Commentary on Romans (last update to this page was made on 01/15/2007. Last monthly update in RED)

Brief Overview:
Names are interesting in scripture. We know that a name can often imply a nature. God has given us a new name and that is a spiritual name, not a new natural name. In other words, he has given us a new nature! In scripture we find that names for some were changed at the very command of God. For example, Abram was renamed Abraham and his wife Sarai to Sarah. We also find Jacob renamed to Israel; Simon to Peter and the Sons of Zebedee to Sons of Thunder. But that is not the case for the author of this epistle of Romans who is known to most as Paul.

Who is Paul? He was an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God (Eph 1:1). I am told that Paul is a Latin Roman name meaning "little". His Hebrew name was Saul (name means 'asked'). He was Saul of Tarsus, son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin. We find both names used in scripture. Luke states in Acts 13:9 "Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost.....". Jesus in the Hebrew tongue said Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me on his journey to Damascus. The N.T. uses the name Saul 23 times, some before his conversion and some after his conversion. These all can be found in Luke's writing in the Acts of the Apostles. The name Paul is used well over a hundred times in the N.T. and many by Luke in the book of Acts. I find that he used two names as it was customary for the Hebrews to use two or three names. For example, Azariah is also called Uzziah; Jedediah is also called Solomon and Jehoiachin is also called Zedekiah just to name a few in the O.T. Likewise, the N.T. practices the same pattern. For example, Levi is also called Matthew; Lebaeus is called Thaddeus as well as Judas (brother of James) and so on. So when did he use the name Saul and when Paul? I could be wrong, but it appears that when he ministered to his own people he was Saul as it would be more vernacular or more commonly spoken in his native tongue but perhaps Paul when addressing the Gentiles and such. Likewise, the first words spoken to the converted Saul by a Christian was "Brother Saul" (Acts 9:17). I have also wondered if this may explain why we do not find the name Paul in the book of Hebrews as his own would have known him as Saul. It is also interesting to note when we quoted Luke saying "Saul who is called Paul", that would mean that this was not the first time he was called Paul.

I have also read that some believe his Roman name of Paul was given as a description of his possible small stature while others suggest it as a title of endearment when a child. I share the same conviction as some that Paul also often used his Roman name due to its spiritual connotation. He said he was the "least" of the apostles and "less than the least" among the saints. But it should be noticed that God did not command his name to be changed and I am therefore not convinced that we ought to look at his two names and assume he was simply Saul before his conversion and after his conversion renamed Paul.

Some have suggested that we can see Paul progress in his writings. I would be the first to agree that I am sure Paul progressed in his spiritual development and to think that he just leaped into ultra-maturity from his initial call or even after his desert experience without any further spiritual progression is a blind leap of faith. However, I openly reject the notion that any of his later writings disannul his earlier writings and make them less important or any less true. It is like saying 3 + 3 + 3 equals nine. In the mathematical world that is absolutely true and nothing can take away from it being so. Yet, it is elementary and not multiplication. As we progress in our understanding, we may later say that 3 times 3 is nine. It is more advanced in its understanding. Yet it DOES NOT change or disannul the earlier fact of adding the numbers and arriving at the same sum total. So it most likely is with Paul and some of the statements in his writings.

Paul is apparently writing his letter to those in Rome from the city of Corinth. He writes "Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you" (Rom 16:23). He speaks of Gaius as one among the church in Corinth "I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius" (I Cor 1:14). He also continues in Romans to say "Erastus, the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother." and spoke of the same to Timothy "Erastus abode (remained) at Corinth" (II Tim 4:20). (Note: When Paul went into Macedonia, he sent for Timothy and Erastus to minister unto him - Acts 19:22). And of course Paul also stated "I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea" (Rom 16:1) which was a place (port of Corinth) near those at Corinth.

Paul wrote 14 of the 27 letters in the New Testament and they are all of equal importance. In fact, in terms of quantity (measured in verses) Paul wrote 29% of the N.T. while Luke wrote 27% and John 18%. The supposed chronological order of this letter, according to Robert Young translation, is 58 A.D. He wrote other letters both before and after this one. In fact, Romans is a long letter, broken into 16 chapters and 433 verses by the translators. It is one of Paul's longest letters, if not his longest as 1st Corinthians has 6 chapters and 437 verses. I do not know which letter had more words, or syllables, and therefore which letter is longer, I will leave that to someone else to count such things!)

Yet of his 14 letters, it has been this letter known as Romans that has changed the lives of many great men throughout history. One such person was born in 354 in the town of Thagaste, in Numidia Proconsularis (today is an Arab village near Algeria). His father's name was Patricius (a pagan) and owner of some property, minor official and town councilor. His mother was Monica and a faithful Catholic from childhood. Their son is considered as one of the greatest minds (barring Origen in my opinion) the church has ever had bestowed upon her. His name? Augustine. His revelation? After playing a game having a Latin phrase in it of "pick-up and read", he saw a copy of the New testament and picked it up, opened to the book of Romans and read about morals and righteous living and immediately was seized with a sense of conviction and thus his conversion.

Paul's letter of Romans had a significant impact on another used of God in the history of the church. This person was a coal miner's son born in 1483 in Eisleben, Saxony (today part of Germany), a boy born of Hans and Margaretha Luder (as it was spelled at the time). Hans eventually rose above his peasant background and became the owner of several mines and foundries and even sat on the town council. Margaretha is remembered by historians as a deeply religious woman. Their son is considered today as one of the most important figures in the Protestantism Christian faith. His name? Martin Luther. His revelation? That the righteousness of God is granted to us as a gift of faith, or "...the just shall live by faith" Romans 1:17.

Another such person once heard a sermon in England in the 1700's and seemed captivated as the preacher ministered from Paul's letter to those in Rome. This man became one of the most forcible figures in one of the most important and dramatic renewals following the Protestant Reformation era (1517 to mid 1600's), the Evangelical Revival (also known as the Methodist Revival), which started in the late 1730's. This person was John Wesley, brother of Charles and friend and colleague to George Whitefield (pronounced WIT-field). It was these three that are credited with starting the movement called Methodism

Though I had not read this supposed great work, I have been told that the great Swiss theologian Karl Barth wrote a commentary on the book of Romans that swept the church and called them back to a Bible-centric theology and reawakened many theologians to the gospel center of Jesus Christ and the sovereignty of God.

The book of Romans....what value to be attributed to this wonderful letter!

In considering Paul's letter to the Romans, the reader will find it providing both doctrine and instruction. It is a revelation of God's gospel (Rms 1:1). It is good news in spite of all the ungodliness, wickedness and sin of man (of both Jew and Greek), yet Paul holds that God will deal with man in grace. This letter is not simple in its interpretation as it deals with so many topics. Paul addresses Israel according to the flesh as well as not according the flesh; circumcision of the flesh and the heart; laws that are of the letter and laws that are spiritual; the calling of the Gentiles; the law of Moses; the law of of the mind and of sin; the inner and outer man, and so on.

Please read each chapter and verse from the Bible using various translations and give it to your own contemplation and guiding of the Holy Spirit for you may see much more than is presented below. Though much of what you read below is the fruit of my own labor, I also acknowledge having borrowed some good points from two expositions on Romans.

Chapter One:

Verse: 1
PAUL, a servant of Jesus Christ, called an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, - KJV

1). We have discussed PAUL in our introduction. He introduces himself as a "slave" of Jesus Christ.

The Greek word used by Paul is 'doulos' and means a slave or bond slave. A slave is one of subservience or in subjection to another. A slave is one who serves another to the disregard of their own will. Why did Paul declare himself a slave? Especially when he said "thou are no more a servant" (Grk: doulos) or no more a slave. Did not Paul also say "for ye have NOT received the spirit of bondage (Grk: douleia) again to fear" or the spirit of slavery? (Gal 4:7 and Rom 8:15). It may be the same reason as why he used his name Paul, one of a humble spirit. He said "For though I am free from all, yet I have made myself servant (Grk: douloo) unto all, that I might gain the more". (I Cor 9:19). Paul made himself a slave to all that he may gain the more. "And unto the Jews, I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without the law, as without the law, (being not without law to God, but under the law of Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all, that I might by all means save some." (I Cor 9:20-22). And yet he did not serve them nor did he serve Christ as in a spirit of slavery per say but rather a spirit of adoption for "thou are no more a slave but a son." (Gal 4:6). Yet, to follow his Master, he too could say "but I am among you as he that serveth" (Luke 22:27). Others too called themselves 'slaves' to God, including Moses, Jude and John to name a few. Even Jesus took upon himself the form of a slave (Phil 2:7). And yet there can be a slave that is not in the positive sense. For example, we are not to be GIVEN (Grk: douloo) or slaves to much wine (Titus 2:3). When we were slaves to sin, we were captives of our own desires, we were compelled in that "the evil which I would not, that I do" (Rm 7:19).

Paul did not say he was a servant but chose 'doulos' or slave to describe his relationship to Jesus Christ. A servant is a person that is hired or works for wages and it was also true in Paul's time. Such a person was able to stay or leave their job, they had freedom to seek other employment if they so chose, even to be a servant to another. But not so with a slave! Such were to be obedient to their lords, masters and such. And so it is for us as we have been bought with a price. Once slaves to sin, now slaves to our Master, to Jesus Christ. And where the Spirit of the Lord (Master) is, there is liberty.

2). Slave of Jesus Christ, what does this mean?

