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The Book of Romans

The Book of Romans

The Bible used is the New Living Translation.

All verses in Blue letters.

 

The book of Romans, which was written by the Apostle Paul, was obviously written to the Roman Christians. They were for the most part, Gentiles, though there were some Jews. The Romans knew of the Jewish laws, or at least they were aware of them. Paul starts out talking about the Jewish laws, going over the advantages and disadvantages, but never commanding the gentiles to keep them.

The point here in the first three chapters is that sin affects everyone, even the "law obeying" Jews. The law only showed humanity what sin was, but never did anything about it. Keeping the law only reminded them that they were sinners, but did nothing more. Romans 3:19-20 says "Obviously, the law applies to those whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses and to bring the entire world into judgment before God. For no one can ever be made right in God's sight by doing what his law commands. For the more we know Gods law, the clearer it becomes that we aren't obeying it."

Christ took our place in death, so we might have life as it says in Romans 3:21-23, "But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight-not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. For all have sinned, and fall short of God's glorious standard."

Romans 3:25 reveals that we are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us.

We pick up in Romans 5:1-2 ".... So therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory."

As a result, we became friends with the Father because of what Jesus has done. We find joy in him now, and not condemnation. If by Jesus' death, we become friends of God, then by his life and resurrection, we can look forward to eternal life with the Father.

There is a difference between Adam and Jesus the Christ. When Adam sinned, (Romans 3:12) sin entered the entire human race. When Jesus died, he removed sin for those who would believe in him. He died in place of humanity, thus fulfilling the law of death for sin. Jesus said, "I came not to destroy the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill". How did He fulfill it? First He lived a perfect, sinless life, then He died for our sins.

Does that mean we can sin because there is no law? No, of course not. The law was written because of sin. We shouldn't go back to sin, for if we did, we would have to go back to the law to remind us of sin, which of course, leads to death. But since we died to sin, then how can we go back?

Romans 6:11-12 "So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Jesus Christ. Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to its lustful desires."

Read that again! What does that mean?

As a Christian, I came to believe that the old laws were there to teach us about sin. Now that the old laws are not for us today, what law do we live by? Jesus provides the law for us to live by in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. The foundation of the law for our lives is the law of Love. By love, you wouldn't hurt, steal, lust, kill or do anything that would destroy, maim, or hurt your neighbor. We do not need laws to tell us not to do these things. Living by the law of love should be enough. In fact, we wouldn't even think of these things. Lust is not even in the picture. When we lust, we desire something and then we steal, take, kill, etc. Did Jesus lust? No! Why? Because He lived by the law of love. Love God with all of your heart, your mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.

If we allow ourselves to believe that clothing will help us to stop lust, or that the lack of clothing causes lust, then we will allow sin to control our lives. Romans 6:13 tells us that we should not allow any part of our bodies to become a tool of wickedness, or to be used for sinning. If that is the case, then when we wear clothes to cover our bodies in shame and treat the body as sin (and "tool of wickedness"), are we not allowing the lusts and sins of our bodies to control us, instead of using the body for the glory of God as commanded?

Romans 6:13-14 "...Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.

Sin is no longer your master, for you are no longer subject to the law, which enslaves you to sin. Instead, you are free by God's grace."

We have been subjected to the "law of clothing" (not that God has one) as an attempt to resist sin. Since we are freed from sin and no longer enslaved by the sins of the world, then why should we use the world's "cover" for sin? Christ has eradicated sin. He took it away. We have been given a commandment to glorify God with our whole body! Not hide it away as if it were sin itself! God didn't create our bodies for that! Lust is not an option for a Christian, therefore, our body, which is to glorify God, cannot be lust for a Christian.

Since the law is to remind us of sin, and Christ took away our sins, then why are we still living as if we were under the law by wearing clothing to control our sins? Clothing cannot control our sins! Clothing is a man made by-product of sin. Why are we still depending on the very thing that was a by-product of sin to control sin?

It seems to me that clothing then is a reminder of our sins pretty much the same way as the law is a reminder of our sins.

Romans 7:4 "...The law no longer holds you in its power, because you died to its power when you died with Christ on the cross."

The law itself was never evil. It only reminded us of evil and sin until the Christ came and cleansed us from sin. The law itself did not cause sin, but our sin took advantage of the law and kept us in death. Think about it! Now replace the word "law" with "clothing". [Clothing]  itself was never evil. It only reminded us of evil and sin until the Christ came and cleansed us from sin. [Clothing] itself did not cause sin, but our sin took advantage of [clothing]  and kept us in death. 

In this light "clothing" would remind you of the sacrificial¹ skin that was laid on Adam and Eve as clothing. It reminded them of their sins. It takes away the power of Jesus and his sacrificial blood. Romans 8:1-2 "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death."

