The Letter of Paul to the Romans

Romans Part 2
Ch 1:8-17
  roman road
Jesus is Good news for all of us- whoever we are.
As believers, we ALL have both the opportunity and obligation to be a massive encouragement to each other.
That encouragement in faith imparts spiritual strength
Ro 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.
Ro 1:9 God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you
Ro 1:10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
Ro 1:11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—
Ro 1:12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Ro 1:13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
Ro 1:14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.
Ro 1:15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.
Ro 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Ro 1:17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Key points from Part 1.
Romans 1:2-4
the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures
Ro 1:3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David,
Ro 1:4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Paul had Good News for both his Jewish and Gentile audience
A Descendent of David – Jesus was a man A true man
A man’s man
A woman’s man
A child’s man
Of David in type
Of royal line
To be Messiah
But also as the ideal man –
(of both Jews and the artistic West.)
He was the Son of God
What I did not have a chance to deal with last time was what that sentence meant to the Romans.
Paul lived and moved in a world full of Gods
The Greeks, Zeus, Hera, Cerberus, Aphrodite,
The Romans, Jove, Janus, Mars
Egyptians, Amon, Isis, Osiris
Indians, Shiva, Kali, 
all had enough Gods to fill the planet.
To describe Jesus as the son of God was a thunderous statement running full pelt in the opposite direction to the culture of the age. Something we should learn from (see below)
Not only so but it dealt a serious blow to the ‘Cult of Caesar’ which had developed in Rome and to go against this by his claim was to court disaster
Today we live in a world full of Gods- we call them celebrities, or cars or face lifts or bank accounts. In fact there are probably more Gods today than when Paul wrote. And as much faith placed in them.
Paul tells us that Jesus was fully a man for us all to Know and have a relationship with
Paul tells us that Jesus was fully God for us all to know that He is Lord of the Universe.
I left you with the Question Who is Jesus to You?
Today we return to Chapter 1 and again to just 1 or two verses- If you are looking for the inspiration what fired me to share with you today look at verse 11 and 12.
I mentioned them last week in general terms.
Ro 1:11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—
Ro 1:12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Paul has traveled to many Churches and has discovered that in each one there is the opportunity to bring help and encouragement.
That word impart. Comes from latin pars or part- give a part of
What does it mean. It means give but it means more than that. It is a sort of intravenous giving it bypasses the hand and the brain it goes in without us really being aware.
Take something a part of me and deposit it in you.
Paul uses the same Greek word in his letter to the Thessalonians when he says,
1Th 2:8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.
But why does Paul say this to the Roman Church. It is truly wonderful how he puts it because it is preparing the Roman Christians and ourselves to understand that Paul’s sharing both in His letter and later when he sees them will change them.- and not only them but Him too.
I may have told this story before, but it demonstrates the enormous power of sharing faith. It was the end of a seminar it was morning and I was in Wales, I could not tell you when, or what the topic of the seminar was- I do know Alan was the speaker and that something he said caused me to just sit and think about all the men and women who had spoken faith into my life and as I did so it was if God opened a tap in my head I sobbed with pure gratitude, I was there for about ten or 15 minutes it could have been longer.
Something can happen when we get together and share together. Sparks can fly and lives be changed. Just from talking to each other about our faith.
Lets go back a few verses to verse 8
Ro 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.
These believers were doing what believers do. – What do believers do? Believers Believe.
Then I saw his face now I’m a believer –not a trace of doubt in my mind I know God ooooh I’m a believer.

I suspect that the Romans would not have considered their faith worthy of report, and that is true of many believers. I know that Sam & Debbie Donoghue would resist being set apart and praised for what they did with the Children’s work at Celebration 2005 in Swansea, but when I had to think of a testimony about that Bible weekend, it was Sam & Debbie sharing with the kids their faith, talking to them, playing with them; whilst feeling physically sick with a terrible bug that made them unable to move at times.
And I can then remember Brenda Smedley and Brenda Higginbotham demonstrating their faith in staying on in Swansea to show love and care for Mandy who had become ill over the weekend.
Your faith is being reported all over the world. And that faith changes me too. We will see how in a minute.
So Paul is already encouraged – The Romans have imparted something to Him. Its infectious.
It would at this stage be easy to exclude yourself from these people of faith whether they be these ancient Romans or these ancient Basildonians!
But hey Paul will not let you be excluded from this look at verse 14
I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.
Ro 1:15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.
Ro 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Any Greeks here?
Any Non Greeks?
Any Wise?
Any Foolish?
Jew and Gentile?.
We are all included that is the sense of it- all of us involved in the faith story. 
But have you seen what this means yet. Go back to verse 11
Ro 1:11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—
Ro 1:12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Paul’s stated purpose in visiting them was what?
To give them an injection of part of himself as a spiritual gift which would strengthen them. 
This sounds very spiritual very powerful very deep and not like me at all!!
BUT BUT BUT hold on a minute look what he says next. He then explains to them what he means by imparting some spiritual gift. He wants them and us to understand fully what he means here.
He says
That is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
MUTUALLY –Together your faith and my faith together provide an amazing spiritual gift to strengthen all of us. That is not rocket science
Three weeks ago now I asked you to consider what testimony you might share with us to encourage our faith. 
These testimonies surely makes us all stronger, we can stand a little taller, shake the dust off our feet and take the good news of Jesus out there.
I feel we now need to pray for one another Please stand and reach to God for his strength.
If you feel you would like to ask for specific strength come her and we can lay hands on you for strong bodies minds and spirits.
Lets wait on God for a time now that he might speak and move in us. 
I recommend that before you pray for someone else we all give the Lord permission to act and move in us to heal us speak to us.

