Lent Reading Challenge: Romans 1

The Challenge for the rest of Lent:

– Read. One chapter in the Bible each day until Easter.  We started with Mark, and now are reading Romans.
– Pray. 10 minutes, twice a day.  No distractions, not multitasking.  Just spend time with God.
– Give. A full tithe (10% of your income) each Sunday through Easter.
 
Don’t do this religiously, do it relationally.  Scripture says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  Engage this challenge prayerfully and openly, asking God to reveal Himself throughout these coming days.  Be aware and alert to the things God may be showing you.  They may be thoughts that just pop up, experiences that you have, or even just impulses that you may sense.  Also be aware that Satan, the enemy, will seek to throw you off.  Scripture calls us to put on the Full Armor of God, that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.
 
The book of Romans is a different genre of biblical writing.  Mark is one of four Gospels, books that specifically tell the narrative of the life of Jesus Christ.  Romans, however, is a letter and is more theological in nature.  This means that, rather than introducing you to Jesus the person, it is seeking to explain the mission of Jesus and the impact of His life; what it means to believe in Him.
 
Romans one of the longest letters that Paul wrote and is, essentially, a summary of the plan of salvation.  It’s structure, which is commonly referred to as “sin, salvation, sanctification” or  “guilt, grace, gratitude,” has become the precedent for many contemporary writings and the general presentation of the Gospel as well.  The book covers the need for a Savior (chapters 1-3), the impact of The Savior (chapters 4-11), and the call of the Savior to a renewed life (chapters 12-16).

 Read Romans 1

Questions for Reflection:
1. Paul begins his letter by focusing his life, his calling, and his purpose for writing solely on Jesus Christ.  Do we tend to think about Jesus Christ in this way in our lives?  Do our identity and the way that we see ourselves come from God?  How can the way we see ourselves be more in line with how God sees us?
2. There is a reference to multiple “people groups” that Paul is “obligated” to.  Culturally, this would have been very difficult, especially for the Jews who considered non-Jewish people as unclean.  What does this tell us about those to whom we have been called to in our lives?
3. The latter part of Romans 1 has been considered one of the most “brutal” treatments of sin in Scripture.  It is brutal in the sense that he does not mince words, taking the reader down the natural path of depravity.  What are we to make of all this?  How do we take this teaching in and learn from it (especially in a cultural context that resists discussions on sin)?

Prayer

Pray for yourself, that your eyes would be open to schemes of the devil and that God would break down the sinful strongholds that are present in your life.
Pray for Hopkins Community Church, that we may proclaim boldly the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, including its treatment of sin, in a loving, discerning, yet non-judgmental way.
Pray for the Hopkins Community, that the true message of the grace of God would be heard, including our failings and need for a Savior, and that hearts would be opened to it.
Be sure to spend time listening too; prayer is a conversation.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

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