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Pastor Claude Stauffer
The Shameful Sinful State of Humankind – Romans 1:18 – 1:32
Romans 1
Scripture Title
Romans 1 The Shameful Sinful State of Humankind – Romans 1:18 – 1:32

Ready and Unashamed

A Study on the Epistle to the Romans

by Pastor Claude T. Stauffer

 

The Shameful Sinful State of Humankind – Romans 1:18 – 3:18

 

ROMANS 1:18-32

 

In the opening lines of Paul’s letter to the Romans he anticipates a question as to his motives for his ministry and this letter. In response to this anticipated question Paul says, “I am a debtor” (1:14). As we saw in our introduction, Paul felt that gospel good news of God’s grace and salvation was so incredibly awesome and great, that it would be criminal to hold it back from anyone. Therefore, the powerful gracious love of Christ that he experienced compelled him to share the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). This inspired sharing of the gospel by Paul takes on a fourfold aspect.

 

4 “Fors” – The Reasons For This Epistle

 

What was it that so impressed and moved the apostle Paul and caused him to feel indebted to write this epistle? There are four aspects of the gospel Paul is inspired to share with his recipients.

 

First Paul says, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” (1:16a). Paul would not shrink back in shame because some did not receive the gospel. He was not inhibited by peer pressure or public denunciations by his enemies. He cared more about serving God and Christ’s opinions than the opinions and opposition of people.

 

Second Paul says, For it is the power of God to salvation for everyone” (1:16b). The good news is that the gospel of Christ is God’s powerful tool to save people from their sins and empower them to live righteous lives.

 

Third Paul says, For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith” (1:17). The gospel of God is received by faith and lived by faith. Remember, “Righteousness” (DIKAIOISUNE) refers to, “the character or quality of being right or just”; it was formerly spelled “rightwiseness.” Righteousness refers to the right way things are to be done, the ideal. When “righteousness” is used to refer to an attribute of God it is equated with God’s faithfulness or truthfulness (Romans 3:25-26). God is “righteous” in that He is faithful, consistent with His word and to keep His promises. [1] When we talk about the righteousness of God, we mean the highest, most holy, just and good standard of what is right. Since God is the highest and holiest of all, so is His righteous standard of governing the universe. God cannot not simply overlook or dismiss sin; to do so would tarnish and contradict His righteousness and justice. God’s righteousness, His faithfulness to His word, holds the universe in order. Pagan gods are capricious; they are not faithful to their word. But the God of the Bible is righteous and true; you can depend on Him and His word. That is a source of great security and comfort. And the order of the universe is based on God’s standard of justice. There is a penalty, a “wage” for sin that God’s righteousness has set forth, and that is “death” (Romans 6:23). All those who sin are deserving of death according to God’s standard. The dilemma then becomes, how can, how does, a righteous God reconcile sinful humanity to Himself and still maintain His righteousness, His justice? The answer to that question is what we will find in the epistle to the Romans.

 

Fourth Paul says, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness unrighteousness” (1:18). For those who have not received the gospel of Christ by faith, the wrath of God is revealed and coming against them. This is reason for urgency so that these people can be saved.

 

These 4 “Fors” will be thoroughly covered in the epistle to the Romans.

 

The Poison and the Antidote

 

Why does Paul now begin his doctrinal treatise with a discussion of sin and God’s wrath? In the words of the ancient church father Jerome:

 

“You cannot understand the antidote until you first understand the poison.”

 

While we would rather preach and teach about the love of God, the wrath of God is part of God’s character and gospel truth. The holy justice of God results in the wrath of God on sinful injustices. Without God’s wrath on sin, God would cease to be holy and loving. A God who condones or casts a blind eye on sin, is neither loving to the victims or just and powerful to maintain His law. Therefore, Paul begins his inspired words on the gospel of Christ by showing the shameful sinful state of humanity and why salvation is needed.

 

God’s Wrath on Ungodliness and Unrighteousness Revealed

 

Romans 1:18 – “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” [2]

The wrath of God

Leon Morris states in his book The Atonement:

 

“God’s purposes are always righteous. God’s purpose is that people have rich and full lives. But sinful man, because he is sinful man, sets himself against those purposes. The result is the dreadful thing the Bible speaks of as “the wrath of God.” God is angry when His righteous purposes are obstructed. We should be clear that sin always obstructs those purposes of God in some way . . . . Sin obstructs God’s purposes in the sinner. Sin always makes us less as people . . . We bring about the same consequence when we sin against others, for our sin is harming them in some way and affecting God’s purposes for them.” [3]

Some would say that the concept of God as wrathful contradicts God’s love. But God would not be loving if He stood by and allowed His creation to degenerate into sinful anarchy. Sin brings pain, suffering, broken relationships and overall chaos. The love of God is out to stem the tide of sin and it’s effects.

 

If you were a parent and you saw your child being abused by someone, because of your love for your child you could not and would not stand by and allow the abuse to continue. No, you would intervene and do so with righteous indignation and wrath. On a higher and more holy level this is true of God.

 

Therefore we can say that WRATH IS GOD’S HOLY REACTION TO EVIL; WRATH IS GOD’S “PERSONAL REVULSION TO EVIL” AND HIS “PERSONAL VIGOROUS OPPOSITION TO IT.” [4]

 

Understanding wrath in terms of God’s nature

 

God is not a dispassionate Judge who meets out a legal judgment emotionlessly, impersonally. God is described in very personal terms in the Bible by such terms as love, compassion, mercy, longsuffering, and grace. God takes sin personally. Wrath is God’s feeling toward sin. Sin affects destructively our relationship to God and other people. Dealing with God’s wrath is not a matter of appeasement of a wrathful God (which is more of a pagan concept) as much as it is a matter of restoration of relationship with the Holy God of love.

 

John R.W. Stott in his book The Cross of Christ states:

 

“What is common to the biblical concepts of the holiness and wrath of God is the truth that they cannot coexist with sin. God’s holiness exposes sin; his wrath opposes it. So sin cannot approach God, and God cannot tolerate sin.” [5]

 

Stott goes on to sight 5 metaphors that illustrate the incompatibility of God’s holy wrath with sin.

The Bible uses the metaphor of HEIGHT; God is referred to as, “the Most High God” and as such is removed from sin (Genesis 14:18-22; Psalm 7:17; 9:2; 21:7; 46:4; 47:2; Daniel 3:26; 4:2, 17, 24-25; Hosea 7:16; 11:7). The second metaphor is DISTANCE. God is portrayed as being far removed from sin (e.g. the Burning Bush and Mount Sinai – Exodus 3:5; 19:3-25; Hebrews 12:18-21). The idea conveyed is that sinful man should not approach God with a casual view of sin. LIGHT is used to describe God as opposed to darkness (i.e. sin) (1 Timothy 6:16; Hebrews 12:29; 1 John 1:5). FIRE is used to describe a God ready to burn off and consume sin (Hebrews 10:27,31). And lastly, VOMITING is used to describe the revulsion of God toward sin and evil. God vomits sin like a human would vomit poison from the body (Leviticus 18:25-28; 20:22-23; Psalm 95:10; Numbers 21:5; Revelation 3:16).

