The Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman church to prepare them for his visit to Rome prior to leaving for Spain. He explained to the church how Christians, Jews and Gentiles alike, should view the natural world, our identity, our relationships, and our culture due to our relationship with Christ. He explains the necessity for righteousness because without Christ we are dead in our sin. But God, through his goodness and grace has provided a way to righteousness through Jesus Christ.
The Natural World
According to Genesis, God created the heavens and earth (our natural world) and everything in them. In Romans 1:20 Paul states, “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.” God created the world, his power and authority is evident in this creation and in this way man was supposed to know Him. However they turned their backs on him and according to verse 22 “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” Because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden, sin came into our natural world which started the demise of spiritual man as well as God’s intended order.
“God created man in his own image,” (Gen 1:27). Our identity is firmly established by knowing God, more specifically, knowing God through Jesus Christ. We are created with a “God shaped void” in our spirit man. If we do not fill that void with a relationship with God, we will seek to fill it with anything else that gives us temporary pleasure. Paul says in Romans chapter 1, that men turned away from God and turned to idol worship. Three times in this chapter Paul states that God “gave them over” to their sinful desires (v.24), their shameful lusts (v. 26), and their depraved minds. (v28). In and of ourselves, we are destined to die, not only physically but spiritually. God however, has made a way. Paul eloquently shares the path to salvation, righteousness, and sanctification through Jesus Christ.