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GOD’S WRATH AGAINST MANKIND”

 

“COMMENTARY (THE UGP CURRICULUM)

 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

 

 

 

Lesson: Romans 1:18-32; Time of Action: 56 A.D.; Place of Action: Paul writes from Corinth

 

Lesson Text: Romans 1:18-32

 

 

 

King James Version (KJV)

 

I. REVELATION OF GOD’S WRATH (Romans 1:18)

 

18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

 

II. REASONS FOR GOD’S WRATH (Romans 1:19-23)

 

19. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed 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 uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.

 

III. DEPRAVITY AND DIVINE ABANDONMENT OF THE UNGODLY(Romans 1:24-32)

 

24. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

 

25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. 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 recompence 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, covenantbreakers, 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.

 

Golden Text: “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” (Romans 1:20).

 

I. INTRODUCTION. Our world is witnessing an unparalleled explosion of evil. Things which were considered unmentionable just a few years ago are now openly discussed. How can we explain what is taking place? The answer is in our subject for this week. People are ignoring God’s clear truth about sin. In this week’s lesson, the Apostle Paul showed how pagan or ungodly people who have little, if any biblical knowledge, fall under the condemnation of God. His discussion will center on how pagans, or the ungodly have responded to God’s truth.

 

II. THE LESSON BACKGROUND. Paul wrote this letter to the church in Rome. Neither he nor the other church leaders, James and Peter had yet been to Rome. Most likely, the Roman church had been established by believers who had been at Jerusalem for Pentecost (see Acts 2:10), and travelers who had heard the Good News in other places and had brought it back to Rome (for example, Priscilla and Aquila; see Acts 18:2; Romans 16:3-5). Paul wrote the letter to the Romans during his ministry in Corinth, at the end of his third missionary journey just before returning to Jerusalem (see Acts 20:1-3; Romans 15:20-25). He wrote the letter to encourage the believers and to express his desire to visit them someday (within three years he would). The Roman church had no New Testament because the gospels were not yet being circulated in their final written form. Therefore, this letter may well have been the first piece of Christian literature the Roman believers had seen. Written to both Jewish and Gentile Christians, the letter to the Romans is a systematic presentation of the Christian faith. After a brief introduction, Paul presents the facts of the gospel (see Romans 1:3-6). Then in Romans 1:7-15, Paul voiced his strong desire to visit the believers in Rome, followed by his declaration of allegiance to the Gospel (see Romans 1:16-17). In verse 16, Paul’s conviction is that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles). To those who do not believe, but are disobedient and rebellious, the gospel reveals the wrath of God. Therefore, Paul goes on to describe how sinful man is under God’s condemnation and God has revealed His wrath towards sin. This is where our lesson begins.

 

III. REVELATION OF GOD’S WRATH (Romans 1:18). Having declared that salvation comes to those who believe, Paul then addresses the consequences of unbelief. In our first verse the Apostle said “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” Paul began here by stating that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.” This refers to God’s righteous anger that He has and is revealing or making known to mankind. Unlike human “wrath” or anger, the “wrath of God” is not an irrational emotional outburst of rage. It’s His personal and proper reaction to sin based on His holy character. God’s “wrath” is presently being directed “against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” The word “ungodliness” refers to rebellion against God and acting like He doesn’t even exist. It’s religious perversity. “Unrighteousness” is rebellion against God’s revealed will and treating others unjustly. Not having reverence for God naturally leads to unrighteous acts. Righteousness is an attribute of the one true God (see Matthew 6:33), therefore He requires righteous conduct from His people (see I John 2:29; I Peter 1:15-16). Both of these terms, “ungodliness and unrighteousness” describe evil which is always the object of God’s “wrath.” The phrase “who hold the truth in unrighteousness” refers back to the ungodly and the unrighteous. The word “hold” in Greek means “to hold down” or “to suppress.” Paul was saying that it’s the unbelievers’ nature to suppress or push themselves away from whatever revelation God gives of Himself, whether it’s His righteousness or His “wrath” even though they know better. Note: People will not admit that God’s judgment upon evil is just, but they continue in their sin trying to convince themselves that either God doesn’t exist or He does not disapprove of their sin. Truth is, they are deceiving themselves, for God’s “wrath” is revealed against them. The “wrath” Paul is speaking of is not the future judgment that God has promised, but His “wrath” or anger that He is presently and continuously being revealed.

