In this article, we will bring ourselves under the authority of Romans 1:18-32. Notice vs 18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…” (vs 18a) This verse explains that ungodliness and unrighteousness invoke the wrath of God. The word “wrath” in verse 18 means “violent passion, anger, indignation, justifiable ire, or vengeance.”
In other words, God is saying, “There are some things that are not allowed." There are attitudes and actions that are displeasing to the Lord which justifiably invoke His perfect wrath.
God is saying, “Ungodliness and unrighteousness are not allowed!”
Consider these four aspects from Romans; Revelation (vs. 18-20), Rejection (vs. 21-23), Results (vs. 24-32), and Reconciliation (Romans 5:8-12).
1. Revelation (vs. 18-20)
The following phrases indicate that God has revealed Himself to mankind.
“who hold the truth” (vs 18)
“God is manifest” (vs 19)
“God hath showed (the truth) unto them” (vs 19)
“clearly seen” (vs 20)
“being understood” (vs 20)
“they knew God” (vs 20)
We have His canonized Word, an informed conscience, “in them,” (See also Romans 2:14-16) and His creation, (vs 20) which all point to “His eternal power and Godhead.” These things make it so that people are “without excuse.”
It’s not as though He spoke and mankind could not hear Him. He has spoken, yet sinful mankind has chosen to disobey Him. He has revealed Himself to humanity clearly in multiple ways, and we have willfully rejected Him. Sadly, this has become increasingly evident in the U.S. and more recently in Canada which passed their Bill C-4 which threatens 2-5 years in jail for presenting the gospel to a homosexual.
2. Rejection (vs. 21-23)
“they glorified Him not as God.” (vs 21) - Rejected
“neither were thankful” (vs 21) - Rejected
Mankind basically says, “I choose darkness over light.” (vs 21) Again, God is rejected.
Sinful man has chosen to worship “corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed beasts and creeping things,” instead of adoring the glory of the “uncorruptible God.” God is rejected.
Ultimately what has been rejected is God‘s revelation of Himself.
“Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge…” (vs 28), they became, “haters of God” (vs 30).
Sinful humanity rejects His Word, has a self-induced seared conscience and credits a “Big Bang” for His creation. Sadly, God was rejected in Paul's day much like He is rejected today.
3. Results (vs. 24-32)
What happens when a society rejects God's revelation?
Verse 24 explains, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness.”
Verse 26 says, “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections.”
Verse 28 says, “God gave them over to a reprobate mind.”
What specifically does that “giving them up/over” look like?
* Dishonoring their own bodies between themselves (vs 24)
* Creatures worshiping creatures (vs 25)
* Lesbianism & Abortion (vs 26)
* Homosexuality (vs 27) - homosexuality is not natural but is a learned behavior and the result of an individual choice. The text teaches us that it’s an exchange. (“change” in vs 23, 25, 26) . According to the text, homosexual drives are not innate needs, but are secondary learned drives associated with habitual perversion.
* It looks like a society “filled with all unrighteousness” and then Paul includes a list of unrighteous attributes, (vs 29-31) all worthy of death. (Romans 6:23)
These are the features of every crumbling culture.
The key to it all is “Who knowing the judgement of God…” (vs 32). To be clear, sodomites, and this list of sins are not the cause of a crumbling culture, they are the effect. They are not the initial problem, they are the symptom.
The cause of a society’s moral problems is the rejection of God‘s revelation; a rejection of God Himself. The cause of a society's moral problems is rebellion against their Creator.
Modern man, as in Paul’s day, has rejected the absolute standard of God’s Word. As a result, our country’s morals are determined by the sliding scale mentality. Unfortunately, our definitions of moral behavior are very much subject to social values and changing social norms instead of the Word of God. And even many Christians have succumb to the world’s theories about homosexuality.
Yet, in the midst of this confusion, where is the hope?
4. Reconciliation (Romans 5:8-12)
Remember the idea of an “exchange” mentioned in Romans 1? Sinful man’s exchange: he “changed the glory of uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man…” (vs 23). “Who changed the truth of God into a lie…” (vs 25) “Women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.” (vs 26)
God offers an exchange in Romans 5:11 that is far better than man's exchange! The word “atonement” in Romans 5:11 means exchange.
Through Christ, we exchange our sin for His salvation! This is how a sinner can be reconciled to a perfectly holy God. Because of Christ, we can exchange His wrath, for His love.
Please read the following verses carefully. They are among the most glorious verses in all the Bible.
Romans 5:8-11, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (an exchange) (See also 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.)
God‘s revelation of Himself, and His will is clear and accessible yet, rejecting Him has eternal results. Still though, He offers reconciliation through Christ. What the world needs more than anything else is to submit to God‘s revelation before it’s eternally too late!
“This is not allowed” is what many 21st-century governments are concluding. This gospel-based message is not allowed in Canada as of a recently passed Bill called C-4. Evangelistic Christians in Canada can face 2 to 5 years in jail if they attempt to convert homosexuals to Christ.
Interestingly, the gospel message was not allowed in the apostle Paul‘s day and as a result he was jailed on several occasions. Yet, he still boldly proclaimed, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God onto salvation.” (Romans 1:16).
In the book of Romans, God declares that “sin is not allowed and will invoke His wrath, but there can be reconciliation.”
Yet at the same time, human governments are increasingly saying, “The gospel is not allowed, and there’s no such thing as sin.”
This is why the Apostle Peter said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)
As Christians, we obey government right up until the government instructs us to disobey God. All sin is worthy of death (Romans 6:23; 5:12) but the most heinous sin mentioned in Romans 1 is not homosexuality or lesbianism, it is the sin of rejecting the revelation of God. My hope for everyone that reads this article is that you would embrace God‘s revelation, and be reconciled to Him.
John Jay, the First Chief Justice of the United States was right when he said, "The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the Word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts."
The above article was written by Pastor James C. Johnson. To offer him your feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.