God Is Not A Play Thing

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Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

Paul Writes To Rome

Romans was written by the Apostle Paul.  Paul was born a free man; he was a Roman citizen, but at the time of writing this letter he had never seen Rome.  He spent ten years from A.D 47 to 57, evangelizing territories east and west of the Aegean Sea. 

In the winter of A.D. 56-57, after ten years concentrating his evangelizing effort in Galatia, Macedonis, Achiaia and Asia, he spends some time at the home of his friend Gaius in Corinth; who had converted to Christianity.

It was that winter, at the home of Gaius that Paul set his mind on expanding his apostolic mission to include Spain, which was the oldest Roman province in the West, and a major center of Roman civilization. 

The journey to Spain would allow him to proclaim the gospel in places where it had not been heard, and along the way afford him the opportunity to see Rome, which was something Paul always looked forward to.

And so, it was that winter while visiting Gaius that Paul dictated a letter to the Romans. He dictated the letter to Tertius, a Christian secretary possibly placed at his disposal by his host Gaius.

The letter was written to the Roman Church to inform them of his intention to visit their church, and it contained a full statement of the gospel he as understood and proclaimed it.

Roman Church

Paul’s letter was written to the Christian church in Rome, which had been in existence for some time. Although we don’t have any concrete information about when the Roman church was established; there are some indications that Christians showed up in Rome in the first 2 or 3 years after the Crucifixion. 

Their was a Jewish community in Rome, and  it is a strong possibility that Christians traveled and planted the church their.  The first group of Christians in Rome were almost, if not completely Jewish Christians. 

By A.D. 57, the church consist of Jews and Gentiles, and because of expulsion orders issued to Jews by Claudius, there may be more Gentiles Christian in Rome that Jewish Christians. 

Christianity made its way into the upper echelons of Rome by the time Paul writes this letter. But as to the majority of Romans, Christianity was just another disgusting superstition, and was compared to sewage discharging itself into the ocean.

The Christians of Rome were unpopular and known as enemies of the human race, and accused of practicing incest and cannibalism.  Christians were consistently subjected to persecution, and under Nero, Christian persecution set the stage for Paul’s martyrdom.

Paul was in Jerusalem when he was charged before the Roman governor of Judea with offenses against the sanctity of the temple.  In fighting the case, eventually, he was taken to Rome where he was kept under guard in private lodgings for 2 years or more.

Within 2 or 3 years of this confinement, Paul was sentenced to death in Rome as a leader of the Christians.  He was taken out the city and beheaded at Aquae Salviae (modern Tre Fontane).

God The Creator

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”

There was never a time in the history of human beings when God was not known.  Paul says, “since the creation of the world.”  According to Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and earth.”

Before human beings were created, God placed his signature everywhere; there is no place in creation where God in not recognizable.  There are millions of planets that bare none of the signatures placed here on earth for human beings.

God made the heavens, water, day, night, land, grass, herbs, fruit, stars, birds, sea creatures, cattle and other creatures to live upon the earth. (Genesis Chapter 1)

And, like human beings all living creatures, plants, trees, animals, birds, and sea creatures; He gave the ability to multiply. 

Creation is the testimony of  God’s divine nature, and his everlasting power. Creation is a vast mosaic of God’s sovereign power.  The universe and the stars look upon us and behold human beings created in the image and likeness of God.  And, likewise human beings look upon the universe and stars and behold the creative power of God.

With our eyes we can see God’s divine nature and power. With our minds, our intellect we can reason that God is the creator of all that exist. 

There is a difference between the revelation of God in creation, and things created by the hand of human beings.  God’s divine nature and power are present in all created things to support, and sustain human existence.   God himself bares witness against gods made by human beings; i.e., idolatry.

No Excuse

“So that men are without excuse.”

Romans 1:18-19 says, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has make it plain to them.”

Human beings place little value in conforming to the knowledge of God. Thus, they suppress, ignore, and deny the existence of God. In doing so, they create, encourage and engage in activities that are wicked and godless.

Romans 1:29 says, “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent way of doing evil; senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”

When raising children, it sometimes becomes annoying to see how insensitive they become as they get older.  They tend to ignore the lessons taught along the way and plow ahead living as though they have no family, traditions, manners, morals, principals, ethics or values.

And when the world becomes their teacher, it teaches them that Bible lessons, as well as lessons learned from their parents are outdated and of no real value. The world teaches them to focus their minds and strive for individualism and materialism; which advocates for greed, vice, lust and pleasure.

We have a choice to make: we can live our lives respecting, honoring and holding on to our faith in God, or when we deny God, and choose to follow the ways of unbelieving, faithless human beings and end up standing before God without an alibi.

Reflection

When we look at another human being, we are looking at the image and likeness of God. God created all the resources of earth: heavens, water, animals, birds, plants, light, the entire universe and men and women. 

Our relationship with God is the foundation for building relationships with one another. God fulfills all our needs before we are conceived in the womb.  When we come to life everything we need to live, survive and thrive are present.

Being created in Gods image and likeness, we are able to conform and participate in God’s plan for human beings and the world we live in.  We can choose right over wrong, good over bad, love over hate, life over death.  We can pray, mediate, study God’s word and live humbly within the scope of God’s will.  The reward is a good life here on earth, thereafter, spending eternity in the Kingdom of God.

Prayer

Lord, your word says that from one man you made every nation of men, that we could inhabit the whole earth; and you determined the times set of us and the exact places where we should live.

And so, amazing God, bless our fellowship with you and with one another.  Give us a heart, especially Black men and women all over the world, to see the world as you see the world. Shower us with dreams and visions showing us how we can participate in your work of providing life sustaining support and opportunities for the poor. Bless us with a heart to rise up and be a blessing to others. In Jesus name. Amen

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