Monday, May 30, 2016

3 indicators of genuine faith in Jesus

Read Romans 12.

This chapter deals with three aspects of being a true Christ follower.

1. Worship. (vv.1-2)
Worship is not confined to a church service.  It is what Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4:24-"God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."  Regardless of the location, the worship of God takes place inside-out.

This love of God is seen in how we live.  We are to take the personal initiative to dedicate our bodies to the Lord.  What we put into to our bodies matters.  What we do with our physical bodies is to be holy and pleasing to God.  A true Christian considers themselves dead to selfish desires and is free from the slavery of sin.

Second, it involves, not mere good feelings and positive thinking, but a transformation of the mind.  How we think matters.  No longer are we allowed to harbor thoughts that violate the word of God.  The believer in Jesus seeks to maintain thoughts that reflect the purity of the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5).

The Apostle Paul reminds (as if that were necessary) that these two areas will be tested.  The purpose of the daily challenges is that we become mature in our faith, discerning each moment what God wants us to be doing and thinking.

2. Work. (vv.3-8)
Each believer in Jesus has been gifted by God in order to serve Him.  The  Bible knows no such thing as a Christian who does not put their faith to work by using their spiritual gift for the benefit of others.  No spiritual gift is self-serving.  It is our personal responsibility to discover how God has enabled us and to put that into active practice through the opportunities God provides.  The starting point is an attitude of humility and gratitude for the privilege to be used of the Lord.

3. Witness. (vv.9-21)
Loving God must be demonstrated in our love for people, especially those in our local church.  These are folks with whom we are committed and connected.  They know us and we know them.  It is a key place for our behavioral accountability.  However, our practice of the Christ-filled life is not limited solely to that group.  The contrast of our lifestyle in Jesus is most remarkable among those who do not believe.  We do not behave, react, and talk like those without Jesus.  Indeed, our changed life is to be the basis of our witness to the world.  Unbelievers should see the difference and want to know more about Him.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

What is God doing about Israel?

Read Romans 11.

This chapter is pivotal in connecting the promises God made in the Old Testament to the future of the nation of Israel.  In the two previous chapters, the Apostle Paul addressed the national rejection of Jesus by the Jews and the consequences.  Now, in chapter eleven, he brings clarity to any confusion or doubts about Israel's future.

1. Israel Rejected. (vv.1-10)
The question is "Has God rejected the Jews?"  Are the promises, therefore, nullified that He made to Abraham in Genesis 12, 15 and 17?  The Bible's answer could not be more plain, "By no means!"  Though nationally Israel does not worship Jesus at this time, it is not a total rejection, because individual Jews were and are being saved through faith in Christ.  Paul called it "a remnant" and offered himself as an example.  As for the nation, Israel "stumbled" but the fall is not fatal.

2. Gentiles Grafted. (vv.11-24)
Israel is depicted as an Olive tree.  In the sovereign plan of God, during this time in world history, some of the original branches have been broken off in order to graft in some "wild" branches (Gentiles).  The purpose is consistent with the Lord's promise to Abraham and the Great Commission.  Persecution of Christians in Jerusalem became a key means for the Good News of Jesus to spread from Israel for "the reconciliation of the world".  Seeing God work in other nations is designed to make Israel "jealous."

3. Israel Restored. (vv.25-32).
The rejection by the Jews is "a partial" hardening of their national hearts and it is temporary.  Notice the phrase "until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in".  Jesus used the same term in discussing the Tribulation Period in Luke 21:24.  This awful time will be used to prepare Israel for the appearance of the Messiah and the establishment of His kingdom "on the throne of his father David" in Jerusalem.  "And in this way all Israel will be saved." (v.25)  All the prophecies concerning the earthly kingdom and Israel's prominence will be fulfilled in that future restoration.  It will be the ultimate fulfillment of Jeremiah 31 regarding the New Covenant.

4. God Glorified. (vv.33-36)
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul became so excited and in awe of the purposes and plans of God that he broke out in praise.  The truths in this chapter are not merely great theological content, but they demonstrate how far beyond God's thinking is than ours.  Indeed, He is in control.  He is all sufficient and self-sufficient.  No one can fully comprehend His works.  No one is God's counselor.  God is no one's debtor.  All things come from Him in order to glorify Him.  Soli Deo gloria!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Is it God or is it Me?

