Monday, January 24, 2011

Chapter 4 
(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 uncorruptible 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 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 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 , 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 are in full agreement with the discerning words of Jonathan Edwards concerning the remainder of this chapter:  “It seems to be a mistake of many that the Apostle in what he says of men’s wickedness, in chapter 1, has respect only to the Gentiles, and that in what he says in chapter 2, he has respect only to the Jews. It is true that in the first chapter he evidently has his eye chiefly on the wickedness that prevailed in the world, but that is not his express design in it, only to describe the sin of the Pagan world, but the wickedness of the world of mankind.  It is all unrighteousness and ungodliness, &c.  And in the second chapter he has his eyes chiefly on the Jews; but it is not his professed design only to speak of them ... In the last verse of the first chapter the Apostle speaks of the wickedness of mankind in general, and shows how they hold the truth in unrighteousness, as he had said before (vs. 18) and the special design of that verse is to set forth how they are all alike and all agreed in wickedness, and in the same kind of wickedness, though they all have that light which is sufficient to teach them that those that commit such things deserve the condemnation and wrath of God, and so death and destruction.”  These verses clearly reveal the gross immoral wickedness of all mankind.

Verse 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.  This does not speak of the idea of a supposed common grace, or restraining grace, but of the very opposite:  of a wrath of God that delivers the ungodly over to their own corruption.  God’s wrath is the reaction of His holiness, operative and manifest in punitive justice.  “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). The only attitude a Holy God can possibly assume over against all darkness is that He reacts upon it in wrath and terrible anger “For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29).  His wrath is as constant and unchangeable as His very Being. 

“Is revealed from heaven.”  This revelation takes place in the world at this present time, through which it is plainly evident that the wrath of God burns over all ungodliness of men. One sin ruined the whole race of Adam as it brought God’s curse and wrath upon every soul of man.  Every person that ever lived, that lives now, and that ever shall live, upon this earth, is by nature a child of wrath; and the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against his sin, not one person excepted.  His wrath was revealed (1) at the giving of His Holy Law on Mount Sinai (Exo. 19).  There our Lord revealed all the terror and glory of His majesty, as the most holy, sin-hating God. “And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake” (Heb. 12:21).  (2) Behold the wrath of God revealed in the destruction of the old world by the flood water (Gen. 6:17).  Behold the wrath of God in His destruction of the terribly wicked Sodom and Gomorrah by burning (Gen. 19:1-29).  “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psa. 7:11).  The fire of His wrath and indignation ever smokes against all sin. (3) View and ponder the wrath of God when He took vengeance against His own dear Son (Isa. 53:10), for the sins of His people (Isa. 53:8).  View with tear stained eye our iniquity-bearing, sin-atoning, curse-sustaining Lamb of God, hanging on that bloody Cross. There see what sin is and view the indignation of God against it, His justice punishing it, and the awful vengeance He executed upon it. O my soul, think of thy precious Saviour's inconceivable sufferings for sin. Tremble at the exceeding sinfulness of sin. (4) The wrath of God is revealed against all sin, even in His own children.  He hates their sins and will punish them for their sins. Reader, beware of any and all doctrine that makes light of sin.  Flee from the antinomians, or any other school of thought, that denies that God has the same abhorrence of sin, indignation and wrath against sin, in His own children as well as others. 

“Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.”  All men are guilty of ungodliness; unlike God in their nature.  Originally man was created in God’s image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-31).  This original state of man shows his likeness, his dominion, and his commission. But through sin this image and likeness is lost and man is out of harmony with his Creator, “alienated from the life of God” (Eph. 4:18). Sinful man is guilty of all unrighteousness; their deeds are evil, proceeding from an evil nature. Their sinful deeds consist of both omission and commission.  They have not only failed by way of omission to exercise their dominion and execute their commission, but they have done contrary to both.  The wrath of God has been and is being revealed from heaven against both the sin of nature and sins of deed.  This wrath is the assessed penalty of violated Law.  The Law, in its last analysis, is the intent, or purpose, of the Creator in bringing a being into existence. That intent is set forth in the passage in Genesis 1:26-31. This Law inheres in the very constitution of our being, and hence as a principle antedates any particular formal statue. All Law arises from and inheres in relations. Where there is no relation there is no obligation, as the relation of parent and child, husband and wife, citizen and the state, the creature and the Creator, and the redeemed and the Redeemer. Law inheres in the intent of the Creator, and is antecedent to all statues and independent of them, except only their foundation, or source. When He brings a being into existence, the law of that being inheres in the Creator, and in the relations of that being.

Sin therefore is lawlessness, or any lack of conformity with Law, whether in nature or in omission or commission of deed.  An omission of duty and commission of sin are but symptoms or expressions of a sinful, depraved nature. As our blessed Lord said, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies” (Matt.15:18-19). Also, He said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." (Matt. 7:16-18).  “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit” (Matt.12:33). Those who define sin as, “the willful transgression of a known law” have no true conception of sin. The greatest of all sin is a sin of nature. It is not dependent in obligation on our knowledge. Both natural and spiritual laws bind and have penalty notwithstanding our ignorance. The ignorance itself is sin, or may be a result of sin, and transgression is only one overt act of sin. It is equally sin to fall short of Law or go beyond it, or to deflect from it. Righteousness is exact conformity with Law. With this conception of Law, and of sin, the apostle speaks of its penalty, the wrath of God—a wrath that is antecedent to its revelation; yet this wrath is revealed.

“Who hold the truth in unrighteousness.”  They hold down, hinder, and suppress the truth of God in their minds, not seeking after Him. They live in disobedience to all light running counter to nature, Law, reason, and conscience; and, in return, offer violence to the light, forcibly holding the truth in confinement; detaining the truth in unrighteousness.  The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all who unjustly smother the truth which natural light would have to act freely. The severity wherewith the suppression of truth is threatened shows its heinousness (Luke 12:47).  True servants of God must solemnly declare the revealed wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men:  announce His war against those who continue to sin:  boldly declare “he that believeth not shall be damned,” as did our blessed Lord Christ (Matt. 11:23-24; John 3:18, 36).

Sin is no substance; it has no being in itself. It is the perversion of good powers wherewith God endowed the creature (man).  Keep in mind that God created man good, but lapsable.  There was no evil in him, but he had not attained to the highest possible state of freedom and goodness, in which he could not sin. Scripture makes it clear that this state of highest freedom is possible only is Christ as He is the Person of the Son of God in human nature.  Bearing these factors in mind, we may approach a solution of the problem of how sin could possibly enter into the heart and mind of a man that was created morally good.  God had endowed him with the good and rich gift of imagination, but by this power of his mind he was able to conceive of the lie, to create for himself another world than the Word of God, and to call that world of his imagination reality and truth.  So if by an act of his will he embraced that world of his imagination, and acted accordingly, he chose the lie instead of the truth of the Word of God.  And THAT IS SIN.  However, while this may explain the first operation of sin in man's heart and mind, it does not give a final and satisfactory answer to the question, how this operation could originate in a sinless nature. Certain it is that first sin, though the responsibility of it is entirely man’s, and though it was wanton and willful disobedience, was according to the inscrutable plan and purposes of the Most High, and took place under the controlling guidance of His providence.

Before enumerating the actual iniquities of wicked men, the apostle goes back to the origin of them all, their stifling the light which still remained to them. As darkness overspreads the mind, so impotence overtakes the heart, conscience disregarded at first, next thwarted, and then deadened. Therefore, the truth which God placed with and in men, instead of having free scope and developing itself, was obstructed (Matt. 6:22-23; Eph. 4:17-18).

Verse 19  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  Almighty God has not left man ignorant of sin's penalty.  The knowledge of God, and man’s relation to Him, is manifest both in them and to them. There are two books of this revelation—the book of nature in them and the book of nature outside of them.  He has planted knowledge in them. “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly” (Prov. 20:27).  As the natural eye is the lamp of the body, so the spirit is Jehovah’s lamp. “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23).  The apostle (Rom.
-15) further describes the revelation in us.  Man, therefore, by the very constitution of his being, has knowledge of God, Law, sin, and penalty. Too, by nature man is a worshiping being.  When through sin the light in him is darkened he worships false gods, yet he is a worshiper.