 

Understanding wrath in light of sin

When we understand the nature and consequence of sin a bit better, we will understand the nature of reason for God’s wrath better. Sin separates people from God and each other (Isaiah 59:2; Habakkuk 1:13; Colossians 1:21-22; Ephesians 2:12). Sin creates hostility between God and sinners (Romans 5:10; Ephesians 2:1-5). Therefore, sin must be dealt with (Romans 5:8,11; 1 Corinthians 1:23). God, whose nature is holy love, desires to reconcile humanity to Himself and takes the initiative in accomplishing this. Reconciliation is God’s work (Romans 16:20; Ephesians 2:13-18). Reconciliation proceeds from the love of God (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).

 

What is “wrath”?

 

The word “wrath” occurs ten (10) times in Romans (1:18; 2:5,8; 3:5; 4:15; 5:9; 9:22; 12:19; 13:4,5). The word “wrath” is translated from the Greek term ORGE (Strong’s # 3709 - ojrghv oárgeµ, or-gay´) which has the meaning of, “violent passion; ire; justifiable abhorrence; “anger, indignation, vengeance, wrath.[6] ORGE originally referred to any “natural impulse, or desire, or disposition.” It later came to signify “anger,” as the strongest of all passions. [7]

The wrath of God is revealed

God’s wrath is revealed (i.e. unveiled; disclosed) in various places in the Bible such as: the Flood – Genesis 6-9; Sodom and Gomorrah – Genesis 19; The complaining Israelites – Numbers 30:10-13; The unfaithful Judahites – 2 Kings 22:13; Jeremiah 4:4; 44:22; The cross – On the cross Jesus bore God’s wrath that was due us, the sinner – Isaiah 53:12; Romans 5:6-19.

God’s wrath is incited by a number of things as shown in the following Biblical list:

  • Apostasy - 2 Chronicles 34:24, 25
  • Sympathy with evil - Leviticus 10:1–6
  • Unfaithfulness - Joshua 22:20
  • Provocations - 2 Kings 23:26
  • Fellowship with evil - 2 Chronicles 19:2
  • Forbidding the preaching of the gospel – 1 Thessalonians 2:16
  • Mockery - 2 Chronicles 36:16
  • Murmuring – Numbers 30:10-13
  • Idolatry - Psalm 78:58, 59
  • Intermarriage with unbelievers - Ezra 10:10–14
  • Profaning the Sabbath            - Nehemiah 13:18
  • Rejecting Jesus – John 3:36
  • Self-seeking – Romans 2:8
  • Sin – Ephesians 5:5-6
  • Speaking against God - Psalm 78:19–21

Pastor Chuck Smith states:

You cannot sin without paying the consequences for your sin. Either your sins will be forgiven by the grace of God through Jesus Christ or you will be punished forever for your sins. The Bible speaks of the judgment of God that is going to come upon this earth, as God will judge the earth for their wickedness and their sin. And I do believe that that day of God's judgment is not far off. I believe the conditions of the world are getting to that place where God must judge the world. Now we do know historically that God has judged the world with a flood. We know historically that God has judged certain cities. When the wickedness gets so bad then God just says that’s it. And He wipes out that generation. As He did in the days of Noah. When the hearts of men were only evil continually. He did that in the case of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, where their sins became so blatant that God wiped them out. So the wrath of God will be revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth of God in unrighteousness. It’s not that they don’t know God. But they hold the truth of God in unrighteousness. [8]

 

God is right and just in His wrath because people are both ungodly and unrighteous. What does this mean?

 

Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men

Sinners are both ungodly and unrighteous and God’s wrath is revealed against these aspects of the sinner. Both ungodliness and unrighteousness are interrelated.

Ungodliness

Godliness is relating properly to God. Godliness is the vertical plane of life as it relates to God. Ungodliness is not relating properly to God. Therefore, ungodliness is the violation of the first four of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-11 - Have no other gods before Me; Do not make carved images; Do not take God’s name in vain; Remember the Sabbath).

Unrighteousness

Righteousness is relating to people properly. Righteousness is the horizontal plane of life as it relates to people. Unrighteousness is not relating properly to people. Therefore, unrighteousness is violating the last six of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12-17 – Honor father and mother; Do not murder; Do not commit adultery; Do not steal; Do not bear false witness; Do not covet).

Godliness and righteousness are related and connected. You cannot get your horizontal righteous relationships with people right until you get your vertical godly relationship with God right. If you get the vertical godly relationship with God right, you will relate to people rightly on the horizontal plane. Before a person can get their vertical relationship with God right, they must realize it is wrong and sinful.

Who suppress the truth in unrighteousness

Those who refuse to receive the gospel by faith degenerate in their sin to the point where they not only turn away from God’s truth, but also “suppress” or hold back the gospel truth about God’s righteousness. By withholding the truth from others, they are acting unrighteously toward others. This is a far cry from Paul who expressed his indebtedness to share the gospel (Romans 1:15). This is what we will see toward the end of Romans 1.

The word, “suppress” (Strong’s # 2722 - katevcw kateáchoµ, kat-ekh´-o) means, “to hold down (fast), . . . , withhold.” [9] Suppression of the truth leads to the downfall of those doing it. Suppressing the truth is willfully disregarding; willfully hiding from the truth. Suppressing the truth is knowing truth, but choosing to reject, deny and work against it.

There is a story told, (by an unknown author and to be truthful I don’t know if there is any truth to it) of a couple of hunters who chartered a plane to fly into the Canadian wilderness. Two weeks later when the pilot came to pick them up, he saw the two animals they had bagged and said, "I told you fellows I could only take you and one moose. You'll have to leave the other behind." 

"But we did it last year in a plane this size," protested one of the hunters, "and the other pilot let us take two moose." 

"Well, okay," said the pilot. "If you did it before I guess we can do it again." 

So the two moose and the hunters were loaded in and the plane took off. Because of the heavy weight, it rose with difficulty and was unable to clear an obstructing hill. After the crash, the men climbed out and looked around. 

One hunter said to the other, "Where are we, anyway?" 

His companion surveyed the scene. "I think we got about half a mile farther than we got last year." [10]

The weight of suppressing God’s truth will inevitably bring down those who do so.

The Fatal Bite of Sin

Another story is told of a man who purchased a white mouse to use as food for his pet snake. He dropped the unsuspecting mouse into the snake's glass cage, where the snake was sleeping in a bed of sawdust. The tiny mouse had a serious problem on his hands. At any moment he could be swallowed alive. Obviously, the mouse needed to come up with a brilliant plan. What did the terrified creature do? He quickly set up work covering the snake with sawdust chips until it was completely buried. With that, the mouse apparently thought he had solved his problem. But the truth of the situation was that sawdust chips wouldn’t hold back the snake. The solution to the mouse’s problem came from outside of the cage. The man looked down at the plight of the mouse and took pity on him lifting him out. In the same way, no matter how we try to deny our sinful plight by covering up the truth of our need, in the end the snake of sin will fatally bite us.

God has revealed His righteous plan of redemption from sin through faith in Christ and no matter how we try to suppress or hold down the truth that we are sinners and need a Savior, this truth cannot be denied. The only way to be saved from sin is to turn to the One outside the cage of this fallen world, God in Christ by the Spirit. If we continue to reject and hold down God’s truth, sin will fatally bite us, (Satan the snake is waiting – Genesis 3; Revelation 12:9; 20:2). That fatal bite of sin is what is described in the remaining verses of Romans 1.