 

IV. REASONS FOR GOD’S WRATH (Romans 1:19-23)

 

A. Mankind’s rejection of divine revelation (Romans 1:19-20).

 

1. (vs. 19). In this verse Paul goes on to say “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” The word “Because” introduces the reason why “God” can pronounce that the unsaved are guilty of willfully suppressing and rejecting the truth. The phrase “that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them” means that what men know about “God” is evident within them (in their inner consciousness), for “God” made it evident to them. In other words, everyone has some knowledge of “God” put in them by “God.” Human history began with people knowing “God” (see Genesis 1:26-31). Human history is not the story of a beast that worshiped idols, and then evolved into a person worshipping one “God.” Human history is just the opposite. People began knowing “God,” but turned from the truth and rejected “God.”

 

2. (vs. 20). The Apostle continued to say in this verse “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.” The words “invisible things of him” refer to God’s attributes. Paul stated that God’s attributes have been manifested or shown ever since “the creation of the world,” and “are clearly seen.” In His “creation” God has given a revelation of Himself to the fallen race (see Acts 17:24-29). God’s revelation of Himself is “understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” The Greek word for “Godhead” means divinity; it does not mean that God revealed His Trinitarian nature. The “creation” shows God’s handiwork (see Psalms 19:1-6). What Paul is saying here is that God gave mankind adequate revelation of Himself in nature so that men would know of Him and recognize Him as Creator. “Creation” speaks of a Creator and of His eternal power. It also reveals that the Creator must be God, because no created being could bring the “creation” into existence. Therefore, men “are without excuse” when they worship idols and suppress or reject what the “creation” says about God. From the world around them, humans knew that there was a God who had the wisdom to plan and the power to create. The unsaved are also “without excuse” before God, because they violate the moral standard of their own consciences (see Romans 2:14-15). Man is incurably religious. In every people, no matter how primitive, some form of religion can be found. Man’s heart cries out for a power beyond himself, not knowing that this longing was put there by the Creator. All these facts about God are not hidden in “creation” but “are clearly seen” so mankind has no excuse for rebelling against Him, since He has revealed Himself to them. Note: God’s divine revelation in what He has created does not tell mankind all they need to know about the Creator and the salvation He has provided through Jesus Christ. However, it does leave people without any excuse for their rebellion. Unsaved mankind is condemned by the fact that while there is clear and sufficient evidence that God exists, they have still rejected Him. If we choose to believe that there is no Creator-God, we have denied the truth and “are without excuse” when faced with God’s judgment. So we may ask, does anyone have an “excuse” for not believing in God? The Bible answers with an emphatic no! God has revealed what He is like in and through His creation, even though creations’ testimony has been distorted by the fall of man, Adam’s sin (see Genesis 3:17-19). Therefore, every person either accepts or rejects God. Don’t be fooled. When the day comes for God to judge one’s response to Him, no “excuse” will be accepted. Critics of the gospel accuse us of being unfair when we teach that unbelievers are lost because they sin. The truth is they sin because they are lost, and they continue in their lost state because they have rejected the light God gave them in His creation, His holy Word and His Son, Jesus Christ. Yes, they “are without excuse!”

 

B. Mankind’s self-exaltation (Romans 1:21-22).

 

