Romans Chapter 1 

Knowledge of Salvation

Chapter 1, Verses 13-32

v.13 "Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. 14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.  The gospel drives away ignorance.  It gives knowledge of salvation to the people of God.  It delivers from false teachings, false worship, false religious exercises, and false practices of the people.  Paul did not want the people to be ignorant.  He told them that he oftentimes had purposed to come to them but had been hindered from coming.  He told them that he desired to have fruit among them as he had among other Gentiles.  The fruit that he was interested in having was to see the fruit or works of the Spirit of God in their lives and to witness the effects of the gospel as it transformed the lives of God's people.  Paul declared himself a debtor to both the Greeks and the Barbarians and to both the wise and the unwise.  This debt did not accrue because of the actions of the Greeks or the Barbarians or of the actions of the wise and the unwise.  Rather this debt had accrued in the mind of Paul that he owed his all to the Lord Jesus Christ.  And as a result of God's grace he owed a debt of gratitude and service to God and that he was indebted to God to both serve the Greeks and the Barbarians and to serve the wise and the unwise.  Do we owe any less debt than Paul did?  Of course, we are just as indebted to God as Paul was.  We also owe a debt of gratitude to God for his grace bestowed upon undeserving creatures, as we know ourselves to be.  We should have the same mind as Paul to be willing to serve God's people as he was.

 v.15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.  We cannot do more than what is in us.  God is the one who has bestowed his grace and his spiritual gifts upon us.  He never asks us to do anymore than we are capable of doing.  Yet we should be willing to do everything that God has made us able to do.  This was Paul's attitude and it should be our attitude.  Paul was ready to preach the gospel to those that were at Rome according to the ability that God had given him and according to the grace that God had bestowed upon him.

There is no reason to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.  If Christ had failed to save his people from their sins as was declared in Matt. 1:21: And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins, then there would have been room for shame.  On the other hand, if the gospel failed to do what God set it up to do, there would be room for shame.  However, Christ did exactly what he came to do and the gospel accomplishes exactly what God intends for it to accomplish, therefore, there is no room for shame and Paul was not ashamed of the gospel.  Likewise, there is no room for us to be ashamed of the gospel. 

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.  It is not the power of God unto eternal salvation, for Christ himself has given us eternal salvation from sin by his own works.  It, however, is the power of God unto salvation from ignorance and from trying to establish our own righteousness under the law.  The gospel reveals the righteousness of God from faith to faith.  It reveals the righteousness of God from one person who has faith to another person who has faith.  Notice that in this revelation the righteousness of God is revealed from one child of God to another child of God.  Anyone who has faith has already been born of the Spirit of God and Christ died for him to redeem him from his sins.  The gospel reveals to us that God died to take away our sins and to make us righteous before God.  This is the righteousness of God that is revealed from faith to faith. 

According to God's order of things, the gospel was first preached to the Jews, and then it was preached to the Greeks.  For seven years the gospel went to the Jews only (3 and years during Christ's earthly ministry, then 3 and years after Christ's resurrection the gospel went to the Jews only.)  At the house of Cornelius, the gospel began to be directed to the Gentiles.

Paul did not say that the unjust would be justified by faith, but he said that the just shall live by faith.  The gospel is directed to those who are already made just before God.  It is directed to God's children only.  The gospel points us, the just, to live our lives by faith in God.  It calls upon us to serve the Lord in his kingdom and to present our bodies a living sacrifice to the honor and glory of God.

Watching for Revealing Fruit...

v.18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.  There seems to be a big controversy over this passage of scripture as to whether those who are spoken about are of the elect or not of the elect.  When people do not bear the fruit of the Spirit then we do not have any evidence that they are the elect of God.  I see nothing above to indicate the ones that are being spoken of are bearing any fruit of the Spirit.  Therefore, I do not have evidence that they are of the elect. 

First, we note that the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness.  The word, "hold," comes from the Greek word, "katecho," which means to hold down or repress.  Thus, in their ungodly and unrighteous actions, they are holding back or repressing the truth by their unrighteousness.  This does not sound like the actions of a child of God who is born of the Spirit of God. 

Second, "that which may be known of God is manifest in them."  It does not say that it was made manifest to them, but rather that it was made manifest in them.  That which may be known of God is referring to what may be known of God in nature.  There are things that may be known of God in nature that are made manifest even in those who hate God.  That which may be known of God in nature is set forth for us in v.20, "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."  The invisible things of God from the creation of the world are God's eternal power and Godhead."  While God's eternal power and Godhead cannot be seen with man's eye, yet God had made them manifest in the things which God has made. 

God is Revealed Even through Nature

God's eternal power is manifest in nature as even the smallest particle of nature has so much energy stored up in it that when released it is impossible to control.  An atomic bomb is made from the splitting of an atom.  When the energy is released from the very building block of nature (atom, the smallest particle in nature), this energy is so great that man is powerless to control it.  A few years ago, some were saying that we were running out of energy on earth.  What a joke, this earth and this universe and every particle of it is made up of vast sums of energy.  God's eternal power is manifest in this material world in which we live.

The Godhead is manifest in God's design of nature.  The Godhead is set forth in 1 John 5:7, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."  This pattern of three, yet one is manifest in all that God has made.  (See the articles on the association of numbers and bible subjects). 

21 "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things."  Natural man can see the evidence of God in nature, yet still rejects the existence of God and ends up worshipping God's creation rather than God. 

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful."  Much wickedness of man is set forth in the above passage of scripture.  This wickedness results from the sin-cursed nature of fallen man to which man fell in Adam in the Garden of Eden.  His very nature is opposite and opposed to God.

32 "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."  In chapter 3 we are told that man in nature has no fear of God before his eyes.  He mocks at God and mocks at God's judgment.  Yet, God's judgment is true and will be meted out on the non-elect at the end of time.          

Paul states in Rom. 3:9 that we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin.  There was a tension in the church at Rome between the Jewish believers and the Gentile believers.  This tension was in part brought about by what we read in Acts chapter 15 where men had come down from Jerusalem and taught that the Gentiles must be circumcised in order to be saved.  Also, contributing to the tension was the fact that Caesar had ordered all the Jews to depart from Rome and then sometime later allowed them to return.  Thus the tension was brought about by false teachers and by the political pressure of that time making a distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles.  In the above passage Paul has proven that all men in nature are under sin and that God has manifest in fallen man and revealed to fallen man his eternal power and Godhead and that man in nature being under the law of sin and death has no regard or desire toward God.