Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving in Romans 1:18-32

The holiday known in America as Thanksgiving is in my opinion one of the most significant opportunities we have each year for getting ourselves right with God and for showing others the way.

In Romans 1 starting at verse 18, the apostle Paul explains that we are not naturally right with with God; in fact, we are facing his wrath because "... 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." (Romans 1:21, NIV) He then goes on to describe the downward spiral that results from this alienation from God.

I wondered what it would look like to express these ideas in the positive, that is, to show what would result if we were to properly thank and glorify God. With that in mind, here is my "positive paraphrase" of Romans 1:18-32:

"The blessing of God is being poured out upon all the righteous who exalt the truth by their obedience.

Because they truly know God they Glorify Him and give thanks to Him, their thinking becomes meaningful and their hearts filled with light. As a result of humbling themselves, they became wise, scorning dead and powerless idols and instead embracing and trusting in the immortal God.

Therefore, God increasingly filled them with desires for that which is noble and good, allowing them to experience pure and satisfying intimacy. They embraced the truth of God and rightly honored and served the Creator—who is forever praised.

As a result, God filled them even more with a hunger for righteousness. Men and women alike experienced such deep satisfaction from holy relationships that they became passionate for true spiritual intimacy, inviting Christ into all their relationships, and thereby receiving great blessing, honor and reward for their integrity.

On top of all this, because they so valued knowledge of God, he transformed their thinking so they could please God with their actions. They were then filled with every kind of goodness, decency, satisfaction and wholesomeness, overflowing with contentment, peacefulness, mercy and kindness. They are trustworthy— encouragers, God-lovers, teachable, modest, humble—always looking for new ways to do good. They even obey their parents! They are full of wisdom, faithfulness compassion and grace. Because they know God’s righteous character and his reward of eternal life for those who seek him, they not only strive to live righteously, they passionately encourage and applaud those who join with them in holy conduct.


Boyd said...

I like that, Michael. I hope you and your wife have had a good holiday. See you soon.


Pastor Michael said...


Thanks for the encouragement!