Other translations of Romans 1:11
11For I am yearning to see you, that I may impart and share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen and establish you;
New Living translation
11For I long to visit you so I can share a spiritual blessing with you that will help you grow strong in the Lord.
King James
11For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;
The Message
11The longer this waiting goes on, the deeper the ache. I so want to be there to deliver God's gift in person and watch you grow stronger right before my eyes!
Worldwide English
11I want very much to see you. I want to give you some gift from the Holy Spirit to make you stronger.


Romans Part 3 Chapter 1:16-17
I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
Shame – Paul would not have said this unless he was tempted himself and knew that there were those who were ashamed of the good news. Are you ashamed of the Good news?
The Power of God  God’s power is demonstrated in the physical world.- Creation
God’s Power is demonstrated in the spiritual world.-
God’s power is demonstrated in the heart of mankind-
Salvation. For everyone who believes. Belief changes us inside out.
For a righteousness from God is revealed.
‘It’s ok I know and you know you just cannot make it on your own, that’s because I designed you to make it in fellowship with me.’
First the Jew and then the Greek. We are all included and we all need salvation.


It is almost impossible to complete a puzzle if you do not have a picture of the whole thing. Imagine what it would be like to be given the wrong picture and then attempt to put the pieces together.
Please turn to Romans Yes Chapter 1:16
Ro 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Ro 1:17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
There will be passages more poetic and that will mean more to you –in Paul’s letter to the Romans- but from Paul’s point of view looking at his whole letter, it is these two sentences that densly pack together all the meat of of Paul’s thinking. It is here that his passionate belief in salvation by faith is condensed.
He wants to convey in two short sentences to his Jewish and Gentile audience that God had revealed in Jesus the new and only way to gain a full and meaningful relationship with God.
The whole puzzle picture is revealed here in these two sentences. All that follows this is by way of explanation of this.
One preacher described this as Paul’s manifesto to the Romans.
So lets look at the four puzzle pieces, that make up the crucial parts of these pivotal verses.
Salvation and
Good News for all.
1. Shame
In verse 15 of Chapter 1, Paul is eager to preach the Gospel but then goes on with real understanding.
“I am not ashamed of the Gospel”.
Why would he feel it necessary to say that.
I am not ashamed of the Gospel – the Good News.
It may be that he is remembering what Dr Luke had told him, or Mark, of Jesus’ warning.
Lk 9:26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Maybe, but I believe it has more to do with his understanding of who he is writing to. He knows where he’s coming to- Rome, the heart of the empire. To the centre of Religious ‘diversity’, where there were almost as many Gods per square mile as in Athens. Even more than this he is saying, with the cult of Caesar watching his every word,- ‘I do not care I will not be ashamed to declare the truth.’
It is also the place where all the so called wise and intellectuals will be, where Jewish and Greek and pagan scholars would gather to debate. Remember Paul had been one of them. (Phillipians 3:5) He would have to be prepared to stand up to the laughter the teasing the rude jokes the wise cracks the put downs, the remarks, the comments in the press. The tide of anti-christian propaganda that was growing against the early Church, the accusations, of strange practices.
Paul recognizes so clearly the temptation to be put off by the remarks of friends and neighbours to be ridiculed for saying what you believe and know to be true.
It is rare for us to face humiliation for our faith certainly very rare to be imprisoned, but for the Romans it was a possibility and later happened to Paul. When he wrote to Timothy he said
2Ti 1:8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
We have to be prepared to own up to being part of the Church of Jesus Christ.- Oh no they might laugh at me.
We have to be prepared to say we will have nothing to do with Halloween- Oh no they won’t speak to us again.
We have to be prepared to say that God has provided for us- Oh no, they might make rude comments behind my back.
Come on what are you ashamed of?
Are you ashamed of what you believe?
Are you uncomfortable talking about salvation?
Does hearing another Christian talk about their faith to non-christians make you squirm?
Do you change the subject rather than defend Jesus?
Now don’t get me wrong –we are not called to defend hypocrisy, inappropriate behaviour by other Christians, or just bad presentation by Christian media. God is not into us closing ranks when Christians sin.
But He is calling you to nail your colours to the mast. Even if it means not being part of the ‘in crowd’. Yes even if it means not having that boyfriend or Girlfriend, that job promotion, the friendship we so want, the recognition we feel we deserve.
Lk 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.
Paul says “I am not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God.”
2. The Power of God.
The second puzzle piece of Romans 16: is The Power of God.
Turn to 1 Corinthians 1: 18
1Co 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Paul helps the Corinthians too with this idea of shame by talking of how to the lost the good news of the cross appears to be totally foolish and therefore worthy of a laugh. 
I remember the outrage that met the ‘Monty Python film the life of Brian’ with men at the end of the film on the cross singing ‘always look on the bright side of life’; the idea of the cross is completely ridiculous to anyone who has not been touched by the power of God.
Paul says “I am not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God”
The Good news has the power to change us.
We need to remember that we cannot bring anyone to Christ with the power of an argument, the brilliance of debate, the quality of our life will not result in someone turning to Christ, a campaign throughout Steeple View with all the ‘big Christian names’ or a newsletter or sitting on committees or buying a shop or moving here, will not move a single person to make friends with Jesus. 
It is the Power of God that will do that.
God will zap them? A laser beam from on high? No.
Think of your experience of God’s power
  1. In creation Yes- Holding all things together
Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Col 1:16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
Col 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
            There are constant demonstrations of the power of God in Creation.