Christ Jesus is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (I Cor 1:30). He also says of himself "I am the way, the truth and the life" (Jhn 14:6) and he is therefore also to us these things too. He is made unto us the way, truth and life. Indeed, he is many things to us, including the living Word for he is called the Word of God (Rev 19:13). Therefore, Paul was a slave to all of these things in Christ Jesus and he was most certainly a slave to Christ alone.

PAUL, a slave of Jesus Christ!!!

3). What did it mean that PAUL was "CALLED an apostle"?

Paul knew the O.T. scriptures and he had probably read numerous times "Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee" (Job 14:15); "I have called thee by thy name.." (Isa 43:1); and many other verses dealing with the concept of being called to a divine purpose. The Greek word used by Paul in Romans 1:1 is 'kleetos' and means appointed. Jesus said "for many be called, but few chosen" signifying that you can be appointed but not chosen. Paul just moments later in this letter said of those to whom he was writing "among whom are YE ALSO CALLED of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, CALLED saints..." (Rom 1:6-7). Likewise he also says of them that love God "to them who are the CALLED according to his purpose" (Rom 8:28). He also used the word CALLED in the same way in in I Corinthians. Jude wrote to them are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and CALLED. John also said of the Lamb and those with him "for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are CALLED, and chosen, and faithful." (Rev 17:14). Called to be something, called to be, appointed to be.

Paul tells us in another place that the "gifts and CALLING (Grk: kleesis) of God are without repentance" (e.g., turning or changing of mind). He says that we see our CALLING and how not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. In another place, Paul prayed that the eyes of their understanding be enlightened that they may KNOW what is the hope of their CALLING and prayed that "God would count you worthy of this CALLING" (Eph 1:18, II Thes 1:11). He also said "I therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation (CALLING) wherewith ye are CALLED" (Eph 4:1). Likewise, Peter said to "give diligence to make you CALLING and election sure." In his other letters, Paul speaks of this appointment or calling as a high calling, a holy calling and the heavenly calling. John wrote "and they that are with Him are called, and chosen and faithful" (Rev 17:14). Therefore, the word "called" applies to all who have heard that inner call and believe in Jesus Christ. This calling is productive and it is potent. Some use the word efficacious or effective. It is an effectual calling. It is not simply an idea that can be rejected. It causes a person to be stirred and pursue such an appointment. It also is a calling of God for "no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God" (Heb 5:4). Paul was called, he was divinely appointed. His call of commitment was not an invitation for this would suggest that he could accept or reject it. God did not ask Paul but rather captured him and made him a slave or a prisoner. This idea highly offends the nature of man, yet without God intervening, Paul would have carried on with his persecution of those of the way, or early Christians.

4). What did it mean that PAUL was "called an APOSTLE"?

An apostle is one who is sent. He is one who is a delegate, an agent or a representative. An apostle of Jesus Christ is a disciple or "learner" though not all disciples are apostles. An apostle is commissioned with the authority to speak for the One sending him. To reject a true apostle is to reject the One who sends him. We are to try those that say they are apostles and are not (Rev 2:2) for some send themselves and have not the message. Furthermore, Jesus Christ is the chief apostle and no man should take such a title unto himself.

Though all whom follow Christ are believers, a person must be appointed according to God to be an apostle. Some are appointed this or that (e.g., apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, etc.) to aide and serve in maturing the saints of God. And though many may be called to function in a certain capacity, I believe somewhere along that path it quite possible that they can fall away into all sorts of doctrines or vices, they can neglect the grace of such a calling and in effect are not chosen. Therefore the fulfillment of "many are called, few are chosen." One must fulfill their calling to be chosen, else their appointment is not fulfilled. God can appoint us to many things during this journey and we can fulfill them during long the way. Judas may serve as a perfect example. He was called to be an apostle but not chosen to be an agent of the good news as he took the role of a traitor. I suppose there have been those who had been called to be a martyr and yet renounced Christ and may not have held out till the end, thereby were not 'chosen' or fulfilled the calling of a martyr. Many are teachers in our day but who holds out to the end considering the cost in teaching the truth? Many shepherd over the flock but will they leave to find the one in need? Many are called to this virtue or that virtue, to this spiritual gift or that heavenly gift, but are they chosen? Likewise many call themselves apostles but are they appointed by God as an apostle? Do they send themselves or are they sent? If they are sent, then their message will bear witness with the One sending them.

Paul was one who was sent, appointed or called an apostle!

5). Paul was "........SEPARATED unto the gospel of God"

To be separated is to be "set apart". Paul was set apart for a specific purpose in his life. He said himself "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace" (Eph 1:15). The grace of God in Paul's life was not in vain as he laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not Paul but rather the grace of God that was with him (I Cor 15:10). He did not shun away, refuse, decline or reject the light but rather cooperated with it and yielded to the inworkings of the Spirit of God. Even in great adversity, in "journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thrist, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.......if I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities" (II Cor 11:26-30). In fact, Paul was a man of great obedience and discipline for he said "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest my any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (I Cor 9:27). Paul even said it was of necessity that he preach the gospel (I Cor 9:16). In comparison to Paul, many are not set part unto the gospel of God as David reminds us "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies" (Ps. 58:3).

6). Paul was "........separated UNTO THE GOSPEL OF GOD"

Mark speaks of the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ, the Son of God as written by the prophet Isaiah. The gospel of Jesus Christ and the gospel of God are one and the same for Christ is "the Word of God" (Rev. 19:13). Many hold that they have the word of God but if it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ, then it is not the Word of God. And yet Paul says "....according to my gospel" (Rms 2:16) and in another place "but if our gospel..." (II Cor 4:3). MY and OUR would refer to any that are in compliance to and in cooperation with the gospel of God. The gospel of God means it belongs to God, it is his gospel. It is not a gospel or message about him but rather his gospel. It is good news from God himself and Paul was an agent setting it forth. It belongs to God, he has ownership of it and Paul was appointed or called to proclaim it, to communicate it to others. And indeed it is always ultimately good news if we can see the forest from the trees, or the ultimate intention from the means to get there for "we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose" (Rom 8:28).

Verse: 2
(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) - KJV

1). "Which he had promised............."

It would seem that Paul is referring 'which' to the previous words 'gospel of God'. Who had promised? It was 'he' or God that had promised. How did he promise?

2). "....................afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)"

He promised beforehand by his prophets in the holy scriptures. It is the gospel or good news that was promised by prophets of yesteryear. Paul spans time and connects the good news with the holy scriptures of old. Paul validates the harmony of scripture and declares that the central theme of the prophets of old was the promise of the gospel of God (good news from God). Any one reading the prophets of old will find numerous promises of the gospel. For example, Isaiah tells of the good news or gospel when he says "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" (Isa 52:7). Another reading of the old testament has "The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it." (Psalms 68:11). Of course, there are many many more (e.g., Ps 19:4; Ps 147:15, Jer 16:1 & 16:16, etc.)

Verse: 3
"Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;" - KJV

1). "Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord......"

The holy scriptures and gospel of God concerns his Son who is Jesus Christ. He was Jesus of Nazareth and is Jesus the Christ (Christos), the Messiah or the Anointed One. Paul affirms this very Jesus is the one whom the prophets spoke about in the holy scriptures (see V2). This Jesus was not only the Messiah but also Paul says he is OUR Lord (Greek: kyrios - form of Hebrew: Adonai). This means one 'who reigns' or 'the sovereign one'. The word 'Adonai' speaks of relationship. Abram said "'Lord God (or Adonai Jehovah) what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless?" He used the name repeatedly when addressing God and in fact, many others used the name Adonai in the Old Testament. What does this name mean or reveal? Simply, Adonai is the plural form of the Hebrew word 'Adon' which happens to mean 'master' or 'lord'. It is a word that speaks of relationship and can be used in earthly relationships (e.g., used in O.T when referring to master and slaves; husband and wife, etc.). The word was used in a personal relationship which denoted ownership, possession or a right of lordship. Paul says that Jesus is OUR Lord. This speaks of our relationship to Jesus Christ and our dependence on him, as well as his claim on us.

2). "..................which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;"

According to the flesh or his humanity, Jesus came from the seed of David. Now we know he was not from the seed of Joseph, yet according to the law Mary too was of Davidic descent.

It should also be noted that in a sense it could be said of Jesus to be a son of Joseph (though he was not) in the same sense as Uzziah (Azariah - king of Judah) is said to be from Joram or Jehoram (see Matthew 1:8) yet we know he was not for it says in II Kings 14:21 & II Kings 15:1 that his father was Amaziah (also see II Chronicles 26:1) and he is three generations from Joram his great grandfather. Yet Matthew shows him to be of Joram. And while speaking of Uzziah, many of us are familiar with the words of Isaiah concerning Uzziah "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple (Isa 6:1).

According to the Spirit, he existed before that time (e.g., from the seed of David) and there was never a time when he was not! (contrary to the teaching of Arius {whose teaching was condemned by the Council of Nicaea for the idea that there was a time when Jesus the Christ was not} and also our modern day Jehovah Witness). In other words, there was never a time before the Son! According to the flesh, he was a descendant of David (e.g., that what was made from the seed of David is according to the flesh, namely his body) but as to his spirit, he was from God.

Of course, the simple question may be raised, if Jesus was not of Joseph then how could he be of the lineage of David? (see Luke 3:23-31). We stated earlier that according to the law, Mary too was of Davidic descent. You say explain? Elizabeth was her cousin (Luke 1:36), who was a descendant of the daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5) and kinsmen according to the flesh was applied to the lineage of Israel.

Verse: 4
"And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:" - KJV

1). "And declared to be the Son of God......"