The Downward Spiral of Sin

From this point on in Romans 1 we will see an ever-deeper downward spiral in sin of those who willfully choose to reject God. The downward spiral of sin occurs in the following way:

  1. REJECTION OF GOD’S REVEALED TRUTH – The rejection of God’s manifesting revelation of His truth (Natural and Biblical revelation) – 1:19-20
  2. REJECTION OF GOD HIMSELF – Refusing to glorify or thank God for His provisions; rejecting God’s salvation plan – 1:21
  3. FALSE SELF-APPRAISAL - False profession and foolish claim to wisdom apart from God – 1:22
  4. IDOLATRY - Create a “God” that is palatable and acceptable to one’s own personal opinion; create a “God” that condones your sin – 1:23
  5. UNCLEANNESS – God gives them over to follow their heart lusts – 1:24
  6. THE LIE – Belief that one doesn’t need God and is self-sufficient – 1:25a
  7. SELF-WORSHIP – The worship of “me” – 1:25b
  8. VILE PASSIONS – Unnatural and self-destructive desires – 1:26-27
  9. DEBASED MIND – The corruption of one’s thoughts and beliefs – 1:28-31

10.  ADVOCACY OF EVIL – Not only doing evil oneself, but encouraging others to do evil also – 1:32

This is the downward spiral of sin that is started with what might seem a harmless rejection of a truth of God in favor of a personal opinion, but then the spiral begins and unless the sinner turns to God through faith in Christ, the end will be destruction and death (Romans 6:23). Sinner is like cancer that starts off with the malignancy of one small cell, but then proliferates and if left untreated will take over the body and kill it. Understanding the seriousness of the sin problem is the first step in grasping the greatness of God’s grace toward humanity.

 

REJECTION OF GOD’S REVEALED TRUTH

Romans 1:19-20 – “because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,” [11]

God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. The word “because” here means that Paul will now substantiate with evidences why God’s wrath is revealed from heaven. What follows is Paul’s answer to the question, “Why is God wrathful?”

What may be known of God?

God does not make it difficult to find Him; He wants people to find Him. The person who does not accept the good news of the gospel of Christ does not do so because God can’t be found, but BECAUSE THEY DO NOT WANT TO FIND HIM; they are without excuse.

The Bible states, “because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” (1:19). God has taken the initiative to reveal Himself to sinful humankind. GOD WANTS PEOPLE TO KNOW HIM.

God desires people to repent and turn to Him and He actively makes a way for this to happen:

  • 2 Samuel 14:14b - “Yet God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him.” [12]
  • Romans 2:4 – “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” [13]
  • 2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” [14]

Natural Revelation

The two things that can be known by all human beings as they look at creation (i.e. Natural Revelation) are: 1.) His invisible attributes and 2.) His eternal power and Godhead (1:20).

The KJV Bible Commentary states:

Man’s mind is capable of drawing obvious conclusions from effect to cause. To the animals below us the phenomena of nature may just be a spectacle before their eyes, but make no impression on their minds. But to man, they have a language, a communication. They awake wonder, awe, a basic idea of God and His righteousness. Even his eternal power and Godhead. Nature does not simply give the impression that God is an abstract principle but a real person, the Supreme Person, transcendent above His creation and not part of it. The testimony of nature alone is sufficient to lead man to an understanding of the personal, righteous nature of God, so that they are without excuse.[15]

God’s word tells us:

  • Psalm 19:1 – “ The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” [16]

Every person knows that God exists. God has created this sense of His being within all human beings (Ecclesiastes 3:11). If God has revealed His truth in detail to us, we are that much more guilty of sin when we disobey His revealed truth. In such cases a person is suppressing the truth of God in unrighteousness.

So that they are without excuse

God holds people responsible to the light of revelation they have received. Even a cannibal knows it is not good to be eaten! People will be judged according to the light they have received from God. Therefore, those who have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and then rejected it will have the greater condemnation. Jesus stated as much when He said:

  • John 15:22 - “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.” [17]

NO ONE CAN COME TO GOD AND SAY, “YES, I’M GUILTY BUT . . .” THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR REJECTING GOD. There are no “buts,” with God.

Again Pastor Chuck Smith states:

No man has an excuse for not believing in God for God has revealed Himself unto man by His creation. And it is God's intent that man in observing God's creation, comes to the acknowledgment and the knowledge of the existence of God.   You cannot have design without a designer or a machine without a mechanic or an engineer who designed it. And so here we are. The wrath of God has been revealed because when they knew that God existed. That which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God had showed it unto them. The Bible tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God. You go out and look up into the heavens. You see the moon, the stars, the planets, the galaxies. They declare to you of the Creator. And even scientists today are forced to admit the day of creation. They call it the big bang. But when it all started, we say that there was a Creator. God was the first cause, not the big bang the first cause. [18]

 

To look at the incredible design and order of the universe and natural world and then contend that it all happened by fortuitous chance circumstance takes more faith than to see the revelation of God’s design and handiwork clearly present there. In other words, to look at the universe and deny there is a Creator, exposes a willful rebellion against the Creator and resistance to be held accountable to Him.

 

REJECTION OF GOD HIMSELF

 

Romans 1:21 – “ because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” [19]

Because, although they knew God

Here is the reason why people are without an excuse before God. In nature we see design and order, which is evidence of a Designer. In addition to nature, every human being has a sense of “God” as God has created human beings with an inherent need for Himself. Evidence for this truth is found in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes where it states:

  • Ecclesiastes 3:11 – “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” [20]

The design of nature is evidence of a Designer.

They did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful

The implication here is that there was a willful decision not to respond to God in a way that was appropriate to His revelation of Himself in His creation (1:20). The only appropriate response to God is to glorify Him and thank Him. But instead, the sinner chooses to reject God and argue for an alternative to God.

God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe is omniscient and all powerful. To argue with God or be unthankful for His provision, is to fail to glorify God. For example, when we “name it and claim it” we are trying to take control from God and usurp God’s will with our own will.

To “glorify” (Strong’s # 1392 - doxavzw doáxazoµ, dox-ad´-zo) God means, “to render (or esteem) glorious; to honour; to magnify.[21] To be “thankful” (Strong’s # 2168 - eujcaristevw eáucharisteáoµ, yoo-khar-is-teh´-o) means, “to be grateful, to express gratitude toward; (e.g. to say grace at a meal); give thanks.[22]

The motive behind the unthankful and those who refuse to glorify God

Why doesn’t the sinner glorify or thank God despite the clear evidence of His truth and reality? Herein is a very important point. THE SINNER REFUSES TO ACKNOWLEDGE GOD SO THAT THEY CAN CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT OF NON-ACCONTABILITY. IF THEY CAN REMOVE GOD FROM THEIR REALITY, THEY CAN MAKE THEIR OWN RULES, LIVE THE WAY THEY WANT, SIN FREELY, AND NOT FEAR CONSEQUENCES. SUCH A PHILOSOPHY AND PATTERN OF LIFE IS FUTILE.

But became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened

The consequence of complaining and rejecting God’s truth and relying on one’s own understanding is that thoughts become “futile,” hearts “foolish” and “darkened.”

“Futile” (Strong’s # 3154 - mataiovw mataioáoµ, mat-ah-yoá´-o) here means, “to render or become foolish, wicked or idolatrous; to become vain or empty. .[23] “Foolish” (Strong’s # 801 - ajsuvneto" asuneátoás, as-oon´-ay-tos) means, “unintelligent; wicked; foolish, without understanding.” [24] And “darkened” (Strong’s # 4654 - skotivzw skoátizoµ, skot-id-zo) means, “to obscure; to darken.[25] Therefore, the consequence of disregarding God’s revelation and not being thankful or glorifying of Him is that one’s thoughts become vain and empty, and one’s heart becomes stupid and foggy in terms of spiritual things and the meaning of life. After this, what follows?