1. (vs. 21). Paul goes on to say in this verse “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.” Again, the word “Because” introduces another reason why unbelievers are “without excuse” (see verse 20). They are guilty before “God” because “when they knew God,” by virtue of His Self-revelation in the physical creation, “they glorified him not as God.” Even though the revelation of “God” in His creation was enough for people to know that there was a “God” who was worthy of honor, they didn’t glorify Him as “God.” In addition, the ungodly “neither were thankful.” The ungodly have no desire to acknowledge the goodness of the divine Giver for all the good things they enjoyed. Instead of being thankful, they “became vain in their imaginations,” that is, their minds were filled with worthless thoughts that had no purpose. Instead of depending on God’s revelation, they shut Him out from their thinking and “their foolish heart was darkened.” In other words, spiritual darkness covered “their foolish hearts” so that they were unable to put together all the evidences about God. Note: Although this verse declares that “they (the ungodly) knew God,” it is evident that this knowledge of “God” was not saving knowledge. People are capable of knowing many things about “God” without obtaining salvation. The question might arise, “If this knowledge of God didn’t bring a person salvation, then how can God be justified in condemning him or her?” The answer is really quite simple. If a person lives up to the limited light or revelation that “God” gives him or her, “God” will continue to give them more light (see Psalms 119:129-130), right up to the point of how to be justified by faith or saved (see Romans 5:1). If a person does not live up to that limited light, “God” will not give him or her any more light (see Romans 1:28). God holds people responsible for how they respond to the light they have already received about Him.

 

2. (vs. 22). In this verse, Paul went on to say “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” The unsaved are self-deceived. “Professing” or affirming that they are “wise,” they are actually “fools.” The Greek word translated “became fools” comes from the noun “moros” from which we get our English word “moron.” The pagans or the unsaved were “fools” in the sense of those mentioned in Luke 12:20 and Psalms 14:1. Note: Unfortunately, this describes the times we live in as well. Otherwise intelligent people because of pride reject the truth of God and replace it with their own self-serving foolish speculations, and then they praise themselves for their brilliance. Such arrogance invites the wrath of God. It is insane to look at creation and not conclude that there must be a Creator-God responsible for it all. Creation didn’t just happen by accident! The most incredible thing is that people who don’t believe in God will not worship and honor Him, but they will worship and honor images of His creatures instead.

 

C. Mankind practicing idolatry (Romans 1:23). Continuing his statement from the previous verse, Paul said in this verse “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” Those foolish people Paul just referred to “changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man.” In other words, ungodly men “changed the glory” of “God” who is “uncorruptible” or immortal, into images or likenesses of “corruptible” or mortal man. Also, the eternal immortal Creator was replaced with images of mere creatures “birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” who received the worship that only “God” deserves. Idolatry is the height of utter foolishness (see Isaiah 2:8; 44:9-20). Yet when people reject “God” they naturally replace Him with literal images, man-made ideas, or even self-worship. Note: While he was in Athens Greece, Paul saw countless statues that depicted gods; in fact, one statue was dedicated to an unknown god, so that no god would be overlooked (see Acts 17:22-23). Such idolatry is the result of vain imaginations. God’s Word forbids making images or a representation of God (see Exodus 20:4), because any image would misrepresent Him. The one true God cannot be contained in a building (see I Kings 8:27). No statue can describe Him, for He is everywhere and invisible (see Psalms 139:7-10; John 4:24), as well as infinite and eternal. For sure, nothing that God created is like Him physically (see Isaiah 40:17-18, 25). The revelation of God in creation was enough to tell people that they were worshipping perishable, created things instead of the eternal Creator, who was before everything that He made.

 

V. DEPRAVITY AND DIVINE ABANDONMENT OF THE UNGODLY(Romans 1:24-32)

 

A. God abandons the ungodly to idolatry and immorality (Romans 1:24-25).

 

1. (vs. 24). This verse says “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.” The Greek term translated “gave them up” means “to give, hand over, or commit to something or someone.” Here it means that God permitted and still permits the ungodly to continue in their sins and then reap the sad consequences. Both God’s wrath and His judgment involve removing or taking away divine restraints on sinful actions and their consequences. Paul was saying that God handed the ungodly over to their own “uncleanness through the lusts (or desires) of their own hearts.” When God allows the ungodly to do this, they in turn “dishonour their own bodies between themselves.” Of course this refers to sexual sins, including homosexuality as we shall see in verses 26 and 27. Simply put, God is saying “if that’s what they want to do, I’ll let them, and they will suffer the consequences.” God let those who are ungodly go ahead and commit every sort of sex sin, and do whatever they wanted to, even vile and sinful things with each other’s bodies. Note: People who persist in their sinfulness after having an understanding of God’s basic truths are sometimes committed to the life-style they seem to want in spite of how irrational that life-style may be. In writing to the Corinthian believers, Paul expressed revulsion concerning the misuse of the body. He did so on the grounds that the Holy Spirit dwells in the body (see I Corinthians 6:18-20). God owns our bodies which are destined for resurrection.

