I am starting a new series today. I invite you to join me in studying Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon. This series will run every Monday. We will study one chapter a week. If you would like to follow along with this series, read the chapter listed for the week and then share whatever God taught you through that chapter in the comment section below. We can minister to one another, as God may teach each of us something different through the chapters.
This week, we start out by reading Romans chapter 1.
The first half of the chapter talks about the benefits of faith and how the gospel of Christ is exalted through faith.
In verses 1-17, I learned that:
- Faith is obedience (v. 5).
We often think we have to do everything right to be obedient. But the Bible says, “know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:16).
- Faith is noticeable and spreads to others (v. 8).
When we believe God is who He says He is, and believe He will do what He says He will do, His power is unleashed in us: “his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:19-21).
- Faith builds and encourages us, and those around us (v. 12).
When I am in faith I am filled with God’s Holy Spirit and lifted up. “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20). When I start to lose hope, and God leads me to someone in the faith who is filled with the Holy Spirit, they encourage me and build up my faith. “Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord” (Acts 11:24).
- Faith leads to righteous living (v. 17).
James 2:18-19 says, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” Faith does not just believe God exists. Faith trusts God as Lord of our lives. When we submit our lives over to God He fills us with His righteousness and our actions begin to change.
The second half of Romans 1 talks about the consequences of unbelief, and how it hinders the gospel and leads to unrighteous living.
In verses 18-32, I learned that:
- Unbelief suppresses the truth God has placed within us (v. 18).
God has clearly made Himself known to all of us. There is no excuse for us not to believe Him (v. 19-20).
- Unbelief darkens our hearts (v. 21).
Even though we know God, we don’t acknowledge and worship Him as Lord and our Creator. Instead we acknowledge and worship the things that have been created. When we start to worship things of this world over God, our hearts begin to harden to the truth and we become blinded by Satan’s deception. “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
- Unbelief does not please God (v. 28).
When we deny God, He gives us over to our depraved mind (v. 28). The Bible says, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:6-8).
- Unbelief separates us from God and His righteous, and leaves us in our unrighteousness (v. 29-32).
We need God’s righteousness to do what is right. When we reject Him we are “filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; [they are] gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” (Romans 1:29-32, NASB)
So to summarize Romans 1, when we put our faith in Christ, the power of God is released in us and displayed through us. When we persist in unbelief, we hinder His power to change us and impact the world for Christ.
We praise You for this study of Paul’s letters. Thank you for teaching us in Romans 1 about faith and unbelief. Help us to continually put our faith in You and make You Lord of our lives. Fill us with Your righteousness so that we are empowered to do what is right. In Jesus’ faithful name we pray, Amen!
How did God speak to you through Romans 1? Is there anything He revealed to you that you would like to share with others?
*Come back next Monday as we talk about what we learned in Romans 2. Have a blessed week walking in faith!