Paul’s epistle, or letter to the Romans is probably the most eloquent and developed presentations of God’s plan of salvation in the entire Bible. It begins with an introduction here in the first chapter up to verse 15, then moves into presenting the Gospel in all of its intricacies through to the end of chapter 11. From chapter 12 through most of chapter 15, Paul shows how we are transformed by the power of God, and then the final verses of the book are some closing thoughts of a personal nature and a blessing.
Here in the first chapter, Paul opens by introducing himself and how Jesus called him to be an apostle, which means messenger. Then he tells the Romans how much affection he has for them and how he wants to visit them, and then he says how God accepts *anyone* who has faith. Later on he’ll talk much more about that, but here in the introduction, it is noted that the message is that God has made a way of saving all people, whether Jew or Gentile.
Then Paul wastes little time in showing the broken nature of mankind, and the trouble they bring on themselves when they turn their heart on God. He says they have no excuse, because God has revealed Himself in so many ways. But they reject Him, and because of their insistence and stubbornness, He has turned them over to do as they will. Once God lets go, it doesn’t take long to begin circling the drain into a life of depravity. He lists several specific sins, and it’s a list that if we were to give each one a rating from 1 to 10, with a 1 rating being the most vile, the list might include sins with ratings of 9 or 10 all the way to 1.
But that rating scale is a human construct. Each of those sins is something that God hates. Murder? Sure, we all agree on that. But arguing? Gossiping? Do those really belong in the same list? Yessir, they do.
The point Paul is making is that we are all in desperate trouble, and a holy God is angry because of rebellious people who reject him.
Now, as a warning, I’ll tell you that the next couple of chapters will consist somewhat of more of the same. He’s addressed the Gentiles here in verses 18-32, then in Chapter 2 and the beginning of chapter 3 he’ll address the Jews, and he’ll talk about all mankind in the remaining verses of chapter 3.
Of course the reason he spends so much time talking about the brokenness of mankind is to establish the need for the sacrifice of Jesus, and the entire plan of salvation brought to us by a forgiving and loving God. If you’ve never read Romans, stick with me through the entire book. I think you’ll come out the other side loving God more than you ever have.