Thursday, March 1, 2012

1 Corinthians Introduction

Book of 1 Corinthians Introduction:

We are beginning one of the most important letters that Paul wrote to the churches he had begun. The church at Corinth had been established on one of Paul's missionary journeys.
The city of Corinth was believed to be a city of about 600,000 people when this was written to them. One of the outskirts of Corinth was Cenchera, which was a seaport. This was a thriving city with much evil. They were thought of as being one of the wealthiest cities of the area. There was a mixture of nationalities here. Greeks and Romans made up the majority of the people.
This city had many false gods and goddesses. The most prominent of the false worship was of Aprodite. There were over 1000 prostitutes working to win converts to this very sensual religion. This was a very evil city. The democratic way of life was foremost here, and debates were allowed on all subjects. This, perhaps, was the reason Paul had an easy time being heard at first.
The most serious problem of the Corinthian church was worldliness, an unwillingness to divorce the culture around them. Most of the believers could not consistently separate themselves from their old, selfish, immoral, and pagan ways.
We will find in this book, as we do in many of Paul's writings that he deals with them within the confines of their customs. He does not try to change their life style. He shows them that Christianity is for all people. We will get into this a little more as we go along. One thing that we must remember from the outset: There were no iron clad doctrines that were to be used in all of these churches. We will see Paul trying to establish rules and regulations for each church that they could live with in the light of their customs.
In one way or another, wrong living always stems from wrong belief such as sexual sins including divorce, are inevitably related to lack of belief or trust in God’s plan for marriage and the family (7: 1-40)
Before, Paul had written the church other correspondence, (see 5:9) which was also corrective in nature. Because a copy of that letter has never been discovered, it has been referred to as “the lost epistle”. There was another non-canonical letter after 1 Corinthians, usually call “the sever letter” (2 Cor. 2:4). The introductions to Paul’s letters are frequently seedbeds for issues expanded on later; his prefatory words in 1 Corinthians are no exception. He touched on his calling to be an apostle, the Corinthians’ calling to be saints, and the unity which is theirs in Christ.

Romans Chapter 1 - Part Two

Romans chapter 1 Part Two

Romans 1:16

Emphasizing theme
Paul’s eagerness to evangelize sprang also from his estimate of his message, the gospel. (This is the fourth of five times Paul used the word “gospel” in these opening verses: Rom_1:1, Rom_1:9, Rom_1:15-17.) Many consider this the theme of the letter, which it is in one sense. At least Paul gladly proclaimed it as God’s panacea for mankind’s spiritual need. He identified it as the infinite resources (dynamis, “spiritual ability”) of God applied toward the goal of salvation in the life of everyone who believes regardless of racial background. He recognized, however, a priority for the Jew expressed in the word first, which has sufficient textual support here and is unquestioned in Rom_2:9-10. Not ashamed: Neither ridicule, criticism or physical persecution, could curb Paul’s boldness. He had been imprisoned in Philippi, chased out of Thessalonica, smuggled out of Berea, laughed at in Athens, regarded as a fool in Corinth, and stoned in Galatia, but Paul remained eager to preach the gospel in Rome.
Power: The English word “dynamite” comes from this Greek word. Although the message may sound foolish to some, the gospel is effective because it carries with it the omnipotence of God. Only God’s power is able to overcome man’s sinful nature and give him new life.
Salvation: Used 5 times in Romans, this key word basically means “deliverance” or “rescue”. The power of the gospel delivers people from lostness, from the wrath of God, from willful spiritual ignorance, from evil self indulgence and from the darkness of false religion. It rescues them from the ultimate penalty of their sin, i.e. the eternal separation from God and eternal punishment.
Believeth To trust, rely on, or have faith in. When used of salvation, this word usually occurs in the present tense “is believing” which stresses that faith is not simply a onetime event, but an ongoing condition. True saving faith is supernatural, a gracious gift of God that He produces in the heart and is the only means by which a person can appropriate true righteousness.
1. Saving faith consists of 3 elements.
1. Mental: the mind understands the gospel and the truth about Christ
2. Emotional: one embraces the truthfulness of those facts with sorrow over sin and joy over God’s mercy and grace
3. Volitional: the sinner submits his will to Christ and trust in Him alone as the only hope of salvation.
Genuine faith wills always product authentic obedience.
Jew First: God chose Israel to be His witness nation and gave her distinct privileges. Christ’s ministry was first to Israel and it was through Israel that salvation was to come to the world.
Because the Jews were God’s Chosen People (Rom_11:1), the custodians of God’s revelation (Rom_3:2), and the people through whom Christ came (Rom_9:5), they have a preference of privilege expressed historically in a chronological priority. As the Lord Jesus stated it, “Salvation is from the Jews” (Joh_4:22). In Paul’s ministry he sought out the Jews first in every new city (Act_13:5, Act_13:14; Act_14:1; Act_17:2, Act_17:10, Act_17:17; Act_18:4, Act_18:19; Act_19:8). Three times he responded to their rejection of his message by turning to the Gentiles (Act_13:46; Act_18:6; Act_28:25-28; cf. comments on Eph_1:12). Today evangelism of the world must include the Jews, but the priority of the Jews has been fulfilled.
Romans 1:17

