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st_paul1212If God is for us,

then who can be against us?”

A lesson on humanity from (Romans 1-8)

 

Introduction

The Book of Romans of the New Testament was written by the Apostle Paul in the winter of 56 57 AD from the city of Corinth.  The epistle was addressed to Christians living in Rome under the reign of Nero. There were already several small churches established in the city with both Jewish and Gentile members. The Roman Catholics (and Orthodox Church) credits Peter as founding the church in around AD 42. (Towns 2012, 130-131). The Population of the city of Rome is estimated to be up to four million inhabitants during this period of history.  Roman culture at the time of Nero is notorious for depravity, debauchery and immorality. Nero himself was considered a lunatic and known for his cruelty and excessive life style.

This essay will explore the teachings of Paul on Humanity in the areas of Human Identity, Relationship, culture civilization and the natural world as it is explained in the Epistle to the Roman People. I will then conclude with a synopsis on how the verses of (Romans 1-8) have changed my view of humanity in the area of humanity and the natural world.

On the Natural World

The book of Romans states God created the world (Romans 1:20).   However, humankind chose to turn away from this, worship false idols, embrace sin, and deserve death. (Roman 1:21-32(The nation of Israel is the Promised Land through the covenant of faith of Abraham. He is the God of all people and all nations (Romans 4:16 -17).Thus by Abraham all nations came into existence and salvation is available to all who believe in Christ and not by living under the Law or by our deeds. The Book Romans later explains the only purpose the Sinaitic Covenant is to illustrate sin.

 

On Human Identity and relationship:

Paul States that man is a decedent of Adam and all men are sinful. Sin passes down from Generation (to the time of Moses on…) as well as death. However, Christ was sent to conquer death and by the gift of grace, justification and the eternal reign of Christ after his resurrection; He will bring salvation and eternal life to all who believe. We will be born again in this world free from sin if we refrain from wickedness. In addition, we as disciples of the way serve as instruments of his righteousness not under the law but under Grace (Romans5-6). Because of our sinful nature God Gave us over to: sexual immorality (shameful lust) and homosexuality, depraved minds, envy, murder, depravity, deceit, gossip, slander, God-haters, insulters, arrogant , boastful, disobedient to one’s parents, senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless and all manners of wickedness (Romans 1:26-31).  Most importantly Paul reminds the Romans not to judge others as God does not show favoritism as we all are  sinners and God alone will reward and punish all Jew and Gentile as he deems necessary(Romans 2:1-10).

 

 

On Civilization and Culture

The Epistle states in Romans 2-8 that the law no longer binds us as Christians, This is a theme also reiterated in The Book of Galatians. This is not a statement condoning a life of sin or anarchy. Nor does it encourage one to live outside the rules and regulation of society. In fact, an ongoing theme of the New Testament is we should be model citizens and supports of the law as the law is God inspired and serves as a guideline on how not to sin and a model for society itself. All leaders thus are divinely appointed. Nero however, ended up persecuting Christians and since Rome was a pagan city resentment towards Christians and Jews would have naturally been high. Fear would of imprisonment and death would have been in the hearts and mind of the church or Rome. Therefore, Paul concludes with following passage of encouragement:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

More than Conquerors

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

 

“For your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[b]

73 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, [c] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither 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 (Romans 8:28-39NIV).”

In regards to civilization, as illustrated in the previous paragraphs the daily life in Rome was full of temptation, pleasure and debauchery. However, History has proven life in Rome was not all bad. I recall from my studies on the Roman Empire that the Government itself was made up of three parts a consul, senate and Caesar (Rex). In addition, there were many other elected and appointed officials. Each province outside the city had a certain level of autonomy as long as it did not affect the other province or Rome itself. The Consul members could be removed for corruption and were elected by the general populous. The Senate was chosen from the rich aristocracy and the Senate proclaimed the Rex. A citizen was to be granted a fair trial and Roman society was based on a patriarchal system with the father overseeing the details of the house and of religion.

 

 

 

On the Impact of Romans on my worldview towards Humanity and Society

The verses of (Romans 1-8) unfortunately reveal an alarming parallel between the way contemporary society and that of Rome live. Homosexuality, shameful lust, strife, murder, arrogance, God-Hatred, heartlessness, gossip, slander, greed, envy, deceit, condemnation, the judgment of others sin by those committing the same or worse act and all things wicked are common place in America and the world today. With many embracing false idol alternative “religions”, atheism, or worse, we are heading into a second apocalyptic age or time of judgment. Many so called Christian Churches are embracing feel good Prozac preaching and not teaching the Gospel or evangelism. The time for action is now.  In addition, many are turning a blind eye towards sin and even allow those who claim to follow Christ to continue blatantly sinning. Many are even failing to rebuke the sinner. 1 Corinthians reminds us this is not to be tolerated in fact a man who wishes to engage in sin and knows Christ is to be cast out of the Church to live in the world (1Cor 5-12). There is a time an apace for comforters and counselors and encourages. We as brothers and sisters of Christ are commissioned to make disciples of lost souls. We are to stand up in the face of injustice, to speak out against sin in a loving and compassionate manner and finally to be slaves to the Holy Spirit and servants of humankind.  We are to tech the commandments and teaches of Christ – Adonai, and to be peacemakers. Finally we are to prepare the way for the second coming and to believe and teach others about the Trinity, resurrection, gift of salvation, sanctification , love and grace and the coming Judgment for both the Old Testament Prophets and Christ has stated the end is near .

In God, Christ and the Spirit,

Trenton Clark Rindoks

Slaves to Righteousness

15 “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But 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. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But 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. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:15-23).”

Bibliography

Towns, Elmer L. and Ben Gutierrez. The Essence of the New Testament: A Survey. Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2012.

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