FALSE SELF-APPRAISAL

Romans 1:22 – “Professing to be wise, they became fools,” [26]

Those who reject the gospel of Christ are self-deluded and darkened to the point where they see themselves to be wise when in fact they are fools. They are not in touch with truth and reality.

What is interesting here is that the word, “fools” is translated from the Greek term MORAINO (Strong’s # 3471 - mwraivnw moµrainoµ, mo-rah´-ee-no) and means, “to become insipid; to make as a simpleton; become a fool, make foolish, lose savor.” [27] Sounds a lot like a moron. A fool is someone who fails to factor God into his or her life equation and that is moronic.

Evolution

The prime example of this in recent world history is the Theory of Evolution. Those who willfully and rebelliously reject God and His revelation, seek to create alternatives and explanations discounting God. Such people are fools because:

  • Fools because it takes much more faith to believe in evolution (that the orderly and designed universe is the result of a chaotic accidental blast) than in a Creator God.
  • Fools because their own alternative philosophies cut against universal laws. The probability of spontaneous life is preposterously unlikely. 2nd Law of Thermodynamics shows universe is devolving not evolving. “Facts” of world philosophical science keep changing over the years – constant revisions of textbooks50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000 etc. The Bible stays the same!

Chuck Smith comments:

“You have to get really imaginative. How did you get your eyes? Well, zillions of years ago when you were just a worm, the sun began to give you ultraviolet radiation that caused a mutation of your cells that created a freckle. Unfortunately the freckle wasn’t on the tail end. And gradually through a process of many mutations, that freckle turned into an eye. In a socket. That could move. And you could see around. So you became a salamander. And as you were trying to make your way over the rocks, the coral, fresh out of that hot ocean, your poor little bottom side got scratched. Scabbed over. It became callused. And it continued to grow and develop until it became legs. And then you could walk. You see, as I said when you try and put God out of the equation, it takes an awful lot of imagination. They became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. . . . Why do we laugh at this? Because it’s foolish when you really stop to think of it. To think that your body could have developed through billions of years of fortuitous occurrences of accidental circumstances is ridiculous. But he is on the downhill plunge.”

 

ANY AND EVERY ALTERNATIVE TO GOD AND HIS REVEALED TRUTH WILL ULTIMATELY BE PROVEN FOOLISH AND WRONG.

IDOLATRY - God in man’s own image

Romans 1:23 – “and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.” [28]

Those who refuse to acknowledge God and His truth still know inherently that there is a God. When they refuse to accept God it causes conflict with their inherent knowledge leading to guilt associated with their sinful refusal. In order to ease their guilt and in an attempt to eliminate it, and attempt is made to explain God away, or create their own god with an image they find acceptable.

Humans in the guilt of sin try to kill God philosophically or literally such as at the cross in order to try to alleviate the burden of their guilt.

Haven’t you ever heard someone respond by saying, “Well, my god, wouldn’t do that!” And in reality they are speaking truth, their god probably wouldn’t do anything to upset them or make them feel uncomfortable. But the issue is not how we measure up to a god of our own imagination or based on our personal opinion, the issue is how do we measure up to the God of the Bible and His truth.

MAKING “GOD” IN OUR IMAGE IS IDOLATRY. IDOLATRY IS WORHSIPPING FALSEHOOD. The LORD speaks clearly about the sin of idolatry throughout the Bible (Deuteronomy 4:15-18; Psalm 115; Isaiah 40:18-26). This idolatry is a work of the flesh or carnal nature as described by Paul (Galatians 5:20).

Changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man

The way many choose to explain God away is to change God into an image made like corruptible man, i.e. to make God in their own image; they pictured and saw God in terms of their impressions, opinions, and estimations, rather than in His revealed truth. (See discussion in verse 25.)

An example of this is seen when people attribute human philosophies to God making Him a “God” who condones sin; a “God” who approves of sinful lifestyles and practices; a “God” who overlooks sin; or a “God” who will not judge the sinner. New Agers similarly say, “I am god.”

Such people do not know or worship the true God of the Bible but a “god in their own image.”

And birds and four-footed animals and creeping things

Those who reject God will resort to any explanation for existence and life other than something that would acknowledge God. This sinful path is what is at the root of human world philosophies.

An example of this is Darwinian Evolutionists such as Carl Sagan who hold the view that “All there is, is the universe and we are a part of it. . . . God is the invention of man and only exists in his imagination” therefore doing away with God” But there are no transitional forms and an honest thinking person will find it quite difficult if not impossible to follow the theoretical concoction of order from disorder in the universe. There is no evidence of such a developmental plan.

UNCLEANNESS - Therefore God also gave them up - Wrath = Withdrawal

Romans 1:24 – “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,” [29]

It’s sad that people who persist in their rejection of God can get to a point where God “gives them up” to follow their willful sin.

 

Three times in this passage it says, “God gave them up” (1:24,26,28). There is an aspect of God’s wrath that is God’s withdrawal of restraint of the repercussions/consequences on those who persist in sin. Sin itself is punishment on the sinner. In Jeremiah it states this with the following inspired words:

 

  • Jeremiah 2:19 – “Your own wickedness will correct you, And your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing That you have forsaken the Lord your God, And the fear of Me is not in you,” Says the Lord God of hosts.” [30]

Here we see an aspect of God’s wrath: DIVINE WRATH is DIVINE WITHDRAWEL

 

God by His grace always offers an outstretched hand offering salvation (Isaiah 59:1-2), but shuts the door on God’s grace if sinful rebellion is persisted in. God is patient but He is never to be mocked. Paul was inspired to write in another epistle:

 

  • Galatians 6:7-8 – “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” [31]

God waits patiently for the sinner to repent. There is no One as longsuffering and patient as God who desires none to perish (2 Peter 3:9). But there is a time, marked with the sovereign hand of God, a point of no return, a time when salvation is lost. A time when God gives the sinner up to their sin.

 

Gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,”

 

God gave them up to the cult of self. Any alternative to God is a cult of self because it relies on self (your own “wisdom” rather than God’s revelation). God respects human free will and will not override it.

 

THE LIE

 

Romans 1:25a – “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie,” [32]

Exchange

The word “exchange” is found in 1:23,25,26 (also translated “change”). This word is translated from the Greek term METALASSO (Strong’s 3337) and means, “to exchange, change, alter, substitute; to exchange by leaving.” Therefore, those who are being considered here do not merely turn away from God’s truth; they replace it with a “truth” of their own making, which is no more than a “lie.” The idea here is that they leave God’s truth and replace it with a “truth” that they feel comfortable with, that will not convict them or show them to be sinful, a “truth” that they can live with, a “truth” that is nonetheless a “lie.”

Any alternative to God’s truth is a lie! What is the “lie”?

Who exchanged the truth of God for THE LIE

The truth of God is that man needs God. What is “the lie”? Notice that the definite article “the” precedes the word “lie,” and therefore I believe Paul is referring to a particular “lie.” What might that particular “lie” be? The lie is the belief that man does not need God; because man is God, in control of his or her own life and destiny. This was the foundation of Satan’s initial temptation in heaven and in the Garden of Eden:

 

  • Isaiah 14:12-15 - “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.” [33]
  • Genesis 3:5 - “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” [34]

This lie is at the root of all sin. The lie is rooted in sinful pride and a lust for self-sovereignty, a lust to sin and serve self regardless how it effects others.