Paul makes it clear that not only was Jesus made of the seed of David according to the flesh but shows him to be of or from God and therefore declared the Son of God. We know him to be Jesus THE CHRIST. His name is not Jesus Christ or even Jesus the Christ. His name was Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus bar Joseph. His position or title was THE CHRIST, the Christos (Greek), the Anointed One (English) or meaning literally the Messiah (Hebrew). Paul shows us here that Jesus is not simply a man or a prophet or a teacher from God but is DECLARED to be the Son of God!

2). "........with power, according to the spirit of holiness,"

The power was not of man, nor of the soul realm as found so many psychic realms and churches today. He was declared to be the Son of God with power, which was of God. Paul stated in I Corinthians 1:24 "Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."

Paul also tells us it was according to the spirit of holiness. Interesting that Paul had addressed him according to the flesh and now according to the spirit. It is equally interesting that he did not address him according to the soul in this passage. Later he states "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." The soul is your life and indeed your expression and it gravitates to either the flesh or the spirit. If it attaches itself to the flesh, then it becomes one with it and is considered to be in union with the flesh. If it is joined to the spirit, then it is become spiritual or as Paul stated YE are not in the flesh. Therefore the soul will inevitably join itself to one of these two aspects, flesh or spirit. He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit (see I Corinth 6:17) but two saith he shall be one flesh (see I Corinth 6:16). Therefore it is my personal conviction that Paul makes the striking declaration of the unity of the soul of Jesus with God for it was according to the flesh that he was of the seed of David but with power according to the spirit of holiness.

As Jesus the Christ is the power and wisdom of God, he also is the holiness of God. Paul said concerning him "who has become wisdom for us from God, and righteousness and holiness and redemption." (I Corinth 1:30). He makes holiness available as the Spirit can be none other than holy to us and he has become and is that spirit of holiness to us.

3). "by the resurrection from the dead:"

It should be pointed out that though the KJV translation does not reflect this, several better translations has verse four to read "by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord." The KJV rather puts Jesus Christ our Lord in verse three while these other translations do not in verse three but rather here in verse four.

Jesus Christ is the central theme and he rose from the dead. The resurrection was the end of Christ dying anymore and therefore death no longer had dominion over him (see Romans 6:9). As death had no more dominion, it is also true that his suffering had its end in his resurrection. "For it became bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." He suffered in the flesh yet he suffers no more in the flesh nor are we to know him in that manner for "though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more" (II Corinth 5:16).

He is the firstborn of every creature as well as the firstborn from the dead (I Corinth 1:15-18). Is he the "only" as the firstborn or is he the first and there are those after him? Paul said that we were raised up together and made to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:5). In a sense, those that have been raised with him are also part of that firstborn from the dead. In the same manner, the writer of Hebrews (most likely Paul) speaks of the 'church of the firstborn' or as other translations put it - the church of the 'firstborn ones' or 'first borns' or 'first born sons'. (see Diaglott & Williams translations). Of course, we find again that after his resurrection "and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many" (Matthew 27:52-53). That holy city in which they appeared is that city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22-23).

He has ascended back to God and is now declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness. Though once hidden and in secret, he is now openly declared to be the Son of God. This is accomplished BY THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD in all his components (e.g., spirit, soul and body). This was an inseparable unity of Jesus the Christ for Christ as the WORD has never been and could never be separated from the Father.

Verses: 5 - 6
"By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:" - KJV

1). "By whom we have received grace and apostleship,......"

Paul makes the claim in having received this wonderful act of grace and apostleship by someone other than himself. The same idea is found in John 1:13 "which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." BY WHOM states the apostle. It was the son of God, Jesus Christ who delivered such merits to Paul; and not only was such given to Paul, but he says WE have received. To receive something means to possess it. It does not mean that Paul "accepted" it as if it were a matter of choice but rather he makes the proclamation of having RECEIVED something of the divine, to now have something that he previously had not possessed prior to that time. He received grace and apostleship. So, it was BY Jesus Christ "who gave himself a ransom for all" that we have received grace and apostleship.

What is grace? In the Old Testament we find grace to mean gracious or favoured. Proverbs 5:19 even translates the word "grace" as pleasant, with Proverbs 17:8 showing it as a precious stone (lit. stone of grace). Strong's concordance defines the Hebrew word for grace as graciousness, kindness, favor, pleasant, or precious. So, in the Old Testament it means gracious or favour and brings the meaning to bend or to stoop in kindness to an inferior. Job used this very word as he sought his friends to stoop and find favor and kindness on him as he said 'grace on me, grace on me' or "Have pity on me, have pity on me O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me." The first time we see the word grace used in the Bible is Genesis 6:8 "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord". In addition, many others found grace in the sight of the Lord, including Abraham (Gen 18:3), Lot (Gen 19:19), Laban - Jacob's father-in-law (Gen 30:27), Jacob (Gen 32:5), and Moses (Ex 33:16) to name a few. God showed grace or favor to many throughout time. God had stooped down in kindness to an inferior, he showed his favour on Noah, Abraham, Jacob and Moses, but not because they were better than the others, not because there was something worthy in them of His grace or divine favour. They of old were no different than all of us who were born in sin and shapen in iniquity. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; there is none righteousness, no not one. God had grace or favour on these men of old not because of who they were but because of who HE IS.

Likewise, we find the Greek word 'charis' approximately 160 times in the New Testament as it is translated as grace, favour, thanks, pleasure, benefit, liberality and gift (in the KJV). Strong's concordance defines grace as the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life. In addition, another word "charizomai" is often translated as forgiven and freely given. One dictionary brings this same idea to light by stating that grace is unmerited favour. And so it is as both the old and new testaments suggest. However, there is a greater application in the principle of grace used in the New Testament than simply stooping down to an inferior. The beloved physician Luke tells us of Jesus "the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him". Now I ask the question, was God stooping to an inferior, having unmerited favour to one which was undeserving? Or was Jesus unblemished, without flaw, a perfect sacrifice? I submit that the divine influence (grace) of God was on the boy's life. God did not have unmerited favor upon His Holy Son, He who was born of an incorruptible seed.

Even Jesus used the very word grace in scripture as found in Luke 6:31-36 "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank (grace) have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank (grace) have ye? For sinners also do even the same...............But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again;......for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil". Interesting, Jesus tells us to extend grace to all for God himself is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Paul's revelation of grace should be clear when he states that we are saved by grace and not of ourselves; that salvation is not earned but is a gift of God; and that it is not of works lest anyone should boast. Paul knew there was no condition in man that qualified him for salvation or acceptable unto God. Divine grace is divine influence, it is divine enablement to endure unto the end and to do the works which he bids us to do.

Apostleship is none other than that authority to proclaim a message and that message bears witness with the One sending you. Christ Jesus himself is "THE APOSTLE and High Priest of our profession" (Heb 3:1). It was the Gentiles or those called the uncircumcision in the flesh that were foreigners or aliens to the covenants of promise and having no hope and without God in the world. (Eph 2:11-12). It was because of the grace given to the apostles that these (gentiles) were now able to believe on the gospel.

2). "......for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:"

By and through this grace, as the apostles preached, men came to obey through faith on the name of Jesus the Christ. And this is not only spoken of the gentiles, but Paul states this to those in Rome as called or "Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:6). They are not called to be an apostle as Paul (v1) but they are called in obedience to the faith. So here Paul tells us we have been given grace or the ability to endure and the authority to proclaim in order to obey THE FAITH. The circumcision mixed faith and works and relied on man's ability to obey. Paul insists on unassisted faith other than from God alone. Faith is not based on man's wishes, desire, false hopes or expectations and dreams. Faith is not laying ahold of promises made to others or to "make-believe" that God will perform some act or miracle that the people so desperately desire. Faith is connected with the idea to assent or have a testimony of another. Faith is our persuasion and conviction from another. Faith is by divine impartation into our hearts a clear word as "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." God is justifier of the one who is of THE FAITH OF JESUS (Rom 3:26). Our justification is not our own faith but rather the faith of another. Certainly we are to live by faith as it is written "The just shall live by faith." (Rom 1:17), yet Habakkuk 2:4 brings this out that "the just shall live by his faith.". Amen, HIS FAITH. God is the source and originator of our faith! Our faith is merely the faith that God has given us! "Now faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for...." (Heb 11:1) and it was through or by this very substance that God framed the ages for he adjusted the ages out of himself by his own word (Heb 11:3).

To whom are we called to and why? Paul tells us it is to be among the nations and it is for his name! It is to be for all men, not just one particular race. Luke wrote "but ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts:1-8). It is as a series of concentric circles or rings. It started in Jerusalem and expanded to Judea, followed by Samaria and then the entire Gentile world. And it was said as how Israel had not heard that the sound of the apostles and the good news to the Gentiles went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world (Romans 10:18). Jesus also said upon announcing the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D by Titus and the end of an age "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matt 24:14). And indeed just as he said, it most certainly did. Paul acknowledges this wide spread witness unto all the nations having been accomplished when he said "..........which was preached to every creature which is under heaven.." (Col 1:23). So Paul was commissioned to be an apostle to the nations, to men of all backgrounds, territories and race and he reminds them that they too are considered to be among those nations and are the called of Jesus Christ.

Verse: 7
"To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ" - KJV

1). "To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: ......."

Paul is writing to those in Rome. The "all" is understood not to mean every single person that was in Rome (e.g., believer and lost), but rather those that are the object of God's love and affection, the beloved of God. But one may ask, did not God love the world for it says that he so loved the world? And yes, that is true. But here I am reminded that God loved Jacob and hated Esau (e.g., his way of unrighteousness). This special endearment of BELOVED can be found of Jesus Christ when we read "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt 3:17). God, our Father is pleased with all found to be in the 'beloved' as it is only by faith in which we can please him.

