Letter to Christians in Rome: Chapter 1 (pt 2 of 9)

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Ideas regarding God are probably as many today as in any time in history. Now talking about Him has always been common. There is the Atheist who says that god does not exist. Life is random and without any divine purpose. We are on our own. There is no true religion, since there is no god. Every person must determine what is right and wrong.

There is also the Agnostic who will admit that there may be a God but that we really cannot know much about Him. Since we cannot know much about God, it is a waste of time discussing the topic, and certainly trying understand Him. This view is similar to what is called Deism, a philosophy that says that there is a God, but He is not involved personally in our lives or in history. A Deist would also deny that there is any special revelation from God, like the Bible.

Then there are the various New Age thoughts of God. To folks who fall into this category believe that God exists as some kind of “force” in the universe, like the “force” of the Star Wars movies. It, too, is a religion without revelation, where anything goes. “Whatever you believe is fine. If it floats your boat, who are we to criticize it?” “Your god is what you believe he is.”

However, the Christian faith is much different. Even with all the attempts to say there is no difference, Christians believe in a living, personal God, and because we believe that this God is a person and is personally involved in history, we believe that he has revealed himself to us. We believe that God, know by His name Yehoveh, has given us a personal revelation of himself in the book we call the Bible. As Christians, we claim to believe that the Bible is God’s Word. It is his message to us.

Now that brings us to a very important question. When you open the Bible, do you expect Yehoveh to speak to you personally? If you truly believe that the Bible is His Word, then you should believe He will speak to you personally. I say that because Yehoveh loves His people, He communicates His truth to them. He has never left us to fend for ourselves. He has spoken to us in words that we can understand. Our challenge is to do something with what he has given us. Our challenge, when we open the book of Romans or any other portion of Scripture, is to view it as God’s message to us—even today.

Paul began his letter by saying,

This letter comes to you from Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called as a messenger and appointed for the service of that gospel of God which was long ago promised by the prophets in the holy scriptures —Romans 1:1-2

What a confession, to be Christ’s servants—bond servants (douloi). This is different from a hired servant. The Greek word used there is misthios or diakonos. In the New Testament times, a freed slave could voluntarily re-enter servitude to a master he loved. This servitude was called bond service. Only a freed slave could be a bondservant and once he had chosen to become one, he could never be freed again. Nor could he be bought or sold, and he served his chosen master until death. When a man chose bond service, he was taken to the front entrance of the house, and his right ear was laid against the doorpost. A nail was driven through his ear and a golden earring was placed in it. This golden earring was a symbol to everyone who saw it, of the servants choice and of his immunity to being made merchandise. Both Paul and Peter referred to themselves as being bondservants to Christ. There is a service whose true name is freedom. (read I Peter 2:15-17; Luke 12:37)

But then Paul says he was “called as a messenger and appointed for the service,” of the Lord. The Greek word used here is hagioi, which means, “set apart,” “separated to God,” “holy.” This refers to anyone who has been born again and indicates that they are now holy—sanctified possessions of the Lord, with the Holy Spirit living within them. Each day we should become more and more like Jesus. Remember, YHWH is the Creator of all men, but he is not the Father of all men. He is only the Father of those who believe. To go along with that, not all men are children of God; only those who have been regenerated are His children. Nor is there a universal brotherhood of man. Men are divided into two classes—those who are in the family of God and those who are not. Jesus stated that unbelievers “are the children of your father the devil and you love to do the evil things he does” (John 8:44). When wicked men are born again they are adopted into God’s family and become His children—and He as their Father.

From the beginning of man’s act of treason where he surrendered the ownership of creation to the Father’s archenemy, the YHWH has worked to redeem his man. The story was told in the constellations (see Genesis 1 and through the Psalms; it was hinted at and announced through his prophets. However, the complete understanding remained hidden  until the day it was completed, but he continually comforted and encouraged his people regarding the coming redeemer.

If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome

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