Summary: The doctrine of the depravity of man as set forth in Romans 1:18-32 as a testing doctrine. Your prevailing attitude on this subject will assuredly determine your viewpoint of many other Biblical doctrines of like importance.
Series Title: Romans – The Line in the Sand
Message Title: Coloring Outside the Line
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
There is nothing as plain in this world as that which has been revealed to man by God. This section of Romans deals with what A.W. Pink calls
“…a most unpalatable doctrine. It cannot be otherwise, for the unregenerate love to hear of the greatness, the dignity, the nobility of man.”
This section of Romans deals with the depravity of man and the subsequent penalty of those that have been given over to a depraved mind.
I will say it now, and I’ll say it again in the summary, your prevailing attitude on this subject and what is presented by Paul as wrong in the sight of God will assuredly determine your viewpoint of many other Biblical doctrines of like importance.
So, where do we start? Well, let’s take the stairs…
Verses 22-32 of Romans 1 are not going to get very much attention as they are very straightforward and need no clarification, but I strongly suggest that you read them through to the end.
What I am going to do, though, is go back to Romans 1:16, as it fits nicely in our Romans’ Stairs.
In verse 16, Paul says that he is “not ashamed of the gospel…”
Then in verse 17, he takes it a step further and elaborates on the gospel. He says, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed … ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”
Then verse 18 begins, in the NASB [New American Standard Bible] and the KJV with the word “For.”
What this one word does for us is connect us with what Paul just said. Paul is about to give a reason for the tremendous statements that he just put forth. Paul is about to begin his argument, an argument designed to establish the two-fold proposition given in Romans 1:17. What is that proposition? Through the famous statement that Paul quotes from
(Habakkuk 2:4) "See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright-- but the righteous will live by his faith-
He tells us
That God’s plan of justification is revealed in the gospel, and,
That God reveals Himself to men.
The first part of that probably all of you will agree with, while the second may be a little tough for some to swallow, as there is more than one understanding or interpretation of what Paul is saying here. Let’s look at the first one.
God’s Plan of Justification is Revealed in the Gospel
I want to mention, again [as I mentioned in an earlier message], that Paul tells us exactly what the Gospel is in 1st Corinthians: