We have a problem in our world today, a human dilemma. In spite of man’s achievements, in spite of his education and u advance in society, and with his exalted concept of himself the world is in a very bad state. In fact it has lost its way and is in the dark. Why? How can this be? We have all the answers and after all we are evolving into supermen.
Romans 1. Paul starts of this great epistle with the gospel, that his centre piece, his jewel in the crown.
1. He has three “I Ams” vs 14
First he says, “I am debtor”. (vs 14). He is not talking about money here or that he owes anyone any material thing. He did not go bankrupt in business or have a business transaction go wrong. He was in no debt with the Greeks or Barbarians. He did not owe them any money. But he was a debtor to Christ, he had a transaction with Christ which put him in debt to every man. He was in debt to a lost world. This world is lost, it has lost its way.
Second he says, “I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are in Rome” (vs 15). He is ready willing and able to pay the debt by preaching the gospel. He is eager.
Third he says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” (vs 16). Many today are ashamed of the gospel because they do not understand its power. There are many ministers in pulpits who do not preach the gospel. Paul was not ashamed “for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. This gospel alone has the power to save a life. It is God’s dynamite.
2. The Righteousness of God v17
He then goes on to show the revelation of a righteousness of God, Paul says it is revealed, “to uncover that which was hidden”. The word righteousness is dikaiosune, a highly important word and doctrine in Romans and appears thirty six times. (vs 17). The word appears 92 times in the New Testament. The root word is “right,” It is to be right, it is standing the test of Gods judgement, it is reaching his standard. It is what He demands and what he provides, it is from God. Here it is a righteousness of God not of man, it is a right standing with God’s standard. It belongs to God and the nations do not have it. It is to be in right relationship with God. It is the integrity of God. This righteousness is bestowed upon men who believe. God through the isoel has t us in a right relationship with Himself. Before we received it we were kept out of his presence, we had guilt removed and we could enter into his presence. The only way into the Holy of Holies Old Testament tabernacle was to enter through the door with a blood sacrifice. The sinner is dammed if he comes some other way. Even though we have forgiveness of sins we cannot go to heaven and be with God unless we are holy and have his righteousness. We cannot go to heave even though we have these two but do not have eternal life and so God bestowed it to as His gift. “For the gift of God is eternal life though Jesus Christ our Lord.” “From faith unto faith” faith is the medium or means whereby righteousness is given. It means out of faith into faith. “The just shall live by faith” (Hab. 2:4; Galatians :11; Hebrews 10:38). Faith trusts in Gods grace in Christ. It brings peace and tranquillity to the soul. When we trust in the atoning work of Christ. There is not human merit here as all our righteousness is filthy rags. The sinner comes in an attitude of faith.
3. The Natural Revelation v18
“For the wrath of God is revealed.” This is Gods holy anger and how he feels about sin. God is displeased with evil. The wrath of God against the wicked, depraved world. We see it around us every day and it is getting worse. God will not let you away with sin. He will judge it. “all ungodliness” that which is against God. That which denies the character of God, that includes the atheist, the religious people, the wicked people and the good people. God will also judge human goodness because it rejects Christ, Gods way. He shows how those without the written law have it written on their hearts.
Vs 19-20 The natural universe in which you and I live tells us things about God; His person, his power, his majesty. Creation is a clear light of revelation. Psalm 8:1 When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thy hast ordained.” In Psalm 19 creation testifies. God’s glory is declared by the heavens. The creation shouts, it exclaims a wordless revelation. The sun shouts it out by day and the moon and stars shout it out by night. Vs 2 Creation is a bubbling spring of activity, of order and design, of laws and endless variety. The creation praises him. People are without excuse because of the way God reveals himself in creation. Vs 3 “there is no speech or language; their voice is inaudible”. God is not partial He reveals himself to all. “God communicates without words, it is just like looking at a painting, it is silent yet speaks volumes. Creation can speak but we must be ready to hear. The Holy Spirit can begin to use creation to ask questions about the creator. Vs 5-6 God is greater than the sun. Creation shows forth his handiwork, “so that they are without excuse.” Paul said, “…he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). Man is his “offspring” he is our father and we are not think of him as an idol, or art or anything man devises. (Acts 17:29).
4. The Degraded Response of Man Vs 21-23
What wrong with or world? What’s wrong with man? Why is the world in the state it is in? The world is lost. He is subnormal and we often see his animal instincts and not the souls that was created in Gods image. It is now in the image of Darwinism. Is it any wonder we see such horrific things happening in society? Why? The reason is men have rejected Gods revelation and so they are sinking deeper and deeper on a downward journey away from God. Mankind is not moving upward, he is not evolving, he is deteriorating. Continual sin and rejection of God pull him downward. Man is moving away from God. He is in absolute error.
