Through the Lenten season, I focused on the Gospels — the Good News — of Jesus Christ following His footsteps through Holy Week, then His ascension. I then followed His disciples as they dealt with His death and what they did After the Resurrection. I now start a series through the Book of Romans. It’s the first of the letters from Paul to the various churches around the Mediterranean in the New Testament right after the Book of Acts. Scholars think that Paul wrote this later in his ministry. I think early church leaders put the Letter to the Romans first after Acts because is so clearly explains what salvation is — the Good News of Jesus Christ.
What is Righteousness?
Righteousness is one of those churchy words. It’s not being “holier than thou”, or being a goody-goody. Righteousness is simply being right with God.
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”Romans 1:16-17
Paul is writing to a church smack in the middle one of the most pagan societies of the time — Rome. All around them, they witnessed sin daily. I won’t go into details, but you can read it for yourself in Romans 1.
God’s Anger at Sin — Especially Idolatry
But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.Romans 1:18-25
Growing up Catholic, we had pictures and statues of the Virgin Mary everywhere. I remember, when I was a little girl, asking the priest from our church in the Bronx to bless this little plastic statue of Mary someone had given me. He kissed it and gave it back to me.
Looking back at that moment, I think, “Yuk!” But then, I actually remember thinking, “That’s it?”
Still, the Catholic Church is big on idolatry — of both Mary and the “Saints”.
The Catholic Church Encourages Sinning
What the Catholic Church obligates you to do actually encourages sinning. The fact that they expect you to need confession every Saturday goes to show that they expect you to sin during the week. Satan loves that!
“The Holy Spirit cannot empower that which is unholy.”Dr. Jim Denison
I compiled my series of podcasts on the Benefits of Salvation and several of the benefits stem from having the Holy Spirit in our hearts. One of the key factors of salvation is the repentance of sin — once and for all.
We cannot expect to be saved and still keep on sinning just because we can go and confess our sins to a priest or even to God directly!
This passage from James came up in my Bible studies today…
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.James 1:26-27 (my bold emphasis)
How do we Keep Ourselves from Being Polluted by the World?
Focus Eternally First
Each of us needs to start their day by reading the Bible. If we focus on God first and everything else second, we’ll have a whole different outlook. We’ll go from a secular world view to a biblical one.
Paul ends the first chapter of Romans with this…
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.Romans 1:28-32
It’s Your Choice!
If you want to turn your life around and start living righteously — getting right with God — then you need to…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
Pray this prayer humbly and wholeheartedly…
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Please forgive me. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank You for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Next Steps in Your New Walk with Jesus…
- Start reading the Bible daily. If you don’t have one, I recommend the YouVersion, Bible.app and Through the Word app — both are free and have a lot of great daily devotionals and Bible studies.
- Pray every day. Talk to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you daily.
- Find and join a Bible-believing church — preferably a non-denominational one and be baptized!
By the way, Through the Word has an excellent study on the Book of Romans by Pastor Kris Langham. I’m going through it for the 3rd time as I prepare for this series.
Soli Deo Gloria — to God Alone be the Glory!
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