The theme of the letter is expressed in the phrase a righteousness from God is revealed. The subjective genitive (lit., “of God”) identifies this as a righteousness that God provides for people on the basis of and in response to faith in the gospel (cf. Rom_3:22). (NIV’s by faith from first to last render the Gr. ek pisteōs eis pistin, lit., “out of faith in reference to faith.”) Such righteousness is totally unachievable by human efforts. This righteousness is not God’s personal attribute; however, since it comes “from God,” it is consistent with His nature and standard. In response to faith this righteousness is imputed by God in justification and imparted progressively in regeneration and sanctification, culminating in glorification when standing and state become identical. “Righteousness” and “justify,” though seemingly unrelated in English, are related in Greek. “Righteousness” is dikaiosynē, and “justify” is dikaioō;. Paul used the noun many times in his epistles, including 28 times in Romans (Rom_1:17; Rom_3:21-22, Rom_3:25-26; Rom_4:3, Rom_4:5-6, Rom_4:9, Rom_4:11, Rom_4:13, Rom_4:22; Rom_5:17, Rom_5:21; Rom_6:13, Rom_6:16, Rom_6:18-20; Rom_8:10; Rom_9:30; Rom_10:3-6 [twice in Rom_10:3], Rom_10:10; Rom_14:17). And Paul used the Greek verb 15 times in Romans (Rom_2:13; Rom_3:4, Rom_3:20, Rom_3:24, Rom_3:26, Rom_3:28, Rom_3:30; Rom_4:2, Rom_4:5; Rom_5:1, Rom_5:9; Rom_6:7; Rom_8:30 [twice], Rom_8:33). To justify a person is to declare him forensically (legally) righteous. “Declared righteous” is the way the NIV translates dikaioō in Rom_2:13 and Rom_3:20 and “freed” is NIV’s rendering in Rom_6:7. “Righteousness of God” is better translated: “righteousness from God.” A major theme of the book, appearing over 30 times in one form or another, righteousness is the state or condition of perfectly conforming to God’s perfect law and holy character. Man falls woefully short of the divine standard of moral perfection but the gospel revels that on the basis of faith, and faith alone, God will impute His righteousness to ungodly sinners.
From faith to faith: This may be a parallel expression to “everyone who believes” as if Paul were singling out the faith of each individual believer, from one person’s faith to another’s faith to another’s and so on. Or, each person has a portion of faith, but some seem to have more than others.
To make our faith stronger, we must use it. Each time we depend on our faith it becomes stronger. This (faith to faith) above just means that trials come and we must have faith to overcome each trial; as we do, our faith grows. The just means, as we have said before, just as if we had never sinned. Faith believes in our hearts in things we cannot see with our physical eyes.
Paul’s closing words in Rom_1:17, The righteous will live by faith, are a quotation from Hab_2:4, also quoted in Gal_3:11 and Heb_10:38. As a result of faith (cf. “believes” in Rom_1:16) in Christ, a person is declared “righteous” (cf. Rom_3:22) and is given eternal life. What a marvelous work of God!