 

2. (vs. 25). This verse says “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” The word “Who” refers to the ungodly and unbelievers mentioned in the previous verse. Although the unbelieving world has knowledge of the truth, Paul said they still “changed the truth of God into a lie” so that they can fulfill their lusts (see verse 24). As a result, they “worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. The Greek preposition translated “more than” is better translated “instead of, rather than, or to the exclusion of.” Paul meant that the spiritual bankruptcy of unbelievers was complete. They had not made a partial exchange, but a total change from worshipping “the Creator” to worshiping “the creature” or the things God had created (see verse 23). Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God they deliberately chose to believe “a lie,” the teachings of men instead of God’s teachings. So they prayed to the things God made, but refuse to “serve” the “blessed” God who made those things. This sinful behavior of the ungodly is insane because they worship “the creature” or the creation “more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.” The “creation” will one day be destroyed (see II Peter 3:10-12; Revelation 20:11), but God, “the Creator” is “forever.” Paul then confirms the truth of what he’s said with the word “Amen” or “it’s the truth.” Going from idolatry to immorality is just one short step. When man believes that he is his own god, he also believes that he can do whatever he pleases and fulfill his desires without fear of judgment. It’s a shame, but that sounds just like the behavior of our 45th president (whose name is not worth mentioning). The truth is that we reach the climax of man’s battle with God’s truth when man changes that truth “into a lie” and abandons the truth completely. The “lie” is that man is his own god, and he should worship and serve himself and not the Creator. This was the “lie” Satan used in the garden to lead Eve into sin when he said: “Ye shall be as gods” (see Genesis 3:5). Satan has always wanted the worship that belongs only to God (see Isaiah 14:12-15; Matthew 4:8-10), and in idolatry, he receives that worship (see I Corinthians 10:19-21).

 

B. God abandons the ungodly to vile affections (Romans 1:26-27).

 

1. (vs. 26). This verse says “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.” Again, Paul uses the words “God gave them up” indicating that “God” is allowing the ungodly to do what they want to do. The phrase “For this cause” means “for this reason.” It refers back to verse 25 which says that the “cause” or reason that “God gave them up” among other things, was that the ungodly “worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.” But here, Paul says that “God gave them (the ungodly) up unto vile affections.” The words “vile affections” means “shamefully wicked,” “degrading,” or “disgusting passions.” Then Paul goes on to describe the “vile affections” as shamefully wicked passions. He said “for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature.” The “vile affections” or sin that Paul is describing is homosexuality which was rampant in that day and has become increasingly prevalent in our own day. Not only is this sin condemned here, it is repeatedly condemned in Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments (see Genesis 13:13; 18:20; 19:1-8; Leviticus 18:22; I Corinthians 6:9-10; Jude 7). Paul characterizes it as “vile” and “against nature” meaning “unnatural.” Not only were “women” guilty of homosexuality, but even the men as we shall see in the next verse. Those who declare homosexuality as an alternate lifestyle should take the Bible more seriously. This verse says that “God gave them up unto vile affections,” namely homosexuality. History has proven that when there is no moral purity, nations crumble.

 

2. (vs. 27). This verse says “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 recompence of their error which was meet.” Just like the women were involved in sinful sex that was “against nature” (see verse 26), Paul said “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.” In essence, Paul was saying that in the same way as women, “men” turned away from the “natural” function of the woman and “burned” or were consumed with “their lust” or desire “toward one another, men with men” committing “unseemly” or shameful acts. As a result of committing these “unseemly” or shameful acts, the ungodly are “receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” In other words, as a result of these shameful sexual sins, in “recompence” or in return, both men and women receive in their own bodies the inevitable and “meet” or appropriate penalty for “their error” or wrongdoing. I’m sure there are those who may attempt to guess what the “recompence” or God’s penalty is for those involved in homosexuality. But the truth is, no one knows but God. We would do well to leave that up to Him. Note: God created the first humans in innocent and moral purity; they were sinless. But sin entered the world (see Romans 5:12) and mankind was changed for the worse. Evolution is an non-biblical theory that claims man has evolved from a lower form of life to a higher one. The theory supposedly concludes that man continues to improve. But instead of improving, this lesson shows that man’s moral and spiritual development has become worse which is the very opposite of what evolutionists believe. So much for evolution; no wonder it’s called “The Theory of Evolution.” It’s not based on fact.