Are we still slaves to sin? Have you ever noticed how people are enslaved by what they wear? It's as if clothing is still controlling our lives today. Even our attitude towards others is defined by what is worn. I get more "Hello sir!" and "Are you the manager of this store, sir?" ... this sir and that sir... when I'm wearing a suit than when wearing jeans. Yet, I am the very same person either way. In fact, I am still the same person when wearing nothing at all. I can still do the exact same thing nude as I can while wearing clothing.

There are some that believe they should "condemn us to hell" for going nude. That is not the job of a Christian. Christians were not commanded to go out and condemn people to hell! They were commanded to preach the gospel, or good news, to the world. To baptize and teach all nations (Mathew 28:19). Then why are we being "condemned to hell" by some Christians? Especially for a law that doesn't even exist in the bible?

Clothing came into existence because of sin; a by-product of sin. Since Christ has overcome sin, we are now restored to the existence that Adam originally enjoyed in the beginning. Can we still sin? Do we still sin? Unfortunately Yes. Even Paul says that he has trouble doing what he should and still do what he does not want to do. But instead of running away and hiding behind bushes and fig leaves (clothing) as Adam did, we run to the Father and cry out "Abba, Father" and ask for forgiveness in Christ.

How can we condemn each other? Why should we want to? Wouldn't it accomplish much more to encourage each other to avoid sin by drawing closer to Jesus?

Since we are all guilty of sin, we should go to the Father in the name of Jesus. Then we should overcome lustful desires and not depend on anything except Christ to avoid sin. Are we lazy? Are we going to depend on our clothes to overcome our lusts for us? God made our bodies this way and said it was very good. How can we point to our bodies and say it is evil?

Romans 12:1-2 "And so, dear Christian friends, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is."

"Changing the way we think". Is it our sinful thoughts, instead of what someone may or may not wear, that could be the problem here? Could be! Do we really want to copy the behavior and customs of the world by wearing clothing or thinking of the human body as they do? How do they think about the body? They think lustfully. How should we as Christians think about it? As Gods holy temple, and as something to glorify our God with. If we clothe and hide our bodies as something sinful, then we are conforming to the world's standard of thinking, which is sinful. If we remove those coverings and decide in our hearts and minds (change the way we think) that the body is not only good (as God originally said) but is now considered as a temple for God, then we would praise God in those bodies, as we would in a temple, not condemn it.

Referring back to people who condemn some churches for worshiping nude, we need to go to Romans 12:12-14 where we are given commands to "do good to those who persecute us." God is the one who gives vengeance. I would advice those who persecute Christian nudists, to allow God to take vengeance on them (if that is what God wants to do). Romans 12:19-21, "Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, 'I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,' says the Lord. Instead, do what the Scriptures say: 'If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you.' Don't let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good." Again, it is not our job as Christians to curse or to shut anyone down. It is our job to pray for others whether they pray for us or not. If we spend our time praying for each other rather than persecuting and accusing each other of sin, then we would be helping each other draw close to God and we would all benefit.  

It is possible that the nude Christians may be called "the weak in faith" by those who think nudity is sinful. Romans 14:1 says "Accept Christians who are weak in faith, and don't argue with them about what they think is right or wrong." That goes for the other way around too. It is our responsibility to continue to pray and serve our non-naturist pastors and Christians. If we as naturists set the right example, they would have nothing to accuse us of.

The problem is that many will accuse us of doing more than just being nude. Lust is their primary concern, as if being nude is the only way to lust. What they forget is, lust comes in many forms and is disguised by the "clothing" it wears. (Ironic isn't it?) Food can be lusted after. Since food can be used for fellowship, and is needed for survival, those who abuse food fail to see the problem. And of course, we all love to go to those "All you can eat" restaurants right after church where gluttony is very common. In some minds one lust is a sin, while another lust is not. Even though Jesus and all of Israel used alcohol in not only their daily lives, but in worship as well, it is still considered as a sin today because of the possibility of drunkenness. True, drunkenness is a sin, but using alcohol is not. Gluttony is sin, but eating food is not. Lusting after anything is a sin. That is why we need Jesus Christ. There can be lust in anything, including someone who is wearing clothes.

Now keep in mind, I am not implying that the way to draw close to God is by removing your clothes or that it is necessary to be nude in order to please God. It is all physically minded and would be considered as "works". But to say that clothing is necessary to do the same and is necessary to remove sin, is to put our faith in the physical things, customs and the laws of man, and not in Christ Jesus.

Boyd Allen

¹Sacrificial skin is based on the theory that God introduced sacrifices for sin by killing an animal, and taking the skin and made clothing for Adam and Eve.  The "jury" is still out on this theory and not all agree on it.

Boyd Allen's Christian Naturism ©