Romans–Passionate Christian Theology
“Are we there yet? Where are we now? Huh? Huh? Are we there yet? How much longer?” Their little child voices still echo in my mind. Every journey we took our kids, others’ kids, on mission trips, or any other trip that was more than thirty minutes away we were barraged with these repeated questions needing urgent answers. It’s probably happened to you, too.
These are not bad questions when they are asked of God as a way to evaluate our lives as God sees us. We need to ask often, “Where are we now, Lord?” “Are we any closer to being and doing what please You for Your glory?” “Are we following You closer today than yesterday?” “Are we closer to fulfilling Your created purpose for us here on this earth?” “Are we there yet?”
Paul describes his world in a downward spiral to destruction in his letter to the Romans. Then he later tells of the work of grace because of Jesus Christ that can be had a little later on. As I read this passage, it’s as if Paul were living in our day right now! Read and see for yourself. He is making it clear that are only two choices, two decisions in which life is spared or life is destroyed. There is no middle ground. We must choose wisely or we will never reach the destination of life eternal with Jesus Christ. Are we there yet?
Romans 1, The Message
Ignoring God Leads to a Downward Spiral
18-23 But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.
24-25 So God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.” It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!
26-27 Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either—women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.
28-32 Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags! They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. They ditch their parents when they get in the way. Stupid, slimy, cruel, cold-blooded. And it’s not as if they don’t know better. They know perfectly well they’re spitting in God’s face. And they don’t care—worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best!
Reflection: There is more but let us stop there and consider what shape our world is in at the moment. What shape are we in right now? What are we doing to make things better, to sound the alarm, to help others, as well as ourselves to make better, daily decisions that lead to God, to REAL life? Are we there yet? And where are we?
Dear Heavenly Father, We see the spiral downward. It is happening so fast it seems out of control. Then we know You are still on the throne of glory and will turn things around when we humbled ourselves, repent and pray for mercy and grace. You are gentleman who will allow us to wallow in our sin, suffering the consequences of our bad choices. We will not judge others, for we are all sinners. We can point them to You after being cleansed and made right with You. So, we come to You asking for Your forgiveness and then your help to live well, to live Truth.
In Jesus Name, Amen