Summary: Series in Romans
Text- Romans 1:18-32
Title- Building a Doctrinal House
Romans 1:18-32 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
I. Doctrine of Revelation
a. Special Revelation
b. General Revelation
II. Doctrine of Man
a. Created in the Image of God
b. Marred by Sin
Here is a picture of a bicycle. A bike is a fairly simple machine. It has wheels, pedals, brakes, a place to sit, a place to steer, and a few chains and gears to help it move. When all the parts are working together in harmony you end up with a bike that is functional. When you re-arrange the parts, or leave a few out, or bend some out of shape you might have something that looks kind of like a bike, but it doesn’t really work, and it falls apart the first time it’s tested.
Theology is a lot like that simple machine. It is made up of different doctrines- the doctrine of Man, the doctrine of God, the doctrine of revelation,- and each of these parts fits together to form an efficient and working belief. If you remove a doctrine, or bend it out of shape, or put it in the wrong place, you might have something that looks like Christianity, but it will fall apart the first time it’s tested.
One of the reasons that theologians and scholars are so fond of the book of Romans is that it provides us with such a great collection of doctrinal truth. So many pieces of the puzzle are found in this book, and in a great working order.
We all understand that knowledge is cumulative. We don’t start out knowing it all, although there are a few years between 12 and 19 when you think you know it all. We grow and develop in our understanding of things. It starts in kindergarten and then 1st grand and 2nd grade and so on.
If you don’t learn the things you are supposed to learn in 2nd grade, you need to be held back a year until you catch up. That’s because the stuff they teach in 3rd grade builds on the stuff you learn in 2nd grade. 3rd grade will be a lot harder. If you get too far behind it will be hard to ever catch up.
Our knowledge and understanding of theology is the same way. It is cumulative. Each doctrine builds on the last doctrine. Each theological idea is interconnected with the others. If we don’t have a clear understanding of the basics, it will screw up the rest of our theological framework.
Theologians love constructing theological houses. I have a shelf full of “systematic theology” books in my office. What I want to do for us as we study the book of Romans is to create our own theological house. As we interact with new doctrines we will put them in their proper place.