 

C. God abandons the ungodly to a depraved mind (Romans 1:28-29).

 

1. (vs. 28). In this verse, Paul went on to say “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.” The phrase “even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge” means that since the ungodly didn’t see fit to acknowledge “God” or consider Him worth knowing (as their Creator), He “gave them over to a reprobate mind.” A “reprobate mind” refers to a depraved “mind” or a depraved way of thinking. Genesis 6:5 describes this type of depraved thinking as being continually set on doing evil. The phrase “gave them over” means that “God” abandoned them to do whatever they wanted. Note: “God” giving over man to a depraved way of thinking was and is an active expression of His wrath. In other words, “God” shows His wrath by releasing the ungodly from His restraints and allowing them to sin even more often and more wickedly. The fact is that the freedom “God” gives sinful man to sin without earthly consequences is in itself His judgment. Instead of protecting the ungodly from their depravity, “God” allowed them to feel the full blast of their sin. He gave them over to sin’s degenerative tendencies. .

 

Paul ended this verse declaring that “God” gave the ungodly over to a depraved mind “to do those things which are not convenient.” This refers to actions that are not fitting or becoming. In the next three verses, Paul gives a long list of some of those sins the ungodly commit that he describes here as “not convenient.” We may wonder why our world is in the shape that it’s in. Well, the answer is that people have turned their backs on “God,” and He has justly and rightly turned them over to their own depravity.

 

D. God abandons the ungodly to their depraved acts (Romans 1:29-30).

 

1. (vs. 29). In this verse, Paul begins to list some of the depraved acts that God gave up the ungodly to do. He said “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers.” Declaring that the ungodly were freed by God to act as if he didn’t exist, Paul identified those acts of depravity as first “Being filled with all unrighteousness” indicating that the ungodly have no desire to act righteously or do the right things. Then Paul began his list of unrighteous or sinful acts with “fornication” which refers to various sexual sins. “Wickedness” is a general term for all evil behavior. “Covetousness” refers to excessive desires or envy. “Maliciousness” speaks of a desire to injure or hurt someone. “Envy” is displeasure over another person’s success, and it can lead to other evil acts, even “murder” which is next on Paul’s list. “Debate” here refers to strife or contention not to a healthy exchange of ideas. “Deceit” means deliberately misleading someone through lies. “Malignity” refers to scheming to hurt others. “Whisperers” are gossipers.

 

2. (vs. 30). In this verse, Paul continues his list of depraved or sinful acts engaged in by the ungodly by adding “Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents.” Paul’s list of evils committed by the ungodly included “Backbiters.” This refers to those who attack the reputations of others in their absence. “Haters of God” are those who do everything that “God” hates. Every sin has in it a hatred of “God;” but some sinners are more open and dedicated enemies to Him than others (see Zechariah 11:8). The “despiteful” are those who cast insults on others. The “proud” are those who are arrogant or stuck-up. “Boasters” are impostors who falsely brag on themselves. “Inventors of evil things” are imaginative sinners who are not satisfied with the same old sins, but think of new areas of wickedness. “Disobedient to parents” reminds us of God’s command for children to honor their “parents” (see Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20). Even this sacred duty is ignored by the ungodly who reject the Creator. Committing this sin can undermine society’s foundation: the home.

