“Circumcision, as a sign that you are keeping the covenant God made with Abraham, is very good, as long as you are keeping the whole Law of Moses as well. But if you break the Law, as everyone in history has done, then your circumcision means nothing. Likewise, if one who is not circumcised keeps the whole Law, it is as if he was circumcised. And this one who keeps the law even though he is uncircumcised will be given the right to judge those who are circumcised but do not keep the Law. Circumcision is meant to be simply an outward sign of what is in your heart. In and of itself, it means nothing. If you are circumcised, that does not automatically make you a Jew. You must be a Jew in your heart, and in your soul. It is not simply by God’s command, that one becomes a Jew, and it is not to receive honor among people. It is a desire of the heart and the soul to follow God’s command and a love for Him above all others.”
“As for those who call themselves Jews, believing that they do right by the law, who brag about their heritage before God, claiming to know His will, knowing the Law of Moses well and encouraging those things that they know are good, do not believe that you are exempt from His judgment! You believe you know enough to be able to guide those who don’t know God at all. You think you yourselves as a light in the darkness, leading those who are blind and foolish to the light of God, raising little ones up in the way they should go, because you know the Law and keep it. You teach others not to steal or commit adultery, to set up nothing in the place of God and to honor His Name through the keeping of the Law of Moses. But are you teaching yourselves? Are you stealing from others, or even from temples where idols are worshipped? Are you faithful to your spouse? Do you break the Law yourself, and thus dishonor God? Both Isaiah and Ezekiel wrote, ‘The Name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’ Be careful that you are not letting pride get in the way of your salvation, thus setting yourselves up for ultimate failure on the day of judgment.”
Romans 2:17-24, Isaiah 52:5, Ezekiel 36:22
“Whoever has sinned not knowing the Law of Moses will be judged based on their actions in accordance with their knowledge. And whoever has sinned knowing the Law of Moses will be judged based on their actions within the Law. It is not knowledge of the Law that saves someone from the penalty for their sins, but the doing of the Law. Many Gentiles follow the Law of Moses naturally, even without knowing a thing about it. But it is written in their hearts, engraved there by their Heavenly Father, and written all throughout creation as well. Their conscience guides them in their actions, helping them to choose right from wrong. God will judge all of us on the last day, including all the secrets we thought we kept, because He knows all. God tells us in His Word that He has appointed His Son, Jesus, to be the Judge, and Jesus will judge each of us, exposing to the light of day everything we have tried to hide in the darkest corners of our hearts.
“You know all these things, and so when you judge someone, you are judging and condemning yourself at the same time, because you do the same things. But God is not capable of sinning, and so we know that He judges justly and truly. So do not think that when you judge someone else for doing those things that you yourself also do, you will escape God’s judgment. People love to talk about the goodness of God, but they forget that He is also Holy and just. Yes, He is patient and tolerant now in order to allow as many people as possible to turn away from sins and come to Him. But when the day of judgment comes, His judgment will fall on any who have not turned to His Son for forgiveness of their sins. Every time you sin against God and do not repent of it, you are heaping coals on the fire of your punishment. God tells us in Psalm 62:12 and again in Proverbs 24:12 that He will, “give to each person according to his deeds. If you live a live devoted to Jesus, working patiently toward doing good for others, you will be given life in Heaven forever. But if you are selfish and disobedient to God, seeking your own pleasure and taking part in the evils of the world, you will be given what you claim to desire – eternal life away from God and all that He is. Both Jews and Gentiles will receive just rewards for their deeds, because God is an impartial judge.”
Romans 2:1-11, Psalm 62:12, Proverbs 24:12
“Because they refused to acknowledge Him, God allowed them to continue in their sinfulness. Even the women, who should have been the most modest in their behavior, gave themselves up as prostitutes instead of honoring God with their bodies. And the men, instead of giving themselves to their wives, prostituted themselves with other men, and the consequences of their actions were just punishments. They wanted nothing to do with God, and in their zeal to remove Him from every aspect of themselves, they punished themselves. All that is good comes from God, so in their refusal to have anything to do with Him, they stripped themselves of all that is good. When all that is good was gone from them, they were filled with all kinds of sin – sexual immorality, wickedness, envy, hate, violence, pride, perpetrating evil. They became disobedient to their parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful. Although they knew right from wrong, and that God rightly punishes those whose hearts are turned to evil, they willingly take part in evil deeds and support the evil deeds of others.”