“THE LIE” SAYS, “I DON’T NEED GOD; GOD DOES NOT EXIST; GOD IS NOT A FACTOR; WHAT MATTERS IS ME.” The lie says, “I don’t need God,” and will try to kill God or remove God from consideration in order to accomplish the goal of self-rule.

THE WRATH OF GOD IS ON THESE SINNERS FOR MISREPRESENTING GOD’S TRUTH BY ATRIBUTING THEIR OWN “TRUTH” TO GOD.

Some people say, “God accepts me for who I am. He created me as a homosexual. Therefore to be a homosexual is okay.” This is a perfect example of not only misrepresenting God, but also trying to insert a falsehood in place of His truth.

SELF-WORSHIP -

Romans 1:25 – “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” [35]

In order to attain the goal of self-rule, the sinner will try to explain away God. This is attempted in a number of ways. Here Paul points to the elevation of the creature to godhood, idols made in the image of the creature.

Idolatry is foolish:

  • Isaiah 44:9-20 – “Those who make an image, all of them are useless, And their precious things shall not profit; They are their own witnesses; They neither see nor know, that they may be ashamed.10 Who would form a god or mold an image That profits him nothing?11 Surely all his companions would be ashamed; And the workmen, they are mere men. Let them all be gathered together, Let them stand up; Yet they shall fear, They shall be ashamed together.12 The blacksmith with the tongs works one in the coals, Fashions it with hammers, And works it with the strength of his arms. Even so, he is hungry, and his strength fails; He drinks no water and is faint.13 The craftsman stretches out his rule, He marks one out with chalk; He fashions it with a plane, He marks it out with the compass, And makes it like the figure of a man, According to the beauty of a man, that it may remain in the house.14 He cuts down cedars for himself, And takes the cypress and the oak; He secures it for himself among the trees of the forest. He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it.15 Then it shall be for a man to burn, For he will take some of it and warm himself; Yes, he kindles it and bakes bread; Indeed he makes a god and worships it; He makes it a carved image, and falls down to it.16 He burns half of it in the fire; With this half he eats meat; He roasts a roast, and is satisfied. He even warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm, I have seen the fire.”17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, His carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, Prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”18 They do not know nor understand; For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, And their hearts, so that they cannot understand.19 And no one considers in his heart, Nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say, “I have burned half of it in the fire, Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals; I have roasted meat and eaten it; And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”20 He feeds on ashes; A deceived heart has turned him aside; And he cannot deliver his soul, Nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”   [36] (See also Psalm 115)

God is justified in giving such idolatrous self-worshipers up to their own rebellious preferences.

An example of this self-worship is seen in our world’s obsession with sex. That those who turn from God to serve their fleshly desires not only do so, but become fools in the process as they worship self in sexual acts is illustrated in the following article found in the Los Angeles Times entitled, Sex ed course halted over alleged orgies, strip club field trips (Los Angeles Times Feb. 19, 2002 09:45:00). An excerpt from the article reported the following state of affairs connected with a prominent educational institution of our country:

University of California, Berkeley, has suspended a course on male sexuality amid allegations that its students engaged in an orgy at a class party and watched a student coordinator have sex onstage at a strip club. The university suspended the student-run, for-credit class after its coordinators failed to show up for a meeting last week with a faculty sponsor. Allegations about the course were published Friday in the campus newspaper, The Daily Californian. Berkeley spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said the university is investigating the course and also reviewing its counterpart, a class on female sexuality. "Obviously, the events described in the Daily Cal are not part of the approved course content," Gilmore said Tuesday. "Right now, we're just trying to find out what happened. We're taking this very seriously." [37]

This is only one case of how those who claim to be wise become foolish and depraved as they live lives of rejection toward God. The height of foolishness is worshipping self and what clearer evidence is there that this is what sinful humanity is doing than those who are willing to expose themselves publicly in sexually immoral acts? The depth of such depravity is only worsened and compounded by the fact that in this case those involved in the sin are doing indulging themselves under the guise of seeking “higher education.” How sad, sickening, and shameful!

 

VILE PASSIONS

Romans 1:26-27 – “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” [38]

For this reason

For this reason,” what reason? Because they refused to receive God’s revelation truth of Himself. They rejected God and not only rejected Him but twisted His truth with their own warped view of reality,

God gave them up to vile passions

God allows people to not choose to worship and thank Him. Here we see the downward spiral of sin. “Vile passions,” are the natural consequence of rejecting God. Look around you, what do you see in our post-Christian world? A host of vile passions. When you reject God, you enter into a warped view of existence that leads you into all sorts of contorted, mangled, mixed up, hell bent ways of seeing the world around you. Remove God and expect an anything goes world.

Exchanged the natural use . . . leaving the natural use

When a person rejects God, their sin leads them to abuse nature and do things that are actually opposed to nature. One function of sex is procreation. Homosexual and lesbian sexual activity is unnatural, it contradicts and goes against nature in that it cuts off the procreative purpose of sex.

For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men

There are abuses of normal natural appetites (e.g. sexuality), but homosexuality and lesbianism is worse because it is a perversion of natural human desires.

Turning from God and His revelation leads to idolatry. But persistent rejection of God leads to the height of idolatry, worship of self. Homosexuality and lesbianism is the height of self-worship as people worship their own gender image in other people, women with women and men with men.

Burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

This is the only occurrence of this particular word for “burned” here in the NT. The word “burned” is translated from the Greek term EKKAIO (Strong’s #1572) and means, “burned out; consumed; inflame deeply; set ablaze.” The idea here is that so deep is their lustful burning for one another that they actually burn out and are consumed by their lustful pursuits. This may allude to physical consequences (e.g. disease), emotional consequences, and certainly spiritual consequences.

The Hazards of Homosexuality

In a 1993 study by the Family Research Institute they found that:

The average age of a homosexual man dying with AIDS is 39. The average age of gays dying of all other causes is 41. (The average heterosexual married man lives 75 years.) Only one percent of men who practice homosexual sex lives to be 65 or older. Gay men are three times more likely to have alcohol or drug abuse problems. Homosexuals are 14 times more likely to have had syphilis, and 23 times more likely to contract venereal diseases. [39]

Those who rebel against God and go beyond His holy boundaries cross over a line God put in place for the good of humanity and step into self-destructive ways.

God created sex

Sex is not sinful. God created sex (i.e. “one flesh” - Genesis 2:23-25). Sex only becomes sinful when it is misused outside of God’s ordained parameters. When sex is misused in ways God never intended, it has the opposite effect of God’s intended purpose for it. God intended sex to bring two people together as one in a very wonderful way. When two people enter into sexual activity outside of marriage, a uniting takes place out of sync with the process God laid out as right and proper.

Sex unites

Paul warned against adultery and sex outside of marriage because there is a uniting that occurs between the two parties involved. Paul was inspired to write:

  • 1 Corinthians 6:15-20 – “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.”17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [40]

Sex is a beautiful part of God’s creation and intended purpose. Sexuality outside of the marriage covenant makes unholy connections. It is Satan’s strategy to take what God meant for beauty and loving expression between two people and turn it into something dirty and shameful. That is what the downward spiral of sin does.

