Message: In Romans 1 I noticed a dramatic
shift in Paul’s approach. When he was ministering to the Jews he was pleading
with them to search the scriptures and see that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
His approach with the Jews was to share his testimony of how he was once like
them before he came to understand this. He was working with their respect and
honor for God by using scripture from the Torah to point in the direction of
Jesus. He also used the credibility of known and respected prophets and fathers
of the faith like Moses. His letter to the Romans is very different. After a
kind and beautiful greeting, he starts off by saying there is literally no
excuse for mankind to reject God. He explains that all of mankind knows of God
but has refused to glorify him. When mankind refuses to glorify God, he chooses
himself above all else which is a worship of himself. The worship of self means that he accepts no
accountability for sin because his rejection of God has elevated his own status
in his own mind. It seems this is exactly what the serpent was talking about in
Genesis when he questioned why God didn’t want them to eat the fruit-because
they would become “like God.” Not “like God” in character but they would see
themselves as their own authority in place of God. Worship of “self”
caused the creation of idols like a backwards reflection of God who created man
in his own image to worship him. Man created idols in his own image and worshipped
his own created reflection of himself. Sin
is the result of the breakdown of God’s place of authority in the lives of
mankind. In Romans Paul explains that God sees that breakdown and doesn’t fight
for his place of authority in their lives. Instead he gives people over to their
desires and lets their own desires punish them. He uses homosexuality as an
example but he expands way beyond that to show that the love and worship of
self is the root of all sin.
Command: Worship God only.
Promise: God’s authority in our lives puts us
back into our rightful place and into protection and relationship with him.
Warning: Chasing our own selfish desires puts
us at odds with God because either he is our authority, or we are. We can’t
serve God and remain selfish.
Application: This really challenges the parts of
me that still believes I am running the show. The whole gospel is about denying
ourselves and the first chapter of Romans really brought clarity to why that is
so important. My challenge to myself is to identify some things that I’m still
trying to take charge of. I have relational things in mind and I see where
sometimes I have a desire to see someone conform to righteousness for my own
benefit. This is not God in charge, this is me in charge trying to stamp God’s
approval on it.