Romans Chapter 1
Romans Chapter 1
First Baptist Church
Des Moines, NM
Here it is Friday already and weíre coming to the end of our brief survey of Romans, Chapter 1. Weíve seen a lot of things along the way- Paulís desire to preach the gospel, a very brief but essential synopsis of the gospel, and an introduction of the role of the wrath of God. Today weíll finish up with Chapter one, which looks closer at the wickedness of man and exactly what the results of suppressing the truth of Godís righteousness. This is a difficult section for many people and I almost guarantee it will, just as the passage itself says, anger some people. Other people will be pierced to the heart, repent, and seek Godís forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Iím praying for more of the latter than the former.
Letís look at todayís passage and grab a couple of verses from yesterdayís to get some context.
Romans 1:18-32 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (19) 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, (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. (22) Professing to be wise, they became fools, (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. (24) Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, (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.
That was yesterdayís section. Hereís todayís:
(26) 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. (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; (29) 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; (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.
Uh..oh, weíre entering into some decidedly non-Politically Correct territory here, but itís what the Bible says and weíre here to see what the Bible says, so we must forge on. What does Paul call this when women exchange the natural use for what is against nature, or when men burn in their lust for one another? He calls it "vile passions." Why are these passions "vile"? They are vile because they are the result of a mind that has rejected God and turned against him. Watch what Paul says in verse 28- "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mindÖ" It is precisely because they do not worship God as Creator, including creator of man and female in a certain relationship, and because they have taken up other idols to worship, that God gives them over to a debased mind.
God gives them over to do things which are not fitting and these things include:
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;
That is quite of list of things. Now first of all, donít think that Paul holds himself up and above some of these things himself. At the beginning of Chapter 2, Paul this:
Romans 2:1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
What heís doing in the first 3 chapters of Romans is showing the sin of everyone. At first he starts with these obvious sins which are obviously the result of people who are, as he says, "haters of God." But in Chapter 2, heíll show the sins of those called Jews, and in Chapter 3, the sins of the Gentiles. This will allow him to say in Chapter 3:
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
So, if youíre in that list which includes sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, and so on, donít be offended and donít think that Paul is picking on you alone. Paulís about to convict everyone of sin, and rightly so.
However, note that in this list there are some surprises. We have sexual immorality, wickedness, maliciousness, envy, murder, strife and so on, and bangÖ."haters of God." This really is the root of the whole thing. Man naturally hates God. Yes, yes, I can hear the protests already- "I donít hate God! I love God!" If thatís so, then why have you sinned? The definition of "sin" is "disobedience to God." Why have you disobeyed one whom you truly loved? Donít you know that it hurts to be disobeyed? Did God hand down his commandments for no reason whatsoever, or are his commandments designed for our good? Godís commands are for our own good and it hurts God when we disobey. To deliberately disobey is to say "I know better than you." And the reason I think man deliberately disobeys God is because Romans 1:32 says so:
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.
It says clearly that these people "know the righteous judgment of God." Man knows the basic things of God and he knows that itís wrong to disobey.
Here, Paul says that "those who practice such things are deserving of death." Later in Romans he says again:
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is deathÖ
That man naturally hates god is evident from:
Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Why does man hate God? I can only hit some highlights here, but basically man hates God because man wants to BE God. Watch what happened in the Garden of Eden:
Genesis 3:1-6 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" (2) And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; (3) but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' " (4) Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. (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." (6) So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
The serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field, and he went right straight to the heart of the issue when he said: "Öyou will be like GodÖ" And the womanís reaction was this- "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate." Her desire was to be like God, who alone is wise, according to 3 passages in the Bible, including Romans 16:27.
Right from the very beginning, manís desire was to be equal with God. And because man can never be equal to God, man hates that and hates God. All throughout the Bible and history, man creates idols to worship, idols that man himself has created and over which man himself really has control. God is not like that. God does not answer to man. God was not created by man, rather man was created by God. But, at the same time, man was created in the image of God. Man has creativity, intelligence, speech, and the attributes of God- love, anger, mercy, justice, wrath, and so on. What natural man does not have, though, is holiness. According to this verse, God alone is holy:
Revelation 15:4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy.
It is natural manís natural unholiness that spoils the soup for mankind. His judgments are not righteous, his thoughts are not pure, and his actions are tainted by this unholiness. Instead of drawing near to God and seeking guidance, man seeks his own way. This is the context of the passage weíve seen today in Romans. And manís natural inclination toward hearing this news is something "Oh, címon, get a grip! I donít hate God! Iím not that bad of a person, man, you make me sound like something awful." Well, remember who youíre being judged against- not other people, but against the holy God himself. In:
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
The first part of the statement is "all have sinned", but donít over look the second part- "Öand fall short of the glory of God." All men fall short of the glory of God and therefore cannot be allowed in His holy presence, since he cannot tolerate the presence of sin. Isaiah makes it plain:
Isaiah 59:2-3 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. (3) For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity.
Man is separated from God and, thanks to his sin and disobedience, is deserving of death. If youíre honest with yourself and if God grants you repentance, youíll see this truth and it will grieve your heart. What is the solution?
The solution is Jesus Christ. According to:
Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (2) through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And according to:
1 John 4:9-10 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. (10) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
So, the solution to our sinfulness is to accept the propitiation of Jesus Christ and to accept the reconciliation with God that Christ, and Christ alone offers. All men have sinned and all men need Christ. Letís look back and the start of Romans, Chapter one and see again, what Paul says there:
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
I pray that in the Day of Judgment that you will be counted among the saints who have believed and accepted Jesus Christ as their propitiation.
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