1 Greetings from Paul to the Beloved in Rome. My life is in service to Christ and my journey is to follow Christ, a pioneer of the faith.
2 And a first hand witness to the Truth. The fact of His coming is documented by men long since dead. Their holy words pointed to Jesus and Jesus alone.
3 They wrote it and Jesus personified it. For instance the prophets wrote, “Son of David.” That was Jesus.
4 The Spirit said, “Son of God.” That was Jesus, God’s one and only Son. And the story continued. Jesus was born, identified and also resurrected.
5 And through the name of Jesus, we get grace and we enter into the never ending story of Jesus. We are the ordinary Joes in a world of ordinary Joes called out to be extraordinary connected to the one God. And God’s grace will bring us home as we obediently join Him.
6 Yes, God wants me to be His but know this: He wants you too.
7 To Rome- that God loves and calls out to work acts of virtue and honor. Grace and peace to you!
8 I’m thankful to God that your faith has become the stuff of legends.
9 God can vouch for the fact that you constantly come to mind
10 And when I think of you I pray for you and I hope to see you soon.
11 I long to see you! I can’t wait to bring gifts from God! They are mysterious gifts direct from God and I will simply be His courier. They’ll make you stronger.
12 When you or I recieve gifts we all reap the benifits. We are all encouraged to have bold faith. It documents our purpose.
13 You might be asking each other, “Where’s Paul?” or “Why isn’t he coming to visit?” Believe me I’ve made travel plans over and over but I keep running into walls. I’d love to be a part of the harvest in Rome like I have been in other places. Jew and non-jews alike are finding grace in Christ.
14 God’s work (which means my work) doesn’t lean to the right or to the left. It’s for the schooled and the illiterates, the wise and the foolish, the religious and the wild-eyed bararians. Yes, everybody! It’s my job and I’ll tell you here and now that I’m going to do it. It’s like a debt that must be paid but what a exciting debt to pay!
15 So as far as I’m concerned I’m going to keep going. Full speed. As long as I live. And I’m ready to make a dent for the Kingdom in Rome.
16 Because I’m not shy or soft-spoken when it comes to teaching people about the grace Jesus offers people. How could I be since it is the answer to everyone’s sin problem. It has the power to wipe sin-slates clean. Who in their right mind would want to keep that a secret? It snatches people out of eternal death and brings them eternal life. It births confidence in living and hope to the dying to everybody- Jews- yes. Non-Jews- absolutely!
17 The message heard loud and clear is that if we have faith, God sees it as righteousness because we are trusting in Righteous Jesus and not sinful self. God sees our faith and counts our lives in the center of Jesus who was perfect for us. As the saying goes, “The just shall live by faith.”
18 God’s nature and primary character can only be described as holy and man’s nature is total rejection and denial of the holy. So when a holy God sees a sinful, selfish world, unwilling to even recognize its Creator, it angers God. He sees that our sinful nature is a direct attack against His plan for the earth and for man. Our sin sabatoges God’s ultimate design for this world.
19 Look around this world and everyone can see God.
20 He’s as real as anything else in this world and the fingerprints of the divine are everwhere if you want to see them. Who He is and what he has done are as plain as day. If only people would stop all the commotion of living and take a look. But since they refuse to face the truth they are writing their own ticket to destruction.
21 These people are handling God’s creation every waking hour but they refuse to thank God. No, it’s even worse than that. They refuse to even acknowledge that He exists. Their thoughts turn sour, chaotic, and absurd. And the light of their hearts dim. The darkness swallows them.
22 Psuedo-intellectualism rules the age. Fools acting like stately judges- even judging God!
23 They trade the glow and renown of God for the self-gratification and the worship of themselves and a worship of the creation rather than Creator. Their spirits connected with celebrities, rulers, and spirit beings.
24 God’s response is, “Have it your way.” Man’s result is a mixed up world where sex is worship and anything goes. People say, “If it feels good- it must be the right thing to do.”
25 People gleefully trade in truth, God’s truth, for a pack of lies that mock the Creator. The world, instead, worships a material world. God, who should be praised, is compartmentalized, discounted and dismissed from his own masterpiece.
26 Because of this, God grants them spiritual emancipation at their request and they moved into the land of lust- women lusting after women.
27 And men lusted after other men. And what’s more it is not only accepted- it is celebrated. But perversion is not without its price.
28 They don’t give God a second glance. Without a thought for anything pure, or holy or good, they thumb their nosees at God and so He lets them go into their self-made shrine of lust: wrongheaded depraved living!
29 And it’s not just the sex that gets perverted. It’s everything else! It’s a bent toward the occult. It’s a money grubbing desire for fithly wealth. It’s a total submission to glorify animalistic desires. Throw in envy, brawling, gossip, and a desire to cause pain and you’ve got a good idea of what happens when God leaves the scene.
30 They hate their parents. They are unteachable. They are arrogant and self-centered. Mind you, they are creative but they use their creative to scheme new forms of perversion and stupidity.
31 No sense. No faith. No heart. No soul.
32 Don’t be fooled. They know right from wrong. They just don’t care. They didn’t lose their moral compass, they gladly threw it away like last week’s trash. The greater the perversion the louder the ovation.