1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
1:19 because that which is known of God is revealed in them,
for God revealed it to them.
1:20 For the invisible things of him since the creation
the world are clearly seen,
being perceived through the things that are made,
even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without
1:21 Because, knowing God, they didn't glorify him as God,
neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless heart was darkened.
1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
1:23 and traded the glory of the incorruptible God
for the likeness of an image of corruptible man,
and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.
Results of Gentile's Guilt
1:24 Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to
that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves,
1:25 who exchanged the truth of God for a lie,
and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who
is blessed forever. Amen.
1:26 For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions.
For their women changed the natural function into that which is
1:27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural function of the
burned in their lust toward one another, men doing what is
and receiving in themselves the due penalty of their error.
1:28 Even as they refused to have God in their knowledge,
God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are
1:29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual
maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil habits,
1:30 backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful,
inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
1:31 without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural
1:32 who, knowing the ordinance of God, that those who practice
are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also approve of
who practice them.
How do you know God exists?
If God is invisible, then how can He be seen?
Will people be held accountable for such knowledge?
As a result of rejecting the knowledge of God, in what ways do
How does the corruption of our mind affect our behavior?
How might the rejection of God lead to homosexuality?
What are example of exchanging the truth of God for a lie?
Why might people think that it just isn't worthwhile to retain the
knowledge of God?
Revealed, Truth Suppressed
Rom 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed
heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who
the truth by their wickedness
It seems that there are two channels through which God's wrath is
revealed. One is the Word of God. The wrath of God is part of the
gospel message, else "salvation" has no context. "Whoever believes in the Son has
eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for
wrath remains on him."John
3:36 and "Since we
now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved
God’s wrath through him!" Rom
5:9 The other channel is through the nature of things of
he'll talk about shortly.
"Godlessness" means to
disregard God in one's life. Naturally this would include atheists,
even those who allege a belief in God may fall into this category if
they disregard God in making decisisons or otherwise treating God
"wickedness" is more
accurately "unrighteousness", which is simply to not do the right
Such people characteristically suppress the truth. They don't want
hear it for themselves, nor do they want the truth to be a matter of
public discourse. "by their wickedness" is more accurately "in
unrighteousness", which is simply to say that suppressing the truth
not the right thing to do.
Existence Intuitively Obvious
Rom 1:19,20 since what may be known about God
plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since
creation of the world God’s invisible qualities— his eternal power
divine nature— have been clearly seen, being understood from what
been made, so that men are without excuse.
How can what is invisible be clearly seen? That is, God existence,
a number his attributes, are intuitively obviously from nature
You see? Consider, for example, is that people by nature behave as
Now some people say, "God doesn't
I don't know how such rumors persist.
They say, "We're only a product of chance."
I wouldn't be quick to take that stance
Cause if God is unreal we're nothing but dust
no basis for saying what's just and unjust
no basis for meaning and purpose in life
no basis for love, no basis for strife
The existence of God is really a must
cause people don't really act like dust
Secondly consider the order and design in nature. When a
plants a seed why does he expect a certain kind of plant to result?
Because he knows intuitively that the seed contains some kind of
in to create a certain type of plant. Today we know even something
amazing about this process. Today we know that there is actually
information in the seed coded into a language form, DNA code
which contains such a plan. But language in coded form implies
intelligence, an Author.
More generally is the scientific assumption is that nature is
by laws. Why that assumption? Why should there be laws governing
nature? Law imply a Law-giver.
Because people know that God exists, that we are designed for a
purpose, and that failing such we are subject to judgement,
there is no excuse. Though many may attempt to excuse themselves on
judgement day, they have no legitimate excuse. Claims of ignorance
no excuse, for what they may claim they didn't know, they should
known. And besides, people don't even live up to their own
let alone God's. Claims of inability is no excuse, for "No temptation has seized you
what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be
tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he
also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." 1Cor 10:13
Corrupts the Mind and Heart
Rom 1:21For although they knew God, they
neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their
became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
This verse reveals the origin of the mental and moral corruption of
society. It all starts with people not acknowledging God. We are
in such a way that if we don't give God the acknowledgement or
the credit due Him, decay sets in like a cancer.