2.                        In DominionYes- The spiritual world His power is at work as he operates outside of time and space.

 Immortal Invisible God only wise, in light inaccessible hid from our eyes.

  1. In the heart of humanity. God’s power is demonstrated supremely in it’s dealings with the human heart focused and awe-inspiring God works in co-operation with us building his kingdom rule within us. It is here that God brings about the great miracle of salvation.
In that moment when a spark of faith is demonstrated a whisper of belief so tiny it cannot be seen in a microscope, God reveals Himself to us –what is it that he reveals? What is this good news tell me tell me. 
3. Salvation
The good news and the third piece of the puzzle is that You can be saved without having to lift a finger to make it happen, in fact you can only be saved if you don’t lift a finger to make it happen.
Because faith is enough and nothing else but faith will do it.
We will be looking at this a lot in the months ahead and I believe it is God’s word not just to the lost but to you who believe.
You got here without lifting a finger and don’t you let yourself tell you otherwise.
There are a million ways you thought you could make it but
there Is not one
not one, not one, nothing, nada, nil, zero
not one thing you can do to gain salvation.
For those of you who already consider yourselves to be a friend of Jesus, can I just remind you about the word salvation. For those who don’t know hold on to your hats.
Salvation means saved.- saved means rescued but not in our traditional understanding of this. This is another of those words that don’t translate so good!
If time do story about ‘The terminal and the pills for the goat’
Salvation is very similar to the word Peace, it means the same thing- In fact in some places the word peace is used when salvation might have just as easily. The best example is in Romans 5
Ro 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
The word for peace is as I have said before is a lot lot bigger than our word for peace, so put the two together and you have a mind blasting word that means,
Whole, fulfilled, having peace of mind, along with all those other bits like, rescued, made friends with God, righteous.
How can I be friends with God, how can any of us but we all are, and that’s the last piece of this jigsaw.
4. We are all included.
The message of salvation by faith comes to all of us and includes everyone, no matter what.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Paul was a Jew and for a thousand years His people had been the chosen people. Jesus came to the chosen people with the Gospel message, He preached to them first and then declared
Ac 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
From the very beginning God intended to bring his peace to the world through the Jewish people.
Ge 18:18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.
We are included
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Ro 1:17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Romans Part 4
Chapter 1:20- No Excuses!
  • We need to recapture, own, and share our conviction in the righteous wrath of God.
  • There is no excuse for atheism (Godlessness) Because God reveals himself to us. Both in Eternal Power and Divine Nature.
  • The suppression of God’s clear revelation leads to futile thinking and darkened hearts. Doughnuts with no jam!
  • Futile Thinking and darkened hearts leads to Jam replacement experiments. (Wickedness)
  • Salvation is God’s response to man’s rejection of Him.- WOW.
We live in a blame culture. Where there’s blame there’s a claim. The one person who is never to blame is of course ME! There are always a thousand reasons why something is not my fault.
We also live in a world that claims that God does not exist. I was talking to someone in the Church yesterday and they told me that a relative described Christianity and the Churches as being on the way out and that in two years there would be no Churches left. –They are choosing to believe such nonsense, in the face of all the evidence.
It is into this climate of denial and a failure to take responsibility and Godlessness that Paul speaks to the Roman Church and to us. This bit of Paul’s letter makes grim reading and it is certainly not the stuff of popular thinking. Paul is not attempting to be politically correct here!
Ro 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
Ro 1:19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
Ro 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Ro 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Ro 1:22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
Ro 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Excuses are designed to avoid blame. Here are some homework excuses.
  • I lost it fighting this kid who said you weren't the best teacher in the school
  • I was mugged on the way to school and the mugger took everything I had
  • Our puppy toilet trained on it
  • Some aliens from outer space borrowed it so they could study how the human brain worked
  • I put it in a safe, but lost the combination
  • I loaned it to a friend, but he suddenly moved away
  • Our boiler stopped working and we had to burn it to stop ourselves from freezing
  • I left it in my trouser pocket and my mother put it in the washing machine
  • I didn't do it because I didn't want to add to your already heavy workload
  • My little sister ate it
God says to us through Paul’s letter No excuses- No excuses
No excuses for wickedness and Godlessness, no excuses for allowing yourselves to become blind to the truth.
In the 21st century it is easier to imagine that a man might claim that Science and reason and post modern spirituality had misled him, that the evidence was not clear enough.
 I am in the camp that says rubbish to this that Men know in their knower that God exists and do everything to suppress that knowledge-
This is why they subsequently try and stuff some roughly God shaped object into the the gaping dyke of their being.- Like some little dutch boy trying to hold back the flood. Now I am quite happy to allow that this has become a learned and subconscious act , but I do not accept that this removes guilt. 
Rome was no different. The fact that superstition prevailed over reason is no more excuse than if today reason prevails over superstition – both must give way to revelation
1. The Doughnuts