Building models right.

When I was a boy I enjoyed building models. But as a young boy I was impatient and didn’t always read the instructions or follow directions. Nowadays you can buy models that are already painted. But in my day you had to paint the models and then assemble them. As I would put the models together I’d sometimes get impatient. The instructions called for me to paint certain parts in certain areas, let them dry, and then glue them together. Inevitably my impatience would get the better of me and I’d paint over areas I was supposed to leave paint-less and try to glue parts together before the paint was dry. What I found is that the glue never held pieces together that I impatiently tried to glue when the paint was still wet. Then I’d try to take the pieces apart to wipe them clean and I’d have an even bigger mess. When I didn’t follow instructions and acted impatiently, the model always got sticky and weakly assembled and never lasted very long, (at least as long as it might have if I had patiently and diligently followed instructions). The same is true with sex and marriage. If you try to glue two people together with sex before the Lord prepares the parts properly, your relationship will wind up weak and won’t last. It’s always best to wait on God and follow the instructions of His word (the Bible) when it comes to marriage and sex, and everything else in life for that matter.

DEBASED MIND

Romans 1:28 – “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;” [41]

Those who willfully reject God are allowed to do so by God, but God rejects them. God rejects those with God-rejecting minds. They chose to reject God and the life He offered to them, and therefore, God justly and in His holiness judged them for their sin. Those who reject God are no longer able to determine right from wrong and so go off into all kinds of perversions and sin. Remember, sin does not simply affect or infect the person who commits the sinful act, but sin is against one’s neighbor too (i.e. unrighteousness) and God (i.e. ungodliness).

 

Debased mind

When you reject God and follow your own whims, it leads to unnatural behavior, or behavior that is against nature. Nowhere is this reject of a mind better described than here in Romans chapter one.

“Debased” here is translated from the Greek term ADOKIMOS (Strong’s #96) which means, “rejected after testing; unapproved; castaway; rejected; reprobate.” Those who reject God are like cars that leave the factory with a fatal flaw and in need of being recalled.

 

Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived and at one point in his life he sought to research everything “under the sun” or on this earth apart from God. What did he find? Read one conclusion he arrived at:

 

  • Ecclesiastes 9:3b – “Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.” [42]

If we compare Solomon’s findings and those we read in Romans we see that humanity hasn’t changed that much, they are still debased in sin.

Debased As In The Days Of Noah

In the earliest stages of history it didn’t take humanity long to degenerate into a hopeless morass of sin and debased mindedness. When we look at the description of the people in the world just prior to the judgment of God in the Flood, we see the presence of this debased mind. In Genesis it states:

  • Genesis 6:5-8 – “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.7 So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” [43]

“Every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” that is the description of those upon whom the judgment of God came. And this is important for us because Jesus commented on the latter days saying that the same kind of environment of sin would be prevalent just before the 2nd Coming of Jesus and his judgment of the world. Jesus said:

  • Matthew 24:36-44 - 36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.37 “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.38 “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,39 “and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.40 “Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.41 “Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.42 “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.43 “But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.44 “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” [44]

Now don’t miss the significance of this passage as it relates to Romans 1 and the present day. You see, Jesus in this passage is describing the conditions that will prevail during the Tribulation leading up to His 2nd Coming, (which occurs at the end of the 7 year Tribulation period – Revelation 6-19). But what is important is that we see the clear signs of a debased mind in society and the world now, which is evidence that the period of Tribulation can’t be far off. What will things be like when the church is removed at the Rapture? (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7). Things are bad now, they will be even worse when the true believers of God’s church are removed from the earth! And here is the important point to take note of, IF THE DEGREE OF DEBASED MINDEDNESS IN THE WORLD NOW IS EVIDENCE THAT THE TRIBULATION CAN’T BE FAR AWAY, AND THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH OCCURS BEFORE THE TRIBULATION, THEN THE RAPTURE CAN’T BE FAR OFF EITHER. And so Jesus’ words, “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” are words we should heed.

Later in Romans Paul is inspired to write:

  • Romans 13:11-14 – “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” [45]

Do you think the world is characterized by a debased mind? I think that as we look at the description by Paul of the debased mind, you will see that the debased mind is clearly present in humanity today, and if that is true, we are closer now to the Rapture than ever before. WE are close, very close. Come Lord Jesus!

The Debased Mind Described

Romans 1:29-31 – “being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;” [46]

What does the debased degenerative shamefully sinful mind look like? Paul gives a catalogue of sin that God-rejecters are characterized by:

“Being filled with all

The phrase, “being filled with” comes from the Greek term PLEROO (Strong’s # 4137 - plhrovw pleµroáoµ, play-roá´-o) meaning, “to make replete, to cram (as in filling up a fish net), level up (a hollow), or to furnish, satisfy, complete, fill up, fulfil, be or make full. [47] The sinful mind of the one who rejects God is filled up with the following. The debased and shamefully sinful mind is set on cramming as much perversion and sin into their mind as possible. Sinful content becomes an obsession with the one with a debased mind. The list of words and their explanations below is the most thorough and on target descriptions of the debased mind found not only in the Bible, but also anywhere else for that matter. Such is the shameful state of the human who chooses sin over God.

Unrighteousness – The opposite of justice. Not giving God and men their due. The Greek term is ADIKIA (Strong’s # 93 - ajdikiva adikia, ad-ee-kee´-ah) meaning, injustice; wrongfulness (of character, life or act); iniquity, unjust, unrighteousness, wrong.[48]

Sexual immorality – Any sexual activity outside of the God-ordained marriage union. This is translated from the Greek term PORNEIA (Strong’s # 4202 - porneiva poárneáia, por-ni´-ah ) referring to activities such as, “harlotry; adultery; incest); fornication.” [49] We get the English word “pornographic” or “pornography” from this terms.

Wickedness – A desire to harm; destructiveness. (Strong’s # 4189 - ponhriva poáneµria, pon-ay-ree´-ah - depravity, malice; plots, sins; iniquity, wickedness. [50]

 

Covetousness – Wanting more of what you already have enough of. Unbridled lust for more. (Strong’s # 4124 - pleonexiva pleáoáneáxia, pleh-on-ex-ee´-ah) meaning avarice, fraudulency, extortion; covetous (-ness) practices, greediness.[51]

Maliciousness – Viciousness. ( Strong’s # 2549 - kakiva kakia, kak-ee´-ah) meaning, “ badness, depravity, malignity, trouble; evil, malice (-iousness), naughtiness, wickedness.[52] The idea here is rottenness of character.