Paul calls these in Rome as saints. Called saints ('to be' is not in the original). This word and a closely connected word brings the idea of consecrated, blameless, clean, innocent, modest, chaste, pure or 'holy ones'! In fact, this word used by Paul is translated as Holy in most other places in the New Testament. Such have been set apart and consecrated to God and therefore holy ones or saints. So be ye holy (I Peter 1:15) for we should be holy and without blame before him in love (Eph 1:4), reminding ourselves that he is to be glorified in his saints or holy ones (II Thes 1:10).

2). "........Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ"

Paul pronounces a blessing of grace and peace upon those saints in Rome. This is a divine salutation from this apostle of God as he wrote "Grace to you and peace" FROM God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, in his letter to the Romans a blessing is declared by Paul. The first mention of a blessing in scripture is from God towards his creatures on the fifth day of creation, "And God blessed them" (Gen 1:22). The second mention is when God created man "And God blessed them" (Gen 1:28). A blessing is clearly a benefit. Noah was a man who alone was righteous in his generation. He pronounced a blessing over Shem and Japheth (Gen 9:26-27). Abraham was a friend of God and was blessed by God "...and I will bless thee" (Gen 12:2) as well as by Melchizedek (Gen 14:19). Likewise Jacob was blessed his father Isaac (Gen 27:28-29), although Isaac thought he was blessing Esau. In fact, his father asked him, "who art thou my son?" and Jacob answered "I am Esau...." (Gen 27:18-19). However, in the divine drama of life Jacob was able to redeem himself with a second opportunity, this time with his heavenly Father. He wrestled with the Lord and would not let go until he was blessed by him. Yet before the blessing was granted to Jacob, he was asked "What is thy name?". This time he answered correctly. He said "Jacob". I do not find that this is a story where he was supposedly to respond 'I am Israel' and answered incorrectly. No, it is beautiful story of one responding in honestly to his Lord and heavenly Father. We also see many others being blessed in holy script (e.g., the twelve sons of Israel; Moses, etc.). It is with this same degree of sacredness and meaning; and with the same Spirit; that Paul pronounces a blessing to all the saints that be in Rome.

Paul says grace to you and peace. It is towards those in whom the blessing is pronounced. As grace being the divine influence or enablement upon one, it must come from God. Likewise, only true peace or "shalom" can come from God and if the Spirit of the son of peace be not there, then the peace shall turn away -- "And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again." (Luke 10:7).

It is quite interesting to note the salutation from Paul in his other thirteen letters. As all scripture is given for our benefit, it is not insignificant to see the slight changes and give them our attention. Paul says the same thing several times, but not always. In looking at first glance using the King James Verison (KJV), his letters to the other churches follow:

a). To the church of God at Corinth - "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."
b). To those at Ephesus - "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."
c). To those at Philippi - "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."
d). To those at Colossee - "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."
e). To the church of the Thessalonians - "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."

In the KJV, it indicates that Paul slightly changes his salutation when writing to the churches of Galatia, yet he still maintains the blessing of grace and peace, as he says:

f). To the church of Galatia - "Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ."

The difference is that he interexchanges the words "the" and "our" when referring to God and also the Lord Jesus Christ. He changes God OUR Father and THE Lord Jesus Christ to God THE Father and from OUR Lord Jesus Christ. What does Paul teach us here? That God THE Father is the only God as there is none beside him; that God OUR Father is one of relationship as well as our God; that Jesus Christ is THE Lord and there is no other; and that he is OUR Lord.

In writing his letters to an individual rather than a church, Paul has in most (not all) cases added more to his salutation as seen below. More specifically, he adds the idea of 'mercy' when addressing Timothy; mentions 'our Saviour' when to Titus; and does not change his more frequently used saluation when addressing Philemon.

g). To Timothy - "Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord." & "Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."
h). To Titus - "Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour."
i). To Philemon - "Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Many scholars, not all, have ascribed the espistle of Hebrews to Paul. I am certainly no bible scholar, though I do have my own personal views on this matter (e.g., for starters.....who would be more qualified than Paul to write such a letter?). Nonetheless we can rest with the assurance that it was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit upon a person to write such a letter. Putting the authorship aside, this letter to the Hebrews has no greeting as such and one can only speculate as to why not (e.g., may be it because it is not addressed to a specific individual or assembly?). Yet, the letter does end with "Grace be with you all. Amen.". So, here we find Paul ending with the idea of divine enablement or "grace", yet omitting "peace" as found in the salutations of his other letters. Is it possible that Paul, knowing what would befall many Hebrew people (believers and non) in the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 A.D or about seven years later from the supposed writing of this letter, could not add the blessing of 'peace' as it would certainly not be coming to them?

Verse: 8
"First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." - KJV

1). "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, ......."

Paul starts off by saying FIRST. That word means chiefly; in order of importance it is first or foremost. It wasn't as if he was saying something first in order of sequence, only to follow it with a second or next, then a third, so forth and so on, for no such words are in the letter. Nor do I think that his manner of speaking was incomplete. Paul was making it quite clear and of utmost importance that these believers in Rome knew of his disposition towards them. (note: it has been suggested by others that Paul had not yet meet these saints in Rome).

He follows it with a word of thanksgiving and it is to God in whom Paul is thankful. He also is thankful to God through Jesus Christ. His thanksgiving is a sacrifice of praise from his very own lips and it must be through a high priest "for every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices" (Heb 8:3), namely the great high priest, Jesus Christ.

Paul also reiterates the fact that it is his God --- "my God". Many gods were worshipped, but Paul was separated for the purpose of serving not only the true and living God, the God of Abraham, Isacc and Jabob, but also a close and personal God or "my God.". He also was not enslaved to other gods (outwardly or inwardly).

He thanks God not for just a few, but for them all. When writing to the church of Corinth, he did not thank God for them ALL but said ".... unto them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus". If you recall, he had to deal with various issues among this church. Nor did he always write a thanksgiving to each church. But to the saints in Rome, he thanked God for them all!

2). "....... that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world."

On the surface it may seem that Paul is saying the faith of those in Rome or YOUR faith is spoken of, as if people in the whole world are talking about the saints in Rome. But this is not what is meant here. If that were the case, he would have said something like "the faith that you have is commonly spoken of" or "you" are spoken of throughout the whole world. No, what Paul is saying is that YOUR FAITH or that faith which those in Rome possess is the SAME FAITH that is spoken of throughout the whole world. It is the faith of Jesus Christ and is the same faith that was mentioned earlier in verse five "for obedience to the faith among the nations, for his name". As God is the source and originator of our faith, we also find that faith is substance. It is the substance of things hoped for, not in that we hope to possess faith one day, for as with the saints of Rome, our faith is spoken of throughout the whole world too. It is his faith that echoes down through the ages and throughout the whole world.

Why the whole world? Why the entire "kosmos" or arrangement of things, including all of its inhabitants? Because of this faith the WHOLE ORDER OF THINGS, both in earth and heaven are subjected to God. For through the blood of his cross he had made peace to reconcile all things unto himself; whether things in earth or things in heaven (Col 1:20). And at the name of Jesus every knee should bow or be subjected, of things in heaven, and in earth; and under the earth (Phil 1:20).

Verse: 9
"For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;" - KJV

1). "For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son,......."

Paul makes the statement that God is his witness. Without any doubt whatsoever, Paul knew the words of Isaiah "therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God." (Isa 43:12). A witness is a testimony and even carries the idea of a recorder. The word used in the Hebrew has its root meaning to repeat or a duplicate, reiteration, reduplication, stand upright, testify, bear, call to, etc. We are not to bear false witness "Thou shall not bear false witness" (Ex 20:16), but rather we are to bear a true witness. A false witness will speak lies (Prov 6:19) as compared to a faithful witness that will not lie (Prov 14:15). Jesus said "and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8). The Greek word used for witnesses means a record, witness or MARTYR. And yet we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses (Heb 12:1). So, we can see that God becomes a witness for Paul and likewise God becomes a witness to those in Rome as well as for us today.

Paul served God with his spirit, not just his body and soul, but the very best part of him, deep inside of him, as deep calleth unto deep. There should be no doubt that Paul worshipped God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24) and yet now we read in Romans that he also SERVED God in his spirit. To serve in the spirit is to be similar to that whom you do service. To serve in spirit is to be of the same disposition, to be of the same spirit, to "play back" or reduplicate the same attitude and manner. We too serve God in our spirit when we are his witnesses. The early fathers, including men in the O.T also served God in the spirit when we understand that the prophets and law at their very core were spiritual. We also can see this as Moses and Elijah appeared in glory with Jesus. It shows how the law and the prophets are in harmony with the the gospel of Jesus Christ and is fulfilled. The law is holy and good and the person that can see it as spiritual will benefit from it with all of its shadows and types. Paul served deep within and out of his spirit in the gospel of his (God's) Son. As already mentioned in verse one, the gospel of his Son and the gospel of God are one and the same.

2). ".....that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;"

It was Paul who said "Pray without ceasing." (I Thes 5:17). So, we can see that Paul not only made such a command but he also fulfills what he commands. Paul demonstrates his concern and thoughts towards them as he makes mention of them always in prayer. As was Jesus a man of prayer, we find too that Paul was a person of prayer.

