Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 1:16-21
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 1:16
v16 (continued): And third, by saying “to the Jew first…” Paul accurately describes a history of events. The Church began in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (Ac 1:4-8; 2:1-47). For years it was almost entirely Jewish before Gentiles began to come in large numbers (Ac 11:1-26). Also, when Paul traveled from place to place preaching the gospel he would often begin at the local synagogue and then, only after being rejected, would turn to the Gentile market place (Ac 13:5, 14-52; 14:1-6; 17:1-4; 18:4; 19:8-10). So in terms of chronology the gospel did in fact go to the Jew first, but God never intended for it to remain there exclusively. We hear His love for all people being given voice through the resurrected Jesus when He charged His disciples to carry the gospel “to the remotest parts of the earth” (Ac 1:8) and “to all the nations” (Lk 24:47; Mt 28:19; Mk 16:15). In giving this command Jesus made it clear that His inclusion of the Gentiles was based in the prophecies of the Old Testament (Lk 24:45-47). Then as the decades passed the overwhelming responsiveness of Gentiles compared to that of Jews was so glaring Paul felt pressed to explain why (Ac 13:44-51; Ro 9-11).

Monday: Romans 1:17
v17: The gospel Paul preaches reveals a righteousness which God will give to those who respond to Him by faith (Ro 3:22; 4:5-8; also Php 3:9; Heb 11:7). When He pronounces someone “righteous” it means He is pleased with that person and fully accepts them into relationship with Himself. They qualify to receive His blessings and are immune to His judgments. Apart from receiving this “gift” of righteousness a person would have to live obediently to all of God’s laws and be innocent of any violation. A central goal for Paul in this letter is to prove that no human can achieve this right-standing before God by their own attempts to obey these laws.

Tuesday: Romans 1:17
v17 (continued): The standard for acceptance, if someone intends to earn it by their own efforts, is nothing less than God-like perfection; yet all humans are so corrupted by selfishness and rebellion that failure or “unrighteousness” is unavoidable. Thankfully, the gospel announces another way to become acceptable to God and that is by “faith.” Paul will soon define faith as “being fully assured that what God (has) promised He (is) able to perform” (Ro 4:21). Just as Abraham believed the promise God gave him, we must believe the promise God has given us. And in our case, of course, the promise of which we must be “fully assured” is that He has sent His Son to suffer and die to pay for our sins and to defeat death by being resurrected. Such faith, as we discover later in this letter, includes both submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ and full trust in His atonement and resurrection (Ro 10:8-10).

Wednesday: Romans 1:17, 18
v17 (continued): The phrase “from faith to faith” describes the process that takes place when the gospel is successfully preached by one person to another. A person with faith speaks the gospel to someone who hears it and receives it by faith (2Co 2:14-17). Then to reinforce his claim that faith, not one’s own efforts, has always been the basis for right-standing with God, Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4, “But the righteous shall live by faith.” He wants us to see that even in the Old Testament it was those with faith whom God considered to be righteous. v18: In this verse Paul explains why it is so urgent that we receive the righteousness of faith rather than trust our own self-efforts: The penalty for impiety and unrighteousness is the wrath of God. God is impartial (Ro 2:11), not only in His love, but also in His wrath. He saves impartially, and He judges impartially. All who have been irreverent or who have violated His laws will receive the punishment they deserve, which is death: both physical death as well as spiritual death, which is separation from Him in eternity.

Thursday: Romans 1:18
v18 (continued): By describing the wrath of God as being revealed “from heaven” Paul particularly focuses on the judgment which will arrive with Jesus at His return. He will descend from heaven and then bless the righteous and judge the wicked (2Th 1:6-10). Then Paul adds a clause to this warning to explain that this impiety and unrighteousness doesn’t arise because people are naively ignorant of what is right and wrong. They actually make deliberate choices to suppress the truth. He says they “hold down the truth in unrighteousness,” meaning both internally in their own consciences (Ro 2:15) and then also by trying to prevent others from knowing the truth (Ro 1:32).

Friday: Romans 1:19, 20
v19: All who are unrighteous practice this deliberate suppression of the truth because no human being is without some knowledge of God. Though many do not have a Bible or someone to teach them God’s ways they intuitively know He exists because He reveals Himself to every person. v20: From Adam and Eve onward every human who looks at the world God created can recognize certain truths about Him even though we aren’t able to see Him. In particular, we know He exists and possesses eternal power and divinity. Our hearts tell us a powerful divine being must have created all of this. No one will escape judgment by claiming ignorance at this level.

Saturday: Romans 1:21
v21: If people responded honestly to the primitive knowledge they have about God they would at least worship and thank Him. After all, He has given us life and provided a world containing the resources we need in order to survive and even prosper. But humans generally choose to turn away from even the little “light” they have and listen instead to the doubts and philosophical speculations that fill their own minds (1Co 3:20). And these uninspired internal reasonings drain away whatever faith they may have had leaving them increasingly vulnerable to confusion and deception. The more they harden themselves the more they lose the capacity to recognize the true God or know right from wrong.

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