Full of envy – Desiring what others have. (Strong’s # 5355 - fqovno" phthoánoás, fthon´-os) meaning ill-will, jealousy (spite); envy.[53]

Murder- Willingness to destroy life, the most precious of things in creation, in order to get what you want, to satisfy your pleasure. (Strong’s # 5408 - fovno" phoánoás, fon´-os) meaning, to slay; murder; murder, slaughter[54]

Strife – Arguing for the sake of argument with a motive to win and exalt yourself. (Strong’s # 2054 - e[ri" eáris, er´-is; of uncert. aff.; a quarrel, i.e. (by impl.) wrangling:— contention, debate, strife, variance.[55]

Deceit – Bending and breaking the truth. 1388.    dovlo" doáloás, dol´-os; from an obs. primary verb, devllw deálloµ (prob. mean. to decoy; comp. 1185); a trick (bait), i.e. (fig.) wile:— craft, deceit, guile, subtilty (subtlety)[56]

Evil-mindedness – Concocting evil plans and activities. 2550.     kakohvqeia kakoáeµtheáia, kak-oá-ay´-thi-ah) referring to bad character, mischievousness. [57]

Whisperers – Devising propaganda against others behind their back. (Strong’s # 5588 - yiquristhv" psithuristeµs, psith-oo-ris-tace´) referring to one who speaks behind another’s back working to undermine them. [58]

Backbiters – Slanderous whispering; trying to destroy people by speaking behind their backs. (Strong’s # 2637 - katavlalo" katalaloás, kat-al´-al-os) meaning one who uses speech as a weapon to stab another in the back by slander.[59]

Haters of God – Defiance against God. (Strong’s # 2319 - qeostughv" theáoástugeµs, theh-os-too-gace´) meaning literally those who are, hateful to God, i.e. impious; irreverent. [60]

Violent – Enjoyment of injury or harm in others. (Strong’s # 5197 - uJbristhv" hubristeµs, hoo-bris-tace´) an insulter, i.e. maltreater: despiteful, injurious.[61]

Proud – “Me-first” mentality. (Strong’s # 5244 - uJperhvfano" hupeáreµphanoás, hoop-er-ay´-fan-os) one who likes to appear above others; haughty; proud.[62]

Boasters – Self-exaltation. (Strong’s # 213 - ajlazwvn alazoµn, al-ad-zone´) a braggart or boaster in oneself. [63]

Inventers of evil things – Not only one who dwells in thought on evil, but one who is preoccupied with devising or inventing new ways to indulge in evil. (Strong’s # 2182 ejfeurevth" eápheáureáteµs, ef-yoo-ret´-ace) one who is a contriver, an inventor of worthless, depraved and injurious things. .[64]

Disobedient to parents – This refers to children who are unpersuadable toward their parents. They won’t listen to reason or be obedient to their parents. (Strong’s # 545 - ajpeiqhv" apeáitheµs, ap-i-thace´). [65]

Undiscerning – A person so uncaring about the things of God that they are easily taken advantage of in spiritual things. (Strong’s # 801 -      ajsuvneto" asuneátoás, as-oon´-ay-tos) meaning, unintelligent; wicked; foolish, without understanding.[66]

Untrustworthy – The idea here is covenant breakers. (Strong’s # 802 - ajsuvnqeto" asuntheátoás, as-oon´-thet-os) referring to those who are inclined to disagreement and breaking agreements easily, a covenant breaker.[67]

Unloving – Willing to go against their own loved ones; love for others doesn’t impress them as something of worth. (Strong’s # 794 - a[storgo" astoárgoás, as´-tor-gos) literally refers to those who are hard-hearted specifically toward kindred; without natural affection.[68]

Unforgiving – People who refuse to settle disputes. (Strong’s # 786 - a[spondo" aspoándoás, as´-pon-dos) refers to those unwilling to settle disputes or make a truce; implacable, truce-breaker.[69]

Unmerciful - Those who ruthlessly carry out what they feel is justice. (Strong’s # 415 - ajnelehvmwn aneáleáeµmoµn, an-eleh-ay´-mone) literally merciless; unmerciful.[70]

This is particularly referring to the Gentile world, but it is a true picture of humankind in sin. They could know God, but they choose not to know God. It’s obvious that God exists, but they prefer to live their own sinful lives. Because of this God gives them over to their sinful ways and they plunge ever downward in their sinfulness.

In an Associated Press article dated March 21, 2002 and titled Web Porn Crackdown Widens details were given concerning an international crackdown on child pornography. The article reported in part:

WASHINGTON –– The United States and 10 other countries began seizing computers and videos and making arrests Wednesday in raids aimed at breaking up an Internet child-pornography ring. In this country, the targets of the investigation included a U.S. military pilot, a registered nurse, a network administrator for a publishing company and an artist, the Customs Service said. Search warrants involving eight people were executed in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Nevada, Oregon and Alaska. From the searches, Customs agents seized 12 computers; more than 600 compact disks, floppy disks and external computer drives; hundreds of videos; a digital camcorder; and a book on how to seduce children, the agency said. . . . At the same time, search warrants were issued by the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, Finland, Austria and Sweden, Customs said. [71]

You would be hard pressed to find a lower, more despicable, heinously depraved and debased act of sin than child pornography, but in recent days this horrific sin has been compounded in it gravity by rearing it’s ugly head AMONGST THOSE WHO CLAIM TO REPRESENT GOD! A recent article on the Internet reported on the presence of child sexual abuse amongst religious representatives. The article said in part:

The scourge of clergy sexual abuse has afflicted virtually every religious denomination: In recent years rabbis, ministers, and gurus have all been charged with molesting children. Hare Krishna temples are filing for bankruptcy because of the anticipated cost of settling abuse litigation, and the Jehovah's Witnesses are facing a first round of lawsuits. But the Catholic Church has been hit with many more allegations of clergy sexual abuse than any other faith or denomination.

''There are absolutely no Protestant equivalents,'' said Anson D. Shupe, a professor of sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University in Fort Wayne who researches clergy misconduct. ''If I could find some spectacular cases, that would help my career, but I can't. You don't have rapacious serial predators, and the Protestant establishment doesn't tolerate it the way the Catholic establishment has.''

Shupe's view is widely, but not universally, held among scholars of clergy sexual abuse. And the statistics seem clear: The Archdiocese of Boston says at least 80 priests have been accused of child sexual abuse over the last 50 years, and scholars say as many as 2,000 priests have been accused nationwide. By contrast, Protestant and non-Christian denominations have had so few reported cases that their leaders can generally count them on one hand. A 1999 study of clergy misconduct, in which academics with the Hartford Institute for Religion Research spoke with 76 ministers who had, over the last 40 years, served 532 different congregations in 14 different denominations, turned up no instances of sexual abuse of children in the Protestant congregations studied. [72]

This shameful cesspool of sin rooted in and flowing from the debased mind is the result and reality, the outcome of those who reject God. Their minds are debased and given over to lustful things. The presence of child sexual abuse amongst clergy shows that merely belonging to a church, or seeking God religiously, does little to curtail humanities shameful sinfulness, rather it is experiencing the powerful gospel of Jesus Christ that makes the difference. I’ll bet no one on earth is more ashamed than those clergy-people whose sinful sexual abuse of children has been exposed. When you come to know God personally through the gospel of Christ, you’ll have no need to be ashamed again. As sinful as people are, there is always still power enough in the gospel of Christ to save and change them into someone pleasing to God.

ADVOCACY OF EVIL

Romans 1:32 – “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” [73]

This is the climax of the debased sinful mind and heart. Even though those who commit such sin know it is deserving of God’s judgment, they do it anyway, and worse yet, they seek to entice others into their sinful ways. Even though the wrath of God has been revealed against their sinfulness (1:18), they ignore it persisting in their sinful ways seeking to recruit others to join them. The word “approve” (Strong’s # 4909 - suneudokevw suneáudoákeáoµ, soon-yoo-dok-eh´-o) means to think well of in common, that is assent to, feel gratified with; allow, assent, be pleased, have pleasure.)[74]

The King James Bible Commentary states:

“The heathen world is not unaware of God’s displeasure with these activities. Therefore, fully cognizant of the consequences of their sin, they continue to defy the Lord God of heaven and take great pleasure in keeping company with those who do the same.

