As we continued our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Romans, I saw at the end of the session what I saw on my own face when I went through this many years ago; utter confusion.
I’ve learned that when you really are embracing new truth, when you are going deeper to the next level of your understanding of a thing, confusion is always the front door. But why confusion in our study today from Romans 1:17 through the entire second chapter? It’s because I think we very seldom hear how bad the news is. We hear that God loves us and God has a wonderful plan for our life, but often we don’t hear the foundational truth. And that is, we are totally and hopelessly lost, disconnected, and heading for a dark future unless God intervenes.
Why is it that we have so much confidence in religion? Why is it that we have so much confidence in our own ability to be better, to do better, to be reformed by our own human efforts? Listen to this podcast today: every verse, every affirmation, every proclamation of the hopelessness of religion, national origin, personal effort or any human effort to reconcile or justify a man or woman to God.
I know that oftentimes a jeweler will help highlight the different facets of a diamond by laying it on a black velvet background. It allows the brilliance of the diamond to stand out in the blackness of the backdrop. This is exactly what Paul is doing in these verses; giving us the blackest most hopeless, most dreary background he possibly could to lay on, against which to contrast the majestic, unmatched, unrelenting grace of God that justifies the heart, reconciles the soul, and gives an everlasting inheritance to the recipient.