"So I tell you this, and insist
it in the Lord,
that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility
their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and
the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to
hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have
to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a
continual lust for more."
4:17-19 This idea will be elaborated upon in the rest of
chapter. But the basic origin of such corruption is the fact that
people don't acknowledge God.
But more than just acknowledgement, we are to thank God. For though
many make requests of God, not as many will thank God when they
what they requested, let alone when people neglect to thank God for
providing one's needs despite no request being given. Take time now
thank God for what you may have neglected to thank Him for. "Consider this, you who forget
I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue: He who sacrifices
offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show
salvation of God."Ps
Wise become Fools
Rom 1:22,23 Although they claimed to be wise,
became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for
made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
"The fool says in his heart,
'There is no God.' They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there
one who does good." Ps
By not acknowledging God, or replacing God with an idol results in a
corruption of one's thinking such that one becomes foolish. Yet such
person will reckon themselves wise. "The way of a fool seems right to him,
but a wise man listens to advice." Pr 12:15 That is, such a person
makes their own opinion, their own feelings, the standard of truth.
"A fool has no delight in
understanding, But in expressing his own heart." Pr 18:2 For to reject God is to
reject his Word and replace Him with that which is foolish be it
oneself or an idol.
Concerning idols Isaiah notes, "Half
fire; over it he prepares his meal, he
roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says,
I am warm; I see the fire.' From the rest he makes a god, his
bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, 'Save me;
are my god.' They know nothing, they understand nothing; their
plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they
and goes on to say, "He feeds
ashes, a deluded heart
misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, 'Is not
in my right hand a lie?'"Is
Immorality Characterizes a Corrupt Heart
Rom 1:24,25Therefore God gave them over in the
sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the
their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for
lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the
who is forever praised. Amen.
This phrase "gave them over"
is going to be repeated in this chapter. What it implies is that God
restraining people to a degree. Restraining their sinful desires
fully controlling their behavior. Addictions, be they sexual or
otherwise, are largely the result of not acknowledging God as God.
Consequently one's sensual desires become the controlling factor in
one's life, one's decisions and one's goal in life - to seek after
which fulfills one's sensual nature. More literally it says, "God also gave them up to
in the lusts of their hearts" Rejecting the acknowledgement
God does not result in a clean, healthy lifestyle, but rather that
which is depraved, dirty, corrupt. Such is the condition of the
unsaved. Paul writes of the Ephesians of the unsaved condition, "among whom also we all once
ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the
flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just
the others." Eph 2:3
also to Titus he writes, "At
time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by
kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy,
hated and hating one another." Titus
The mind and the heart go together. When people given themselves
to the desires of their heart, they will also find reason for doing
to justify themselves, exchanging the truth for a lie. Jesus said, "anyone who looks at a woman
has already committed adultery with her in his heart."Mt 5:28 They exchange that truth
a lie. Jesus said, "Anyone who
divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and
man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."Luke 16:18 They exchange that
for a lie. Let alone, "Do not
with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable."Lev 18:22 And "A woman must not wear men’s clothing,
nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests
who does this." Deut 22:5
These and many more truths have largely been exchanged for lies,
particularly in post-modernistic Western society.
And consider who or what the ungodly serve. They may serve
a creature rather than the Creator. They may serve another person -
creature rather than the Creator. Or they may serve something,
some material thing, like their car, their house, their toys - all
creations rather than the Creator. What do you serve?
Rom 1:26,27 Because of this, God gave them over
shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for
unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural
relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.
committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves
due penalty for their perversion.