Read Romans 10.

April Rogers wrote, "Sometimes the appropriate theological answer is both/and."  This observation applies to many truths in the Bible.  Many have desired to chose one against the other when the Bible clearly presents both without any problem at all.  Examples would include the deity and humanity of Jesus, the wrath and mercy of God, God's sovereignty and human responsibility.

In the middle of chapter nine, Paul made strong statements of God's control.  Then, in verse 32, he stated that many of the Jews missed God's righteousness "because they did not pursue it by faith."  There is no injustice with God here (v.14).  Believing one against the other is choosing an argument the Bible does not make.  Is God sovereign?  Absolutely.  Are humans held accountable for their personal response to the Gospel?  Yes.  Even, more, those who have come to faith in Christ are sent to communicate the Good News.

Knowing these things about God and yet not knowing who will believe and who will not, prompted the Apostle Paul to instruct the Romans by example and precepts.

1. Be burdened and pray for those who do not know Jesus. (vv.1-4)
These words express the same "anguish" found in 9:1-5.  His fellow kinsmen were trusting in their rituals, in their heritage, and their own self-efforts to appease God.  Paul's heartache for them was that they would come to a place of simple belief.

2. Be understanding as to how a person is saved.  (vv.5-13)
The Holy Spirit prompts the heart, or conscience, of an individual concerning the truth about Jesus (v.8).  A personal decision must be made in order for that truth to be effective.  "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (v.9).

3. Be a believer on mission. (vv.14-17)
Relationships are key to gaining a hearing.  Programs have varying degrees of value.  But at some point someone must communicate the simple truth of the message.  This is not referring to professional pastors and preachers, but all who know Jesus are sent into this world to tell the story.  That is the believer's responsibility.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Not everyone talking about heaven is going There

Read Romans 9.

From the time of Abraham, God's unconditional promise to his descendants always included the Gentiles.  "...and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Genesis 12:3).  The Lord sovereignly chose to bless and work through the Jews for His glory on earth.  But, over time the nation took for granted what they had been given.  This did not change God's faithfulness, nor His promises to the Jews.  Something else was missing.

1. What God gave them. (vv.4-5)
A. The adoption.  Out of all the world, God selected Abraham and His descendants to be His people.
B. The glory.  God visibly revealed Himself in the Exodus through pillars of cloud and fire.  Then, in the Tabernacle and the Temple, His very presence hovered in the Holy of Holies.
C. The covenants.  From time to time, God made special commitments to the Jews: Abraham (Genesis 15); David (2 Samuel 7); Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31).
D. The Law. The Ten Commandments provided only a preamble to the dietary, social, moral, judicial, and spiritual expectations of God.
E. The worship.  Only to the Jews did God give such specific instructions of how to relate to Him, including the exact details of the physical structure and practices.
F. The promises.  Repeatedly, from Genesis to Malachi, prophecies were given concerning the Messiah who would come.

No other people group before or since has had such special attention from God and blessed by Him like the Jews.  Why then are not the Jews the most godly, Christ worshipping people on earth?

2. What they thought. (vv.6-11)
Paul is quick to point out that the spiritual failure was not God's fault.  He did not change; they did.  There were two false assumptions.  First, many began to believe that just because they were born into a Jewish family that they were automatically born into the family of God.  Jesus confronted the leading Rabbi of Israel about this in John 3.  Physical birth does not count, no matter how godly the parents may be.  One must personally and individually experience a spiritual birth.  Second, many believed if they kept the Law with its rules and regulations that they would be godly people.  Paul makes it clear that no one is a child of God by good works.

3. What they missed. (vv.30-33)
How could it be that Jews who were provided this unique, national relationship with the God of Heaven miss out on being in God's family?  "Why?  Because they did not pursue it by faith..."  And, when the Messiah did come, the nation rejected Jesus.  They spiritually "stumbled" over Him who came to save them.  