 

E. God abandons the ungodly to their depraved character (Romans 1:31). In this verse the Apostle continues to add to his list of evils those who are “Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.” Paul goes on to say that the ungodly or depraved sinners are “without understanding.” This means that the ungodly cannot bring facts together to make a logical decision. This may not be a sin, but the ungodly are often guilty of this which can lead them to sin. “Covenantbreakers” are those who disregard or don’t take solemn agreements seriously. Their promises mean nothing. Since they reject God, they have no sanctified conscience to hold them accountable. “Without natural affection” applies to those who have no love for family or kindred. Those who are guilty of this sin will put marriage partners and children aside so that they can fulfill their selfish passions. “Implacable” means to be unwilling to come to agreement with others. The last sin in this list is “unmerciful” which means to show no pity or compassion to those in need. Note: Paul gave us a long list of evils that humans are capable of committing when they are apart from God. Unfortunately, there are many more sins that the Apostle could have included. Of course, not every person will practice all of these sins, but the one who willfully rejects the clear revelation of God and refuses to acknowledge Him is capable of committing every one of these sins and according to verse 28, they have been released by God to practice them. Notice that there is no mention of the failure to attend church. This is not about organized religion. This concerns the truth about God as He is revealed through the conscience and the natural world.

 

F. Final degradation of the ungodly (Romans 1:32). In our final verse, Paul went on to say that the ungodly “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.” The word “Who” refers to the ungodly who commit the range of sins Paul had just listed. The phrase, “Who knowing the judgment of God,” means that the ungodly are fully aware that God judges sin. The Greek word for “judgment” refers to an ordinance that reveals a righteous standard. The heathen or ungodly world had enough revelation of God to know what His standards were. Knowing that sin will be judged, the ungodly also know that “they which commit such things are worthy of death.” But even knowing this, the ungodly still put their sins on display. The phrase “not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” means that the ungodly not only commit these sins, but they are also pleased by those who follow them in their sins. The ultimate evil of depravity is taking pleasure in teaching others to sin. Not only are individuals guilty of sin, but they also purposefully lead others down the path of sin (see Matthew 23:15). Note: It should be noted that throughout this lesson, Paul lists a number of sins that both believers and unbelievers are guilty of. Therefore, we should not conclude that homosexuality is worse than any other sin. Lying is sin; cheating is sin; stealing is sin; backbiting is sin; coveting is sin; gossiping is sin; breaking promises is sin; fornication is sin; envy is sin; being unmerciful is sin; and of course murder is sin (see verses 29-31. But there are many, many more sins. Anything that is not of faith is sin (see Romans 14:23), and that covers a lot of territory. Contrary to what some people may think sin is sin! There are no degrees to sin (see Romans 7:13). One of the points Paul is making in this week’s lesson is that when we continue to do what we know is wrong, eventually God will remove His divine protection and leave us to our own desires, all of which will bring on His wrath as He sees fit.

 

VI. Conclusion. God forbid that we should think that anyone is escaping God’s judgment. Even now, in His own righteous way God’s wrath is being revealed against all ungodliness (see Romans 1:18). A day is coming when His wrath will be fully revealed. There will be no excuses or complaints then, for God will give every person what he or she has chosen and what he or she deserves. Remember, God is not mocked (see Galatians 6:7). He is a righteous, just God. In a world of sin and chaos, we know that He is still in control and still at work. Thanks to God’s grace, there is a way to escape His wrath, and it’s through the One He Himself sent into the world as our Saviour (see Romans 5:9).

 

PRACTICAL POINTS FOR DISCUSSION:

 

1. When we sin, it’s a clear choice to reject what God has revealed to everyone about Himself (Romans 1:18-19).

 

2. Non-Christians have no excuse for their willful disobedience because God is known through His creation (Romans 1:20).

 

3. People are deceived and begin to create their own idols when they reject what they know about the true God (Romans 1:21-23).

 

4. Idolatry is dangerous because it can lead to many kinds of perverse behavior (Romans 1:24-25).

 

5. God clearly states that homosexual behavior is a perversion, not an alternative life-style (Romans 1:26-27).

 

6. If we continue to reject God, he will act according to our choice and abandon us to our own evil minds (Romans 1:28).

 

7. God’s list of sins includes quite a number of things that we tend to overlook or not take seriously (Romans 1:29-31).

 

8. We must be careful not to sin by condoning the evil of others (Romans 1:32).

 

***The Sunday School Lesson, Union Gospel Press Curriculum; The Bible Expositor and Illuminator***

 

 


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I am the Ad Board Chair at our church - Mt. Pleasant UM Church, Port Matilda, PA and find your sunday school lessons very informative.   I, at times, teach the adult class and compare your lesson to ours.  They are almost identical.  You offer a few different points than our study books.

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