Homosexuality is a product of a depraved mind and a depraved heart
which are likewise a product of not glorifying God as God nor giving
thanks to Him. And if you talk with homosexuals it seems they really
are depraved in their thinking in their considering their behavior
feelings so natural to them as to define a third gender in defiance
God's design. They furthermore defy God's design of marriage in that
sex was intended to be limited to marriage. "For this reason a man will leave his
father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will
one flesh"Mt 19:5 "Becoming
flesh" is referring to sex in that it is also written, "Do you not know that he who
himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said,
two will become one flesh.""1Cor
6:16 Sex outside of marriage, whether it be homosexuality,
fornication, or adultery is immoral. But in terms of degree,
homosexuality reveals the depravity of sexually immoral
But as I said, much as these are depraved, shameful and indecent
the homosexual generally has such a seared conscience and their mind
depraved as be desensitized to what is decent. There are differences
opinion as to what it means by having received in themselves the due
penalty for their perversion. While some point sexual diseases such
aids, it seems to me it's referring to this perversion of the mind
feelings such they their conscience is beyond a sense of decency.
Though it is true that sin is naturally unhealthy and thus sexual
disease, like aids, is a natural byproduct of such behavior.
In contrast to the political correctness which speaks of
as a category like that of race, religion, ethnic background or
the Bible speaks of homosexuality as simply another category of
wickedness. "Do you not know
the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be
Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male
prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy
drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of
God."1Cor 6:9,10 The fate of the
sexually immoral is also reflected upon in Jude 1:7"In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah
and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality
perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the
of eternal fire."
Rom 1:28 Furthermore, since they did not think it
worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them
a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
Is it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God. You bet it is! But
"In his pride the wicked does
him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God." Ps 10:4 If you don't make
for God in your thoughts, the effect is that your mind is going to
become depraved. But it takes humility to leave room for God.
Furthermore when ask about God, the proud may acknowledge a belief
God without actual knowledge of God, but rather simply define God in
their own mind, which is idolatry. You may ask them what one has to
to go to heaven. And they just simply make something up. The humble
allow God to define himself. How can a person have a right
with God? God is the one who determines that. So the knowledge of
is necessary to answer such a question.
As for finding it, the Lord says, "My
my words and store
my commands within
you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to
understanding, and if you call
out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if
you look for it
as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand
fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God."Pr 2:1-5
The Bible is central to avoid a depraved mind as it contains the
knowledge of God. Thus it is written that, "Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed
Moses, so also these men oppose the truth— men of depraved minds,
as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected."2Tim
The opposition to Moses was a rejection of the Word of God
as Moses was God's spokeman at the time. Likewise for those who
the teachings of Jesus and his apostles. Vices:
Rom 1:29abeing filled with all
sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness;
Characteristic of a number of his letters, Paul will now go into a
of categories of wickedness, which though long is not comprehensive.
fact Paul mentions reiterates a number of these terms in the list he
gives in 2Tim 3:2-5
Unrighteousness is simply
not have the attitude to do the right thing. For example suppose you
hit a parked car and no one else sees you. Do you think, "what's the right thing to do now?" Or do you think, "what can I get away with?" If
latter characterizes you, then you're a wicked person.
"Sexual immorality" is
literally "porneia" in the Greek from which we get pornography.
immorality has many forms, but all go back to a common root of
oneself to be sexually immoral as opposed to restraining one's
desire to that which God designed it for, which is namely marriage.
There's pornagraphy. "Anyone
looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her
his heart."Mt 5:28
There's fornication and adultery. "Marriage
and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and
adulterers God will judge."Heb
13:4, which includes remarriage after divorce, "Anyone who divorces his wife and
marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she
her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery." Mk 10:11,12 And he previously
of homosexuality. These are the most common forms of sexual
"Covetousness" is a greedy
desire to have more, especially that which belongs to others. "You shall not covet your
house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant
maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your
Realize there's only a subtle difference between wanting the kind of
thing your neighbor has and wanting what belongs to your neighbor.
likewise the difference between wanting that which you don't really
need, and a greedy desire to have more is a matter of degree.