There is a children’s song I learned a few years ago that illustrates Paul’s point wonderfully.

Life without Jesus is like a doughnut
Life without Jesus is like a doughnut
Like a doughnut, Like a doughnut
Life without Jesus is like a doughnut
‘Cos there’s a hole in the middle of your heart.
I like ring doughnuts but they are not complete there is a bit missing. Now in the song it speaks of the hole. In my experience of Doughnuts the bit missing is the jam!
Different kinds of doughnuts are sometimes filled with different kinds of filling but nothing quite works like the jam.
Man is the same.
Genesis 1:26-27 In the image of god he created them.
Imago dei’.
 You look in the mirror and there is God in there somewhere.
Those who deny it are involved in jam replacement experiments.- Some of them like religion get close in style substance and texture others are blatant replacements which do not even attempt to get close.
There is also a wonderful verse in Eccl 3:11
Ecc 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
God has placed eternity in the hearts of men. It is hard wired in like a word on the tip of your tongue. We know in our know- BUT men CHOOSE to suppress this and it is this suppression of truth in themselves that causes so much difficulty.
Eternal Power- The natural world speaks of a massive design and maintenance programme
Divine Nature- Our whole being declares that there is more to life there is eternity something beyond
To deny this reality causes what Paul calls futile thinking and darkened hearts.
2. Natural and Spiritual Revelation.
Now lets be clear What Paul speaks of here is that God reveals aspects of himself in creation and within us- what is called natural revelation. Some philosophers and theologians attempt to deny this position but hey I watched my children born the sun set over the Victoria Falls and I know God exists.
What God does not reveal in the same way to the ungodly world is the spiritual revelation that comes following a moment of encounter with God.
The revelation of the Grace of God is another matter entirely in which prayer, evangelism, the Church and most importantly the conviction of the Holy Spirit do their work.- Thanks be to God!
The Natural Revelation – Brings Judgement - Men Choose
The Supernatural Revelation brings Salvation. – Jesus Saves.
3. The Wrath of God
This is a classic example of a part of the Gospel we may feel ‘ashamed of’ The Wrath of God is neither fashionable, popular nor attractive. But God says
I AM That I AM
We all need to recognise that the Wrath of God is a real and present force. It is important to understand the wrath of God
It is NOT vengeance, it is not retribution, it is powerful judgement it is NOT Hurricanes and landslides and earthquakes. It is not the AIDs virus on homosexuals. God’s wrath is the clear and righteous judgement that men call down upon themselves as a result of their wickedness in denying that which cannot be denied.
The lost wandering fallen Godlessness of our age and every age before is in itself a part of God’s judgement- He chooses not to intervene in the present affairs of men, why because he has already intervened in the most powerful and meaningful way anyone could ever intervene. He sent His one and only son to take upon Himself the wrath that should rightfully fall upon us.
Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift!
4. What is our role in this ?
Paul is preparing the Roman Christians to hear the solution of Salvation by faith to this dire condition of men. He needs to prepare both gentile and Jewish believers alike and in doing so address a cultural divide.
We must realise that we face not only a Spiritual divide (if that were not enough,
But also a cultural divide, human beings choose to suppress the truth and engage in every kind of sin.
We are in a war- daily battles for the souls of men and in each battle, we need to bring the weapons of our warfare fully to bear. The enemy cannot stand against the righteous wrath of God. Satan has already been defeated.
We need to pray, we need to be confident and not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for salvation.
Some other reading around this topic.
Zondervan NIV Commentary.
19-20 The creation bears clear witness to its Maker, and the evidence is "plain" to people. Here Paul enters upon a discussion of what is usually designated natural revelation in distinction from the special revelation that comes through the Scriptures. Four characteristics are noted. (1) It is a clear testimony set before human eyes. (2) The word "understood" (GK G3783) suggests that the revelation does not stop with perception, but is expected to include reflection, the drawing of a conclusion about the Creator. (3) It is a constant testimony, maintained "since the creation of the world" (cf. Ac 14:17). (4) It is a limited testimony in that it reflects God in certain aspects only--namely, "his eternal power and divine nature." One has to look elsewhere for the disclosure of his love and grace--i.e., to Scripture and especially to God's revelation in his Son (Jn 1:14). Natural revelation is sufficient to make human beings responsible (they are left "without excuse"), but is not by itself sufficient to accomplish their salvation.