Romans 1:18

God’s Righteousness Revealed in Condemnation
The first step in the revelation of the righteousness that God provides for people by faith is to set forth their need for it because they are under God’s judgment. The human race stands condemned before God and is helpless and hopeless apart from God’s grace.
Condemnation against pagan humanity
This section looks at the human race prior to the call of Abram and the establishment of a special people of God. This situation persisted in the pagan world of the Gentiles as distinct from the Jews.
Reasons for Condemnation
God never condemns without just cause. Here three bases are stated for His judgment of the pagan world.
For suppressing God’s truth
This verse serves as a topic sentence for this entire section. In addition, it stands in contrastive parallel to Rom_1:17. The continuing revelation (the verb is being revealed is in the pres. tense) of the wrath of God is an expression of His personal righteousness (which also “is being revealed,” Gr., Rom_1:17) and its opposition to human sinfulness. Therefore people need the continuing revelation of “a righteousness from God” (Rom_1:17) that He provides. God’s wrath is directed against all the godlessness (asebeian, “lack of proper reverence for God”) and wickedness (adikian, “unrighteousness”) of men, not against the men as such. (God’s wrath will also be revealed in the future; cf. Rom_2:5.) God hates sin and judges it, but loves sinners and desires their salvation. This is not an impulsive outburst of anger aimed capriciously at people whom God does not like. It is the settled, determined response of a righteous God against sin.
“Is revealed”: More accurately, “is constantly revealed”. The word essentially means “to uncover, make visible, or make known.” God reveals His wrath in two ways:
1. Indirectly, through the natural consequences of violating His universal moral law,
2. Directly through His personal intervention. The Old Testament record for the sentence passed on Adam and Eve to the worldwide flood, from the fire and brimstone that leveled Sodom to the Babylonian captivity, clearly displays this kind of intervention.
The most graphic revelation of God’s holy wrath and hatred against sin was when He poured out divine judgment on His Son on the cross.
God has various kinds of wrath:
1. Eternal wrath, which is hell
2. Eschatological wrath, which is the final Day of the Lord
3. Cataclysmic wrath like the flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
4. Consequential wrath, which is the principle of sowing and reaping
5. The wrath of abandonment, which is removing restraint and letting people go to their sins.
Here it is that fifth form, God’s abandoning the wicked continually through history to pursue their sin and its consequences.
“Ungodliness”: This indicates a lack of reverence for, devotion to , and worship of the true God, a defective relationship with Him.
“Unrighteousness”: This refers to the result of ungodliness: a lack of conformity in thought, word and deed to the character and law of God.
“Hold the truth in unrighteousness”: Although the evidence from conscience, creation and God’s Word is irrefutable, men choose to resist and oppose God’s truth by holding fast to their sin.
Failure to give God His due inevitably results in failure to treat people, created by God in His image, the right way. Conversely, people (in their unrighteousness toward others) continue to suppress (katechontōn, lit., “holding down”) the truth (cf. Rom_1:25; Rom_2:8) concerning both God and man. People had God’s truth but suppressed it, refusing to heed it. And these wicked ones did this in an attitude of wickedness (en adikia). This suppression of the truth is Paul’s first reason for God’s condemnation of the pagan world.

Romans 1:19

For ignoring God’s revelation
These verses declare that knowledge concerning God is available to all. This knowledge is called natural revelation because it is seen in the created world, is accessible to the entire human race, and is not soteriological, dealing with salvation effected by Christ.
Paul called this knowledge plain (phaneron), which means visible or clear. This is true because God has made it plain (ephanerōsen, the verb related to the noun phaneron). Some scholars translate the phrase to them as “in them,” insisting that Rom_1:19 is speaking of the knowledge of God within the being of man through conscience and religious consciousness. Preferable is the position that Rom_1:19 states the fact of natural revelation and Rom_1:20 explains the process. One support for this view is the word “for” which begins Rom_1:20 and indicates a tie between the verses. Manifest means to make visible, real, or to make known. God has not hidden Himself. He has made Himself real to mankind throughout all ages in his creation. He has especially shown Himself to mankind in His Son (Jesus Christ).
God has sovereignty planted evidence of His existence in the very nature of man by reason and moral law.
Romans 1:20