A) “…they glorified him not as God”
They did not give him his rightful place, and man came self-sufficient. Earth and the universe demand an explanation. They said creation is a myth, Genesis is oral tradition, it is non-scientific. They deny the ultimate authority and their opinions continue to change. Their text books go out of date immediately they are printed. They are groping in the dark. It is all speculative, the origin of energy, the origin of the universe, is elusive to unsaved modern man. They say it came from nothing, it began with a big bang but cannot explain how energy originated, or why it suddenly exploded and became an amazing complex astonishing order everywhere in our universe. The complex composition of living cells could exist only through intelligent design. The living cell, the DNA, we can tell how it works but not where it came from. This is contrary to the hopeless chaotic answers we hear from many scientists. Yet the science of bio-genesis demands that only life can create life. If we were to gather all the facts it would lead us to God. Man seeks the glory himself, he goes to the world and receives awards for his achievement but leave God out even though He is the one who made it all.
B) “Neither were they thankful”
They did not return thanks for his goodness and his provision. Man thinks “Mother Nature” just gave it. This is a myth. He thinks he has made many things but forgets the material had to be there first in order for him to invent.
C) “Became vain in their imaginations”
They invented theories, stories, myths, they promoted philosophical science instead of true science, the thought up other religions.
D)“Their foolish hearts were darkened”
They moved in to darkness, in to paganism. All around our world today man are walking in darkness. They have no light.
E) “Professing themselves to be wise..”
The wisdom of man is foolishness with God. It is just child’s play to have its own way. Man’s search for truth is endless, they go to universities, they learn their philosophies but they are foolish in Gods sight. They come out with a piece of paper and think they are smart.
F) “And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.”
Unsaved man has his own idea about God and who he is. Billions picture him as an idol, a cow, a bull, a policeman in the sky, an old man with beard. Some see him in all of us and that we are all gods. The Egyptians had their god and the Assyrians had their gods, they made them like beasts, birds and creeping things ie the 10 plagues represent ten demon gods of Egypt. The Babylonians the Assyrians, the Greeks had their gods, Zeus was the king of the gods, the ruler of Mount Olympus and the god of the sky, weather, thunder, lightning, law, order, and fate. Athena was the goddess of wisdom, warfare, battle strategy, heroic endeavour, handicrafts and reason. Dionysus The god of wine, parties and festivals, madness, chaos, drunkenness and pleasure at forever young. They made gods like men, like Hercules, the Romans had their gods, Jupiter , the king of the Gods, Juno the Queen, Neptune the God of the sea, Pluto the god of death, Venus the goddess of love, Cupid the god of love, and it goes on and on. Sometimes they fight among themselves. The true God of the Bible does not fight with other members of the Godhead, they are in perfect harmony and agreement. The Roman Catholics have their god, the Hindus their gods. Modern man has his gods. We have the god of science but it has failed us in many areas, there are the modern sex gods and goddesses, but they do not completely satisfy, we have the gods of entertainment, but there is still an emptiness, it all fades and a new pop idols are made. Man left to his own devices will continue to get worse. There is more poverty, more people starving, more people ill even though we have our health programs and social programs. As man gets worse the world makes excuses for him, they blame his behaviour on environment, on lack of money, of a cruel father, of a poor education. The story of human history is man’s descent into immorality and away from God.
5. The Downward trend of Natural Man Vs 24-32
Man has rebelled against God and in these verses it says three times “God gave them up”.
Vs 24 “God gave them up to uncleanness. They dishonour their own bodies. They go deeper into sex perversion. They have been handed over by god and their sexual immorality cause great problem. Family life breaks down, respect for another persons body is evident. They use each other and go into the lowest depths of degradation.
Vs 25 They exchanged the truth of God for the lie. Satan has turned them from God and is leading them down into the abyss where he will end up.
Vs 26-27 “Wherefore god gave them up to vile affections” to sexual perversions, to homosexuality, to lesbianism Their passions become a disgrace to God. When perversion entered Greek life it brought Greece down, the same happened with Rome.
Vs 28 God gave them over to a reprobate mind. The human race put God on trial. They deemed God was not good enough for their knowledge, their vain imaginations, so they said we want none of Him. They disapproved of God. They ended up with a confused mind, a mind that cannot tell right from wrong. A mind that is lost. They were given up to those things that are not “convenient” or not fitting, they abandon the right things. Their mind causes them to live in the mire, a permissive mid.
6. Sinful Results of Man’s Rebellion vs 29-31
“Being filled with..” This is the natural result of them giving up god.
Vs 32 Society was and is “approving” to give ones approval, to such behaviour. Even the Church has been infiltrated and many give their approval to perversion outside of marriage.