This passage is often used in the debate over homosexuality and gay marriage. You'll notice though that that the list of reprobate tendencies is longer than just that. Though sexual preference is mentioned prominently, it is mentioned in the context of why God gave them over to this along with the list of things equally abhorrent. To continue in any of these behaviors, to attempt to reason that any are anything less than what they are, to seek out those that are similarly minded, is to continue in the defiant and reprobate nature Paul calls to attention. To judge one ill behavior while performing another is out right hypocrisy. We must all beware.
Why have we received grace? For obedience. Why have we received apostleship? For obedience. Obedience to what? The faith! Many would associate "the faith" with whatever they are willing to believe. Paul gives the impression that "the faith" is fixed and set by Jesus for us all to obey. Where do we obey? Among all nations. Why do we obey? For His name!
There is a sure transformation that follows when a soul has becomes a living sacrifice unto the Lord. It gives the capability of the fruitful produce of ones gifts, the striving for the unity of fellowship, the nurturing of others gifts. More and more it becomes a cooperative strength, cooperative love and cooperative outreach to the world within and beyond.
kjv@Romans:12-13 pair up nicely as a practical explanation of the daily Christian walk. These things take place because of our daily sacrifice and presentation to the Lord. They are a result of faith living forth and not being forced by mere religion.
Notice how this theme of the brethren and striving for the unity of the spirit ties in with what we just read in kjv@Romans:12. This teaching is a very practical way of considering the more general commands of 12.
What is not of faith is sin. Almost too bad this major universal truth is tagged on to a line considering the observance of foods and days; it gets over looked. Too many people consider sin the breaking of the one of the ten commandments. The reprobate mind reduces and compartmentalizes down to the un-approachable minimum. The scale of sin is much broader than we observe bringing every living breath and action into doubt. To know this scale of sin and it's human inescapably is to know why Jesus had to die one for all to it.
"And not to please ourselves". It is so easy even in the course of ministry to do the things we do for the sake of the ministry and not so much for the sake of the person whose infirmities we intend to bear. The person becomes another notch in our belt, a mark to our tally. Perhaps one of the greatest successes of Paul's ministry, his outreach to the Gentiles, was due to his attention to the individual person. This is why we hear of so many people coming to his aid and joining beside his ministry later. Paul encourages us that we are more than capable of doing the same.
Finally Paul will make a visit to Rome on a trip that will eventually take him into Spain. His work never ends. He mentions that the saints in Jerusalem have provided spiritual blessing to the Gentiles in Macedonia and Achaia and in response these Gentiles are contributing to the saints physical needs in Jerusalem which at this time were dire. By going into Judea to perform this gift Paul is placing himself in great danger in several ways. In that day before money wires and bank transfers I imagine a great deal of care and secrecy/diversion was required to safely do transfers like this. Having a well known and greatly despised envoy do this was even more risky.
A long but partial list no doubt of the people Paul has marked out as being good brethren, people he would encourage us to hang out with and emulate. A leader would be wise to make public mention of these role models frequently. There are people to mark out to avoid as well, people that appear to be goodly but serve their own belly. Maybe it is not as important to us individually to mark them out, but, as leaders of a ministry or congregation it certainly is. Be sure to address this fault with them first personally as is proper but, if nothing yet changes avoid them. In any event they must be cut off from their position in the services of the church. A leader would be wise like Paul to search this list out system wide especially in the areas where food or money or barter-able services might be changing hands.
I sense the suggestion that before creation the plan was all laid out, Jesus was to be our redeemer. Wisdom became all that which moved that plan forward, the establishment of the covenant, the law, Israel, the prophecies, the conviction of the Holly Spirit. Wisdom was there when all these essential things were framed, it is there evident in all creation revealing even the Godhead so that we are without excuse kjv@Romans:1:20. Wisdom is the purpose and direction and establishments leading all men back to their savior.
If the preparations of the heart are the Lord's kjv@Proverbs:16:1, if his goings forth are from the Lord and his way cannot be understood outside of the Lord kjv@Proverbs:20:24 and if it is only the counsel of the Lord that will stand kjv@Proverbs:19:21, what do we have other than to choose which of His steps to take? In light of kjv@Romans:1:18-24 God prepared hearts to follow after Him, He gave them a choice, as much as He prepared they still chose contrary, their steps now are directed (that choice leads to these steps) yet His counsel must stand - they are condemned for transgressing the preparation laid into their hearts.
The necessity of maintaining good works; all of us. It is not just having an intention to do them, it is not just us studying to know how they might be done, it is us stepping forward into them and adapting within them to get them done. It is not just beginning them, it is us maintaining them for the long run. Notice how many people Paul has involved in his good works. They are part of his, he is part of theirs, we are part of the Lord's; small works, large works, works we don't even know are being done we are striving to be fruitful in. Peter shared a similar vision of being fruitful in the knowledge of Christ kjv@2Peter:1. See also kjv@Romans:12. In fuller context, these works are to be done yet with an eye on reasonable subjection to the civic and legal principalities that govern all.
So this is where Paul twice and the author of Hebrews once get "the just shall live by faith". Now we have the original context. Given our tendency to box God into the corners of what we think He should and should not be doing, given our blindness to everything except what is immediately before us, given our own personal track record and what we ourselves are being chastised over, we if seeking through this to become just should live by faith. kjv@Romans:1:17kjv@Galatians:3:11kjv@Hebrews:10:38
This is very revealing, a power/principality that rules over the kings of earth. It is put into their hearts, it is God's will (just as He has given them over kjv@Romans:1 ) to follow. They will follow wholly to make war against the Lamb. She is identified as a city with seven hills (often thought of as Rome). The seventh and eight king of which are the beast. She is presented in continuous present tense as old as Babylon and young as the martyrs of the Lamb.
The curse to third and fourth generations is tied specifically to the iniquity of utterly hating God as shown in the worship of other gods. I would think that this would be someone having already known of God and His mercy systematically choosing not retain God in their thoughts rebelliously worshiping the creature rather than the creator. We are not told what the curse will be here but, scripture suggests that the fathers are given over to that which is not convenient kjv@Romans:1 , their generations perhaps suffer after their consequences. Note that the threat of this was not enough to keep many from this; a testament to man's evil heart.
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