“What may be known about God” (Rom_1:19) is now called God’s invisible qualities and identified as His eternal power and divine nature. Since “God is spirit” (Joh_4:24), all His qualities are invisible to physical eyes and can be understood by the human mind only as they are reflected in what has been made, that is, in God’s creative work. The self-existent God, however, is the Creator of all things, and therefore since the Creation of the world His “invisible qualities” have been clearly seen. Paul may have intended a play on words between the noun translated “invisible qualities” (aorata) and the verb translated “clearly seen” (kathoratai) because they share a common Greek root. Both the verb “clearly seen” and the participle “being understood” are in the present tense, which emphasizes the continuous nature of the action. The word theiotēs, translated “divine nature,” occurs only here in the New Testament and embraces the properties which make God Himself. Creation, which people see, reveals God’s unseen character — the all-powerful Deity. An Old Testament parallel to these verses is Psa_19:1-6. “Invisible things”: Or attributes, referring specifically to the two mentioned in this verse.
1. “The things that are made”: The creation delivers a clear, unmistakable message about God’s person.
2. “His eternal power”: The Creator, who made all that we see around us and constantly sustains it, must be a being of awesome power.

“They are without excuse:” God holds all men responsible for their refusal to acknowledge what He has shown them of Himself in His creation. Even those who have never had an opportunity to hear the gospel, have received a clear witness about the existence and character of God and have suppressed it if a person will respond to the revelation he has, even if it is solely natural revelation, God will provide some means for that person to hear the gospel. (Acts 8:26-39; 10:1-48; 17:27)
Paul’s conclusion to this description of natural revelation is important — men are without excuse. The witness to God in nature is so clear and so constant that ignoring it is indefensible. Their condemnation is based not on their rejecting Christ of whom they have not heard, but on their sinning against the light they have.
Romans 1:21

For perverting God’s glory
This reason for God’s condemnation of the pagan world builds on the preceding one just as that one built on the first. The relationship is seen in the use of the same Greek connective (dioti) at the beginning of Rom_1:19 and Rom_1:21, in the latter translated for. People’s suppression of the truth is seen in their rejecting the clear evidence of God as the sovereign Creator and their perversion of that knowledge into idolatry.
The clause although they knew God refers to an original experiential knowledge of God such as Adam and Eve had both before and after the fall. How long this knowledge of God continued before it was perverted is not stated, but God was known by people. This fact makes human actions all the more reprehensible. One would suppose that to know God would be to honor Him, but these people neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him. They turned from the very purpose for which God made them: to glorify Him for His Person and thank Him for His works. With such willful rebellion against God it is little wonder that their thinking became futile (emataiōthēsan, lit., “became worthless, purposeless”; cf. Eph_4:17) and their foolish (asynetos, “morally senseless”; cf. Rom_1:31) hearts were darkened (cf. Eph_4:18). When truth is rejected, in time the ability to recognize and to receive truth is impaired (cf. Joh_3:19-20). “Knew God”: Man is conscious of God’s existence, power and divine nature through general revelation. (Verses 19-20)
“They glorified him not”: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and Scripture constantly demands it. To glorify Him is to honor Him, to acknowledge His attributes, and to praise Him for His perfections. It is to recognize His glory and extol Him for it. Failing to give Him glory is man’s greatest affront to his Creator.
“Neither was thankful”: They refused to acknowledge that every good thing they enjoyed came from God.
“Vain in their imaginations”: meaning futile in their thoughts. Man’s search for meaning and purpose will produce only vain, meaningless conclusions.
“Heart was darkened”: When man rejects the truth, the darkness of spiritual falsehood replaces it.
Romans 1:22-23

