Church Write-Up: Romans 1-2 and Hope

A. At church, we continued our series on Romans. The pastor talked about Romans 1-2. Paul in Romans 1-3 demonstrates that humans have nothing in their hands to offer to God and thus need Christ as their savior. Gentiles believe that there is no universal god for them to please (or, more accurately, they deny that the God of Israel is that God). Yet, deep inside, everyone has knowledge of God and morality. They crave the harmony with God and neighbor that was lost in Eden. Jews believe they are right with God because they are part of God’s covenant and possess God’s law, but they, too, lack anything in their hands to offer to God. God’s law is a way to life, but humans cannot arrive at life through that means because they are twisted, not just broken. People have rejected God’s faithfulness to them, replacing God with themselves, so God has left them to their devices. While conservative Christians focus on the condemnation of homosexual sex in Romans 1:26-27, Paul mentions other sins as well, such as hatred and gossip. Paul’s emphasis on homosexual sex, the pastor suggested, is due to the sexual libertinism of Greco-Roman society. In those days, Gentile men had a wife and kids, perhaps another woman on the side, and the guys at the gym with whom they had sex. Judaism by that time had become monogamous and saw sex as a way to create life, and that may have influenced Paul to regard homosexual sex as especially twisted.

B. The church service was about hope. The pastor showed a picture of people eagerly awaiting the bus and said that this is the biblical picture of hope: eager anticipation. In times when I was lonely and hurt by continual rejection, I eagerly anticipated the eschaton, the Christian afterlife. Now that things are going fairly well for me, I do not have that eager anticipation as much. Hopefully, the blessings that I have right now will continue for a while.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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