Verse: 10
"Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you." - KJV

1). Paul shows his desire to go to Rome and be with them. He makes his request, in prayer, that he might have a prosperous journey by the WILL OF GOD. His petition was to have God make it a successful journey. He also shows us that the journey was not just to be successful (as separate from God) but that is was to have the favor of God upon it. It is quite possible to have a successful journey and not have God's favor upon the journey whatsoever. It is quite possible (and often the case) when those in the world (as well as those in the church system) achieve external or outward success; that it is not by the divine will and direction of God. Did not Balak have success when he cursed the people of Israel? Yet he was not directed by God to do so. Therefore, it is for this reason that Paul states that it be a successful journey in connection with the WILL OF GOD.

2). It is quite ironic that Paul makes it to this great city several years later bound in chains and supposedly was beheaded in Rome.

Verse: 11
"For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;" - KJV

1). Paul yearned to see his brethren in Rome. It was an earnest desire, a longing after, an intense craving or lust in a positive sense. And because Paul was an apostle, this intense desire was for none other than apostolic work for he states 'that I may impart'. He was to give over, share, impart or confer to them some spiritual gift. If it had been for any other reason, then it would have been (and is) no different than the friendship found in the world. If there had been any other reason in desiring to see them, I think it would not have been commendable. Paul LONGED TO SEE THEM TO IMPART. And is it not the same for us today? Certainly if not to impart, than to receive? Any other desire to see the brethren may be acceptable and perhaps not a sin, but I do not believe it is beneficial to the kingdom of God. Enough said, and let the Spirit of the Lord depart wisdom to each of us to discern and understand such sensitive and weighty things.

2). Paul did not say that he may impart some gift, but rather some SPIRITUAL gift. Indeed an offering or gift that is not of the earth, earthy, but rather heavenly and from the realm of spirit and Father of spirits. There are gifts of the earth and those of heaven. Gifts in the natural and those that are spiritual.

There are earthly gifts, as God testified of the gifts of Abel (Heb 11:4).

The Holy Ghost (Spirit) is a gift (Acts 2:38; 10:45); the gift of God (Acts 8:20). And God gave the Gentiles the 'like gift' as it fell on them. (Acts 11:15, 17). Likewise, we are saved by grace through faith, it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8). And, unto every one OF US is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Eph 4:7). Christ ascended on high and gave gifts to men (dispersed His Spirit) in order that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some teachers, some pastors, etc, etc. (Eph 4:8, 11). Such men and women have been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift (Christ), (Heb 6:4). They are gifts and shall be sent one to another (Rev 11:10).

Paul tells us that every man has his proper gift (I Cor 7:7), whether it be a natural gift (good health, marriage, children, natural beauty, wealth, and so forth and so on) and/or a spiritual gift (wisdom, understanding, faith, and so forth and so on).

Therefore, such SPIRITUAL GIFTS are imparted in order to strengthen the brethren, so they can be established and not tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine and the carnal whispers and assault of the flesh.

Verse: 12
"That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me." - KJV

1). Notice the words THAT IS? Today, we would say IN OTHER WORDS or perhaps even WHAT I MEAN IS. The idea is connected to or is a continuation or extension from the prior verse.

Paul wants to impart a spiritual gift for the strengthening of their faith so he may be comforted together with them by a mutual faith. No longer weaker in faith as babes but rather by an equal faith, a sharing of the same faith, a mutual faith. This is to be consoled together, both Paul and them. They become sharers by the mutual faith or same faith (see verse 8).

COMFORTED? It reminds me of when the three Hebrew men Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were cast bound into the midst of the fire, yet King Nebuchadnezzar saw four men loose walking in the midst of the fire with no hurt at all. He said the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. As Adam was a son of God (Luke 3:38), likewise Daniel too was a son of God and the only son that King Nebuchadnezzar knew! Daniel was not off somewhere while his three close friends were sent into the fire, he was there in the midst of the fire sent as a messenger to comfort as well as deliver them . Praise the Lord!

Verses: 13 - 14
"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. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise." - KJV

1). "Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto)..."

Paul informs and shows his love for those brethren in Rome that he did not want them to be ignorant of his 'often times'' determination to come see them but was prevented in doing so. But prevented by who or whom? Others? Paul himself? God? Satan?

We read in other places how the Holy Spirit forbade them to preach the word in Asia (Acts 16:6) and that they wanted to go into Bithynia but the Spirit prevented them from going there (Acts 16:7). Of course, this is no different than when Jesus said "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables...." (Luke 8:10). As you can see, the Spirit clearly directs; as our 'coming' and 'going' does matter to God, our Father.

Some may suggest that it was Satan that prevented Paul and it is quite possible that Paul had this in mind when making his statement. He did say in "Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once again; but Satan hindered us" (I Thes 2:18). Of course, once such hinderances are overcome, Paul would then be in a position to proceed to see them.

2). It has been stated that Paul intentionally departed from normal word order in these two sentences known as hyperbaton (note: remember, Paul did not put the verse numbers there). It includes several rhetorical devices involving departure from normal word order (e.g., transposition of the words from their natural order). For example, I have read that one device, a form of inversion, might be called 'delayed epithet', since the adjective follows the noun. So if you want to amplify the adjective, the inversion is actually very useful (though perhaps confusing at first glance). Some examples may be "These are rumors strange"; "This is a story amazing"; "With wandering steps and slow"; "It was a long operation but successful"; and "Let's go on a cooler day and less busy."

Another form of hyperbaton involves the separation of words normally belonging together, done for effect or convenience. For example, "In this room there sit twenty (though I will not name them) distinguished people." You can also emphasize a verb by putting it at the end of the sentence. For example, "We will not, from this house, under any circumstances, be evicted"; "Mary, after a long struggle, all the way across the lake, finally swam to shore."

Therefore, Paul's hyperbaton has been rendered "I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you in order that I may have some fruit both among you as also among the other nations, the Greeks and barbarians, the wise and foolish, but this far I have been prevented."

3). "........that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise."

Paul says here that he wants to have some fruit among them, even as the Gentiles. It is as if he is saying, I have gathered fruit (a return on my spiritual investment) from the Gentiles and I also desire to have some out from among you too. Paul is a gatherer of fruit from among the Greeks as well as the Barbarians. A gatherer of fruit from both the wise and the unwise. To those that are wise Paul operates out of the spirit of wisdom (Isa 11:2), including teaching out of the law and prophets. To those unwise or more simple in the things of the Lord, he was determined not to know any thing among them, except Jesus Christ and him crucified (I Corth 2:2), including demonstration of the Spirit and of power (e.g., signs and wonders)

Even though the gospel of John (Robert Young states it was wrote in 97 A.D. - Anno Domini) had not been available for Paul to read, he certainly understood the principle that we read in John 15. "I AM the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.", and "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."

I think it is even quite possible (very likely) that Paul discussed such principles with John himself. Who could argue that Paul wasn't a good branch and remained in the Christ, the true vine? And why would one bear much fruit? Is it not because they are frequently pruned by the husbandman, God our Father? Others that do not abide in the vine will not bear fruit. Such are branches that are taken away because they can not bear fruit of themselves. They can produce nothing of true value for Jesus said "without me ye can do nothing." Such are cast forth as a branch and are withered; gathered of men and cast into the fire and burned.

We even see that Adam was a type of vine that produced both good branches and evil branches. One good branch was Abel. Another was Seth, made in Adam's own likeness and after his image (Gen 5:3). The good fruit continues right on down through Enoch and Noah. On the other hand, Cain and his offspring were not good fruit but rather unfruitful, unlike the apostle Paul. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Gal 5:22). So it is with us today as Christ is the last Adam and there are those bearing fruit in the true vine while others shall be cut off, cast forth, etc.

I do not hesitate to tell you that many believe they are in the true vine and yet will eventually find themselves cast forth, gathered of men and cast into the fire and burned.

4). "............. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise."

Paul was in debt to the Greeks and even the Barbarians, whether wise or unwise. But why was he bound to these people? What could he possibly owe the Greek and the non-Greek? What would he owe to the wise and the unwise? Perhaps there are many reasons. I can think of two that should be quite clear. One is that he preached the gospel to every creature which was under heaven (Col 1:23). The other is that he spoke with the tongue of many (if not all) nations (I Corth 14:18). He received his knowledge of tongues, not for his sake but rather for the sake of others. Therefore, he is a debtor to such people, he owes them something (though we are to owe no man anything in that we actually are not to rob them from a kindness or an impartation of a positive virtue, namely love). He also owed the wise wisdom and the unwise longsuffering and patience.

Verse: 15
"So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also." - KJV

1). Paul was certainly "ready and willing" or eager to preach (proclaim) the gospel (good news) to those whom were in Rome. He was debtor to the wise and knowing his background and having been a master in the law, I am sure he was delighted to speak to the wise. In another place Paul said "For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward.............." (I Corth 9:17). But what of those that are not so wise, the unwise (simple) and even those that would be foolish? He said in the same place "woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!.........................but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me." (I Corth 9:16-17)

2). Paul was consumed with a passion to preach for was it not in the gospel that the power and righteousness of God is revealed unto salvation? Paul was sold out to the gospel and willing for so many trials and persecutions (he was certainly not one that would constantly find favor, accommodations and be pampered as with many ministry of today)

He also tells us why in verse 16.

Verse: 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." - KJV

1). "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth........"

Paul was not ashamed for it was not simply a message that was informational, nor was it entertainment (as is often the case among some today). "His speech and his preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (I Corth 2:4). It was "not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." (I Corth 2:13). Paul was also quite familiar with the words of Isaiah "Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be afraid of their revilings." (Isa 51:7) and was quite prepared for the difficulty that his day brought in preaching the gospel. Therefore, Paul declares "for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also the Greek."