When the true Source of wisdom is rejected (cf. Psa_111:10), people’s claim to be wise is an idle boast. Progressively they became fools (emōranthēsan, lit., “became stupid”), a reality demonstrated by the worship as gods of idols in the forms of people and animals (cf. Rom_1:25). The ultimate irony in humanity’s refusal to glorify the true God is the insanity or stupidity of idolatry described in Isa_44:9-20. Man’s refusal to acknowledge and glorify God leads to a downward path: first, worthless thinking; next, moral insensitivity; and then, religious stupidity (seen in idol-worship). Man rationalizes his sin and proves his utter foolishness by devising and believing his own philosophies about God, the universe and himself. The children of Israel, on the way to the Promised Land, tired waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain of God. They talked Aaron into making them a golden calf that they could worship. God is the Creator not the created. Those that worship things they can see with their physical eyes are worshipping idols.
They are substituting the worship of idols for the worship of the true God. Historians report that many ancient cultures did not originally have idols. The historian Eusebius reported that the oldest civilizations had no idols. The earliest record of idolatry was among Abram’s family in Ur. (Joshua 24:2) Although the false gods which men worship do not exist, demons often impersonate them.
Romans 1:24

Results of Condemnation
In a real sense the results of God’s condemnation on rebellious humanity are nothing more than the natural consequences of suppressing truth, ignoring revelation, and perverting God’s glory. However, God did more than simply let nature take its course. God acted to abandon (the thrice-mentioned “gave them over” [Rom_1:24, Rom_1:26, Rom_1:28] is paredōken, “abandoned”) people to expressions of a corrupt lifestyle that deserved God’s wrath and the sentence of death (Rom_1:32).
Abandoned to fornication
One aspect of mankind’s corruption (to which God actively let people go) was sexual profligacy. The frequency of live-in lovers, wife-swapping and group sex parties today only confirms this result of God’s abandonment. Sex within marriage is a holy gift from God, but otherwise sex is impurity (lit., “uncleanness”) and the degrading of… bodies by using them contrary to God’s intent. “God gave them up” is a judicial term in Greek used for handling over a prisoner to his sentence. When men consistently abandon God, He will abandon them. He accomplishes this:
1. Indirectly and immediately, by removing His restraint and allowing their sin to run its inevitable course
2. Directly and eventually, by specific acts of divine judgment and punishment.
“Uncleanness”: A general term often used of decaying matter, like the contents of a grave. It speaks here of sexual immorality which begins in the heart and moves to the shame of the body.
Our heart condition determines what we are. Luke 6:45 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh."
Romans 1:25

In a sense this verse repeats the truth of Rom_1:23, but it expresses more. The truth of God is not only the truth concerning God but also God’s truth concerning all things, including mankind. This truth is that people are creatures of God and can find true fulfillment only in worshiping and obediently serving God the Creator. A lie (lit., “the lie”) on the other hand says that the creature — angelic (Isa_14:13-14; Joh_8:44) or human (Gen_3:4-5) — can exist independent of God, self-sufficient, self-directing, and self-fulfilling. Mankind made himself his god in place of the true God. Because God the Creator is forever praised (in contrast with creatures who are undeserving of worship), Paul added Amen. This word transliterates in both Greek and English the Hebrew word meaning “so let it be.” As an affirmation, not a wish, it places approval on what has just been said.
Romans 1:26-27

