The particular reading guide I am using for Lent breaks down a reading of the early chapters of Romans. I really don’t like breaking down the first three chapters into “bite size” pieces because it really leads to bad small group discussions.
If we stick with Romans 1, the inevitable discussion turns to sexual sin. And that chapter gets camped on. Then, because we’re not Jews, we have no idea what the second chapter is about, so we land in chapter 3 and have no idea how the three tie together.
We can camp on chapter 1 and rage away at all kinds of sexual sin. Then, I’ve seen people camp on 2:1 to rage against those who rage against the sexual sin of Romans 1.
Both miss the point. Actually, let me correct that. Both takes actually MAKE the point of Romans 3. Both arguments fall right into Paul’s trap. This is what he draws out so he can make the point: No one is righteous.
So, we can rage away at the sexual decadence of our culture and sit in judgment. Then, we come to these words:
There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.
Or, we can rage at people who “sit in judgment,” then we come to these words:
All have turned away… there is no one who does good, not even one.
We need to all understand this: we stand condemned without the grace of God. Be offended. That’s not a bad thing. Be mad at me for saying it.
I. Do. Not. Care.
You know why? Because I stand in need of grace. I admit it. I have been lost. I have been self-righteous. I still battle. And without the grace of God and my submission to my King, I will stand condemned.
Grace has come. My King has saved me. So… I submit to my King. I submit all of my brokenness, sexual and otherwise. I submit my self-righteousness. And I ask for HIS agenda in my life.
My broken thinking won’t save me, nor will it give me the purest joy possible. So, it gets surrendered.
If you are reading through Romans on the same guide, I invite you to read all the way through the first three chapters in one sitting. Get the scope. Feel the heat. Fall down before God begging for grace.