But why did Paul declare it was the power of God unto salavation? Why not simply the power of God? Why did Paul add the words 'unto salvation'? Because there is the power of God that is not unto deliverance but rather unto destruction. Paul knew well the words of the Psalmist "Slay them not, lest my people forget: scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord our shield." (Ps 59:11). Many know not this side of God nor believe it (given the weak liberal views of the society and religions of our day). Paul knew of this side and therefore clarified that it was unto salvation (not destruction) to everyone that believeth.

It further reminds me of his great army or power of destruction mentioned in Joel 2:25. We have seen personally and also in scripture this great power of God, both sides, one unto salvation and the other unto destruction. Job said "what? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?...". And earlier in the chapter "But put forth thine hand now.". Two hands extending great power, one unto salvation and one unto destruction. To those that believeth, salvation. "And he shall set the sheep on his right hand." said Jesus. To those that believeth not, destruction. Jesus said "but the goats on the left." The power of salvation is his right hand and the power by which he destroys is called his left hand (a principle that both our Charismatic and Christian Mind/Science brethren have difficulty understanding as they have been blinded with their traditions and self-serving doctrines).

Paul calls Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God (I Corth 1:24). Here in Romans, Paul also calls the gospel of Christ the power of God. In this, we can see that Jesus Christ is to be understood as the gospel too (as he is many things in scripture). John most likely had this very same thing in mind when he spoke of the "everlasting gospel" (Rev 14:6).

2). " the Jew first, and also to the Greek"

The Greek was the one who assessed the human race with two designations, either Greek or barbarian. The "AREs" and "ARE NOTs" would be a better used phrase in our day. For the Greek it was simple, one was either Greek or was not. If not, then they were classified as a barbarian. Any and all, regardless of whether wise or simple. The entire human race were as barbarians to the Greek. This mostly had to do with their laws and therefore those without laws were barbarians. So, Paul wisely puts the Jew first as they lived with the law far before any Greek. Moreso, their laws were of God and not from man, as with the Greek.

Verse: 17
"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." - KJV

1). "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith........"

It is a revelation of the righteousness of God. This righteousness is revealed, with respect to salvation, that it is for all people - the Jew, Greek or barbarian. This is confirmed with the words of Jesus himself "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." He said ALL YE that labour and are heavy laden. While in the midst of a religious people who excluded others to the things of the Lord, Christ did not limit it to one single race of people. It is an all inclusive gospel.

What is meant from "faith to faith"? Certainly from one perspective it denotes progression as we continue to grow and understand the things of the Lord. It is line upon line and precept upon precept; from grace to grace; strength to strength; glory to glory.

Yet from another and perhaps better perspective, we must ask - who were of the first faith but none other than Moses and the people of Israel (Ex 14:31). They were, if one may say, "in the faith". Paul declares the righteousness of God is revealed FROM one faith TO another faith. It is a transferring of faith, one of the everlasting gospel and no longer the letter of the law. Albeit it is a complete and inclusive faith, a complete word of life including the letters of the apostles, the gospels, the prophets and the law, all in the Spirit of the Lord and with the revelation of understanding.

2). " it is written, The just shall live by faith."

Paul, being a master of the law and prophets, calls upon his knowledge of the prophet Habakkuk "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith." We also see this quoted other times in the New Testament (Gal 3:11, Heb 10:38).

Verse: 18
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;" - KJV

1). "For the wrath of God......."

What an interesting word - WRATH. Though we may have many different views of this word today, Paul certainly selected his words wisely, not to mention being a master of the scriptures.

We read in Genesis 2:7 that the LORD GOD formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed INTO HIS NOSTRILS the breath of life; and man became a living soul. In the Hebrew, the word "aph" used for wrath meant 'a rapid breathing in passion.' This is the word that was used for INTO HIS NOSTRILS. It is also translated in the O.T. as anger, face, nose or nostril and countenance, as well as a few other words. Here are a few examples:

Gen 3:19 In the sweat of THY FACE shalt thy thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it was thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return

Gen 27:45 Until thy brother's ANGER turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done unto him.... (referring to Jacob & Esau)

Ex 4:14 And the ANGER OF the LORD was kindled against Moses...

Ex 15:8 And with the blast of THY NOSTRILS the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea

Ex 22:24 And MY WRATH shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword.....

Nbrs 11:10 THE ANGER OF the Lord was kindled

Judges 10:7 THE ANGER OF the Lord was hot

Ezra 8:22 ........The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him: but his power and HIS WRATH is against all them that forsake him

Ezra 10:22 ........until the fierce WRATH of our God for this matter be turned from us

Nehemiah 9:17 ......but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to ANGER, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not

Job 4:8-9 (words of Eliphaz) ..Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of HIS NOSTRILS are they consumed

Job 9:12-13 (words of Job)... Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou? If God will not withdraw HIS ANGER, the proud helpers do stoop under him

Job 14:13 ..........that thou wouldest keep me secret, until THY WRATH be past.....

Job 19:6 Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net....... He hath also kindled HIS WRATH against me

Job 21:17 .........God distributeth sorrows in HIS ANGER

Job 42:7 ..........(God) MY WRATH is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends

Ps 6:1 O LORD, rebuke me not in THINE ANGER, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure

Ps 30:5 For HIS ANGER endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning

Ps 37:8-9 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

Ps 103:8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to ANGER, and plenteous in mercy

Ps 110:5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of HIS WRATH

Prov 14:17 He that is soon ANGRY dealeth foolishly......

Prov 14:29 He that is slow to WRATH is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly

Prov 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up ANGER

Prov 19:11 The discretion of a man deferreth HIS ANGER; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression

Prov 22:24 Make no friendship with an ANGRY man

Prov 24:17-18 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away HIS WRATH from him

In fact, we find this characteristic of anger attributed to God many times as we read of the wrath of the Lord throughout the Bible. In the book of Joel, we find that the LORD your God is "gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness" (Joel 2:13). Though he is slow to wrath, he may still opt to use it if required. Micah tells of the LORD to "execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen" (Micah 5:15).

In this particular verse (V18), Paul used the Greek word "orge" for WRATH. (Interesting note: the words of anger and wrath are used more than love and mercy when it comes to God. If we want to dismiss the idea of the wrath of God, I am afraid we will have to do away with a great portion of the Bible.)

Paul writes that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. (Rm 1:18). Again, the word translated "wrath" is 'orge', where we get our English word 'orgy'. While we may immediately think of it as a sexual activity among several people, the ancient customs connected it with a religious experience of ecstasy, often while in excess of wine and such to dull the senses. Paul does not suggest that God's wrath has some sort of uncontrollable passion but rather is implying that the attention of God is intense, it is a strong passion, it is a focused fury.

2). " revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,who hold the truth in unrighteousness;"

Paul tells us that the wrath of God is revealed against not a part, but ALL ungodliness and unrighteousness or wickedness of men. Ungodliness is sin against God while wickedness is sin against men. Yet this wrath is not towards all men, but only in those who hold the truth and suppress it by their own wickedness. This is not a wrath against those that are ignorant but to those who hold the truth in an unrational way; who hold fast to it in that it was revealed to them. It is an action of God against the ungodliness and wickedness of man. In fact, verse 19 says that what is known about God is manifest to them. Therefore, the wrath of God is revealed to those that knowingly suppress the truth by their wickedness. Who are these men? Paul further describes them in upcoming verses. Suffice it to say, it is those whom claim to be wise; those that claim to know - the philosophers of our day; the teachers in the universities and such; yes, even the religious behind the many pulpits.

Paul uses strong language. It is the WRATH of God; it is the intense and strong passion of God; it is the focused fury of God; the rapid breathing of passion of God towards man in order to make the crooked straight! We would do well not to compare such a wrath to the human emotions of wrath or anger; nor should we project our ungodly emotions of anger and modes of behavior as the wrath of God. Scripture says "God is not a man" and that also applies to anger. His very thoughts, his intent or motive and his action of anger is always perfect. It is never out of control and provoked to revenge as with the anger often experienced by man. This is Paul expressing God's very own divine displeasure against ungodliness and wickedness and he uses strong words and images so to help us better understand. This verse, and many others in the New Testament, show us the wrath of God. It also shows us that the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament and may I add, the God of the New Testament is the God of the Old Testament.

Verse: 19
"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them." - KJV

Paul first says BECAUSE. He is about to tell us why the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. It is because they were shown the truth and held it in contempt.

Paul first starts (V19) with the idea that there are things that may be known of God. By making this statement, he shows that there are also things that are not known. You ask, what are the things we do not know? Obviously, if that could be answered, then it would be known rather than unknown. I ask, who by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature? Most certainly, we can not ascend by our own will, desire or strength into the mighty heights of God. Yet, when God so desires to reveal something to us, then it is to be known for it has been revealed. Indeed, God has revealed, he does still reveal and he shall yet reveal things to us. As Paul said, ".....Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." (I Corth 2:9-11).

Paul states that which may be known of God IS MANIFESTED IN (TO) THEM. By the God-given capacity of reasoning into the soul, men have known certain truths. Yet by their own wickedness, they suppress it. Again, this is not against those who are ignorant of the truth, but rather against those who know the truth and yet do not hold fast to it. Why do I say this? Not everyone understands or grasps the exact same things. Some are able to grasp things faster than others; some have more suitable conditions to recognize things easier; some may even be mentally handicapped to such a degree that the simplest of things are not recognized. Nobody reading this can deny the thought that though one man can look up and see the beautiful clouds and think of the Creator, others only can see a white cloud with no greater meaning of significance behind it. For some, God hath shewed (rendered apparent, manifestly declared) it to them, while for others it has not been shown.