Paul associates covetousness with idolatry.
3:5 "Therefore put
to death your members
which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil
Eph 5:5 "For this you know, that no
fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man,
who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom
So coveteousness is
not limited to desiring other people's stuff, but rather is more
generally desiring stuff in an idolatrous fashion.
"Maliciousness" is a vicious disposition,
intent. But realize it may reveal itself in subtle ways. In Acts 8:22 the same Greek word is
used by Peter to describe the attitude of a man who wanted to pay
for the ability to dispense the Holy Spirit upon people. In contrast
unrighteouesness, which is
intent to not do the right thing,
maliciousness is the intent to do harm, to do evil.
Rom 1:29bFull of envy, murder, strife,
evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
While covetous is the obsession with things, the object of envy is that which another
whether material thing or not. For example Jesus was handed over to
crucified because of the envy of the chief priests. "the chief priests had handed Him
because of envy" Mark
Envy is something we've all experienced from
time to time. "For we
were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various
and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one
another." Titus 3:3
now "lay aside all malice, all
deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking"1Pet
"Murder" speaks for
- unjustly killing another person be it by abortion or otherwise. I
"unjustly" because the Bible does make a distinction between capital
punishment and murder as it also does with unintentional
In fact it advocates capital punishment in the case of murder. "Whoever kills a person, the
shall be put to death on the testimony of witnesses" Num 35:30 And while this was
reserved for physical murder, hatred is a form of murder - unjustly
wishing someone's death. "Anyone
hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has
eternal life in him."1John
3:15 Murderers are one of the many categories of people who
don't have eternal life.
"Strife" is contention
contention's sake. Christians are exhorted to contend. But not for
sake of contenting but to contend for the faith. "I found it necessary to write to
exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once
delivered to the saints." Jude
1:3b Thus for example we find Paul characteristically
against false teaches and sinful practices within the Christian
community. But he also says, "Warn
quarreling about words; it is of no value, and
only ruins those who listen."
2Tim 2:14 and "If
teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound
our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and
understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies
quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk,
suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind ..."
1Tim 6:3-5a Therefore "don’t have anything to do with
foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce
quarrels."2Tim 2:23 even though
someone's argument as "stupid" may itself produce a quarrel.
"Deceit" is something
Christians are regularly warned to be alert to. "Let no one deceive you by any means"2Th 2:3 "Let no one deceive you with empty
words" Eph 5:6a"These things I have written to you
concerning those who try to deceive you."1John 2:26 and certainly
should not try to deceive others, but rather should be honest.
for there "are false apostles,
deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no
for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light."2Cor 11:13,14
"Evil-mindedness" is a
sort of malicious craftiness. It's the intentional planning out of
malicious acts. It's organizing crime and evil acts. Pr 12:20"There is deceit in the hearts of those
who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace."Pr 14:22"Do not those who plot evil go astray?
But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness."
"Whisperers" is a word
used here in the New Testament, though its a form of gossip, which
used more generally. But in particular this means to secretly
someone. That is, to misrepresent a person behind their back.
Rom 1:30 backbiters, haters of God,
proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
evil speakers. As opposed to whisperers, these may do so on any
The basic premise is a disrespect for one's opponent, a disregard
"haters of God" these
exceptionally impious towards God. They detest God.
"Violent" In particular
this word is "hubristes" is Greek, from which we get the English
"Hubris" meaning arrogance. The Greek lexicon has "hubristes" as one who, uplifted with pride, either
insulting language upon others or does them some shameful act of
and finds pleasure in such acts. Ps 11:5"The
LORD tests the righteous, But the
wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates" It's
a few places in the LXX where it's often translated "pride". Job 40:11b "Look on everyone who is proud, and humble
him."Pr 15:25 "The LORD will destroy the house of
the proud, But He will establish the boundary of the widow."
distinction from "hubristes" in that it refers to "showing one’s self above others".