“God’s anger is shown from Heaven in the wickedness of the people of this world, those who ignore or deny the truth and persist in living sinful lives. What is known about God can be found within us, because God has made us in His own image and shows Himself to us in all of creation. Even the fact that He is God and is all powerful can be clearly seen through what He has created. Because of this, there really is no excuse for anyone to disbelieve in Him. Anyone who looks closely at God’s creation and fails to acknowledge its Creator is foolish. They do not give thanks or glory to God, and instead they inflate their own egos, and in the process their hearts grow dark and cold. They take what they mistakenly believe about God and make imperfect, corrupt idols to worship, instead of worshipping the real, perfect, Holy God. Because of this, God lets them continue in their wickedness, in all the evil desires of their hearts, bringing disgrace to Him through what they do to their bodies, believing lies instead of God’s Holy Truth, worshipping things made by men instead of the One who made all and is eternal. He allows them to go on like this until they either see the truth of their foolishness and turn to Him or they destroy themselves in their refusal to acknowledge Him. This is the truth.”
“First, I want to tell you that I always give thanks to God for you in Jesus’ Name, because word of your strong faith has spread all over the world. I serve God with all that I am by spreading the message of His Son. He is my witness that I pray for you faithfully, and now it is my fervent prayer that at last it may be His will that I come to you, for I have been longing to do so for quite a while. I want to come to you so that I might bestow upon you some spiritual gifts, and that we might mutually build each other up. My brothers and sisters, I want you too know that I planned to come to you many times, but each time I’ve been stopped, got one reason or another, until now. My work in the Lord is to teach His message, and I wish to do so with you as I have with many other churches. I have a responsibility to do this all over the world, with Jews, Greeks, Romans, and everyone else I encounter, whether they be wise or foolish. Thus I’d why I want so much to come to you and share my knowledge of Jesus’ mage with you. I have no shame in Jesus’ message, because it is the power of salvation for anyone who believes it, first for the Jews and then for the Gentiles. God’s character and perfection are shown in the message of Jesus, a character and perfection that is the same today as it was in the beginning, and will be when He brings this world to an end. If we have faith in Him, we will become more like Him daily, until the last day, when we will attain a similar character and perfection. Remember, the scriptures tell us, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'”
Romans 1:8-17, Habakkuk 2:4
“I am Paul, a servant indebted to our Messiah, Jesus, whom He called to be an apostle. He set me apart and gave me the job of spreading His message, His Good News, all over the world. This Good News is what He has been promising for thousands of years through His prophets, and is foretold in the Holy Scriptures. It is the message that His Son, Jesus, our Messiah and our Lord, was born a man as a descendant of King David, but also the Son of God with all His supernatural power, proven by the resurrection of the dead that He was first to take part in. He has, instead of condemning us for our sins, given us His grace and made us His apostles, in order to bring His message of forgiveness and salvation to the Gentiles to the glory of His Name. You are a part of this Gentile church, and you are now called by His Name as well. So I write this letter to all the Christians in Rome, who are greatly loved by our God and called to be His own. I pray for God’s grace and peace to be bestowed upon you through our Messiah, Jesus.”
Paul finishes the letter to the Corinthians, seals it, and sends it on its way. He then begins to make preparations to travel to Corinth himself. When he is ready, he departs and makes his way to Greece. He goes first to Athens, where he stays for three months, then he moves on to Corinth. While he is there, he begins to think about the church in Rome. He had never been there, but he had heard about a church there made up of many people who were present on that first Pentecost when the apostles received the Holy Spirit. Paul has a strong desire to go there and work with these Christians, and from there, to continue spreading Jesus’ message all the way to Spain. He decides to write to the Romans, mainly to introduce himself, but also to make sure they understand the basics of Christianity.
“I pray that you would not continue in your evil doing, not because we wish to avoid embarrassment after taking pride in you before the other churches, but for your own sake, so that your hearts and souls may delight in doing what is right, even if you still believe that we are not true apostles of Jesus. We cannot work against the truth, only for it. When we are weak and you are strong, we rejoice, and we pray that by following the leading of the Holy Spirit in your hearts, you may be made complete. I am writing this to you ahead of time so that I might not have to be stern with you when I come to you, and use the authority that Jesus gave me in order to build you up instead of to tear you down. And now, I bid you farewell. My greatest hope for you is that you would allow the Holy Spirit to work within you to make you whole in Jesus. Live in peace and harmony with one another, comfort each other, and you will have God’s peace and love. I remind you again to use the customary kiss on the cheek when greeting each other, remembering that when you do this you are going beyond the usual custom to a spiritual level, and so it is a Holy kiss. I send with this letter the greetings of all our brothers and sisters. I pray that our Messiah’s grace, God’s love, and the Holy Spirit’s communion would be with each of you. Amen.”
2 Corinthians 13:7-14