Mike Taylor on Romans
Unfortunately, the rest of this study is pretty depressing: it's two straight chapters of God's just anger. But this is the necessary backdrop against which his grace must be understood: unless we first understand God's holiness, and his anger, and the justice of his anger, then we can never fully understand how great his grace is.
This is one of the key problems we face in evangelism: most people today are simply not aware of their sinfulness; they recognise neither their need to be saved, nor even that there is anything to be saved from. We - and they - must understand the bad news of God's anger for the good news of his grace to make any sense.
From Romans 1:18 to 2:29, Paul discusses God's anger against three groups of people: firstly, against immoral, hedonistic pagan Gentiles; then against hypocritical moralisers; and finally against self-satisfied Jews who think that because they know the Law of Moses, they will win God's approval. We'll concentrate of the first of these, since it's the most relevant to contemporary society.
In all three cases, God's anger is against those who deliberately suppress their own knowledge of him. It is clear that everyone has some knowledge of him (v20) and we are responsible to God for what we do with that knowledge.
Karl Barth was an influential liberal theologian in the first half of the 20th century. His reading of the book of Romans converted him to biblical evangelicalism. On verses 18 onwards, he wrote:
Our relation to God is ungodly ... We assume that ... we are able to arrange our relation to him as we arrange our other relationships ... We dare to deck ourselves out as his companions, patrons, advisers and commissioners ... This is the ungodliness of our relation to God.
v19-20 - God is visible in nature:
  • Natural beauty (landscapes, the Grand Canyon)
  • Huge things (dinosaurs, stars, galaxies)
  • Tiny things (the cell, quantum mechanics)
All these are expressions of God's creative character, and everyone is aware of this to a greater or lesser degree. It's wired into the Human Condition. It's a part of what it is to be made in the image of God. We catch echoes of eternity in the everyday.
v21-23 - The great folly of ``science'' is to love the creation (quite rightly) but to deny its creator. For many scientists, this is as much due to peer pressure - fear of being thought ``unscientific'' - as it is to do with the individual.
Matthew Henry
That which may be known, which implies that there is a great deal which may not be known. The being of God may be apprehended, but cannot be comprehended. We cannot by searching find him out, Job 11:7-9. Finite understandings cannot perfectly know an infinite being; but, blessed be God, there is that which may be known, enough to lead us to our chief end, the glorifying and enjoying of him; and these things revealed belong to us and to our children, while secret things are not to be pried into.
Astbury Commentary on V18-19
Most people are ashamed of their anger. Some scholars think that wrath is unworthy of God, and interpret the wrath of God as some kind of impersonal law of retribution (Dodd, 21-24). Yet Paul's use of from heaven (v. 18) seems to contradict this. The wrath of God is not an irrational emotional outburst. It is his personal reaction to sin based on his holy character. Its judicial character is intimated in 13:4-5. The wrath of God is radically different from human wrath. Human anger wants its objects to receive its full blow. But God provides the way for the objects of his wrath to avoid its effects. This kind of wrath is not unworthy of God.
Astbury Commentary
The wrath of God is being revealed (v. 18). It is manifested in the terrible corruption and perversion of human life. This, however, is only the beginning. There still is the Day of Judgment awaiting the sinner in the future (2:5).
Godet’s Commentary on Romans (1812)
“so that men are without excuse.”
Godet believes that the Greek would more accurately say “that they may be without excuse.”   Implication being that God ordained it so?
And the truth, if his thought is rightly understood, has nothing so very repulsive about it: in order that, he means, if after having been thus enlightened, they should fall into error as to God's existence and character, they may be without excuse. The first aim of the Creator was to make Himself known to His creature. But if, through his own fault, man came to turn away from this light, he should not be able to accuse God of the darkness into which he had plunged himself. One might translate somewhat coarsely: that in case of going astray, they might not be able to plead ignorance as a pretext. In these circumstances there is nothing to prevent the in order that from preserving its natural meaning.
Romans Part 6 Chapter 3:21-26
But Now!