4. What God wants. (v.17)
Though nationally to this day, Israel does not worship Jesus as the Messiah, God continues to call, save, and work through individuals of all nations who turn to Him in faith.  God does not waste His creative energy, nor His time.  He has a divine purpose for each life, whether they are godly people or evil.  He brings individuals into this world "that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

5 negative benefits of a knowing Jesus

Read Romans 8.

What are the benefits of a personal relationship with Christ?

1. No Condemnation. (vv.1-11)
Those who personally place their faith in Jesus are forgiven of their sins.  The judgment against them has been expunged.  This is not the result of anything the individual did.  It is solely due to the fact that Jesus paid our penalty on the cross.  At the very moment of belief in Him, the grace of God is applied to our account.

2. No Obligation. (vv.12-17)
We owed a debt we could not pay.  He paid a debt He did not owe.  Placing our eternal trust in Jesus spiritually frees us.  No longer are we slaves to sin, but we have become the children of God.

3. No Comparison. (vv.18-25)
Everyone in this life suffers.  It is the worldwide effect of sin ever since Genesis 3.  The world is in "bondage to corruption" (v.21).  This is the observable scientific law of entropy at work as opposed to the man-made theory of evolution.  All things are not evolving into something better, but the world is degrading with each generation.
All creation groans (v.22)
All people groan (v.23)
The Holy Spirit groans (v.26)
These groanings are like birth pangs, leading all creation toward the next step in God's sovereign plan.  Paul stated that the present sufferings "are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (v.18)  The physical, cultural, moral, and spiritual deterioration of this world will ultimately lead to hope.  Our hope is not in this world getting better but in the fact of Christ's return.  He will come.  He will rule.  All the groanings of this life will one day be turned to glory.  The wait will be worth it.  

4. No Desperation.     (vv.26-30)
In the meantime, we are not left alone in our present suffering and weaknesses.  The Holy Spirit who indwells every believer in Jesus (8:9),  helps us with our thinking (v.5), assures us of our right standing and relationship with the Lord, and intercedes for us in our praying.  There is no need to be depressed and give up.  Even when we feel so overwhelmed by what we see in our deteriorating world and our immediate circumstances, God is present with us.  Even when we do not know what God is doing and cannot put our prayers into words, the Holy Spirit does so on our behalf according to God's will.

5. No Separation. (vv.31-39)
No matter what the culture does, no matter what circumstances may come our way, nothing will ever change the love that the God of Heaven has for us.  Once we have become part of God's family through personal faith in Jesus, it is impossible to jeopardize that eternal position.

"He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming soon.'  Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Am I a soldier of the Cross?

Read Romans 7.

This is one of the most personally transparent passages in the Bible.  The Apostle Paul describes his struggles to live the Christian life.  He recognized his death to the old life of sin and alienation from God.  By the grace of God, he had been saved from the condemnation of the Law.  As a Pharisee, Paul tried his best to live up to and beyond the demands of the Old Testament Law.  But, all his efforts never resulted in spiritual life and freedom.  He could never be good enough to meet the prescribed perfection.  He came to realize that before he gave his life to Christ, he had been controlled by his sin.

Then, he met Jesus.  The old life had passed away.  He became a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Now, Paul understood.  The Holy Spirit changed his eternal destiny and gave him the capacity to finally live a life pleasing to God.  However, he discovered that his sinful tendencies and outright evil were constantly present also (v.21).

In verse 23, this conflict of wanting to obey God and feeling the pull of sin is called "waging war."  The Greek word has to do with an attack.  It's root meaning refers to an organized military campaign.  Friends, if the Apostle Paul struggled like this, how much more do we?

The battle is real and it is on-going every moment of the day.  If one is not aware of their spiritual battle, perhaps, the answer is that they have never truly committed themselves to Christ.  They sin at will with little or no conscience for doing so.  If one claims to be a believer and is not waging war daily, throughout the day, it is an indication that they are losing battle after battle with sin.  In essence, they are betraying the faith they profess and surrendering to the enemy.

Where does the battle take place?  Creating rules to control behavior is an outward attempt at morality and is akin to what Paul experienced with the Law.  The real battle is fought inside a person, in the mind (v.22-23).