This internal light in man is a great light. Every human being in the whole world has an internal sense of right and wrong. Men may and do differ among themselves as to what particular things are right and wrong, but all have the inward sense of right and wrong, being keenly alive to rights and keenly sensitive to their wrongs. But there can be no right and wrong without some law to prescribe the right and proscribe the wrong. And there can be no Law without a Lawmaker. There can be no Law without penal sanctions; otherwise it would merely be advice. Plus there can be no penalty without a judgment to declare it and a power to execute it.  Yet every person knows that even and exact justice is not meted out in this world—that many times the innocent suffer and the guilty triumph.  Therefore as verse 32 of this chapter shows, there will be a judgment to come. 

Every person has at one time or another, under a keen sense of wrong done them, appealed to this future judgment and invoked upon the wrongdoer the wrath to come; damnation. It is this knowledge or consciousness of future judgment and wrath that makes death frightful to the evildoer. And it is this consciousness of amenability to God's future infallible judgment and inexorable wrath that retains crime more than the dread of all human law and judgment. So it is demonstrated that there is in us a revelation of God's Holy wrath against sin.

Verse 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.  Then the apostle shows a revelation outside of us and in the broad book of Nature. God's Deity and His everlasting power are “clearly seen” in the universe which is the work of His hands as the Psalmist declares (19:1-6). Paul declares the same again in his sermon to the Athenians (Acts
-31).  Not only Nature, but God in His providence in Nature, as was said to Noah (Gen. 8:22) and reaffirmed by the apostle Paul (Acts ). Thus all nature in us or external to us, and God’s marvelous providence proclaim the knowledge of Him.

Originally God revealed himself in paradise through the things that are made, in the Holy Spirit, to man as he stood in the image of God in the state of original righteousness. God, the Sovereign Creator, had called out of nothing, by the Word of His power, the whole beautiful universe. Creation was indeed an elegant book, in which every creature was a Word of God, declaring His glory, and spelling out His name. And in the midst of that beautiful creation stood Adam, our representative head, who was capable of reading that book. Adam was formed after the image of God and through His Spirit; God gave him the light of true knowledge of Himself, in order that he might enter into the fellowship of his Creator and glorify His holy name.

But what did man do?  He forsook the revelation of his God, and turned to the lie of the devil. He proposed to say of himself who, how, and what God is. The result was darkness for his mind was corrupted by the darkness of the lie, so that he always loved the darkness rather than the light (John 3:19), and always turned a deaf ear to the Word of God, in order to follow after the lie of his own imagination. Through the fall man, the recipient of God’s revelation, was so changed and corrupted that he can no longer truly hear the Word of God. 

So fallen man, darkened in his understanding, will always lie about the living God. There is indeed a revelation of God in all the things that are made, but this cannot be properly understood except through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in light of that other, higher revelation which God gave in and through Christ, and which we have in the Holy Scriptures. There is, therefore, only one recipient of the revelation of God: the new man in Christ Jesus, born of His Spirit (John
-14). In the light of Christ do lost sinners see the light. He not only revealed the Father, but He is the revelation of the God of our salvation.

When Adam fell, the human race became an enemy, hostile, haters of God and in opposition to His truth (
Rom. 8:7). Men did not like to retain God in their knowledge and exchanged the truth of God for a lie in their darkened minds, and changed the truth of God into a lie in their speech and actions. Hence the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness (1 Cor. ), for the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. ). No man receives the good news of the Gospel of Christ until that man is born again. The depraved sinner must be remade by the Holy Ghost; the enemy must be turned into a friend, spiritual lover, and worshiper of God in Christ. This is the work of regeneration, and the heart of stone can be taken away and a heart of flesh can be given only by God Himself. Resurrecting a sinner who is dead in sin and giving him a new life requires nothing less than Almighty power.

So the inner and the outer revelation of God are the complement of each other, making up between them one universal and immovable conviction that God is. His eternal power and Godhead confronts man everywhere in the created order, for therein is a most glorious display of His Divine power. “The ETERNAL
MIND, the pure SPIRIT, the GODHEAD (Deity, divinity of the Creator), existed before those things which are MADE came into being.  That which can PERISH was MADE, and this which is MUTABLE also was MADE. Something existed before the CREATED existed.  That which existed before the created existed must be the ETERNAL MIND, the ETERNAL SPIRIT, the GODHEAD, perceived as DIVINITY” (E.W. Johnson). There is an eternal power, and this is not a mere blind force or pantheistic spirit of nature, but the power of a living Godhead.  This knowledge of God's creative power renders men responsible, leaving them without excuse—their degeneracy is a voluntary departure from God's brightly revealed truth.  Robert Haldane stated, “The whole, therefore, of that revelation of God's power and Godhead, of which the apostle speaks in this discourse, he regards as the foundation of the just condemnation of men, in order afterwards to affirm from it the necessity of the revelation of grace.”  And the revelation of God's redeeming grace is mediated to man solely through His Son (Col. 2:9).

