Digging Deeper Days
1) Who wrote this epistle, to whom, and why?
2) What is the difference between the wrath of God and the anger of man?
3) How can “invisible attributes” be seen? How does this make us without excuse? (verse 20)
For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse. For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.
Therefore, God delivered them over in the desires of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.
For this reason, God delivered them over to disgraceful passions. Their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. The men in the same way also left natural relations with women and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error.
And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a corrupt mind so that they do what is not right. They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, senseless, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. Although they know God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things deserve to die—they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.
1) Who wrote this epistle, to whom and why?
It is universally accepted that the Apostle Paul wrote this epistle to the Romans on his third missionary journey as described in Acts 20:2-3. It was likely written somewhere between 53 to 58 A.D. This was during the reign of the infamous Nero who ruthlessly persecuted Christians and eventually had Paul put to death. Paul was journeying to Jerusalem, but the Holy Spirit warned him of the awaiting peril on his life in Jerusalem. Possibly, he wondered if he would ever get to Rome and thought it necessary to write this letter. Different from other letters to the churches, which focused on church problems, this epistle seems to focus more on the attributes of God and His plan of redemption. Perhaps, in his realization that he may not ever be with them, Paul desired to write them about their need for salvation and that God had provided a Savior. It was a treasured letter and probably distributed to many of the early churches. [Guzik, Enduring Word]
2) What is the difference between God’s wrath and man’s anger?
Man’s wrath most often comes from being wronged or misunderstood. It is usually motivated by selfishness and focuses on punishing, hurting, or destroying people while perpetuating, or justifying, their own sin and selfishness. God’s Word says, “…the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God”. (James 1:19-20) Notice the connection between understanding and anger found in Proverbs 17:27, “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” The wrath of God is a righteous anger. It is “revealed from heaven” (verse 18). God is holy, righteous, and He cannot be in the presence of sin and evil. He is angered at the evil ways man has chosen to follow while He upholds all that is right and just. He is angered because He loves His people deeply, but sin has separated Him from mankind. (Isaiah 59:2) Under the law of the Old Testament, man could not live a righteous life because they would always fail to perfectly keep the whole law. The law reminded them daily of their sin. They felt the guilt and the wrath of God every time they broke the law. Every year they would return to the temple with sacrifices to atone for their sin as they asked God to forgive them. But it didn’t stick because the blood of animals can never atone for sin completely, only a perfect sacrifice could do that. (Hebrews 10:4) Sin and its guilt always returned. (Hebrews 10:2-4) But under grace in the New Testament, there is forgiveness once and for all because Christ, as the perfect sacrifice, gave Himself for us. (Hebrews 9:26) There is no condemnation for our sins when we are in Christ! (Romans 8:1-4) Christ, the High Priest, has opened the way for us to be completely forgiven, once and for all. (Hebrews 10:10-14) Because of this covenant of Grace, God’s love seems more prominent than His Righteous anger.
3) How can “invisible attributes be seen”? How does this make all of us “without excuse”? (verse 20)
Mankind would suppress all truth about God and ignore the consequences of sin because our very nature is a slave to sin. Rather than focus on all His wonderful attributes, man wants to focus on God’s wrath and point to a terrible God. The God of the Bible, however, is not some angry character sitting on a mountain waiting to throw darts at sinners. God’s creation displays His attributes. (Psalm 8) While they were given instructions on how to live, no one had to tell Adam and Eve they were guilty. God asked them, “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:11) When they came into the presence of the Most Holy God, they were keenly aware of their sin and its immediate affect to separate them in relationship to Him. What, then was God’s response? He lovingly made clothing for them and removed them from the Garden of Eden so they would not have to live in their sin forever. (Genesis 3:20-24) The psalmist, David, often used the attributes of God as a means of praise to Him (Psalm 103, Psalm 136) and as he repented from sin. (Psalm 51) God displays many of His attributes in His work of creation. As we observe His character by looking at creation we stand in awe of His glory and holiness while gaining an acute awareness of our own fallen sinfulness.
1) Who wrote this epistle, to whom, and why?
Paul, through the Holy Spirit, was inspired to write to the Romans about the path to salvation. We must first become aware of our sin, which leads us to our need for a Savior who saves us from the wrath of God that we so rightly deserve. The letter of Romans has become for many, a turning point in their spiritual life. Many of the great preachers throughout history stated that Romans, through the power of the Holy Spirit, changed their life completely. When you read the writings of these great men of faith [Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley and many more] they state they found a deeper faith right here in Romans. Martin Luther praised Romans with these words, “It is the chief part of the New Testament and the perfect gospel… the absolute epitome of the gospel.” [David Guzik, Enduring Word] And truly it is! To this day, we use Romans most often to share the gospel. It would be wise to memorize these verses so you are ready and able to present salvation clearly as Paul outlined in his letter. (Romans 3:10-12; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; Romans 5:8; Romans 10:9-13)
2) What is the difference between God’s wrath and man’s anger?
Theologian, Andrew Murray says, “God’s wrath is the holy revulsion of God’s Being against that which is the contradiction of His Holiness”. We see the anger of mankind every day in the headlines and in our homes. Our society itself is negative and angry. We, ourselves, might say our anger is a righteous anger as we attempt to justify it, but is it really? Have we looked deeply into our motives and the reasons we are angry? Are we angry because of sin, or are we angry because we aren’t getting our own way? God made us in His image. He gave us all of His attributes, including anger, but sin distorts God’s image. Our sin becomes a selfish emotion leading us into more sin as we try to justify our own actions. However, when we allow Him to control every aspect of our lives. He can indeed teach us to control our emotions through His Spirit and make them righteous as He is, even in our anger. We know this is possible because He instructs us about anger in His Word. (Ephesians 4:26-27) (James 1:19-20) Let’s all search our hearts and be sure that we have given even our anger over to the Holy Spirit’s control.
3) How can “invisible attributes be seen” How does this make all of us “without excuse”? (verse 20)
All of God’s creation speaks of His love and mercy for us. Just in experiencing His creation we can know God exists. All His attributes become visible. The great theologian, Jonathan Edwards, made a practice of looking at everything in creation with wonder. He began to see God in the birth of a baby, the marriage of a couple, or the growth of a tree. It all pointed to God and caused Edwards’ love of God to grow greater and stronger. [Desiring God] If we look at God, and all His attributes together as one, we will find everything works together and is held together by Him. (Colossians 1:16-17) We see and understand how His love and mercy mesh together with His righteousness and holiness making His anger soften in our eyes. Ah, yes, note I said “understand” which was mentioned earlier in defining righteous anger. Ann Voskamp encourages us to keep a running gratitude list. She found that joy comes from gratitude, not the other way around. It really is true when we look at all the good blessings of God, we find Him to be an amazing and wonderful Creator. If you haven’t started a gratitude list, maybe it’s time to start!
Digging Deeper is for Everyone!
1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!
Why Dig Deeper?
Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.
In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!
Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.
We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.
Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!
Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))
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