Are you aware of your daily battles with sin and evil?
What is your predetermined strategy to win?

If we do not decide in advance to win by rejecting sin and yielding ourselves to obey God, we will lose 100% of the time.
1. "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)
2. "Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life..." (Romans 6:13)
3. Suit up and put on the whole armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

"But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere." (2 Corinthians 2:14)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dead and yet Alive

Read Romans 6.

Romans 6:11 is a key verse for believers to continue to progress toward maturity in the faith.

Paul explains that Christ died once and now lives forever.  So, those who claim Jesus as their savior have died to their old way of living, have renounced their former life of sin, and now seek to live every minute to please the Lord.  We will never be perfect in this life.  Paul writes of his own struggles in Romans 7.  John reminds us in 1 John 1:8 that a person who says they have no sin is lying.

Believers have been set apart to God for eternity.  That is a done deal.  In the meantime, we must daily face the temptations and tugs that abound to think, speak, and behave as those who do not know the Lord.  What are we to do?

1. We are to surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit's control. (Ephesians 4:17-18)
Believers are not alone to tough it out.  Sin happens when we act on our own instead of yielding ourselves to what God wants.  Romans 6:17 points us in the right direction: "...become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed."

2. When we do sin, quickly agree with God and make it right. (1 John 1:9)
Confess it.  Forsake it.  God then forgives and cleanses us.

3. Etch Romans 6:11 in your memory.
"you"-This is as personal as it can be.
"also"-Just as Christ died and was raised to a new life.
"must"-Acting upon this is not an option, if you are a true follower of Jesus.
"consider yourselves"-How you think about self, habits of sin, and life.
"dead to sin"-A dead person is no longer responsive.  The old life is gone.
"alive to God in Christ Jesus"-Our reason for existence is for His glory and purposes.

4. Be aware that every moment is a decision. 
v. 12-"Let not sin therefore reign" is a choice we make.  Whom will we obey in that moment?
v. 13a-"Do  not present your members to sin" is clear.  Chapter 1 mentions over 20 examples of sin as a starter list.  The next chapters provides severe warnings of God's judgment upon those who pursue such things without repentance and change.
v.13b-"Present yourselves to God" is an act of obedient surrender to do what is right.
"...the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life." (v.22)

Monday, May 16, 2016

8 benefits of knowing Jesus Now

Read Romans 5.

After several chapters explaining the wrath of God upon sinners, the Apostle Paul now unfolds the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Forgiveness and eternal life are available as a free gift through belief in Jesus.  Being saved from the wrath to come and enjoying a personal relationship with God is not something in the future only.  God does not offer a "hope so" salvation or make us wait until we die to see how things turn out.  It may be enjoyed this life!

Notice the verb tenses of the statements of a believer's condition with the Lord.
1. "...have been justified..." (v.1a)
The Judge of heaven has declared believers innocent of the charges against them.  They have been judiciously set free.

2. "...have peace with God..." (v.1b)
There is no more animosity.  We are in agreement.  There is a oneness, a quietness in our relationship with Him.

3. "...have also obtained access by faith into this grace..." (v.2a)
Grace is "the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life."  Over and over, in the second half of this chapter, Paul reminds us that what God has done is a free gift.  It is impossible to earn this.  It is by faith through God's grace that we are saved.

4. "...we rejoice in hope..." (v.2b)
Being free from God's judgment, experiencing His love and forgiveness, knowing for certain that there awaits for us a home in heaven, causes one to live with joy.

5. "...God's love has been poured out into our hearts..." (v.5b)
Our assurance of salvation in Christ comes from the work of the Holy Spirit within us.  He confirms to the believer of God's eternal love for us.  It is a sacrificial love, demonstrated by the fact that Jesus died for our sins (5:8).  It a faithful love in that the Holy Spirit reminds us continually of His presence.