Verse 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. Man was in duty bound to extol the glory of God for such was his calling.  It was incumbent upon man to know the name of the living God, and beholding its glory, to sing its praise.  Furthermore, God is not only glorious in Himself, so that all praise and honor belong to Him, it is becoming  to man, who knows Him, that he shall bow in grateful acknowledgment before this God and thank Him for all His goodness. But in both these respects the sinner failed as he refused to glorify Him as God, and failed to be thankful. Upon all this ungodliness the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.
God has given to men the means of knowing that there is a God and He clearly shows to man that the world does not exist by chance, not sustain itself.  He reveals His eternity as He is the Maker of all things. By His power He upholds all things and continues their existence.  His wisdom arranged all things in their proper order.  His goodness is evident, for there is no other cause but Him for the creation and preservation of the earth.  His justice punishes the guilty. 
“But became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” When men reject the truth, they embrace the lie; absence of truth ensures the presence of error. They became vain and gave way to idolatrous tendencies and practices (Jer. 2:5; 2 Kings ; Acts ). Their foolish, senseless, stupid heart (their whole inner man) was darkened (Matt. ).  All men are destitute of true piety, for all their religious pretensions are based upon a false image they have formed of God.  They were not thankful for the knowledge they had, or for God’s mercies.   They forsook the truth of God and turned to the vanity of their own reason and foolish imaginations.  Their foolish minds and hearts, when turned away from God, could only plunge headlong into the darkness of error, delusions and unrighteousness (Isa. 55:8-9; Prov. ; Rom. 8:7).  Men who will not have God to reign over them will have darkness and death to reign in them.
A.W. Pink said, “Man’s understanding has lost the gift of discernment and judgment in spiritual things, so that he mistakes evil for good, earthly for heavenly, things to be refused for things to be chosen.  This is clear from the natural man’s ignorance and blindness in the real knowledge of God.  It is true that the mind of the natural man possesses some knowledge of God: he believes in His existence and professes to own His supremacy.  Yet such knowledge as he possesses, though rendering him accountable to his Maker, exerts no spiritual influence upon his soul and life.”
Verse 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.  When in his sinful pride, man refuses to be instructed in the knowledge of God from God’s own revelation, and makes instead his own puny mind the measure of all things; it is inevitable that he reaches the conclusion that God is unknowable.  Then he is swallowed up in the quicksand of agnosticism and atheism.  God dwells in an inaccessible light.  We cannot approach unto Him.  He is infinite in His Essence and all His virtues, and we are finite.  And the finite can never comprehend nor establish any fellowship with the infinite God.  God is the Eternal One: He transcends all time.  We are children of time and of the moment.  It is impossible for time to comprehend eternity, and to reach out for and establish fellowship with the eternal.  If, therefore, we are to know God, it is necessary that He reveals Himself to us.  In their own arrogance sinful man claims to be wise but as a fool he does not see that there is no true wisdom, knowledge, understanding, nor saving revelation apart from our Lord (1 Cor. 3:18-20; Prov. 2:6; 1 Cor. 1:19-20).  Evil man’s greatest mistake is to seek wisdom in his own thoughts, imagination, and understanding and try to bring down to his own level, rather than to look to God for a revelation of Himself (Matt. -27; -13, 16).
No independent knowledge is possible for man.  Everything he knows, he knows from God.  It is because man refuses to acknowledge this source, and insists upon the originality of his own interpretation of the brute facts of the universe —  that is knowledge is poisoned by the fatal error or his fundamental  religious presupposition, which is, that there is no self-existent Creator to who he is indebted for every breath which he draws (Acts 17:16-31).
Rationalism, human philosophy, denies the necessity for, and the fact of, a Divine revelation.  They foolishly take the position that human intellect is sufficient of itself to make man the master of his own future.  They maintain that the basis of man’s existence is not Divine but materialistic, and they blindly assert that the question of immortality is irrelevant.  Time was when the great Christian philosophers who laid the foundations of modern science knew the verdict of God’s creation.   Modern science however is for the most part agnostic (like modern theology so-called).  It is a curse upon humanity as it denies the fact of a Holy Creator.  It has opened the door to lawlessness, violence, vice, abortion, profanity and every other wicked evil.
Verse 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.  God is incorruptible, immortal and invisible, and is totally opposed to all corruptible creatures and things (1 Tim. 1:17: Col. 1:14-15).  He has a glory essential to Him which cannot be changed or represented by a person, picture, or image called by His name.  Image worship is the heinous sin of dragging down the glorious Creator of heaven and earth to the level of the creature, and of depriving the Lord of glory of all His adorable virtues.
We must not imagine that this sin is committed only by the grossly immoral world, and that it is inconceivable in the civilized, moral, professing Christian world.  Truth is that this sin is deeply ingrained in our sinful nature, and by nature, we are all image worshippers.  Sinful nature is always inclined to lie about God, and deprive Him of His glorious attributes.  No, indeed, we do not carve or chisel a representative of God in wood, stone, gold, or silver, as the heathen do.  But we do make images of Him in our mind, by our false conceptions of Him.  Many are the images of the living God formed by modern theology and philosophy.  Whenever we form a conception of God that is not according to His own revelation in the Holy Scriptures, we lie about God and make an image of Him.  To imagine God as a Being that is so filled with love that He condones sin, is to deny His righteousness and make an image of Him. To conceive of a God that is so merciful that He cannot possibly cast the sinner into eternal damnation as punishment for his sin, is to deprive Him of the glory of His immutable justice, and form an image of Him in our mind. When, in our prayers, we attempt to approach God without seeking forgiveness in the blood of Christ Jesus our Lord, we are worshipping an image just as really as the Israelites at Horeb worshipped the golden calf.  When any conceive of God as a sort of Santa Claus, that exists to bestow all kinds of good things upon us, to fight our wars and gives us our victories; as a God that must, at our beck and call, solve the problems we create in our sinful world, as One to whom we cry when we are in trouble, but forget Him for the rest, Whom we do not care to glorify and in Whose way we do not care to walk, we simply worship an image in our minds of our own making.  When we deny the Scriptural truth of election and reprobation, deny that He is merciful to whom He will be merciful and whom He will He hardens; when we represent God as, in saving the sinner, being dependent on the will of man, so that man must open the door of his heart before God can enter; or when we conceive of Him as being gracious, in the preaching of the Gospel to all that hear, each and every soul, we deny His absolute sovereignty, and fashion an image of God just as really as the pagans carve one in wood or chisel one in stone.  If we entertain the dualistic notion that God is the Lord of all good but not of evil; that He sends us health, but not sickness, prosperity but not adversity, peace but not war, plenty of work but not times of depression, life but not death; we deny that God is the Lord of all the earth, and we worship our own lie. It is a high indignity to form these gross ideas of His majesty as to dare represent Him by any image of Him. (John 4:24; Heb. 1:1-3; Exod. 20:4-5).
The root of man’s uncleanness is said to be in this verse, “They changed the glory of the incorruptible God.”  In verses 25 and 26, the origin of vile affections is declared to be, “They changed the truth of God into a lie, and served the creature;” and in verses 28 and 29, it is plainly stated, that their “not liking to retain God in their knowledge” was the cause of the “things not convenient, unrighteousness, fornication,” that followed.
This corrupt world of fallen mankind plunged into all the folly of idolatry and image worship.  They professed themselves to be wise but their pretended wisdom was spiritual foolishness.  And the Lord turned it into folly even as far as its natural manifestation was concerned.  In their wicked deliberations they chose and formed their own gods and made images of the invisible and infinite majesty in heaven.  Not heeding the truth being witnessed to them through the things that are made concerning the glory of an imperishable and incorruptible God, revealing His eternal power and Godhead round about them in the works of His hands, they presently realized their own conceptions of God.  They represented the Most High under the images of perishable man, corruptible beasts, creeping things and winged fowl.  This was a terrible encroachment upon the majesty of an ever-living and infinite God.  The Word of God everywhere declares that idolatry with its resulting immorality is the evidence of man’s departure and decline from God.  It gives the liveliest idea of the universal corruption and depravity that prevails is this sinful world.   But at the same time it is also a revelation of the wrath of God, Who plunged them into their foolishness.
Verse 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.    God’s wrath was revealed by His making them foolish, who professed themselves to be wise, so that they bowed themselves before man and beast and creeping things.  Also in this, God cast them into the mire of utter moral degradation.  His giving them up was a positive act of a holy God, whereby in His holy wrath He cast the ungodly that would not glorify Him, neither were thankful, deeper into the mire of sin and corruption.  To be sure, this act of God does not destroy or ignore the moral nature of man.  God gave them up through their own lusts.  The moral degradation of this wicked world is shown here as the result of an act of God’s wrath upon them in giving them up unto uncleanness.  When God lifts His restraining hand, man travels swiftly to self-destruction.  He withdrew His providential restraints and left them to the pollution of their own depraved nature.  The heart of sinful man is the source of all wickedness.  The lusts that dwell there are legion and tend to uncleanness of one sort or another (Jer. 17:9; Matt. , 20).  When God leaves a man alone there is no bottom to the depths of his corruption.  Uncleanness lies in the heart of all people, male and female.  It is only the restraining hand of God which holds back these vile lusts.  This uncleanness is the natural order, perverted.  This uncleanness, then, essentially is an improper use of things.  Sinful mankind has this drive, this compulsion, to deface the glory of God in the Created order.   It  goes back to the Garden of Eden when man sought to make himself as God (Gen. 3:5), with an enmity (Rom. 8:7) toward Him Who alone is God.
