Monday, September 05, 2022

2022.00.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 1:1–3:8

Read Romans 1:1–3:8

Questions from the Scripture text: Unto what was Paul separated (Romans 1:1)? Whom does this gospel of God concern (Romans 1:3-4)? What does the preaching of it aim to produce (Romans 1:5)? What sort of church was the Roman church (Romans 1:8)? Why did Paul want to go there (Romans 1:11-12)? How would he do this (Romans 1:15)? What is revealed in this gospel (Romans 1:17)? What is already revealed (Romans 1:18)? What especially comprised this ungodliness and unrighteousness (Romans 1:21)? What has God done to men for this sin (Romans 1:24Romans 1:26Romans 1:28)? What should never give us comfort (Romans 2:3)? What is the right understanding of our not yet being damned, and how should we respond to it (Romans 2:4)? What doesn’t justify (Romans 2:13)? What does the gospel tell us God will judge, and by what standard/Person (Romans 2:16)? What is the first thing that we should do with the law (Romans 2:21-23)? Whom do covenant membership and sign bring into blessing (Romans 2:29)? Are membership and sign profitable, even if the recipient does not ultimately come into blessing (Romans 3:1-3)? How does this reality reflect upon the righteousness of God (Romans 3:4-7)? What verdict does Romans 3:8 render upon those who think sin is excusable if it shows God righteous?

Why do church members still need to hear the gospel? Romans 1:1–3:8 looks forward to the devotional in this week’s midweek meeting. In these sixty-nine verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that there are people even in good churches who have not yet been counted righteous through faith in Christ, and it is by the preaching of the gospel that those who have been counted righteous continue to grow into living out the salvation that has been signified upon them. 

Since this week’s midweek meeting is abbreviated for the congregational budget meeting, we’ll be leaving more time for prayer by having a brief devotional instead of a sermon. And nearly the entirety of the devotional will be simply reading the portion of Romans that we have covered so far. 

Paul was set apart to the gospel of God (Romans 1:1), which is the good news about the Savior Who is the Son of David (Romans 1:3), but able fully to save all of His people because He is also God, the Son of God (Romans 1:4). Now the apostle—who has been set apart to preach this gospel as the means by which God brings sinners from all the nations to justifying faith (Romans 1:5)—eagerly desires to come to the faithful church in Rome (Romans 1:8) to participate in their being built up in the faith (Romans 1:11-12) by his preaching the gospel there also (Romans 1:15).

This brings up the question of why. Why would he preach the gospel to a congregation of already-renowned faith? And the answer is that the gospel is the power of God for a salvation (Romans 1:16) that not only brings men into a standing of righteousness before God, but also proceeds to finish producing God’s righteousness in those sinners’ lives (Romans 1:17).

How needful sinners are of God’s righteousness in both of these ways! For the wrath of God has already been revealed against their sin (Romans 1:18), and it is a wrath that is responding to their failure properly to honor and respond to God’s glory (Romans 1:21). Not only has this sin made all men already un-atone-ably (by any other way) guilty, but God both displays this guilt/wrath and increases it by giving them up to their sin (Romans 1:24Romans 1:26Romans 1:28). 

Yet, some take false comfort from judging other sinners (Romans 2:3), as if their own superiority is the reason that they are not now in Hell. However, the reason they are not yet in Hell is that God is being richly good—which should bring them not to arrogance but to repentance Romans 2:4). Those who thought that the hearing of the law—which was their advantage as covenant members who had received covenant signs—would justify them (Romans 2:13) had failed to learn from the law that they themselves continuously dishonor God (Romans 2:21-23)… especially when their secrets are judged by comparison to Jesus Christ (Romans 2:16).

Though covenant membership and sign point to salvation, the possession of that salvation comes only by the inward work in the heart by the Holy Spirit—giving a righteousness (which we will soon learn is only through faith in Jesus Christ) that God Himself praises (Romans 2:29)! Though members who lack this perish, God is still righteous to have given them their advantages and to condemn them for persisting in sin against Him anyway (Romans 3:1-3). Indeed, complaining against this, or using it as an excuse for sin, is justly condemned (Romans 3:4-8).

What do you deserve for what you are and what you have done? What is your only hope to have righteousness and blessing instead of wrath? What does He ordinarily use to bring you into blessing?

Sample prayer:  Lord, forgive us for sinning against Your glory. Grant that we would not presume that the privileges that You have given us make us safe or excuse us. Rather, work in us by Your Holy Spirit, so that by the life that He gives us, we will believe in Your Holy Son, Jesus, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP51A “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH51C “God, Be Merciful to Me”

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