6. "...the Holy Spirit has who has been given to us..." (v.5c)
The Holy Spirit takes up residence within the believer at the very moment when one places their faith in Christ.  Paul reminded the Romans of this.  "Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him." (Romans 8:9)

7. "...we have now been justified by his blood..." (v.9a)
Hebrews 9:22 states, "...and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins."  It was the death of Jesus on the cross that made the full and final payment for sin.  "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." (1 John 2:2)

8. "...we have now received reconciliation." (v.11b)
Atonement has taken place.  God did not change; we did.  Once we were at cross purposes with God, enemies.  Now, we are in the family of God.


Friday, May 13, 2016

3 ways to face the Future

Read Romans 4.

God made clear and unconditional promises to Abraham.  One of them involved innumerable descendants.  "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." (v.3)

Many years passed and the couple remained childless.  What about their future?  What happened to the promises God made?  Those are some of the same questions all of us ask when we cannot see what God is doing and what will actually happen in the future.  There are three typical ways people deal with their future.

1. Figuring.
Proper planning is not only important, it is a vital part of good stewardship.  But the Scripture reminds us that though we can make our plans, God may have other plans we cannot see yet.  Some delay and even disobey the Lord because they cannot figure out how His will can work out.  Many rob God and rob themselves of blessings because they fail to tithe, for example, or move forward when God has clearly said, "Go."  Pregnancy with Abraham being 100 years of age and Sarah at 90 was an impossible situation by anyone's figuring.  But that did not change what God had said.

2. Fear
Each time Abraham failed in Genesis, it was due to fear.  He did not see how God could meet His needs, so he tried instead to do it his way.  But having a child through his servant Hagar would not fulfill the will of God.  It only made things worse.  Going our own way is one of the Bible's definitions of sin (Isaiah 53:6).

3. Faith
The good news is that even after his lapse in fear, Abraham "grew strong in his faith...fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised." (vv.20-21)

"Faith mighty faith the promise sees and looks to God alone.  Laughs at impossibilities and cries, 'It shall be done!'"-Charles Wesley

"When God gives vision, He will make pro-vision."-H. Beecher Hicks, Jr.

"What God starts, he finishes.  Where God guides, he provides.  And where God leads, he meets our needs.  But he's going to test you first, because there is no testimony without a test.  The question, then, is: Are you willing to trust God completely."-Rick Warren

Thursday, May 12, 2016

But I am good person. Aren't I?

Read Romans 3.

The question that determines where a person will spend eternity is, "What have you done about your sin?"  That question penetrates to the core of who we are and why God would ever accept us.  Many are the attempts of humans to justify themselves  but not one of man's ideas will ever be satisfactory before a righteous and holy God.

Our parentage does not count. (v.9a)
Being in a particular group does not count. (v.9b)
Keeping the commandments does not count. (v.20)

But if I keep the Ten Commandments and do certain things won't I be good enough for God to accept me?  The answer here is clearly no.  Why?  Because none of those things address the root issue.  The problem is our personal sin.  We are judged by God's word not ours.

How pervasive is sin?
v.9 "...all...are under sin"
v.10 "None is righteous, no, not one."
v.11 "no one understands; no one seeks God."
v.12 "All have turned one does good, not even one."
Sin affects a person's speech (vv.13-14)
Sin affects a person's behavior (vv.15-17)
Sin affects a person's thinking (v.18)

Some respond by trying harder.  "We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment...worthless..."  (Isaiah 64:6)

Some reject what God has said and choose to believe in something else.  But that does not change the facts.  " that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God." (v.19)

Some react to Christians and churches who have disappointed or hurt them.  "Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?  By no means!  Let God be true though every one were a liar..." (vv.3-4)  There are simply no acceptable excuses for not dealing with one's sin.

What is the answer?
In the entire universe, there is only one solution to sin.  "...the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe...and are justified by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus..." (vv.22-24)  I confess my sin to God and He forgives me, not because of my goodness but because I believe Jesus paid for my sin on the cross.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

3 divine standards of God's Judgment

Read Romans 2.

The opening chapters of Romans presents God's condemnation of sin.  His eternal wrath is being "stored up" for that day when the unrepentant will experience His judgment.  The severity of the penalty will be "to each one according to his works" (v.6).  Revelation 20:11-15 describes the scene that will take place.  The lake of fire is called the second death.  Jesus said in Mark 9:44-49 that the torment will be "unquenched."