The ultimate purpose of God in dealing in wrath with the wicked sinner is not the deeper sin and corruption with which he is punished, but his death and destruction.  The apostle plainly expresses this when he says: “To dishonor their bodies between themselves.”  While this phrase is descriptive indeed of the particular uncleanness which the apostle had in mind it is not merely descriptive, but further qualifies the moral degradation of the sinner.  It also expresses God’s purpose and design.  A holy God cast them down into that uncleanness in order that they should, living apart from Him and departing from His ways and corrupting His glory, dishonor their bodies, and thus corrupt themselves, receiving the mete recompense of their error in themselves.  Sin begets sin, and sin begotten works death and destruction.  God works it all to manifest that He is holy, righteous and pure, and that He cannot be in league with the sinner that departs from Him and chooses to corrupt His glorious revelation.  No one can depart from the living God and be safe, even for a moment.
Verse 25 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 apostle continues to develop this theme of the revelation of the wrath of God to the very end of this chapter.  In this 25th verse he calls attention once more to the judicial ground upon which God gave over the depraved world into the mire of corruption and debauchery which he will presently describe. The ground is that men have sinned against the living God, against the Creator that is blessed forever.  He alone is worthy to receive the praise and adoration of all His creatures.  And it is particularly man’s calling to extol this praise of the blessed God for he is made after the image of God.  And before all creatures man must praise the great and glorious God, and tell of His wonders. Such is his calling.  But instead, men changed the truth of God into a lie. The truth of God is His revelation, in this instance the revelation as it comes in all the works of God’s hands, the revelation of HIS eternal power and Godhead. That truth, which proclaimed God as being glorious and infinite in power, they had willfully changed into the lie of their false gods and images, and they had represented the Most High under the images of man and beasts and creeping things.  Thus they worshipped and served the creature instead of the glorious Creator. This was the cause of God’s burning wrath.  He cannot allow His glory to be trampled underfoot.  And this wrath He continued to reveal from heaven in giving the ungodly over into all the vile sins they committed.                                                                                             
Open atheism, Rationalism, the worship of the human mind and the banishment of God and His truth and the Bible are evident on every hand.  Beauty in art and harmony in music has departed from the human soul.  Heathen rhythms and debased art forms, jungle melody, the beating of the tom-tom, longhaired men and naked women, shameless and obscene dance movements, filthy language, violence, suicide, murder, rape, sexual perversion, a rising tide of abandonment , are seceding centuries of enlightenment and culture. Alongside the greatest scientific achievements of the entire history of man comes an impious abandonment to all the lowest instincts of depravity. Vain pleasure, license to sin, the great atheistic tidal wave of “the liberty of man,” the banishment of moral restraint, the cult of pleasure, sports, industrial unrest as labor overwhelms management and becomes a tyranny on its own account, destroying the very wealth after which it lusts.  The Pope finds himself with much company as that antichrist system has been joined by a vast apostate Protestantism which has relinquished practically all the distinctive doctrines of the godly Puritans and Reformers.  It is highly significant that the only religion known to man which is despised and hated is that blessed evangelicalism which believes the Bible to be God’s pure Word, true and incorruptible.  Islam, false cults, and manmade religions are held in high favor, while those who hold fast to the evangelical faith and Bible infallibility are regarded with contempt and hate.
Image worship destroys the concept of God in the mind of man.  The pagans thought before they chiseled stone, shaped wood, or cast metal to make images.  It was from mental concepts of idolatrous man that these physical images came forth and these religious inventions come from the fall in Eden wherein man sold himself to a humanistic idolatry.  God the Creator is only truly believed on in the light of the truth of Him as revealed by the Holy Scripture. In reality, those who serve their image of god, whether metal or mental, serve idols. If imagination leads your thoughts about God, you have already gone astray and are guilty of worshiping an idol. Those who say, “This is how I like to think of God” are suffering delusion in thinking that they believe in the true God. An imagined god will always be imaginary and unreal. These images that men make to represent to themselves the Supreme Being are expressive, actually, of the contempt and hatred men have of God.
The universal lie and idolatry of our day, essentially, has a creator called nature.  Corrupt man with his Darwinism would make the natural order its own creator.  This evolution theory, however, provides a full misconception of God and man, the crowning point of His creation.  We, therefore, make no apology for dealing with this evil, satanic theory at some length.  Man is no accident of natural, inanimate forces pressing upwards from the womb of nothingness.  He is the crowning point of God’s Creation, unique, unexampled, without counterpart in the whole of the vast universe and the destiny of the entire universe is hinged upon his fate.  And the Bible assures us that the purpose of Creation is worked out nowhere else but on our own planet; it is here that the great drama of God’s life is unfolded, that moral Law is tested, the righteousness of God vindicated, and eternal wisdom unrolled in the majestic arts of Redemption and Incarnation.
He who denies this is a fool; he who ignores it is doomed to wander everlastingly in a labyrinth of doubt and perplexity. All knowledge must lead to God, and is perfected in the Eternal Word without which man is without a chart, without a guide, and without light.  The present state of materialistic science is a fearful commentary upon that fact.  There can no longer be any hiding of the fact that the issue today is: Atheism or the Inspired Word of God.  There is no middle ground.  The Bible alone solves the riddle of man and it everywhere reveals the fact that MAN IS A MORAL RUIN FUNDAMENTALLY AT WAR WITH HIS GOD, AND HIS PRIME NEED IS REDEMPTION.  In the Bible alone, the riddle of man’s existence is solved. The fundamental truth about man is that he is a sinful man, and no theorizing about his nature, origin or end can lead to any satisfactory result till this fact is accepted. The Bible tells the true story of man—noble in origin, and always civilized at the beginning, and becoming degraded and savage in the process of his own degeneration. The primary needs of human nature are REGENERATION AND RESURRECTION.  No more significant thing has ever been said of man than this: “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
To our list of all the failures of this satanic, soul-damning theory we add the following three critical tests:  
(1) Evolution cannot account for the soul of man.  Reason, discovery, contrivance on a grand scale, reflection, will, self-consciousness, worship, poetry, music, literature, beauty, harmony, art … faith, hope, love—let all these testify to the nature of man’s soul, and elevate him far above and beyond all known creation.  SOULS DO NOT EVOLVE.  THEY ARE THE DIRECT EXPRESSION OF THE IMAGE OF GOD.  If the butterfly’s wing, the peacock’s tail, the spider’s web, and the mysterious instinctive impulses which preserve and govern the animal creation—if these and ten million other things attest the finger of God in Creation, let man’s nobler part, CONSCIENCE, speak for his creation as the favorite of Heaven and loudly acclaim his Divine origin and destiny as the one being in whom all the wisdom and purpose of God meet.  To know good and evil, and to have in the breast a monitor which speaks for God and truth and righteousness, is beyond science, and proclaims that man is a moral creation accountable at last before the Judgment seat of Christ. 
(2)  Evolution cannot account for the present condition of man. That man is not only a depraved sinner, but a dangerous criminal, a potential menace to the entire creation, is no longer doubted even by the atheist and agnostic. Great statesmen have, after all the wars and terrorism, affirmed that the future is bleak. Only the Scriptures tell us the meaning of this disaster which has happened to man. Original disobedience has plunged him into present ruin. The spiritual nature of man can only live by communion with his God, but all history attests that there has been catastrophic interruption. There is none righteous, say the Holy Scriptures. There is no one who understands or seeks after God. Our entire modern society is ever plunging headlong into more and more vicious practices: lawlessness and violence are sweeping the globe. 
(3)  Evolution cannot account for the fact of the Lord Jesus Christ.  There is no way of accounting for Christ except as the God-Man.  Here is one who was attested by prophecy uttered four thousand years earlier. Man left his innocency in the Garden, but went out with a promise of the Coming Seed who would be man’s Deliverer. It was this promise which created the Hebrew nation, separated it from all the families of men, and sent it on its Divine mission to preserve the pure knowledge of God in the world, to transmit the holy Law, and to enshrine the promise of redemption till the time of deliverance should come. The coming Redeemer was the subject of the prophetic songs of David, which delineated as in a master-portrait every significant feature of the life and mission of Christ as God-become-man. The sacrificial death by which Christ should effect the atonement was prefigured in Israel’s ancient Temple ordinances, and minutely described in Isaiah 53, as by an eye-witness at the actual crucifixion scene, though the royal prophet lived eight centuries before the event. Daniel fixed the era with the precision of a calendar, and all but named the very date when Christ would “make an end of transgression and bring in everlasting righteousness.” The very place of the Redeemer’s birth was fixed as Bethlehem-Ephratah (Micah 5:2), while the price paid for His betrayal, and the final use of it, was told by Zechariah four centuries before (Zech. -13). Here, then, is the perfect Man, the full flowering of humanity, and none should be surprised at the information that CHRIST IS THE INTRUSION OF GOD IN PERSON INTO HIS OWN CREATION FOR THE DELIVERANCE OF MAN. Why should it be thought a thing incredible that God who made man for Himself as the crowning point of His wisdom should also stoop low unto suffering and death in order to raise His moral Creation to the highest pinnacle of blessedness? Who but God could be qualified to take man’s place and make man’s cause His own? How could there be an atonement if One who was not both God and Man should take the burden? Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Exaltation are the four key words to the understanding of the mystery of Creation, and without these there is no understanding—all is chaos and meaningless.  By this key all doors are opened wide. 