Paul’s conclusion is that the heathen are never without a witness to the presence and personality of God. They have the witness of nature and the witness of their own conscience. However, the heathen have deliberately suppressed these witnesses to the truth and have consistently opted for a lie in place of the truth. They have chosen the course of idolatry, which is always accompanied by debauchery. Thus, God has revealed His wrath from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth of God. In addition, God has given them up to idolatry, to passions of infamy, and to an undiscerning and unapproving mind. Are the heathen lost? Yes, the entire heathen world is lost, deserving condemnation, desiring evil, and desperately wicked.” [75]

The final bottoming out stage of the shameful state of humankind is the advocacy of evil. In other words, those who themselves are practicing sinful activity, encourage others to do so too and seek the legitimizing of their sin. Those who indulge in sinful activity seek the legitimizing of their sin in an attempt to remove the social as well as spiritual stigma that their sinful behavior is wrong. This legitimizing strategy is fueled by the underlying guilt experienced, as the sinner inherently knows their behavior is sinful.

What does the Bible say about those who advocate evil? The following verses pronounce a clear condemnation upon such people:

  • Proverbs 17:15 – “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.” [76]
  • Isaiah 5:20 – “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” [77]
  • Malachi 2:17 – “You have wearied the Lord with your words; Yet you say, “In what way have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil Is good in the sight of the Lord, And He delights in them,” Or, “Where is the God of justice?” [78]

Clearly those who advocate evil and that which opposes God and His word are abominable to Him

A modern day example of this is found in the attempts of the homosexual community to have society and the church view their willful and unnatural sexually sinful proclivity as legitimate and an acceptable alternative to heterosexuality. Homosexuals are seeking to be viewed as a separate and legitimate population group. And they are succeeding. In September of 1999 the New York City Police department was reported to be openly recruiting gay candidates for their police department. Another example of such a strategy is the seeking of legal acceptance of gay unions on the same level as heterosexual marriages. In March of 2000 homosexual “civil unions” were recognized as legally legitimate in the state of Vermont. In May of 2000 democrats from New York State took steps toward a similar recognition of gay unions. And tragically, such advances to legitimize homosexuality are not limited to the secular realm; the strategy includes the precincts of the church.

In a June 18, 2000 article in the Washington Post entitled, Churches Debate Role in Gay Unions – Some Bless Couples, Few ‘Marry’ Them, (by Larry Witham) the issue of homosexual marriage becoming an accepted practice was reported upon. The article said in part:

The homosexual rights movement in American religion has its eyes on a prize - the wedding declaration: “Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder.” For the past two decades, advocates in churches and synagogues have argued that God will bless unions of homosexuals - and perhaps other kinds of adult, consensual combinations. Since about 1990, some clergy have joined in, presiding at "holy union" ceremonies they deem pleasing to God and as theologically valid as public vows taken before a church assembly. . . . "The gay groups are quite open about these weddings, but you can see why mainline pastors have to be secretive," says the Rev. Marc G. Benton of Bethlehem Presbyterian Church in Windsor, N.Y. "It's tearing our churches apart. We have very different views on Scripture, different views on God." . . . The time is coming when bisexual and transgender people also deserve holy unions, says Miss Eilts, the United Church of Christ coalition leader. "We need to be talking about, and not presume, that heterosexual and homosexual are the only forms of family to be sanctified." . . .

The closing comments reported in the above paragraph show that the depth of human depravity does not stop at advocating homosexuality, but will go one from there. There is no limit to the evil that shamefully sinful humans will stoop to advocate.

In another article entitled Homosexuality Not Innate, Expert Says, we are given insight into the underlying issue as it is reported:

The emotional debate about homosexuality is basically a substitute for a deeper debate on religious and political freedom, a leading psychiatrist told members of a prominent conservative public policy group on Monday. The premise that homosexuals cannot change is "an obvious lie," Dr Jeffrey Satinover told members of Toward Tradition, a conservative Judeo-Christian public policy group at their annual convention in Washington, DC. . . . . Misinformation about homosexuality is spread by homosexual activists and their allies in the psychiatric profession through what Satinover calls "HIV", Historical Information-Deconstruction Virus, a blight that affects gays and straights, conservatives and liberals and blacks and whites. "Today, it's commonplace to insist that differences between men and women are environmentally constructed while those between homosexuals and heterosexuals are genetic," he said. "Homosexuals are not another species," said Satinover, a prominent psychiatrist who treats homosexuals and who knows hundreds of homosexuals who have undergone profound changes.
"Homosexual activists and their allies, however, won't permit an open debate on the subject," Satinover said. "It's more than intolerance," he said. "It's pure viciousness."
Satinover is considered an international expert in the field of homosexual behavior. [79]

The advocacy of the homosexual community is just one example of those on the lower end of the downward spiral of sin who have reached the point where they advocate their evils. Other example are pedophiles, pornographers, and others who merchandize sexually immoral materials who claim their right under the First Amendment of the Constitution to spread their filth.

Romans 1:18-32 depicts the downward spiral of sin in the shamefully sinful world of humanity. THIS IS THE FILTHY ROTTEN WORLD THAT THE FATHER SENT HIS SON TO DIE FOR.NOW THAT IS GRACE!                       

Conclusion

This world is a cesspool of shameful sin. Now as we study the depths of sin here we may be tempted to think, “Man, I’m bad, but not that bad!” Or, “People are bad, but not that bad.” But the truth of it is that the person who sins, even once in their life is resultantly swimming around in the cesspool of sin described above. Sin is like a cancer that begins with a single out of control cell and then inevitably grows to take over the entire body if left untreated. What is true of cancer is true of sin. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re “not that bad,” or conversely, “I’m a pretty good person.” “Not that bad," and “pretty good,” don’t cut it as far as God’s righteous standard is concerned. And if you have any false security about your utter sinfulness before the Holy God Most High, the next two chapters in this section will remove it. You have to know the poison of sin, before you can see and appreciate the antidote of God’s grace in the gospel of Christ. That is the direction in which we are going.



[1]W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[2]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[3] Leon Morris, The Atonement,(Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press. 1983) p. 134-135

[4] John r. W. Stott, the Cross of Christ, (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press) 1986. p. 105

[5] John R.W. Stott Ibid

[6]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[7]W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[8] Chuck Smith WFT tape #8118

[9]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[11]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[12]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[13]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[14]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[15]Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.

[16]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[17]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[18] Chuck Smit WFT audiotape #8118

[19]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[20]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[21]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[22]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[23]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[24]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[25]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[26]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[27]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[28]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[29]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[30]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[31]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[32]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[33]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[34]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[35]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[36]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[37] azcentral.com

[38]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[40]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[41]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[42]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[43]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[44]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[45]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[46]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[47]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[48]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[49]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[50]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[51]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[52]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[53]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[54]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[55]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[56]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[57]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[58]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[59]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[60]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[61]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[62]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[63]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[64]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[65]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[66]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[67]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[68]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[69]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[70]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[71] By Jeannine Aversa Associated Press WriterThursday, March 21, 2002; 8:29 AM

 

[72] All faiths question handling of abuse Debate over celibacy as factor is rancorous By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff, 3/13/2002

 

[73]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[74]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[75]Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.

[76]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[77]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[78]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[79] Homosexuality Not Innate, Expert Says By Lawrence Morahan CNS Senior Staff Writer September 12, 2000 Washington (CNSNews.com)

 

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