When I was a college freshman staying at the Kalayaan Residence Hall, I got my first desktop PC, and with it, a computer table. I lacked the tools necessary to assemble it then, so I used a pair of scissors instead. I was so proud of myself for being able to put it together. I gave myself a pat on the back for using scissors in a way that no one probably thought of. At the end of the school year, I had to disassemble it, and I realized that what I did was not so smart after all. Some screws were loose-threaded and made reassembling the table more tedious. Other bad things might have happened as well. I could have hurt my hand with the really sharp edge of the scissors or the scissors could have been destroyed in the assembling process.
Last night, we studied the first chapter of the book of Romans. I used to view it as something terrible with the picture it painted of man’s depravity and with the way it throws man’s excuses for not acknowledging God out the window. It was only later on that I heard that it was the gospel to the Gentiles. Kuya Aleks said that for there to be a good news, there must be a bad news. My initial impression was the bad news. It was the backdrop of darkness that God’s light pierces. Again, those were his words, not mine. In our study, he asked us to answer four things. What does the passage say about the gospel, the Gentiles, the generation, and God? I encourage you to read it yourself so that you’ll understand why it isn’t all bad news.
What struck me most about the passage is that our God is a loving God. Not only did He execute a very beautiful plan of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, He also withholds His wrath in spite our wickedness and will continue to do so until Christ returns.
We discussed wickedness alongside idolatry. Kuya Aleks recommended the book “Gods at War” by Kyle Idleman. Quoting the author, he said, “Idolatry isn’t an issue–it’s the issue.” Then we discussed different types of idolatry based on the book of Joshua. These are the idols we grew up with (like academic achievement and financial success) and the idols of our culture (like comfort food, sleep, and entertainment). Basically, anything that takes the place of God is an idol.
The passage also depicts idolatry as slavery to created things. These might include time, money, sex, among other things. The idea is that since God is the Creator, we misuse His creation when we worship them. The illustration used in our discussion was a sofa chair as a representation of God’s design for creation. It’s really heavy and bulky. If one disregarded its purpose and used it as an umbrella instead, that person would look really stupid. But if everyone else were doing the same thing, that person would fit. That person would accomplish his purpose and stay dry, but would have very painful arms after. If that person met God and learned that it’s actually a place to rest your butt, arms, back, and neck, he would realize the intelligence of the design.
I went home with a deeper assurance that since God is loving, He can be trusted.