The fact of Christ is beyond all evolution’s vapid theorizing and its science proves to be satanic heresy in light of the truth of God’s Holy Scriptures. The Bible shows man’s need, above all else, for redemption.  His need is not education but conversion.  Man is defective in nothing but in his lost capacity for righteousness.  Again, the fact of Christ shows (what is an exclusive Bible doctrine in advance of all human philosophy and religious thought) that man’s nature is in a state of ruinous fall. The evil forces that surrounded Christ bear witness to the wickedness man has acquired. No man dare, except at peril to his everlasting soul, ignore Christ.  In the weakness and misery of his depravity, in all his sordid lapses, and in his unattained longings, man needs Christ. This is what the apostle proves in the first three chapters of this epistle.
The world was made for Calvary—not Calvary for the world.  The key to the understanding of man’s long and painful history, as well as to the meaning of the Universe, is moral redemption. And in the most magnificent passage the world has ever read or ever will read on this fascinating subject of the meaning, end and purpose of Creation—a passage which establishes the full verbal inspiration of the Bible—Paul, carried along by the Holy Ghost, writes: “The earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:19-21).
We conclude this verse with a quote from A. W. Pink:  “By way of infinite eminency God is the ‘blessed’ One (Mark 14:61)—a title which is peculiar and solely proper to Him. Nevertheless, He is graciously pleased to hear His saints attest to His blessedness. This was intimated by Paul when, after declaring Him to be ‘God blessed for ever’ he at once added his ‘Amen’ to the statement.  This amen ‘so be it,’ was added not to a blessing of invocation but to a joyful acclamation that express Paul’s own satisfaction and joy. ‘All Thy works shall praise thee’ (Psa. 145:10). His works alone bless Him, for they alone bear Him goodwill. They bless Him not only for what He is to them and for what He has done for them but for what He is in Himself.”
Verse 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.  Before looking at the heinous, evil sin spoken of in the next two verses we need to briefly consider the place and purpose of true sex. God’s intention, as the story of Eve’s creation from Adam’s rib shows, that the “one flesh” experience should be an expression and a heightening of the partners’ (one man and one woman) sense that, being given to each other by God, each needs the other for completion and wholeness (see Gen. 2:18-24). This is the “love” that committed married couples are to “make” when they mate. Children are born from their relationship but what is basic in the relationship is its enriching itself through their repeated “knowing” of each other exclusively and without reserve. So the place for sex is the place of lifelong mutual fidelity, i.e., marriage (Heb. 13:4), where sexual experience grows richer as the couple experience more and more of each other’s loving faithfulness in the total relationship. But Paul speaks here of the moral degeneracy of this sinful world in this awful catalogue of sexual vice. Not only is the marriage vows and bed defiled but the very natural use between men and women is perverted in a most unspeakable way. The increasing prevalence of these sexual perversions are evidence of the deep darkness now fallen on our civilization, as shown in the subversive legislation in favor of sodomy, abortion, atheistic education, and scientific materialism.
In this 26th verse the apostle definitely expresses the sin to which he refers. He emphasizes once more that he is dealing with the judicial act of retribution on the part of God as He gave them over. And the first corruption he proceeds to mention in detail is that which pertains to sexual intercourse. Bodily lusts followed closely upon the heels of ungodliness. When man departs and separates himself from God, his bodily lusts are unchained. These are the first that assert themselves. They are strong and become like a consuming fire is his blood. They rule over depraved man, and he is their slave. They drag him down, and he follows them into inevitable destruction. They are also the most degrading and revolting, when they manifest themselves in the unnatural, filthy relations of which the apostle speaks.  Lastly, they are at the same time the clearest manifestation of the wrath of God against all ungodliness of men. For they reveal God’s design upon the corruption of the body as a mete punishment for their sin. We notice too that Paul mentions the sin of the women first, probably because in them it is the most revolting. The sin mentioned is horrible indeed; women with women and men are heated toward men. In their craving lusts they seek satisfaction in practices uncommon, against nature, and unseemly. And thus God’s purpose was reached for in His wrath He purposed to destroy them. And in their anti-natural, filthy, perverted practices they worked out their own destruction, and received in themselves the due recompense for their first aberration, the changing of the truth of God into a lie. And certainly, if the cover could be torn from the hidden night-life of this sinful world of mankind, we would discover undoubtedly that with equal veracity this wicked practice runs rampant in our modern world.
Verse 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. Depraved men are in such delusion that they look upon their perverted sex drive as normal and unchangeable. They deny their sin is sin but Paul here says it is against nature, unseemly, error, and that for such vile practices they are under the wrath of God. Their abominable sin utterly excludes them from God and His people (Lev. , 29). Men and women lust after the unnatural, the unlawful, the unclean, because they have sinned away the glory of God. Pure sex is only within the honorable nature of the married state as it is grounded in the creative ordinance of the Scriptural meaning of true marriage (Heb. 13:4), while the illegitimate lustful desire here described in verses 26 and 27 derives its proper name from the city of Sodom, which was destroyed because of it (Gen. 19:5). “How meet was it that they who had forsaken the Author of nature, should be given up not to keep the order of nature” (Matthew Poole).
Verse 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. Once more the apostle repeats and stresses the phrase “God gave them over,” and in this verse there is an expressed comparison between the sin committed and the punishment inflicted. The apostle designs to show how proper the punishment of God was, seeing it was entirely in harmony with the very nature of the sin committed: “Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind.” As the sin, so is the punishment as God is just and righteous. The sin they committed is expressed in the words: “They did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” The Greek emphasizes the meaning as “to test, to prove, to examine, and to express judgment upon a thing after due examination.” They examined the question “Is God worthy to be kept in mind; is He worthy of consideration and honor?” And their deliberate answer was negative; they did not deem God worthy of remembrance for they did not like Him. The knowledge of God was manifest in them, and they knew that He was worthy to be thanked and glorified, but they were of a reprobate mind, and stood in enmity against God.  And so, in their sinful mind they passed judgment on God, and came to the willful conclusion in their hearts of hatred that He was not worthy to be remembered. They willfully rejected Him and cast Him out, making of God a reprobate. In full harmony with this is the punishment God inflicted upon them in giving them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.  By an operation of the God of wrath the minds of men became morally reprobate, and turned to unseemly things. Thus God vindicates Himself. Paul tells us here that sexual perversion is the mark of moral reprobation. Moral reprobation is simply God giving men up to their corrupt natures, which are already spiritually reprobate of Him. In the punishment of the sinner He justifies Himself. And He reveals that to live apart from God is death, and that the sinner that rejects God does so only because he is of a reprobate mind. When the sinner passes the judgment that God is not worthy to be kept in mind, and to be feared, it certainly must become evident that this judgment is false, and that he who thus judges is a liar. Hence, God punishes him by giving him over unto that reprobation of mind which impels him to practice horribly unseemly things. And by doing these he plainly shows that his mind is corrupt and that also his first judgment regarding God proceeded from a corrupt mind.
We quote the following from our dear brother Wylie W. Fulton: “Contrary to the thinking of most people, God is very much active in the affairs of men — in their salvation, and, yes, even in their destruction. The Bible doctrines of eternal election and reprobation (sometimes called ‘double predestination’) have been taught in God’s Word from the beginning, and in Protestant and Baptist circles as far back as we can trace … Sealed up in reprobation is the saddest thing that can happen to a sinner. I believe that as election is the eternal purpose of God for the salvation of His people, so reprobation is an eternal decree of Jehovah. But just as ELECTION is manifest in time by conversion and the Lord’s drawing of a sinner to the light and truth of the Word, so REPROBATION comes to be seen in this life in a sinner’s continuance in sin and especially in those MARKS of a reprobate mind in our text. Then for the reprobate sinner there is NO HOPE.  (1) What hope can there be if God is absent from life? And if God is silent to me, from what can I draw any hope for the future, for sickness and death that is facing me, and the ultimate eternity? (2) Nothing can give a reprobate sinner any true hope. But he may rejoice in his own carnal, devilish, worldly, atheistic ‘hope.’ To lie down as the enemy of God is to go out into dark despair.  (3) Naught but JUDGMENT awaits him. To that judgment every man is bound — and there’ll be a great separation day, when some will be placed on the Lord’s left hand, condemned and damned. (4)  There is no hope in Hell. The walls of that nether region are as black as pitch, and as thick as the Rock of Gibraltar and as high as Everest. When once a man enters that region, he has gone to the ‘valley of no return.’ Oh, what hopelessness cries out in the Lake of Fire! Never-ending torment awaits every soul who dies under this awful delusion of a reprobate mind.”