Sort of Jesus' criticism of the religious elite of his day in
23. The Lexicon elaborates that "huperephanos
too highly of himself, describing a trait
which is simply internal, not referring primarily to external
manifestation, although this is implied. It means one who is
external manifestation when it appears being in the form of
in dealing with others." It's also the word used in the
phrase "God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble."(Pr 3:34)
"Boasters" The lexicon
describes as, "one who tells
things concerning his own prowess and achievements, with the
idea that many of his claims are false. This word naturally
trait which manifests itself in contact with one’s fellow men, not
which exists simply within the heart." Paul says, "God forbid that I should boast
in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" Gal 6:14 Avoid boasting about
yourself, for inevitably the human (sinful) nature will cause one to
make too much of oneself.
"Inventors of evil things" is
contrive of new ways to do evil or investors of things which are
used for the purpose of evil.
"Disobedient to parents"
falls under the general category of disregarding legitimate human
authority. But respect for parents is something God particularly
seriously. In fact under the Law of Moses it says, "Anyone who curses his father or
must be put to death." Ex
And "If a man has a stubborn
rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will
listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother
take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his
They shall say to the elders, 'This son of ours is stubborn and
rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a
Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must
the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be
afraid."Deut 21:18-21 So "Children, obey your parents in
Lord, for this is right."
Rom 1:31 undiscerning, untrustworthy,
unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
"Undiscerning", which is
say "foolish" or "stupid" as the lexicon
This word was used a few verses ago where Paul says, "their foolish hearts were
1:21c But Jesus even used to with regards to his disciples
times, like when Peter has him to describe the meaning of a parable
Jesus responded, "Are you also
understanding?"Mt 15:16 More generally, "the natural man does not receive
things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor
he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1Cor 2:14
"Untrustworthy" here is
literally "to break an agreement"
of the marriage vow would be an example of this.
Likewise when one borrows money but refuses to pay it back."The wicked borrows and does not repay" Ps 37:21a
"Unloving" is "without natural affection". A
natural affection would be, for example, the parent's affection for
their children. Such is the case even in the animal kingdom. Yet
are those without this natural affection due to the hardness of
hearts which is a result of their not glorifying God as God nor
thanks to Him.
"Unforgiving" is implacable - impossible to
appease - one who refuses to agree
to any terms or
suggestions of peace. It implies a state of war, and a refusal of
covenant or even of armistice to end it permanently or
In contrast the Christian is commanded to seek reconciliation in our
relationships, be they with man or God. "God was in Christ reconciling the
world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has
committed to us the word of reconciliation."2Cor 5:19
"Unmerciful" means what
says. It's a person who doesn't exercise mercy. In contrast the
says, "Blessed are the
For they shall obtain mercy."Mt 5:7
and of Jesus, "He had to be
made like His brethren,
that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things
pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the
judgment of God, that those who practice such
things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also
those who practice them.
"Knowing" here is epignosis - "to know about" something. That is,
they've heard of God's righteousness judgment on such things, which
not to say they agree with such judgement. For these approve of that
which should be punishable by death. Though which things are
may be dependent on culture. Western culture largely approves of
like sexual immorality and covetousness - the self-centered,
seeking type of sins, while the Muslim community approves largely of
the violent atrocities committed in the name of their god Allah,
with things like lying and deceit. Wherever you go you will find
cultures which approve of things of which should be punishable by
Now while on a case by case basis one may not commit a particular
of evil, yet by approving those who practice them, they condone the
action and so are guilty. An example would be 911 where that very
Muslims all over the world praised that act of Islam terrorism. And
there are those who themselves
are not homosexuals, but approve of those who do practice
homosexuality, and not only so, but demand that everyone else
of such things. And there are those who didn't get an abortion, but
approve of those who do. And so forth.
Consider whether you approve of those who practice what the Bible