Romans Part 7 Chapter 5:1
Peace with God

Ro 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Ro 5:2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

The Justification is now a given- as a result of all we have already learned.
What Have We Learned?
Ro 3:21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
Ro 3:22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
Ro 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Ro 3:24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
This justification gives us three things.
This Justification gives us Peace with God- I want to dwell on this peace with God
This peace is the answer to or the opposite to the wrath of God. It describes a reconciliation between man and God
We saw before in Romans 1: 18 that the wrath of God was revealed when man chose to live his life as if God did not exist, in spite of the evidence to substantiate His role in nature.   
Even if we were to accept that the evidence was not overwhelming (which I don’t!!), man still chooses to live outside of any moral framework. He chose to leave the loving friendship of a relationship with God
This makes Him subject to the wrath of God.
Ro 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
Ro 1:19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
Ro 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
This peace with God is achieved by what Jesus has done for us on the cross. We are Justified by Him, and the wrath of God is turned away from us.
There is a difference to note here too this is not the peace of God, but rather peace with God. We can speak of the peace of God as something that we can pray for another and as a result see healing see power, see change.
But Paul’s description of Peace with God reminds me of the parable of the Prodigal.  This image of the son reconciled to the father. There is something I want to stress here and will return to – and that is the mutual nature of that reconciliation It is something shared God feels it too. Yes in some mysterious way I believe that God shares that sense of completion and fulfillment when each one of us is reconciled back to God.
There is too that wonderful image of the father running to meet his son the words whilst he was still far off…
Filled with compassion for him…
Lk 15:11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons.
Lk 15:12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
Lk 15:13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
Lk 15:14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.
Lk 15:15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.
Lk 15:16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
Lk 15:17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
Lk 15:18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
Lk 15:19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’
Lk 15:20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
Lk 15:21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
Lk 15:22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Lk 15:23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.
Lk 15:24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
The Father was filled with Filled with compassion for him Shared Passion for unity
The Gestalt with God
We have peace with God. We are restored to friendship. I like to think of this as a completed whole the resolution of our lives.
In our lives we have tiny copies of that same sense of completion
  • Musically it would be like the completed interrupted Cadence.
  • The maths formula completed,
  • the finished Sudoku.
  • The last jigsaw piece. 
We need to note here the role that Jesus plays so wonderfully in this. Whereas the prodigal goes alone to his father with no expectations but servanthood. We go in faith and hope of something more, accompanied by Jesus. We enter the presence of God using Jesus as our sponsor our guide.
And we gain peace with God
I have spoken of Peace before as a part of our lives that we need to explore. Peace is that place of wholeness, completion That Hebrew concept of Shalom. A place when we feel completely in need of nothing more than God’s presence.
Lesson Number 1 from Paul
We have Peace because it is ours, We need to practice peace. Practice being with
Quality time with God. 
Not car time
or bedtime
or before work time
or Sunday
or meeting-
Devoted, unrestricted uncounted out lavished time.
Tape what you want to watch,
Pay what you need to pay,
Do what you can to sleep well the night before,
Settle what you need to settle and
If you are married or have family commitments ask your family to give you an afternoon and go somewhere you will not be disturbed,
turn the mobile off.
Don’t do that thing of expectation. If you get distracted laugh about it and focus afresh, use the word read it aloud or worship in song.
The aim is not an agenda of change, but to be with  
Matthew Henry         
It is sin that breeds the quarrel between us and God, creates not only a strangeness, but an enmity; the holy righteous God cannot in honour be at peace with a sinner while he continues under the guilt of sin. Justification takes away the guilt, and so makes way for peace. And such are the benignity and good-will of God to man that, immediately upon the removing of that obstacle, the peace is made. By faith we lay hold of God’s arm and of his strength, and so are at peace, Isa. 27:4, 5. There is more in this peace than barely a cessation of enmity, there is friendship and loving-kindness, for God is either the worst enemy or the best friend. Abraham, being justified by faith, was called the friend of God (Jas. 2:23), which was his honour, but not his peculiar honour: Christ has called his disciples friends, John 15:13-15. And surely a man needs no more to make him happy than to have God his friend! But this is through our Lord Jesus Christ—through him as the great peace-maker, the Mediator between God and man.
Ro 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Ro 5:2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Second, this justification gives us ‘Access into this grace in which we now stand’- Some commentators view this access as being like the access gained by priests into the Holy of Holies.
Others describe the word used here as meaning that we are introduced to a person of incredible importance.
In Ephesians 2 and Hebrews 10 we see a wonderful elaboration on these very same points, but we need to be careful because the words in Romans do not say Access to God or the throne or His presence, NO its speaks instead of the access the right we have gained to grace in which we stand.
Eph 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
Eph 2:2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
Eph 2:3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
Eph 2:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
Eph 2:5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Eph 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
Eph 2:7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
Eph 2:9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Eph 2:11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)—
Eph 2:12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
Eph 2:15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,
Eph 2:16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
Eph 2:17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.
Eph 2:18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Eph 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,
Eph 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
Eph 2:21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
Eph 2:22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Heb 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,
Heb 10:20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,
Heb 10:21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
Heb 10:22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Heb 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
I have been given the passport of Grace. Because Jesus takes us by the hand and presents us we can stand secure in the Grace of God.
When I was a young Christian I provoked friends with the question –‘What is Grace?’ and refused all answers. I have since decided that I was refusing to accept my passport into grace. 
I don’t deserve to be here, but Jesus achieves for me access to the
  • Undeserved,
  • Unrestrained,
  • Unquenchable,
Why does Paul say the Grace in which I stand?
I believe this is because we occupy the position of Grace against screams of opposition – Who are you to deserve His love? 
Most of those screams come from within!
But I was reminded of another place Paul uses the expression Stand- When he talks of the armour of God. We defend our position of Grace. Paul here in Romans us declaring our right to stand in it and in Ephesians 6, giving us weapons to hold that ground having occupied it.
The concept of access to such grace would be of great significance to the Jewish Romans. Their access to the Holy, had, since the covenants had been established, only been possible once per year by one man- the high priest. Paul was speaking of Instant unrestricted Access. And that is what we know.
Lesson 2 from Paul.
Everyone has a passport to Grace
Look at your passport to Grace.
Accept it as yours
Who’s name is on it?
What is the expiry date upon it?
What exclusions are there on it?
Is it fake or is it real?
3. HOPE OF ….
Third, this justification makes us rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Ro 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Ro 5:2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1Pe 2:10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Contrast of Hopelessness to Hope The Brotherhood of Faith & Hope
I have met few people who admitted to having no hope but it is a sorry state to be in. 
The word for hope in the NT carries a great deal more certainty about it than the English word Hope does. ‘We hope that our letter arrives’ carries with it a level of uncertainty
Faith and hope are partners in the word of God harnessed together to bring about the Glory of God. They are inseparable. Hope in God has faith wrapped up and intertwined within it. 
Paul speaks of the Glory of God for which He hopes. (Sure and certain Hope).
What is this Glory?
‘For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
as the waters cover the sea.’ Habbakuk 2:14
The Glory of the Lord in the OT was clearly the presence of God as demonstrated in the Temple and Tabernacle.
The Glory of the Lord filled the temple so that the priests could not enter.
His presence is a glorious presence
Phil 3:21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
I do not believe Paul is referring just to the presence of God in the earth, but rather it is the promise that God will in His plan and timing achieve His purpose to extend His Kingdom Rule into every part of His creation. It is a promise to see our families those around us challenged by His word. It is also a challenge to us to be a part of this promise.
Lesson 3 from Paul.
We have seen three ways in which being made right with God gives us promises of
Peace with God
Access to His grace
A hope in a glorious future.
Make a list of other present blessings you enjoy on a daily basis.
Use this as a means to praise God. Go back to this list in times of challenge.
Material needs met
Health & Strength
Knowledge of my gift and ministry
Encouragement from my family
Opportunities to talk to God
What does this justification bring to God?
1. This justification gives to Him peace with us His people. It turns away His wrath- See Romans 1:18
2. This Justification gives to Him an access into our hearts – a new relationship with us.
3. This response brings a response in Him and in the whole of heaven of unrestrained joy.
Tim Blake Dec 2005

Romans Part 8 Chapter 5:3-5
Suffering produces…
Ro 5:3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
Ro 5:4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Ro 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
1. Introduction.
Very few of our personal letters have the kind of structure that would enable them to be studied like Paul’s letters.
We did a family letter at Christmas and we had a discussion to agree what went in it and what didn’t and it took some time to do. Paul’s letter to Rome would also have taken a long time to write and yes he did think about its structure.
We come today to the end of one section of Paul’s letter and the beginning of another. We move from one powerful truth to another. Paul has taken 4 chapters to get there. And there was a reason for this. He was passionate to get across in these chapters.
  • The need of all men for the Good news
  • Second the inability of any man to gain peace with God without Faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Third the wonder and awesome power of that complete salvation.
2. Justification & Sanctification
These truths can be summed up by the term Justification by Faith – A foundational doctrine of Christianity.
You see Paul wanted to move on to speak about the work of God within our lives what he is doing in us. There would have been a danger that the Romans being a Jew & Gentile community could have been divided by a different message.  For the Jewish believers may have thought salvation was theirs by Abrahams covenant and Gentile believers might be alienated by this confusion and try to create some other works by which they could ‘make the grade’ by being Good.
So Paul takes care to structure his letter laying first a foundation of the grace of God towards us. We are saved.
Paul now wants to stress that we are a part of a wonderful plan and purpose for the world called the Kingdom of God which is to be established through us.
That God will build on this amazing foundation of justification and for each man and woman there is a an agenda for change.
Phil 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Phil 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
Phil 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Heb 10:14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
the first phrase refers to the act of justification, and the second to the process of sanctification.

Justification- An Act
Sanctification- A Process
What is it?
Something that God does to us that changes our identity. He adopts us
the foundation on which we build our lives
(1 Corinthians 3:11).
A daily process by which we are being changed to be more like Jesus in character and holiness
The materials we use to build on the foundation of our lives (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
When does it happen?
It is the action that brings us into relationship with God. It happens exactly once for each Christian: Once done, it's finished.
It begins when we first meet God and continues through the whole of the rest of our lives, if we let it
Who does it?
Justification is a work of God, first and last. It is made possible by Jesus' sacrifice.
That's more complicated. We do it, but we're only able to because God does it in us. We certainly have some responsibility for our own sanctification.
How complete is it?
Justification is a bit like pregnancy: it's a yes-or-no thing. The question is simply, ``Is you or ain't you?''
Every Christian is somewhere in the particular process of sanctification that God has for him or her.

