The book of Romans was written by Paul, a Roman citizen, and firmly grasps the Jewish belief system. He was educated in the school of Gamaliel, and thought that the Jewish belief system was the only true religion that existed. Paul wrote the book of Romans specifically to everyone who wanted to hear the Word of God, but also wanted to get his fellow Romans attention also. Saul, a former Jew, began his ministry when he first encountered God on the way to Damascus. Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him,” (Acts 9:3 NIV) the verse talks about God appearing right in front of Paul, and how soon after, Paul’s companions walked him towards Damascus.
He soon gets healed by a man named Ananias, and realizes that he was doing the job the PHARISEES wanted, not what GOD wanted. In that moment, he began to testify about God. Thus Saul became Paul. The focus of this essay will be on the Gentiles (Christians), and how they are in need of God, despite that they themselves don’t recognize their need of Him.
The relationship between the passage and Paul and the Gentiles show a similar characteristic. Paul thought he was doing the work of God, but in reality he needed God because Paul was persecuting Him. The gentiles needed God, because they were having unnatural sexual relationships amongst each other. Both cultural and religious beliefs have stated that men and women were to only have sexual relations with each other; not man and man, woman and woman. Referring back to Genesis, God made man (Adam) and woman (Eve). The passage also plays a role in today’s world.
Just like Sodom and Gomorrah, the present society currently faces impurities and wrong doing amongst its citizens. Recently, Gay Marriage was legalized by the Government here in the United States. Men are allowed to have sex with other men, and women with women, even though they know it contradicts God’s will. It is quite surprising that the relations between the present society and Sodom and Gomorrah. The given passage (Romans 1:18-32), is located close to the beginning of the book of Romans, and in general talks about the “Doctrinal Exposition”, or the explanation of our beliefs.
It continues on to the end of the book (v. 16). Romans 1:18-32 summarizes the “failure of the Gentiles”, Christians who have failed to follow the will of God, and have been left in the sinful desires of the world. Further in the book, it does tell you that you can be saved and forgiven (ch. 3-6). However, Gentiles are not the ONLY ones that needs redemption. Romans chapter 2 all the way to chapter 3:20, describes that Jews are also lacking God’s wisdom. The chapters discussed how the Jews thought they were doing God’s will by following the law when they were just as sinful as the Gentiles.
When Jesus was on the Earth spreading the Gospel among the nations, the Jewish Pharisees questioned His authority. The Pharisees called Jesus out, and called him many names; blasphemer, evil doer, and even said that Jesus was empowered by prince of demons, otherwise known as the Devil himself. “It is by the Prince of Demons that he drives out demons,” (Matt. 9:34). During Jesus’ ministry here on Earth, Jesus pointed out the Pharisees’ wrong doings. For example: Jesus was healing on the Sabbath day, but the Pharisees told Jesus that healing was unlawful in the Sabbath day.
He called them hypocrites for letting their animals work on the Holy day. Romans 1:18-32 focuses on the Gentiles and their wicked deeds they have committed against God. “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,” the first sentence talks about God showing his anger towards the sin that the people committed. I took note that God wasn’t angry at the people, He was angry at the actions that caused them to stray away from Him.
The following verses stated that God’s character, was shown clearly to the people, and also revealed His true nature and authority throughout the people’s surroundings (v. 19-20). Even then the people ignored His glory, refused to worship Him, and continues to sin. What was the result? The people grew more sinful and their thinking was blurred. Verse 21 describes the change within the people, “Their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. ” What does “their foolish hearts were darkened” mean?
Heart in a philosophical term refers to one’s emotions, or character and to darken is to make an object or an idea more sinister. So for one’s heart to be darkened would mean their character to become more evil. Though they know that what they are doing is wrong, they continue to upset God. Instead of worshipping their true creator, the people worshipped hand-made idols. God saw the sin grow and decided that He should let them be. Though the book of Romans was written many years ago, it still plays a major part in today’s world.
The main passage shows a surprising resemblance in today’s society. As I have mentioned earlier, the modern world parallels the destroyed city of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the passage, it shows the people (or us) suffering from disobedience from God, and one way of doing so is sexual impurities. Since the Gay Rights Movement passed, it allowed men to have affairs with other men, same going for women. When the people back in Paul’s time worshipped created beings, they often depict as animals, reptiles, or even other human figures.
We as Adventist do not worship created beings or other human figures. Or do we? In reality, majority of the time we do worship created things. Our electronics for example. Majority of Adventist teens, (even I) “worship” our phones. We spend most of our time fidgeting with our phones, computers, and others among that category. Personally, the passage does relate to my personal life. As an Adventist is the rapidly changing world, it gets much more difficult to withstand temptation, worldly outlook on me, and to maintain a healthy relationship with Christ.
Occasionally I’d be afraid to talk about what I believe because the world would look at me in a negative way. However, majority of the negativity that surrounds my bond with Christ does come from the Deceiver, otherwise known as Satan. My time spending with Christ is low compared to my time spent on the media, friends, and entertainment. But I want to make a change in my life, I know that if I am going to change, I need to stop “worshipping” the distractions around me and focus on my Creator more.