Summary: SIN'S POWER PROGRESSES FROM MISDIRECTED WORSHIP TO TOTAL CONFUSION AS IT ESCALATES ITS HOLD ON OUR LIVES
Romans 1:18-32 – Progression of Sin in Gentiles
18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them.
20. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world 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 that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23. And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
24. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:
25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
28. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29. Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30. Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31. Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32. Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
We have taken some time in the first half of Romans 1 to lay the foundation of this great book – exploring the author Paul, his purpose in writing this powerful summary of the Christian faith, and the key theme of the Gospel and grace that we are going to plumb the depths of.
Now that we know that grace, salvation, the power of the Spirit to walk in a victorious life, and our missional calling will be the destination that this roadmap takes us, we must take a turn to first understand our sinfulness. Let me state here that you can NEVER fully grasp grace without an understanding of sin. Sin is perhaps the most neglected doctrinal teaching of the modern humanistic diluted Christianity. We call sin by more palatable terms like “mistake”, “error”, “an oopsie”, but sin is a serious problem and the root of all the problems that plague humanity.
Sin is such a severe problem that mankind cannot fix it. Men have tried to throw education, money, government, religion, and many other antidotes at it. Yet sin is not fixed by education – there are many depraved educated men that have wrought evil on history. Sin is not fixed by money – the rich and poor alike fill prison with blood on their hands. Sin is not fixed by government – both king and peasant have wrought atrocities. Sin is not fixed by religion – in fact religion often multiplies sin as men have justification or excuse for sin.
Sin is no minor issue. It is not, as some psychologists posit, a problem with the environment. You can become a monk on a deserted island to find that the sin problem was not those around you but a depraved nature in you.
So as Paul begins to outline our sin problem, he is going to do so in three phases through Romans 1, 2 & 3. His first description is going to address those who do not have the law, those who are ignorant of God’s commands. Next he will talk about the sin problem with those who have been given God’s law. Then Paul will conclude with a summary of the sinful nature, state, and acts of all humanity since the Garden.
So Paul begins the sin discussion with a powerful, fearful word – WRATH.
I. God’s Wrath is Revealed
a. Wow, what a potent word to begin the sin discussion with. This creates a sense of fearful reverence that is often ignored or minimized in the current western church.
b. What does Scripture mean when it refers to God’s wrath?