3. Suffering produces.
Lets go back to the passage in Romans Chapter 5 v3
Ro 5:3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
Ro 5:4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
One very common question we face concerning our faith, is this one
If there is a God why does He allow suffering in the world?
What Paul does here is not answer that question, but he does provide a powerful message to us that suffering for the Christian produces.
Yes Produces.- It is not for us an empty and meaningless trial.
But be clear here what we are not saying here is that God is the motivation and source of suffering no.
Paul says Rejoice in our sufferings NOT because you suffer.
1Pe 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
1Pe 4:13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed
Jn 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  
Jesus says Take heart. Have courage.
Why? Because it is not meaningless God turns the suffering and trials we face into the means by which we are changed. Sanctified.
I love the expression
Suffering produces
Perseverance Character and Hope.
If he were writing today Paul would have said
‘It does what it says on the tin.’ No nonsense, simple clear It produces.
The way it is expressed has so much certainty and he is right we know it to be true. We have seen the changes in others even if we do not recognise them ourselves.

There are a great list of universal laws that have the same fixed quality as the laws of physics- You know
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Well for the Christian A Universal law is that Suffering produces…
a. Perseverence
There are often disappointments for us there have been for me in the last few weeks. I have not been able to do the things that I wanted to do. Circumstances have seemed to conspire to hold me back from achieving what I wanted to and felt disappointed. But it was Ben that reminded me of the title of a book I read some two or three years ago. It was a book about the long and sometimes painful journey that was made every year by pilgrim Jews going up to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts there. They would suffer but they had a goal in sight and they kept on keeping on. The book was called A long obedience in the same direction.
Eph 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Eph 6:14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
Why does this change or sanctify us?
Every time you stand. Every time you hold your position in the face of a screaming horde. You affirm your trust of God. That affirmation of trust binds you closer and closer to him.
It shows your true Character.
b. Character.
I have what I would call my Captain of Gondor moments.
The Lord of the Rings There are many characters but the strongest men are from a place called Gondor. There is currently no King of Gondor. But there is a ruler a steward and he has two sons. 
The men of ages past had failed a great test when offered power they took it and became slaves to it. To the ring of power.
One brother now faced the challenge again- and was tempted to steal the ring and then tried to take it. He failed.
The other brother on a different day knowing of his brothers fate was also tempted to steal the ring. And he says
Now is the time for the captain of Gondor to show his true character.
He does not fail and victory is won over evil.
So I have my Gondor moments when I face a trial and I know that now is the time for this captain to show his character. Character that has been forged by perseverance.
Why does this change or sanctify us?
Every time you demonstrate your good character. Every time you hold a righteous position in the face of temptation. You affirm your trust of God. That affirmation of trust binds you closer and closer to him.
c. Hope.
There have been times when we have stepped out as a people and felt disappointed. We had hoped for a result that we did not get. We stepped out and felt let down. Sometimes this is a feeling towards other people sometimes this is towards God.
Christmas was a demonstration of that Hope in us.
We believed that God wanted us to share the Gospel in that time of celebration.
We prayed and asked God to bring people to it and we then had to leave it with God and Hope. Hope did not disappoint us people came and heard and were clearly moved by what was done. 
But I want to raise the stakes her because this hope Paul is referring to is not just the hope that I hope someone has remembered to bring the cups this morning! Or even the Hope that my son will grow into a man of God. No it is even more than this.
Suffering produces Character, Character Hope, Hope that we are part of the Kingdom of God, a hope that we will see the glory of the Lord cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. A hope that we will see the mountain of the Lord raised above every other mountain and the nations streaming to it.
This is a Hope that will never disappoint why?
Because we have the guarantee. Not a worthless paper thing which we have in case it goes wrong but a constant and living guarantee inside us
Ro 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Look at this verse too
Eph 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
Eph 1:14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory
Why does this change or sanctify us?
Every time you demonstrate your hope. Every time you express your faith in the face of cynical unbelief. You affirm your trust of God. That affirmation of trust binds you closer and closer to him.
3. We Need a revelation of Hope
In the face of suffering our own and often even more acutely the suffering of others we need to see.
Yes we need to see beyond and outside of the circumstances.  
The way we see things needs to change see as God sees.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

- Ephesians 1:17-19

We need to see back stage behind the scenes to the amazing work of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives and at work in the lives of others.
Let me give you just one example-
When we see it - really see it - it will affect us the same way. We need a fundamental shift in perspective. Then we will rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, and even death will hold no terrors for us:
All of you are - as you used to call it in the Shadowlands - dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.
- C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle
Lewis's great insight here is that our whole perspective on reality is fundamentally skewed: we believe - or at least, live as though we believe - that what we see in this world is real, and the world to come is insubstantial in comparison; whereas the exact opposite is actually the case. Paul recognised this too: ``If the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God.'' - 2 Corinthians 5:1.


Tim Blake, 25/01/2006