- For ignoring the witness of God in creation (vv.19-20)
- For perverting God’s glory by turning to idolatry (vv.21-25)
The Witness of Creation (1:19-20)
Result #1: Degraded Theology (1:21-23)
- They refused to recognize God’s deity
- They were unthankful of God’s goodness
- They began to speculate about God
- They lost the little knowledge they had of God (see Eph. 4:18)
- They were lifted up in intellectual pride
- They became illogical as to their theology (see Psalm 115:4-8)
- They turned to idols as objects of their worship (worshiping demons, 1 Cor. 10:20).
Result #2: Degraded Morality (1:24-27)
The Word of God expressly condemns homosexual behavior. Whether in the Old Testament (Genesis 19; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13) or the New Testament (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9), homosexual behavior is labeled by God as an abomination, a shame, and self-abuse. Under the law of Moses, it was punishable by death. The broader sin of fornication (sex outside of marriage) includes homosexual behavior, although it generally refers to heterosexual sin. Homosexual behavior is not only contrary to the Word of God, but "contrary to nature". In the west, society has turned 180 degrees on this issue, and has not only embraced but celebrated the homosexual lifestyle. The judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis stands as a witness for all time of God's view of this form of wickedness, regardless of what man says. In Romans 1 we find that homosexual behavior is a result of man's rebellion against God. It is something God "gave them up to", allowing them to pursue their lusts as a form of judgment on them. It is interesting that God never connects a person’s identity with homosexuality, only with the sin. When a person becomes characterized by the sin, God calls them “sodomites” (1 Kings 14:24), or "them that defile themselves with mankind" (1 Tim. 1:10) in the same way He calls someone characterized by drunkenness a “drunkard” (1 Cor. 5). Satan has made a successful attack (since 1860’s) of getting society to view homosexual behavior differently. By starting from the premise that our desires define us as people, society began labeling people with a certain "sexual orientation", masking homosexual activity under the label of an acceptable lifestyle. As a result, the sin of homosexual behavior was abstracted, and people were forced to identify with a certain sexual orientation. Many people, including Christians, who struggle with same-sex attraction, fall into the trap of assigning themselves a sexual orientation. This causes them to either give up on moral purity, or else use the shift in societal norms as license for sin. In reality their lusts emanate from the same sinful nature that all natural men have, which is the root of all forms of sin. What they need to hear is the truth of Romans; i.e. that God has a way of deliverance, and that our identity is not in our desires, but in the Person who has laid down His life for us! Is the tendency for same-sex attraction something that a person is born with? This question gets into things that God has not answered for us completely. David acknowledged that "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psa. 51:5). Can God be blamed for this? No. It was "by one man" that "sin entered into the world" (Rom. 5:12). "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man" (James 1:13). The tendency towards a certain sin, in and of itself, is not sin. To lust or act according to that tendency is sin. "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed" (James 1:14). It is important in these matters that our moral standard be drawn from the Word of God, and nowhere else. The western world has abandoned Christian values, and lost all sense of morality. But our standard is not based on the shifting sands of culture, but on the foundation of God's Word, which is forever settled in heaven (Psa. 119:89).Another point is that while this catalog is for sins of unbelievers, the flesh is capable of the same things in believers; c.p. with the catalog in Galatians.
|moral||our bodies||Rom. 1:24-27||Gal. 5:19|
|spiritual||God||Rom. 1:21-23||Gal. 5:20a|
|social||fellow man||Rom. 1:28-32||Gal. 5:20b-21a|
Result #3: Degraded Social Behavior (1:28-32)
- They know the consequences of these sins, but are too fascinated by them to stop. To continue is entirely illogical, but they still proceed.
- They take pleasure in watching others do those deeds. A man’s mind has a higher capacity than his body, so he delights in others sins. In a culture influenced by Christianity, certain deeds might be unacceptable, but Satan has provided video recordings of these deeds “for your viewing pleasure”. A virtual world has been created (video games, movies) where the laws of the land and the government of God don’t apply. People love those environments because they can be completely lawless.
- I understand, therefore, that verse 18 gives first the general description of human ungodliness in every phase, and then the unrighteousness which was at that time most conspicuous in the Jews who combined with practical injustice a tenacious hold or possession of the truth: the former demonstrated to the end of Romans 1; the latter (after the transition of Rom. 2:1-16.) pursued from Romans 2:17 to Romans 3:20. – Kelly, William. Notes on the Epistle of Paul, the Apostle, to the Romans: with a New Translation. Nabu Press, 2010.