Abandoned to sexual perversion
Also God gave them over to shameful lusts (lit., “passions of disgrace”). This involved, as the text states, both sexes engaging in homosexual instead of heterosexual relationships. Women deliberately exchanged natural relations (with men in marriage) for unnatural ones (with other women). This is the second “exchange” the unregenerate made (cf. Rom_1:25). Men… were inflamed with lust (orexei, “sexual lust,” used only here in the NT and differing from the more common word for lust in Rom_1:26).
The words translated women and men in these verses are the sexual words “females” and “males.” Contemporary homosexuals insist that these verses mean that it is perverse for a heterosexual male or female to engage in homosexual relations but it is not perverse for a homosexual male or female to do so since homosexuality is such a person’s natural preference. This is strained exegesis unsupported by the Bible. The only natural sexual relationship the Bible recognizes is a heterosexual one (Gen_2:21-24; Mat_19:4-6) within marriage. All homosexual relations constitute sexual perversion and are subject to God’s judgment. Such lustful and indecent acts have within them the seeds of punishment (due penalty). In these two verses, Paul mentions the woman first to show the extent of debauchery under the wrath of abandonment, because in most cultures women are the last to be affected by moral collapse.
God turned His back to these lesbians and homosexuals. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God for this very sin. It is natural for Paul to write of this particular sin to the Romans, because this very sin was rampant in their society. God calls this sin an abomination. It is also called against nature, which God created.
Sex is for the procreation of life and these unnatural uses do not create life, they create death. Notice the last sentence of verse 27 (the recompense of their error which was meets (due). God's wrath will fall on this person for this type of sin if they do not repent.
Romans 1:28

Abandoned to depraved lifestyle
Pagan humanity’s rebellion also included the rejection of the knowledge (epignōsei, “full knowledge”; cf. Rom_1:32) of God. In a sense they put God out of their minds. God’s responding judgment was abandonment (cf. Rom_1:24, Rom_1:26) to a depraved (adokimon, “disapproved”) mind, which expressed itself in attitudes and actions that ought not to be done (lit., “what is unfitting or improper,” a technical Stoic word). Reprobate or debased mind, in the sense it is used here, means (worthless, castaway, or rejected). Debased translates a Greek word that means “not passing the test.” It was often used to describe useless, worthless metals, discarded because they contained too much impurity. God has tested some mans’ minds and found them worthless and useless.
God has turned away from this type person, because they have rejected God and all His teachings. I believe it is possible for a homosexual or lesbian to be saved, but only if they walk away from their old life. I do not believe a person practicing homosexuality or lesbianism is saved. Things which are not convenient: means against nature.
Verse 28 is saying that the Holy Spirit stops pursuing them for salvation.
Romans 1:29-31

The mental vacuum created by dismissing God was filled (the perf. tense implies filled full) with four forms of active sin: wickedness (adikia; cf. Rom_1:18), evil (ponēria), greed, and depravity (kakia, “badness or malice”). These four in turn express themselves in 17 more specific types of wickedness. The first two, envy and murder, sound much alike in Greek: phthonou and phonou. Also the four vices in Rom_1:31 each begin with the Greek letter alpha (“a” in Eng.). In verse 29 we see where the reprobate mind leads to all unrighteousness. Fornication has to do with sex sin (adultery is one example) and also spiritual adultery (idolatry). Covetousness includes greediness, wanting what others have, and fraud or extortion. Maliciousness means all sorts of evil and meanness. Malignity means bad character. We know that covenant breakers are those who do not honor agreements they have made. Implacable means a truce breaker.
II Timothy 3:1-5 "This knows also, that in the last days perilous times shall come." "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy," "Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good," "Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;" "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
Can't you see our day here? This describes our day perfectly. These verses in 2 Timothy and in the Scriptures of Romans that we have been reading describe a people who are out of fellowship with God. We must repent and change now before God has turned our whole nation over to a reprobate mind. It is time to repent and turn to God.
Drug and alcohol problems will go away when we give our life to God. The answer for all of us is to heed the Scripture in II Chronicles 7:14 "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
Romans 1:32

This whole pattern of evil becomes the lifestyle of people who continue to do (pres. tense implies continuing or habitual action) these very things in open defiance of God, a defiance aggravated (a) by fully knowing (epignontes; cf. Rom_1:28) that such things deserve death and (b) by encouraging others in the same lifestyle. Such extremity of human rebellion against God fully warrants God’s condemnation. This is not just ignorance but blatant rebellion. We know that God is displeased. Just look around you. The weather pattern is messed up. Inflation is great. Earthquakes have increased and in fact all storms have worsened. AIDS and a lot of other incurable diseases have many people frightened. The threat of nuclear war is ever present. The normal life we used to have is now out of control. It seems we cannot depend on anything.
Luke 21:26 "Mens hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."