How could a loving God do such a thing?
The answer is that those who will endure such punishment brought this upon themselves.  It is not God's fault at all.  They sinned against God and refused to believe there would be consequences for their actions.  Further, they willfully rejected the only way of escape that He provided for them.  No one will be blaming God on that day.  Each person will acknowledge their guilt.  They knew.  So, they are without excuse (v.1)

How does God reveal His standards of what is right and moral?
In chapter one, God naturally reveals His "eternal power and divine nature" through creation. With appreciation to John A. Witmer in the Bible Knowledge Commentary on Romans, there three ways God reveals His expectations of right and wrong in this chapter.
1. Truth (vv. 2-4)
He is the God of truth (Isaiah 65:16).  Jesus said, "...true worshipers will worship the Father is spirit and in truth" (John 4:23).  "...your word is truth" (John 17:17).  "All Scripture is breathed out by God..." (2 Timothy 3:16).  This is the basis of God judgments and expectations of each person.  Once an individual rejects the Scriptures as totally true and accurate then they are subject to the consequences.

2. Impartiality (vv.5-11)
In that day, it will not matter of one's race, color of skin, parentage, upbringing, religious affiliation, financial condition, philanthropy, skills, or achievements.  There will be no bragging or excuses.  "By nature" (v.14), "on their hearts while their conscience also bears witness" (v.15), the Holy Spirit drew them toward the truth. But they deliberately chose to go their own way.  "Self-seeking" (v.8), or contentious against God, even provoking Him, they hardened their own hearts and became impenitent (v.5).

3. Jesus Christ (vv.12-16)
The Apostle Paul wrote, "...on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus." (v.16)  To the Philippians he wrote, " that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father." (Philippians 2:10-11)  

Why does God wait to execute His eternal judgment?
Many people feel that since they have not suffered consequences already for their sin, that God will not punish them in the future, or there is no such punishment.  Others have suffered greatly due to their personal sin and yet rejected God's attempt to draw them to Jesus.  "Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" (v.4)  "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

Monday, May 9, 2016

How do you respond to the wrath of God?

Read Romans 1.

"For the wrath of God is revealed..." (v.18)  There is no question that, according to the Scriptures, each human being is individually accountable to God for their life.  One day each person who has ever lived will stand before God and spend eternity in an awful place of torment or in a wonderful place with Jesus.

1. Who is subject to God's wrath?
The Apostle Paul labeled them as ungodly and unrighteous.  In other words, they have sinned against God and continue in disobedience Him without repentance.  It is crucial to understand that people are now condemned already.  "...whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." (John 3:36b)  That is why the Bible uses the term "saved".  "For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." (John 3:17)

2. What happened to cause some to refuse God's way to escape His wrath?
First, God has made and is making His truth to be known.  When confronted with the truth, the pride and hardness of the human heart causes the sinner to "suppress the truth" (v.18) that has been revealed to them.  They choose to hold on to their sinful behaviors, their rebellious thinking, and their alternative fantasies rather than deal with reality.

3. How has God revealed Himself so people may know Him?
The prime example here in Romans 1 is creation.  If a person considers "the things that have been made" (v.20) with an open mind and heart, they will understand the power of God and come to faith in Him.  The Apostle Paul wrote that the truth of this is "plain" (v.19), "God has shown it to them" (v.19), "have been clearly perceived" (v.20), "So they are without excuse." (v.20)   When a person sees the stars and studies the movements of planets and galaxies, they make a conscious decision.  Either they are awed by the majesty of God and worship Him, or they reject God and fantasize an alternative.  One looks at creation and sees unfathomable design of a loving Creator.  The rejector attempts to explain away God's message to them with accidental, made up theories.  They choose to worship the creation rather than the Creator to their own eternal peril.

4. What are examples of the thinking, speaking, and behaviors that warrant the eternal wrath of God?
In verses 24 through 31, no less than twenty-two identifiable sins are listed.  And, here is another truth: everyone is guilty before God.

5. How can one escape the wrath of God and have eternal life?
Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)  "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that who whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)