Romans 1:1-17, ...intending that you read it alongside my thoughts below.
"Hi, I'm David the slave." This is how Paul introduces himself when he begins writing the letter to the Romans. So what's your cause? I live for my family. I live for bettering humanity. I live for my legacy. I just live (inotherwords "for anIother's cause").
Paul was a happy in 'slavery'. He's owned by God, his chore : gospel. When we want a better title for a lowly job, we add the word 'technician'. The safety-cop was called safety-tech. The janitor is facilities-technician. A cashier is the checkout-operator or customer-product-closing-specialist. I myself am the founder and CEO of my blog. Paul: a gospel slave.
v.3 What is the object of this gospel? v.4 What qualifications are explained to prove it's worthiness? v.5 Paul 'received apostleship'. [apostole /ap·os·tol·ay/] = a sending away
What's the connection between a slave and an apostle?
v.6 Who else is an apostle sent in similar fashion?
Paul has his cause: "For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel..." The word 'preaching' here is added by inference by the translators, The focus is not the preaching, but the cause: gospel-technician.
How does Paul want this gospel to affect his relationships with the people of Rome?
"I am under obligation..." he says. "I am eager" he says.
v.14-15 what is the scope of his chore as a slave?
"I am not ashamed" he says of his cause. And yet this same cause is worthless in modern public opinion. American culture is about humanism. People are king. Each individual person is at theheight of importance; none above her/him. People are to be respected, their beliefs given credit, their choices honored, their expressions validated, their faults diminished, and their supremacy acknowledged. Not all wrong, and yet all ill-founded on the notion that people are first. The gospel, by contrast, is perceived in culture as hateful, unintelligent, stubbornly ignorant, and unloving. But the gospel hates nobody. The gospel engages our intelligence. The gospel demands truth over ignorance. And the gospel embodies love entirely.
What is your cause?
Any cause that is not exactly God's cause is a partial and incomplete cause: partly good, and not good enough.
As an American who is raised for freedom and individuality, the gospel offers me a better option: slavery. Slavery to a perfect cause; in which I am not first.
"It is the power of God for salvation"
Read the rest of Romans 1:17 to end. It tells the tale of God relenting to people's thirst for individuality. God gives people their wish, allowing them to rule themselves and do life as they choose. God gives humanity exactly what the humanists would hope for. People act as if they are first. The result is evil. But one thing humanist society must still live with... God is not dead, and all 'relative truth' ends up answering to him. The "it's only human" qualities of humanity are obviously only human... they are not Godly, they are only human. We will answer for them, and we will condemn ourselved becase we do the very things we ourselves know are wrong.
v.29-31 Is there any item in the list which is not common in our society? Can you think of anyone who has never (over the course of their lifetime) commited more then half of these? Which of these is approved of by our society?
"although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them"
We live for our own cause, but not paul, nor I Lord.