New International Version
God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity
18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
My Take: The God of love is also a God of wrath. As followers of God, we can have no excuse personally or corporately to not understand his eternal power or divinity. While created doctrines may be a necessary church discipline, they have no power unto salvation. WORSHIPING A CREATED DOCTRINE IN FACT BECOMES AN IDOL THAT SEPARATES THE CHURCH FROM THE TRUE DIVINE NATURE OF GOD’S HOLY WORD and leaves the church vulnerable to the lies and subversion of satan. Many religious cults begin by WORSHIPING a doctrine. Salvation comes only through a personal relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit who leads us to the truth of his word and eternal life in his kingdom.
God’s Righteous Judgment
2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
My Take: God’s judgement is based on truth. If a church deems its own judgements greater than God’s truth, it is in contempt of his forbearance. JESUS CHRIST IS GOD’S FORBEARANCE, GIVEN TO LEAD US TO REPENTANCE, FAILURE TO DO SO IS CONTEMPT FOR HIS KINDNESS.
5But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) 6Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” 8Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!
Righteousness Through Faith
25God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
My Take: A church that worships a doctrine or adopts a world view as righteousness is condemned. Religion has no righteousness in itself. God alone is the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Abraham Justified by Faith
1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
6David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7“Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
8Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
My Take: A church can boast about its good works, but they alone do not justify the church’s righteous standing before God. Blessings from good works come only after righteousness. GOD BLESSES A CHURCH ACCORDING TO ITS RIGHTEOUSNESS APART FROM ITS WORKS.
Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Slaves to Righteousness
15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!
17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
My Take: Just because we have been set free from the sins of the world by the grace of God, we are not allowed to continue in those sins. Our continued sins will separate us from the greater gifts of God – holiness and eternal life.
The Law and Sin
21So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
My Take: In our hearts we can delight in God’s law. We can be victorious in our battle between God’s love and our love for values of the world through the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God who delivers us from the world’s sinful nature through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Life Through the Spirit
5Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
12Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
Present Suffering and Future Glory
18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28And we know that in all things God work for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
More Than Conquerors
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
My take: The church has no obligation to the desires of the flesh. The desires of God will give us the spirit of life and peace and make us conquerors over our flesh. God can make his desires known by the “groans” in our heart. God will intercede for those who live according to his designed purpose. HIS GLORY TO US WILL BE FAR GREATER THAN ANY SUFFERING AT THE HANDS OF THE WORLD.
Paul’s Anguish Over Israel
1I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised Amen.
God’s Sovereign Choice
14What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
16It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
30What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33As it is written:
“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
My take: The people of Israel are the adopted people of God through the patriarchs, human ancestry and covenants. ISRAEL’S EXISTENCE DOES NOT DEPEND ON HUMAN EFFORT BUT ON GOD’S MERCY. GOD’S PLAN FOR ISRAEL WILL BE FULFILLED REGARDLESS OF ITS SPIRITUAL CONDITION. GOD NEVER CHANGES, ONLY PEOPLE. The promises to Israel are not negated by the sins of unbelief of its people. The Gentiles obtained righteousness by faith and the people of Israel pursued righteousness by works.
1Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.
My take: Our zeal for God may be great but ESTABLISHING OUR OWN RIGHTEOUS RELIGION OF WORKS AND JUDGMENT WILL FAIL US AS IT DID FOR THE ISRAELITES. Pray for the salvation of Israel. How can they be saved without someone to witness the Gospel of the risen Christ to them? We need to bring them good news, not condemnation.
The Remnant of Israel
1I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3“Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me? 4And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
All Israel Will Be Saved
25I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26and in this way all Israel will be saved.
My Take: God has not rejected the people of Israel. When he calls his true Church to himself he will reserve a remnant who will remain faithful as in the days of Elijah, who will bring about a revival throughout Israel as in the days of Elijah. All Israel will be saved at that time
A Living Sacrifice
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Humble Service in the Body of Christ
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you
Love in Action.
13Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head”21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
My take: Do not follow the ideals of the world, but transform your thoughts through humble scripture reading and prayer. Only then will you know his perfect will. GOD ALONE WILL PUNISH EVIL WITH HIS WRATH, THE CHURCH CAN NOT. Share God’s goodness with your enemies..
The Day Is Near
11And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
17I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
20The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
My take: I believe that I am a member of God’s Church. I will join a partnership of other true believers with which I can share my individual worship in praise and gratitude to God and in turn receive God’s spiritual inspiration from other true believers directly to my heart. I will attend in anticipation of spiritual blessings from the partnership, not as a requirement for salvation or righteousness. I will attend a corporate church in which the Holy Spirit lives.
I believe the corporate church exists to keep GOD’S WORD and the spiritual needs of its congregants fresh and alive! Its outreach to the larger community is only as effective as its own spirituality. WINNING and KEEPING souls for Christ should be the goal, individually and corporately.
I won’t depend on a manmade religion or doctrine for my justification because it does not have that power. Salvation is a personal covenant with God. My relationship with God comes before religion or church doctrine.
I will avoid a corporate church which is prideful and worships its own religious doctrines and works as this leads to idolatry and has no saving grace in itself. I will attend a church with doctrinal guidelines with which I feel comfortable.