Verse: 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:" - KJV

1). "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, ....."

The word "for" is there for a reason. It expalins further or is connected to the prior verse. Paul just said that which may be known of God is manifested to them. He now helps us understand how it was manifested to them. Remember, that the truth (V18) was revealed to them and that which may be known of God (V19) was shown to them.

What things have been made known by God? Paul says the invisible things of him. Invisible things are unseeable, hidden or imperceptible. The invisible nature of things cannot be preceived by vision. Nor for that fact can it be understood by the five natural senses (see, hear, taste, smell and touch). Yet the inner senses can discern such things. Such are the invisible things or spiritual things of God. Such invisible things are clearly seen from the creation of the world or kosmos (orderly arrangement of world and its inhabitants). It does not say that the invisible things did not exist before the creation of the world but simply that they are clearly seen or understood from the creation of the world or rather the creation of the visible or natural realm. The things that are not seen are understood by the things that are seen. They are comprehended because God has allowed them to be known.

I would be remisssed to say that it is likely that the invisible things Paul refers to here are created invisible things (e.g., angels, spiritual powers, etc.) rather than something as uncreated and invisible (e.g., God's nature). I suggest this because the invisble things are to be understood by things that are both visible and created. Moreso, Paul said in another letter "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him:" (Col 1:16).

Furthermore, though in a general sense this verse first appears to pertain to all men or as some may call it 'general revelation', however, Paul specifically directs this to those who know the truth and yet do not hold fast to it.

2). "....even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"

Paul ends his sentence with the addition of "even his eternal power and Godhead........" This is added to and connected with the prior statement about things that are invisible. They are known by inference from that which was created or his creation.

The power of God is eternal or imperceptible (e.g., unable to see to the end of it) and it is by that in which he rules all things.

His Godhead or deity (e.g., divinity) should not be thought of in the material or visible sense; and "we ought not to think that the Divine (Godhead) is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device" (Acts 17:29).It is that by which he fills the universe. "Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord." (Jer 23:24).

It is his divine or Godhead power that has given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him.............. that we might be partakers of the deity or divine nature (II Pet 1:3).

Paul tells us that they are without excuse. There is no excuse for such men. They can not use the excuse of ignorance nor any other. They knew the truth but do not hold fast to it. They even go as far as to say there is no God (e.g., atheist) or worst yet, there is not enough evidence or knowledge to know for sure (e.g., agnostic). Either way, it is through their own futile way of thought. Worst of all, they have destroyed the image of God within themselves and have come to worship the creature rather than the creator. They forget that man was made in the image of God (Gen 1:26). They lie one to another and have not put off the old man with his deeds; they forget that they are to put on the new (inner) man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him (ref. Col 3:9-10; Rom 7:22). They forget to be renewed in the spirit of their mind and to put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph 4:23-24). But you and I are without excuse for it is the inner man that has been created in the image of God.

Verse: 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." - KJV

1). "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful:"

Paul continues to tell us why they are without excuse (V20). He starts by saying BECAUSE THAT. They are without excuse because that when they knew God, they were not thankful of him nor did they glorify him as God. It was a refusal on their part to give God the honor and glory that is due to his name. 'When they knew God' means that God had made himsefl known to them, he revealed himself to them so that he may be made known to them. Yet, they did not worship God, they did not acknowledge him as the Creator.

2). "..... but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

Their very thoughts were futile, of no significance, vanity! When were they such? It was when they refused to acknowledge God and what they knew to be true; when they failed to glorify him as God; when their heart lacked gratitude and thankfulness of their Creator. They openly denied what they secretly and actually knew to be true. I personally know this to be the case for once upon a time. I too had openly boasted that there was no God, though secretly I knew better.

Vain in their imaginations. Observing a lying vanity and thinking their own thought to be true. Today we see this with those that advocate the idea of evolution, thinking man progressed from apes, monkeys and such.

Their heart was a foolish one, rather than being filled with light, it was darkened. No longer have clarity to see, but rather left as a blind man in the dark. Their heart was darkened. The heart is the very core and center of a person. In the natural the heart is the organ which propels blood and the very life of a person. In scripture the physical heart is figurative usage of the spiritual heart, interior portion or center of a man. In examining the scriptures and what the Holy Spirit is to teach us, the heart can be darkened, proud, lustful, hard and unrepentant. It is lying prophets that prophesy out of their own hearts. It can be broken. It is also deceitful above all things. It is a Jacob, it is crooked and tricky. It easily trips another by the heel. The Septuagint reads "The heart is deep beyond all.". Yet the phrase "it is desperately wicked" is a poor translation and misleading. In looking at the Hebrew word used in Jer 17:9 for 'wicked', Job used the same word when he said that his wound was incurable, but is was not wicked. Likewise, David spoke of his infant child as very ill (not wicked). Therefore, the center of man, the heart is liable to trip, it is too ill to be depended upon. Who can know it? It needs a physician, the great healer. It needs the only one who can know it, Jesus Christ!

Scripture also teaches us that the heart can also be wise, merry, glad and have the very law of God written upon it. The heart is not the soul which is where we find our will, mind, emotions, sensation and such. "For as a man thinketh in his SOUL (not heart), so is he." (Prov 23:7). We are to praise the Lord with our whole heart (Ps 111:1). We are to prepare and incline our hearts; we are to continue to inquire of the Lord in our hearts (center) and have him create in us a clean and contrite heart. "Thy law is deep within they heart" (Ps 40 - Moffatt). God assures us that we shall love him with our whole heart for we are told "THOU SHALT love the Lord thy God with all of thy heart................." (Matt 22:37).

Suffice it to say in Romans verse 21, Paul speaks of their very center of being darkened, lacking any light and understanding.

Verse: 22
"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools," - KJV

Paul tells us they openly professed or boasted in being wise or in the light of wisdom. Yet, in this boasting they were actually uttering foolishness. They considered themselves to be brilliant thinkers. We even find this in our educational systems and church systems. They compose complex systems of thought and confound the multitudes. Bragging to be smart and having wisdom, yet possessing foolishness. The worst kind of fool is the one who thinks they are wise. Many are such in the church world and even in the so-called kingdom message, drawing from the lifeless teachings of church tradition, the darkened counsel of eastern religions; the emptiness of new age ideas and nonsense of human thought and opinion.

Verse: 23
"And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things." - KJV

Their foolishness results in the lying vanity of thinking of an uncorruptible God in terms of corruptible man. Turning his glory into the image of the corruptible man; into his outer bodily form that perishes. This is the custom of those who worshipped images; to compare the Divine with that of birds, four-footed beasts and creeping things. To compare the Creator to the creature.

Not knowing the providence of God, thinking that God is distant and not active in his creation, we also find many trying to mold and make God into their own idea and image of what they think God should be to his creation. Man has always, and continues to create in his imagination ideas that do not correspond to the reality of God. They deny all or much of what is said in holy script, trying to explain it away as partial error (e.g., many claiming to be wise today continue to fall prey to this liberal ideology). One popular and common thought is that God only does everything that is considered good for he as Creator "saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." (Gen 1:31). The thought continues that everything that is 'not good' is far from God and only the product of man himself. A majority of our Charismatic brethren hold to this concept (while some contribute the latter to the devil rather than man). Many others hold to this idea too. Now that is not to say that much that we see is the result of man's evil as he reaps what he has sowed. However, the notion that everything that is 'good' comes from God and everything otherwise is far removed from God (e.g., either it is from man or the devil) simply does not stand the test of holy script. Albeit some have even stretched their explanations; they say for example - Old Testament concepts like Job's statement "What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" are not reliable and are the product of man's concept of God, etc. Yet, such ones fail to accurately explain how Satan was created in the first place nor can they answer how the same Creator created an earth without form and void and with darkness as recorded in Genesis 1:2. Their doctrine proves to be incorrect in that they believe any thing that would be considered chaos or darkness (verse 2) could not come by the hand of the Creator. This reminds me of when the Syrians said that the LORD is God of the hills but he is not God of the valleys (I Kings 20:28). As such, God delivered them into the hands of Israel. Yea, God is both LORD of our high places, where all blessings comeforth (from upon high) and he is also LORD of our low valleys and times of tests and trials. For those that think otherwise, such have changed the glory of God into an image in what they believe God ought to be.

Others say that man believes in God because they NEED to believe in something greater than themselves. "There is no God" (Ps. 14:1), says the fool in his heart. They make statements like 'the need for a God is only for the weak-minded and for those that have the deep-rooted need for comfort.' They say that man created God in his own image to satisfy his psychological desire. We can only pray that we too have not created any false image of God. Selah. Let us serve the one true and living God who created heaven and earth. Let us know that man correctly started with monotheism, only to digress into idolatry and to worship the creature and a false image of God. Anything that replaces the glory of God for something else and attempts to make him into our image is idolatry, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen." (I John 5:21).

Verse: 24 - 25
"Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." - KJV

1). "Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:.............."

Paul tells us how God responded for the reasons aforementioned (V23). Contrary to the belief of some, we find here that God basically disregarded or abandoned such ones. He turned away from them and gave them up to something, namely their own uncleanness. They knew the truth, yet suppressed it and was turned over to the sinful desires of their own hearts.

