Justice

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God – the gospel which was promised in the past by his prophets in what they had written concerning his Son. As to the flesh, he was a descendant of David. However, the Holy Spirit revealed him to be the Son of God with power by his resurrection from the dead. This is Jesus Christ our Lord, and through him we have received grace and the role of apostle to call all Gentiles to the obedience of faith for his name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ.

To all in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his holy people: grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

First of all, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit by preaching the gospel of his Son, knows how I pray for you constantly – day and night. And now I’m praying that now, if it’s God’s will, the way may be opened for me to come and see you.

I want to visit you so that I can bring some spiritual gift to you that will help you grow strong. That is, I want us to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I hope that you realise, dear brothers, how often I had planned to visit you, but I’ve been prevented until now. I want to have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

For I’m a debtor both to the Greeks and to those who are not Greek – to the sophisticated and the unsophisticated – to the educated and the uneducated. That’s why I’m so anxious to preach the gospel to you also there in Rome.

I’m not ashamed of this gospel – it’s the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: to the Jew first, and then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the justice of God is revealed – a justice by faith to faith. That’s why it’s written: “The just shall live by faith.”

But the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of men, who in their depravity are ignoring the truth. What can be known about God is plain to them, simply because he’s made it plain.  For God’s invisible attributes – that is, his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly revealed by the whole of creation. Therefore, they’re without any excuse.

So, they knew about God, but they failed to give him the honour he was due, or even the thanks which he deserved. Instead, their thoughts became confused and their hearts were darkened. They claimed to be wise, yet they became foolish and exchanged the glory of the eternal God for images of mortal men, and birds, animals and reptiles.

For this reason, God abandoned them to the sinful desires of their hearts – to immorality  and the degradation of their bodies with each other. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things instead of the Creator – who is forever praised! Amen.

So God abandoned them to their shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relationships for those that were unnatural. In the same way, men also exchanged normal sexual relationships with women and became inflamed with lust for each other. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in their own bodies the consequences of their perversions.

And, since they didn’t think it was worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he abandoned them to their depraved thoughts and now they’re doing what should never be done. They’re filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They’re full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They’re gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they keep finding new ways to perform evil; they disobey their parents; they’re without understanding; they’re unfaithful; they have no love; they’re merciless. Though they understand God’s justice, that those who commit such crimes should die, they not only carry on doing, but also urge others to do them.

Paul

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