Scripture is clear that no sex pervert, nor anyone that lives in any sin, can be a Christian.  A person cannot be a child of God and be a sex pervert too. From 1 Cor. it is clear that a sex pervert may be saved by the grace of God for “such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” A sinner is not saved in sins but from their sins (Matt. ). In this day of darkness and ignorance in which we live there are those who tolerate a confessed sex pervert, who gives no solid evidence of having forsaken his sin, in the ministry. Such a person may be included in the man-made churches of religion but is not included in the true Church of the living God as a member or a minister. The Bible clearly says that such a person is no Christian at all but lies under the wrath of a Holy God. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall, not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Eph. 5:5-6).
A true saint of God might temporarily fall into some lust, but not that lust of perversion which the Holy Ghost leads Paul to name as the mark of moral reprobation. In the Scriptures we read where many saints of God fell into many diverse sins, but nowhere do we read where one fell into this sin after God saved them. And when a Christian does fall under the power of some other lust temporarily, when the Lord has granted him repentance, it will be said of him, “What carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves” (2 Cor. ).
Verse 29  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers.  This is the longest list of sins to be found in Paul’s letters.  However, it does not furnish an exhaustive catalogue of vice, but it does convey a horrifying impression of those sins which enslave this sinful world in moral chaos; giving a more detailed description of the actual corrupt condition from a moral, spiritual viewpoint.
First of all, the inward spiritual and moral disposition is described in this verse.  The first part of the verse speaks rather of the general spiritual disposition of the ungodly, the second part of the more particular sins that are hid in their heart. The apostle speaks in terms that are absolute. All is full of wickedness; and what is full of anything certainly cannot contain anything else. He is speaking of a highly civilized world, often praised and extolled in our day because of its attainments.  Yet, according to the Word of God, that cannot lie; this world was and is full of iniquity. There was absolutely no room for any good, being filled with corruption, in their hearts and minds. The first 5 terms employed all describe the corrupt condition of the inward disposition of the natural man: unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness. Of these unrighteousness and fornication, that is, spiritual fornication are so related that the first expresses the inward antipathy against the righteousness of God, the opposition of our nature to His Law and precepts, its antithesis to His holy will; while the latter expresses the tendency of that unrighteous nature to go a-whoring from God, to seek the darkness and eschew the light. Wickedness and maliciousness are closely related, and nearly alike in meaning, with this difference, that the former refers to the depravity of our nature in general, to its moral and spiritual corruption, while the latter points to the tendency of that depraved nature to be vicious and to do evil.  Covetousness denotes sin in its insatiable character. It is the love of this world, particularly of its wealth, ever seeking more and more worldly possessions without due regard to the will of God or the rights of men. Sin tends to always create deeper cravings as every form of wickedness accomplished leaves a larger hole in the heart that craves for more and deeper sin. Lust craves more and deeper lust as soon as it is satisfied by sin. The end of sin is Hell, eternal dissatisfaction. Even as righteousness tends to ever greater satisfaction because it finds rest in the eternal God, so unrighteousness creates ever deeper dissatisfaction because it is separated from the Fount of all good. 
The second part of this verse rather points to specific tendencies and inclinations of this depraved nature, even as to be full is the result of to be filled. They are full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity. Certainly, one does not have to look far to find these sins in our modern world. The political world is full of them; the commercial world is permeated with them; and the strife in the industrial world is rooted in them. Envy is a malignant, restless, devilish, tormenting passion that sickens at the worth, success, happiness, reputation, or the possessions of others, especially neighbors and competitors. Murder is the taking of another’s life because he has something that one wants, or because he has offended the ego of the murderer, who arrogates to himself the place of God to take the life of his victim. Debate is not orderly discussion but strife, contention, cruel contests, and wrangling from which many murders spring. Deceit, guile, craft, and subtlety sadly abound in our world where candor, fairness, and truth are so sadly wanting.  Malignity means taking all things in the evil part.  Whisperers are gossipers, secret slanderers, mischief-makers.
Verse 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents. The 30th and 31st verses refer to the actual sins of the ungodly as they manifest themselves in the world. As backbiters they openly defame, slander and publicly flaunt false charges against their fellow man by speaking evil of them. They are haters of God in all their actions assuming an attitude of opposition against Him. Our churches are filled with people that claim to love God but it is their false, imaginary concept that they like and when the truth of the Sovereign Creator, the triune God of the Bible, is preached, they manifest their hatred of Him. The despiteful is one who, uplifted with pride, either heaps insulting language upon others, or does the same shameful act or wrong. The proud are haughty in their arrogance of showing themselves above others, with an overweening sense of one’s means of merits; despising others, or treating them with contempt. Boasters are always overestimating self and depreciating the other, trampling him under foot. He is an empty pretender who prates of that which he does not own. They are inventors of evil things, employing their genius and power to work out evil schemes. They are devisers of evil and inventors of unlawful pleasures. They practice disobedient to parents and show themselves to be among the violators of the fifth commandment. They are disrespectful of parents, revolutionaries, breaking all bonds of authority.
Verse 31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful. They are without understanding of spiritual or moral things. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. ). So far have they wandered from the truth that you cannot interest them in heavenly things, or reach even their natural understanding with them. They are covenant breakers, faithless with regard to God and men. They feel themselves free to act in disregard of their word, their promise, their bond, and even their oath.  They are without natural affection and this is the strongest tie of duty in the family, love of kindred, and towards earthly friends, which if it be snapped, then all the other duties and feelings of relationship between men are gone (Lev. 20:9).  Implacable, literally, without truce, declining reconciliation, refusing to be on peaceful terms. Cruel they are, without mercy, deaf to the cries of those whom they oppress. 
Verse 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. The apostle concludes this chapter by emphasizing the wickedness of the world and he reminds us once more that ignorance is not the explanation of the wickedness of the world. They do these wicked things conscious by experience of the judgment of God, namely, that they who do such things are worthy of death.  Yet, they not only commit these things themselves, but also have pleasure in them that do them. Here is the climax of it all. To commit wickedness themselves implies that they have a certain interest in the fruit of sin. Covetousness seeks to satisfy self but to rejoice in the sins and wickedness of others reveals that there is a certain disinterested love of sin for its own sake. They are lovers of darkness and haters of light. And this love of darkness as such causes them to love those who with them walk in the same darkness, and to rejoice in their iniquity. Despite this recognition of God’s judgment, they not only continue to commit sin themselves, but actually applaud it in others.
To an age which has unashamedly sold itself to the gods of greed, pride, sex, and self-will, the Churches of today go on mumbling about God’s kindness, but say nothing about His just judgment. The Scriptures labor the point that just as God is good to those who trust Him, so He is terrible to those who do not. God’s Holy Word knows nothing of an attitude of grace on His part toward the wicked in this life, but teaches that He is angry with the wicked every day (Psa. 7:11); that He is always in His holy temple to try the children of men, and that His soul hates the wicked (Psa. 11:4-5); that His wrath is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness of men (verse 18 of this chapter); and that His face is against them that do evil (1 Pet. 3:12). Let no man imagine that it is possible for him to sin even for a moment with impunity, for God is terribly displeased with all sin, original and actual, and in His just judgment punishes sin in time as well as in eternity.
Of course, temporal and eternal punishment cannot be separated from each other as they are closely related. The wrath of God in time prepares for His wrath in eternity. Existence in the present world cannot be separated from that in the world to come. It is in this light that the prosperity of the wicked must be reviewed; in order to understand that even in this the wrath of God is operative. Those who separate the present from the everlasting future may babble of God’s favor upon the ungodly and of all the blessings they enjoy in this life, and so deceive themselves and others. But the moment we place the two, time and eternity, in proper relation to each other, we clearly see the folly of this, and realize that the prosperity of the wicked is itself a manifestation of the fierce anger of the Lord, whereby He leads them to greater damnation. It is this truth which the Holy Ghost revealed to us through Asaph, when he entered into the sanctuary of God, and understood the end of the wicked. Then he could view their present prosperity in the light of that end, and discern clearly that in giving them prosperity God set the ungodly upon slippery places, and cast them down in destruction (Psa. 73:18).  Thus also the author of Psalms 92 was Divinely taught to sing of  the profound wisdom of God, in that He caused the wicked to flourish and to grow as the grass in order that they might be destroyed for ever (Psa. 92:5-7). And thus it is evident that the Almighty’s government of the universe is always according to justice, and that He always punishes sin in His just judgment. And the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God will reveal that in all His dealings with the wicked He treated them in justice and righteousness. Surely, God punishes sin temporarily as well as eternally. There is no escape even for a moment from this pursuing wrath of God.  The punishment of sin is not limited to time, but is only a foretaste of eternal desolation in Hell. Only in Christ and Him crucified is the way of deliverance.            RCLVC

