. Many of them would have been touched by Paul’s ministry, and as Paul equipped and released spiritual sons and daughters they ran with the Gospel and built the Church in Rome. This Church was perhaps the most diverse Body of Christ in the early apostolic era. They had been thriving for 20-25 years before they were touched by Paul or Peter’s ministry.

b) The Church at Rome had such an impact that their faith in Christ was known throughout the Roman Empire. Also note that Paul used the Greek word kosmos here for world indicating that they were known in the natural order, but also making impact spiritually as well. This Church suffered the first persecutions of the Empire at the hands of Nero, who was nicknamed the Beast, and their history is full of bravery, martyrdom and boldness in Christ. Archeologists believe that there were approximately 500,000 Christians martyred in Rome throughout the first 400 years of the Church.

Romans 1:9-10

a) Notice that Paul says that he serves God in his spirit, and not soul. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 – May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Humanity is a 3 part being, spirit, soul and body. When we come to Christ our spirit is made alive and should be the lead of our soul (thoughts and emotions) and our body (the expression of thoughts and emotions). Pure ministry is that which is influenced by the Holy Spirit, on our spirit, shaping the will, mind and emotions and expressed in our body. Ministry originating in the soul is devoid of purity and often expresses itself in religious posturing and works of man.

b) Paul prays for them without ceasing or “without an intermission”. We see the power of intercession in prospering and advancing God’s agenda in the world through the vehicle of prayer. Charles Spurgeon – “No wonder that they prospered so well when Paul always made mention of them in his prayers. Some churches would prosper better if some of you remembered them more in prayer.”

c) Notice that Paul is asking for God’s will and not his own. Paul did see this Church, but not on his terms, but under Roman custody as he waited an appeal
trial before Nero. See Acts 28:30.

Romans 1:11-12

a) Notice that spiritual gifts strengthen the Church. In 1 Corinthians 12:7, Paul says that spiritual gifts are for the common good of the Church. Spiritual gifts are the avenue by which God activates His people to serve one another, creating dependence and unity in His Church. These are supernatural abilities that are graces from God to enable to serve one another in powerful expressions. There are 20 spiritual gifts listed in Scripture. Notice that impartation is a method of transference.

b) Romans 12:6-8 – We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
1 – Prophecy

2 – Service

3 – Teaching

4 – Encouragement/Exhortation – stimulating faith, stirring up faith

5 – Giving – supernaturally empowered generosity (not obedient generosity required by every believer)

6 – Leadership – spiritual authority to lead others/supernatural leadership (may be expressed in the marketplace or the Church)

7 – Mercy

c) 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 & 28 (not repeating any gift previously mentioned in Romans)

8 – Wisdom

9 – Knowledge

10 – Faith

11 – Healing

12 – Miracles

13 – Discerning of spirits

14 – Tongues

15 – Interpretation of Tongues

16 – Apostle

17 – Helps

18 – Administration

d) Ephesians 4:11 – So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, (not repeating any gift previously mentioned in Romans or Corinthians)

19 – Evangelist

20 – Pastor

Romans 1:13

a) Paul wanted the Romans to know that he was concerned, loved them and
desired to see them. Paul modeled a mature expression of apostolic fatherhood.

b) Paul wanted to see a spiritual harvest in Rome. Spiritual harvest is the focus when we consider the mission of the Church. See Matthew 28:18-20.