Scripture Reading: Romans 1:8- 2: 29
Paul introduced himself to the Roman church in the text we read yesterday. He appropriately gives thanks and accolades to this prospering church, but then quickly rolls into what might appear as a condemnation narrative. As we study the historical concept of God’s word, I feel is of upmost importance to think about things in this context. Imagine if you were to write a letter to the American population 30 years ago and then wrote the same letter today. Would it not be a little different? Jesus warns his audience about throwing a stone at a woman that has committed adultery. Then just 25 – 30 years later, Paul is warning about explicit sexual immorality. Whoa, how did we go from adultery to the likes of the verses 1:26-31? Is it possible the corrupt and immoral roman empire played a role in moving this population up several degrees of immorality? Not unlike what we see today? We expose our selves day after day to sin and violence and not expect it to influence us. Paul was not picking on certain sexual immoral behaviors, this was just an evolving narrative in his world, just like we are seeing today. What really struck a cord with me was his words about approval of immoral behavior (paraphrased) , those that practice immoral behavior, not only do they “do”, but they give approval to those who practice these behaviors” Romans 1:31
I believe Paul is essentially sharing with his audience the same moral advice that Jesus did. Jesus said, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye”. (Matthew 7:5). I do not feel Paul was throwing stones at homosexuals, sexual predators, etc….. you feel the blank. Things had evolved and this was the list of immorality they were dealing with during his day. Remember the deterioration of the culture from Augustus Caesar to Tiberius Caesar. Well, things had not improved. They had only gotten worse. Now Nero was emperor, the murderer of his own mother. I do love the verse Romans 2:4, reminding us that God’s kindness is meant to lead us to repentance, all of us to repentance, not just the deviant neighbor. Paul states that ” God shows no partiality”, for the good and for the bad.
Today, spend some time in prayer. Try to focus on repentance. Ask God to reveal in your heart your need for repentance. Ask God to guard your heart on judgement of others. Heed Paul’s warning, ” passing judgment on another you condemn yourself because you the judge, practice the very same things” (Romans 2: 1) As you meditate in prayer here’s another great song featuring Chandler Moore of Maverick City Music. While worshiping yesterday at church they played one of their songs, sending so much excitement through my spirit. Unfortunately, I’m not sure my neighbor shared the same enthusiasm.