Worthy Doctrinal and Spiritual Notes and Quotes on Romans 1:18-32
Verse 18. The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness.  It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil.  It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin.  It is the moving cause of that just sentence which He passes upon evil-doers.  God is angry against sin because it is a rebelling against His authority, a wrong done to His inviolable sovereignty. —A. W. Pink (1886-1952).
God’s wrath is His righteousness reacting against unrighteousness. —Anonymous
The furnace of Jehovah’s wrath blazes in all its fierceness on Calvary. —Hugh Martin (1822-1885).
In vain does the evangelical doctrine exhort men to seek righteousness and salvation in Christ alone, apprehended by faith, unless all men be previously convicted as guilty of unrighteousness; which the apostle now begins to prove, concluding at chapter 3:24. —Theodore Beza (1519-1605).
Here is the sinfulness of men described; he reduceth it to two heads, ungodliness against the laws of the first table, unrighteousness against those of the second. —Matthew Henry (1662-1714).
The stress here lies on the abstract qualities of ungodliness and unrighteousness rather than upon the personal agents, through whom they find expression, because God would not punish men if it were not for their sin. —Matthew Poole (1624-1679).
Before enumerating their actual iniquities, he goes back to the origin of them all, their stifling the light which still remained to them.  As darkness overspreads the mind, so impotence takes possession of the heart, when “the still small voice” of conscience is first disregarded, next thwarted, and then systematically deadened.  Thus “the truth” which God left with and in men, instead of having free scope and developing itself as it otherwise would, was obstructed (Cf. Matt. 6: 22-23; Eph. 4: 17-18). —Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary.
A curse lies on those that, when the truth suffers, have not a word to defend it. —Richard Sibbes (1577-1635).
When any truth is possessed without a corresponding practice it is held wickedly, hurtfully, wrongfully.  Then men do not obey it; they are not made better by it. —William S. Plumer (1802-1880). 
Verse 19.  That which may be known of God; or, that which is knowable of God, viz. by the light of nature.  The apostle, by a prolepsis, prevents an objection which some might make in excuse for the Gentiles: how could they suffocate or suppress the truth, seeing they wanted the Scripture, and were without the knowledge of it?  To this he answers, that they were not wholly without knowledge, for that which may be known of God was manifest in them, and revealed to them. —Matthew Poole (1624-1605).
It is not of a mere external revelation of which the apostle is speaking, but of that evidence of the being and perfections of God which every man has in the constitution of his own nature, and in virtue of which he is competent to apprehend the manifestations of God in His works … it is manifestation of God in His works, and in the constitution of our nature. —Charles Hodge (1797-1878).
The creation is both a monument of God’s power and a looking-glass in which we may see His wisdom. —Thomas Watson (1620-1686).
Verse 20.  You may know ABOUT God from the works of creation; but you must have a PERSONAL knowledge of Him. —Hugh Martin (1822-1885).
The solitary, sublime, simple reason the Bible gives for the existence of everything in all creation is that it came into being by God’s will, because He chose that it should.  For the unbeliever, no further explanation is possible; for the believer none is necessary. —Anonymous
When we look out upon the beauty of the created world that we now know and when we lift our eyes to the heavens and ask, “Who made these things?”  Genesis is ready with an answer.  In simple, straightforward terms it declares that the beginning of all things was through a creative act of God.  The verse then answers the question that arises at one time or another in the mind of everyone, “Who is the Creator of all things?” or “What is the origin of all things?”  It thus stands as a simple, grand, comprehensive statement of the fact of creation, the detailed account of which follows, and which does not exhaust it (referring to Gen. 1:1). —Edward J. Young (1907-1968).
It is not to be doubted that St. Paul uses this vaguer, more abstract, and less personal word, just because he would affirm that men may know God’s power and majesty from His works. —R. C. Trench (1807-1886).
Every work of God serves to display His glory, and set off the greatness of His majesty.—John Gill (1697-1771).
Nothing will so enlarge the intellect and magnify the whole soul of man as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the whole of the subject of the Trinity. —C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892).
We must never let our theology rob us of our responsibility. — Anonymous
Verse 21.  Whatever knowledge we have, we have not learned anything until we fear God. —Tom L. Daniel (1906-1972).
True wisdom consists in two things: Knowledge of God and knowledge of Self. —Wylie W. Fulton (b. 1939).
The Trinity is the basis of the Gospel, and the Gospel is a declaration of the Trinity in action. — Anonymous.
He who has a right notion of God, ought to give Him the praise due to His eternity, wisdom, goodness and justice. —John Calvin (1509-1564).
Humanism is a religion of the mind, not the heart. —B. B. Caldwell (1899-1976).
God is never more properly thanked for His goodness than by our godliness. —Anonymous
Thanksgiving implies (1) A right apprehension of the benefits conferred.  (2) A faithful retention of benefits in the memory, and frequent recollections upon them.  (3) A due esteem and valuation of those benefits. (4)  A reception of those benefits with a willing mind, a vehement affection.  (5) Due acknowledgement of our obligations.  (6) Endeavors of real compensation; or, as it respects the Divine Being, a willingness to serve and exalt Him.  (7) Esteem, veneration, and love of the benefactor. —Dr. Barrow
Here imaginations indicate reliance upon the speculative powers of reason to provide a firm basis for religious faith.  It is fatal to mistake philosophical enlightenment for spiritual illumination. —Geoffrey B. Wilson
The thought is that the heart as the seat of feeling, intellect, and will, already destitute of understanding, was darkened. —John Murray (1898-1975).
Verse 22. It is the invariable property of error in morals and religion, that men take credit to themselves for it and extol it as wisdom.  So the heathen 1. Cor. 1:21. —Augustus F. Tholuck (1799-1877).
But their claims were idle and delusive.  In their wisdom they were, if possible, further from the truth than in their acknowledged ignorance. —William Plumer (1802-1880).
Men who have no brains are always great men in their own esteem.—Alfred Peet.
The very root of the modern liberal movement is the loss of the consciousness of sin. —Gresham Machen (1881-1937).
Sin and heresy, and superstition are hypocrites; that is, sin hath the appearance of virtue, and heresy hath the appearance of truth, and superstition hath the appearance of religion. —Henry Smith (1560- 1591?).
There are innumerable souls that would resent the charge of the fool’s atheism, yet daily deny God in every deed.—John Foster.
Verse 23. The sense is not that they change one thing into another, but that they exchange one thing for another. —Charles Hodge (1797-1878).
Paganism and idolatry produce only misery. —Jabez Burns (1805-1876).
Man’s foolishness is made evident by his idolatry.  The vanity of his imagination finds its most crass expression in his love of dumb idols.  This is an allusion to Greek worship, and the apostle may have had in his eye those exquisite chisel lings of the human form which lay so profusely beneath and around him as he stood on Mars Hill [Acts 17:29]. —David Brown (1803-1902).
Verse 24. As Satan is the minister of God’s wrath, and as it were the executioner, so he is armed against us, not through the connivance, but by the command of his judge.  God, however, is not on this account cruel, nor are we innocent, inasmuch as Paul plainly shows, that we are not delivered up into his power, except when we deserve such a punishment. —John Calvin (1509-1564).
In verse 24 He gave them up to their lusts, or to vile affections: “to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts” means their desire, their longings, their lust, their love, and their affection.  Remember one thing, that lust comes from the seat of affection.  The individual who has given God up loves the forbidden things.  He is unclean, immoral, and vile in what he loves.  So God gives the sinner up to his vile affections. —L. R. Shelton (1898-1971).
I need not describe the state of the heathen mythology, nor the deplorable situation of mankind in all points of religion and morality, when the disciples of Jesus went forth to preach the Gospel to every creature.  It will give the most lively idea of the universal corruption and depravity which prevailed, if we only attend to what the apostle hath said of those nations, even where the arts and sciences flourished in the greatest perfection (Ver. 23 & 24). —Robert Hawker (1753-1827).