What was the lusts or desires of their hearts? What was the effect? Paul outlined it for us. It was the dishonoring, degrading or defilement of their bodies between one another; devoting themselves to impurity. They refused to honor God and consequently failed to honor one another. Failing to worship the very God who created them in his image, they began to behave like the very image in which they created and came to worship. They transferred the glory of God to forms of man and beast, thereby creating and worshipping their pagan idols.

Paul gives us an accurate picture in how it was God who handed them over to the desires of their heart unto impurity and the degrading of their bodies. God gave them up to themselves! In that giving up, they became trapped in their own desires and were only capable of doing what was fitting in accordance to their impulses. They as beasts had no ability to reason with nor control their own evil passions.

The Spirit no longer would abide in such ones for they were fleshly. This is similar to when God said "Not abide shall my spirit in the human for the eon in that moreover he is flesh" (Gen 6:3 - Lit Concord). Another says it this way "My Spirit shall no longer abide in these men, for they are flesh." and another "human creatures are but flesh; my spirit is not to be immortal in them" (Gen 6:3 - Moffatt). These are they who have had their soul united with the flesh rather than the Spirit. The soul will either go towards the desires of the flesh or will give assent to the inclinations of the Spirit. Paul later in the letter makes this more clear by stating "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit." (Rom 8:5) and "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Rom 8:9). In an earlier letter, Paul wrote "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things thet ye would." (Gal 5:17) and it is here where the soul gravitates towards either the flesh or the Spirit. If the Spirit is united or dwells in your soul, you will do or be after the things of the Spirit; you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit. However, if your soul regards the impulses of the body moreso than the Spirit, then you are considered one who minds the things of the flesh; such a person is one who has not the Spirit of Christ dwelling in his soul.

2). "......Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen."

Paul tells us that such ones have changed the truth of God. Any alteration of the truth of God is less than truth. Paul tells us they changed it into a LIE. They exchanged or traded the truth and embraced a lie. They were to worship and serve God the Creator for that would have been the truth and the true thing to do. Rather, in their own lie they worshipped and served the creature. They chose their own sinful desires, preferring death and evil over life and good (ref: Deut 30:15). They served their master as ones enslaved to the flesh. "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other........." (Luke 16:13). Such is the soul that turns to the flesh rather than the Spirit. "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Rms 8:13).

Those that love the Father and the Son and are pleasing to God do not find their soul dwelling in the flesh but rather the Spirit of God dwelling in the soul. Such is the soul that worships and serves no created thing but only the Creator. "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John 14:23).

Paul, just in mentioning the Creator immediately reveals his love, adoration and passion for God with the words "who is blessed forever. Amen."

Verse: 26 - 27
"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: 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 recompence of their error which was meet." - KJV

1). "For this cause God gave them up into vile affections:"

Paul tells us that it was for this cause. It was for this reason. It was not without cause and it was certainly not without motive. So, because of all that had been done by man; the ungodliness of those who worship idols, those who serve created things and those who to have not acknowledged God; Paul states that God gives them up. God is the prime mover. God was the generator, source or origin. For all of the reasons mentioned, all being mingled together in one as the reflection and condition of man, therefore God moved.

What did he do? First, we see that God 'gave them up' or 'handed them over'. This is not the first time Paul introduces this idea to us. In verse 24, we had read that because they did not honor God and became darkened in their thinking, God gave them up.

We now read because they had changed the truth into a lie (V25), God gave them to their vile passions. Yet not simply passions, but VILE desires. There are passions that are good, holy and honorable before God. However, they were given to their vile affections, to passions that are base, corrupted, degraded, perverted, gross, obscene, vulgar, abhorrent, foul, nasty, contemptible, loathsome, offensive, revolting and repulsive. God handed them over unto vile affections, to uncleanness, to the desires of their own hearts, to shameful acts. In turn, they manifested their base, servile, sordid and degrading natures by doing things which should not be done.

2). "..........for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 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,......"

Paul is making his case against the gross darkness of man and his serving the creature rather than the Creator. Paul then extends his argument with a perfect example supporting his cause. He says FOR EVEN and then makes a striking comparison. Woman exchanging the natural use for the unnatural, and likewise men doing the same one with another. Paul isolates this particular act as the supreme act in order to describe the overall loss of human decency and dignity. This was not a direct attack nor a detailed prohibition on homosexual behaviour, but rather it was used as the primary example of man's unnatural ability to serve the creature rather than the Creator. Indeed, God gave them up to a base mind that they may do that which should not be done, handing them over to the desires of their own hearts resulting in impurity, to the dishonoring and degrading of their bodies one with another. Such passions are contrary to nature and are rooted and grounded in a lowered or base nature. Such have abandoned their natural use and are inflamed with desires that are unnatural or contrary to nature. Therefore, Paul used this as the prime example of serving the creature rather than the Creator. Such have been given up or handed over by God to degrading passions. Yet I would think that "thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee..." (Jer 2:19). At such times, it is impossible for God to have his dwelling in their soul.

3). "..........and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet."

Such acts in a society are a reflection of man's rebellion against God and his serving the creature rather than the Creator. It is a reflection of the demeaning of mankind in general; and by the 'handing over' or 'giving up' by God, it is likewise an expression of God's wrath upon such a culture. This 'handing over' is actually the very recompence of their error which was meet.

Verse: 28 - 32
"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; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whispers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 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." - KJV

1). "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;" (V28)

Paul continues to list the vices of those who have not retained God in their thinking or acknowledge him in his rightful place. Since they refuse to give God recognition and not desire to seek after a full understanding of him, nor see any purpose or benefit in doing so, God gives them over to a disqualified or disapproved mind, to do those things that are not befitting or seemly. "Yes, as they disdained to acknowledge God any longer, God has given them up to a reprobate instinct, for the perpetration of what is improper, till they are filled with all manner of wickedness..." (Moffatt V28).

2). ".....Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whispers," (V29)

Being filled. This is to be replete, full or complete. Being filled also carries the idea of 'covered over'. Paul tells us that such a person's thoughts are devoid of God and their life is characterised by a fullness of such vices. Not simply a little here and a little there, but rather a complete behavior. He states that such are filled with all:

unrighteousness - which means injustice, unjust, wrong, wrongfulness (of character, life or act); sometimes same Greek word translated as iniquity (e.g., depart from me all ye workers of iniquity - Luke 13:27). No unrighteousness was in Jesus Christ (John 7:18) as compared to the unjust steward or unujust judge (Luke 16:8; 18:6). Nor is there unrighteousness with God (Rom 9:14). Judus purchased a field with the reward of iniquity. We had seen earlier that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness of men (Rom 1:18). A person can yield their members as instruments of unrighteousness (Rom 6:13). We are not to rejoice in iniquity but rather in truth (I Cor 13:6). Paul asked to be forgiven of his wrong (II Cor 12:13). Many have pleasure in unrightousness (II Thes 2:10; 2:12). Everyone that nameth the name of Christ are to depart from iniquity (II Tim 2:19). Regarding the house of Israel (which we are for we are Jews inwardly), God says he will be merciful to their unrighteousness (Heb 8:12). James says the tongue is a world of iniquity; Peter talks about the reward and wages of unrighteousness and John tells of God being faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (note: John says ALL). John also tells us that all unrighteousness is sin (to miss the mark or the prize).

fornication - which means harlotry (or even incest) or to indulge in unlawful desires, harlot or whore, or to practice idolatry, idol worship. (Greek word 'pornia' - where we get our word PORN). Fornication is one of the works of the flesh (Gal 5:19) and should not be named once among those that becometh saints (Eph 5:3). Paul instructed to abstain from fornication in order to possess their vessel in sanctification and honour (Thes 4:3-4). The body is not for fornication but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body (I Cor 6:13). Babylon has made all nations partake of the wine of the wrath of her fornication (Rev. 14:8) and has corrupted the earth with her fornication (Rev 19:2). Nor are we to be idolators and commit spiritual fornication (I Cor 10:8). Many commit fornication (spiritual) and know it not, as they work the works of the flesh and indulge in desires that are not fitting to the Lord and his true kingdom. Jesus said that which comes out of a man's heart is that which defiles him and listed fornication.

wickedness - refers to one's essential character and indicates degeneracy. It is one's depravity, iniquity, wickedness, plots, sins, mischief or even malice. Jesus perceived the wickedness of the Pharisees (Matt 22:18) and in another place told them "Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness" (Luke 11:39). Jesus said that wickedness comes from a man's heart and defiles that person (Mark 7:18-23). God sent Jesus to bless and turn the children of Israel from their iniquities or wickedness (Acts 3:26). Paul said that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph 6:12).

covetousness - is to be covetous, greediness, even to the extent of fraud or extortion. The word comes from another which means holding (desiring) more or eager for gain. One who defrauds another in order to benefit their own self. Jesus said that covetousness comes from the heart and defiles a person (Mark 7:18-23). He also said "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15). Paul used this word several other times, including describing those having their understanding darkened and alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them and have given themselves over to work all uncleanness with greediness (Eph 4:19). Paul reminds us that covetousness should not be once named among those that becometh saints (Eph 5:3) and also calls it idolatry (Col 3:5). He also stated he never at any time used flattering words nor either a cloak of covetousness (I Thes 2:5). Peter warned God's people in his day (and likewise it is equally or even moreso true in our day) from those that through covetousness shall they with feigned (artificial, false, sham, counterfeit) words make merchandise of you (II Peter 2:3). How this so easily describes the many today. Time and space does not allow us to list the numerous methods used today, even among those believing to be part of God's elect.

maliciousness -

full of envy -

murder -

debate -

deceit -

malignity -

whispers -