Natural desires are at rest when that which is desired is obtained, but corrupt desires are insatiable.  Nature is content with little, grace with less, but lust with nothing. —Matthew Henry (1662-1714).
Verse 25.  Lying Vanities will crush under their own weight, while truth endures forever.  Nothing enters heaven but truth. . . Truth is the last thing we will believe; we do all in our power to keep from believing it.  In fact, truth is never known by any but those who have been born again.  Finally we find ourselves believing what we once condemned as falsehood.  Christianity is rooted and grounded in truth, while all lying vanities will perish with their using.  Jesus is the embodiment of truth.  He came to be the only Truth, to live the truth, and to preach His own everlasting Gospel truth.  Then whatever does not coincide with the Spirit of Jesus is false, and anything we cannot prove by the Scriptures is false.  The truth of God will stand when everything else fades away. —B. S. Cowin.
We should not only resist the theory of evolution but also attack it.  The textbooks into which it has crept must be put aside. —Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920).
Lies and false reports are among Satan’s choicest weapons. —J. C. Ryle (1816-1900).
True religion is a real heart occupation with and worship of Christ, as it manifests itself in all areas of life. Acts . — Anonymous
Jehovah’s own glory, praise and honor was the first consideration in His creation. —W. S. Craig (1867-1961).
The “god” of the 20th century no more resembles the Supreme Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the sun.  The “god” who is now talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday School, mentioned in much of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the so-called Bible conferences is the figment of human imagination, an invention of maudlin sentimentality.  The heathen outside of the pale of Christendom form “gods” out of wood and stone, while the millions of heathen inside Christendom manufacture a “god” out of their own carnal mind.  In reality, they are but theists, for there is no other possible alternative between an absolutely Supreme God, and no God at all.  A “god” whose will is resisted, whose designs are frustrated, whose purpose is checkmated, possesses no title to Deity, and so far from being a fit object of worship, merits naught but contempt. —A. W. Pink (1886-1952).
They are justly plagued with error, which slight truth.  False doctrines are fit plagues for false hearts. —John Flavel (1638-1691).
The ever-blessed God is the natural tribute of reverence toward the God whom men dishonor by their idolatry. —Charles Hodge (1797-1878).
Verses 26 & 27.  The terror is being taken from human government as it administers the law, as a minister of God in these things.  Natural affections are dying as the home perishes, for the home is the foundation of all natural affection.  Men will not carry out their love of sin because of love for father or mother, wife or child, but if these natural affections die in the hearts of men, they will do the evil of their hearts.  The natural conscience of men will not restrain them unless this conscience be informed by reflections of the moral Law. —E. W. Johnson (1914-2001).
The real question is what does the Bible say about sexual perversion.  (1) It is sin. Gen. 13:13, Isa. 3:9, Lamen. 4:6.  (2) It is described as the lowest form of depravity. Rom. 1:24-31.  (3) These people will go to hell (despite what liberal writers say) 1 Cor. 6:9.  The word “effeminate” means a sodomite, catamite, or homosexual.  (4) It is forbidden and viewed as abominable. Lev. , .  (5) Israel ostracized them from the Jewish society upon God’s command. Deut. , 1 Kings , , .  (6) God brought direct judgment on such to show His disapproval. Gen. 19:1-24.  (7) A war was once fought over this sodomite issue. Judges chapters 19-21 and note in particular -23, 20:5. —Robert Nelson.
The description of the male homosexual vice in verse 27 is more detailed.  Three expressions are worthy of special note.  (1) “Leaving the natural use of the woman.”  As elsewhere in the apostle’s teaching (cf. 1 Cor. 7:1-7) the honorableness of the heterosexual act is implied and its propriety is grounded in the natural constitution established by God.  The offence of homosexuality is the abandonment of the divinely constituted order in reference to sex.  (2) “Burned in their lust one toward another.”  The intensity of the passion is indicated by the word “burned”.  It is a mistake to equate this burning with that mentioned in 1 Cor. 7:9.  The latter is the burning of natural sex impulse and there is no indictment of it as immoral—marriage is commended as the outlet for its satisfaction.  But here it is the burning of an insatiable lust that has no natural or legitimate desire of which the lust is the perversion or distortion.  It is lust directed to something that is essentially and under all circumstances illegitimate.  “Men with men working that which is unseemly.”  “Unseemliness” is too weak a word: the Greek should be rendered rather “the shameful thing” (cf. Eph. ).  This again indicates the cumulative force of the indictment leveled against the vice in question. —John Murray (1898-1975).
The passage in Romans 1 sets forth this sin as an exceedingly shameful iniquity.  There are different aspects of sin; one aspect is the shamefulness of sin.  Whereas all sin is shameful, since it misses the mark of God’s glory, certain sins show this shamefulness more than others.  Such is homosexuality.  It is “unseemly” (vs. 27), i.e., indecent, ugly.  The practice of it is a doing of “things which are not convenient” (v. 28) i.e., things not fitting for a human being.  Verse 26 speaks of “vile affections,” i.e., affections of dishonor, or disgraceful affections. —David Engelsma (b. 1940?).
Verse 28. America is too much at the night club, not at the prayer meeting. —Vance Havner (1901-1986).
The reasons for our sinful forgetfulness of God are not hard to discover.  First, it issues from the universal depravation of our nature.  No part of man’s complex being escaped serious injury when he apostatized from God—his intellect suffered seriously.  Fearful indeed have been the effects of the Eden tragedy, chief of which is that the natural man likes not to retain God in his thoughts.  Second, it works from the little esteem in which we hold the wondrous works of God. —A. W. Pink (186-1952).
To a reprobate mind or, and injudicious mind; or, a mind rejected, disallowed, abhorred of God; or a mind that none hath cause to glory in, but rather to be ashamed of. —John Trapp (1601-1669).
No man says, “There is no God” but he whose interest it is there should be none. —Augustine (354-430).
Verses 29-31.  See sin to be the worst of evils , and depart from it. —Philip Henry (1631-1696).
There are three kinds of lies; a lie told, a lie taught, a lie acted out. —Joseph Caryl (1602-1673).
The itch of covetousness makes a man scratch what he can from another. —Thomas Watson (1620-1686).
Nothing is more offensive to God than deceit in commerce. —Matthew Henry (1662-1714).
Envy, it torments the affections, it vexes the mind, it inflames the blood, it corrupts the heart, it wastes the spirits; and so it becomes man’s tormentor and man’s executioner at once. —Thomas Brooks (1608-1660).
They boast most of their works, who have the smallest share of them. —William Mason (1719-1791).
How dearly hath pride, especially spiritual pride, cost the churches of Christ. —John Flavel (1638-1691).
Some lips are filled with praise, the praise of themselves .—Anonymous.
Sin is the great punishment of sin. —John Boys (1571-1625).
If we be ruled by sin we shall inevitably be ruined by it. —Matthew Henry (1662-1714).
A will to sin is sin in God’s account. —Thomas Brooks (1608-1680).
Sin is a clenched fist and a blow in the face of God. —Joseph Parker (1830-1902).
Sin is essentially a departure from God. —Martin Luther (1483-1546).
Verse 32.  When wickedness is rampant and the earth is full of wickedness, men must either soon enter the Ark or be drowned. —William Plumer (1802-1880).
As death leaves us, so judgment will find us. —Thomas Brooks (1608-1660).
Those whose hearts are not pierced by the sword of God’s justice shall certainly be cut down and destroyed by the axe of His judgments. —Francis Burkitt (1864-1935).
The Lord has a golden scepter and an iron rod.  Those who will not bow to the one shall be broken by the other. —Thomas Watson (1620-1686).
But have pleasure in them that do them as they deliberately set their seal to such actions by encouraging and applauding the doing of them in others. —David Brown (1803-1897).
The most reprobate sinner carries about with him a knowledge of his just exposure to the wrath of God. —Charles Hodge (1797-1878).
Men enjoy sin simply because it is evil, and they delight to observe others in the same state of condemnation as themselves (Psa. 10:3; Prov. 2:1)].  — Geoffrey B. Wilson.

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