Romans 1:22-32

by:

Dan Hill, PhD
Pastor, Southwood Bible Church
7655 South Sheridan Avenue
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74113
E-Mail: hill918@aol.com


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Romans 1:22

Professing to be wise, they became fools.


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PROFESSING means to assert, and it is active voice. They are not deemed wise by others; no, they will tell you how wise they are.

Wisdom is SOPHOS, but really they are FOOLS which is MORAINO, morons. And that is grammatically set as a verb because God wanted us to be able to see that this is passive voice and therefore, His estimation of what they assert themselves to be.


Romans 1:23

And exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.


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And from this human wisdom (self-asserted) the unbeliever rejects the revelation of God and moves toward human religion.

Here we have idolatry. I think in the popular psychological approach to problems today we have some what obscured what idolatry is.

We seem to want to label anything and everything as idolatry. So sin become idolatry, distraction become idolatry.

But God places idolatry beyond these rather normal yet still harmful things that plague man.

Idolatry exchanges God's glory for that which is corruptible.

The exchange occurs in two phases:

1. Truth is exchanged for error: The Bible shows that religion is a direct result of man's departure from the true God. All the wisdom of Egypt, Greece, and Rome did not prevent these nations from falling into idolatry. When one rejects God and His truth the results is religion in its vilest forms.

2. The second exchange comes in the object of worship: Notice the digression in the objects of worship. From birds (they are in the air), to mammals, to reptiles.

Man, in rejecting God and His truth sets off on a path that ends up with the deification of animals, even snakes.

That is idolatry, going from rejecting God, rejecting truth, to an exchange of the true object of worship.

I think these extreme hazards of idolatry can be clearly seen in the next verses.


Romans 1:24

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them.

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Here we see God's response to their rejection of Him.

The word THEREFORE looks back and then ahead. Back to the rejection and ahead to dishonor and depravity.

Verses 24 and 25 form a paragraph: First, cultic immorality is a result of the exchange of God's glory for the worship of created things; second, because they exchanged truth for a lie, they result was immorality.

NOW, WHAT DOES IT MEAN: "God gave them over in the lust of their hearts to impurity..."

They chose to abandon God and in turn, God abandons them. There is a certain amount of common grace and mercy God extends to all mankind. This is removed and man ends up living out life trying to satisfy his own desires.

God withdraws himself from man and the results can be easily seen in the depravity of our age and even the age to which Paul writes.

LUST cannot be fulfilled by man. Instead it escalates, gets more and more extreme in its desire to satisfy that which cannot be satisfied.

The eventual result is for man to combine the depravity of lust with religion. Thus, in many cultures worship is expressed through sex, prostitution, homosexuality, lesbianism.

In ancient Greece the belief was the gods would only be happy when they were having sex, and the only way they would have sex was to be inspired by the temple prostitutes and homosexual priests.

That is how perverse man can get when God is kept out of the picture.

This same principle is seen where God is said to "harden the heart" - which is a response of God to man's rejection of Him and His truth:

Ephesians 4:17-19, This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

Man chooses to abandon God, God then chooses to abandon them.

Seven Downward Steps of Reversionism (Backsliding)

1. Playing around with sin:

Romans 13:13, Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.

2. Yielding to sin and its power:

Romans 6:13 Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

3. Habitually serving sin:

II Peter 2:14 They are ones having eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children.

4. Abandoning self to sin:

Ephesians 4:19 And they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

5. Being abandoned by God to sin:

Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them.

Romans 1:26-27 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

6. Encouraging others to sin:

Romans 1:32 And, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

7. Experiencing Hell on earth:

James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.
I Timothy 5:6 But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.

AGAIN, GOD TURNS THEM OVER only after they have abandoned Him.

Lust of the heart vs. Lust of the flesh: The lust of the flesh may cease with age but the lust of the heart continues long after physical ability ceases.

Topic: CHASTISEMENT (Divine Discipline)



Romans 1:25

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.


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Here again we see the two exchanges, the truth for a lie is a parallel to the ones in verse 22 who profess to be wise.

The exchange of the worship of the Creator for the worship of the creature is parallel to the idolatry of verse 23.

The word LIE is preceded by a definite article, which makes it a specific lie. That lie is the lie that Satan has been trying to pass off as truth since the garden. It is the lie that is above all lies ... that God is not God, hat other things, created things, even man himself, deserve the worship that is reserved only for the one true God.

In repeating what these rejectors do, three things are established:
1. It further explains the nature of the offense.

2. It reaffirms the grounds of God's condemnation

3. It vindicates the severity of God's punishment of man's perversion

"Who is blessed forever, amen". Reminds us of the eternal nature of God. These other things are temporal, they do not last, God does.

Now, look at the results in terms of personal immorality.


Romans 1:26

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural.

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There is a word here that is not translated. It is the word EVEN, "For even their women..."

The last ones in a society to usually be effected by decaying morality are women. By using this illustration Paul is saying all virtue is gone.

The "natural" use is the relationship of man and woman. The use that is "against nature" is lesbianism.

This is the female expression of degrading passions.

In these two verse Paul uses ARSJN for men and QALUS for women. These are not nouns, they are descriptive adjectives which describe not the gender but the drive of a person. The same sexual drive that is described in animals by these two terms.


Romans 1:27

And in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.


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Paul affirms that male homosexuality is also unnatural and then goes a step further in saying that it consists of indecent acts.

It is an error or aberration and receives due penalty:

The word DUE PENALTY involves justice, receiving what one deserves.

NOW WITH THESE TWO SINS I want us to be careful:

The old saying hate the sin and not the sinner must be applied.

We as Christian people must not become homophobic, we must not hate the homosexual, just stand against what they do.

The only hope for the homosexual is the same hope for the adulterer, the thief, the slanderer. Jesus Christ provides salvation and the Spiritual life for the ones who are saved.

Christians are very good at becoming hate mongers, and we must not allow that to happen. There are many homosexual men and lesbian women who are very aware of their lack of fulfillment and are receptive to the truth of God if it is expressed with the love of Christ.

We will see in verses 28-32 that the expressions of abandoning God and His truth are not always cultic depravity and sexual immorality. This rejection can also find its expression in sins.


Romans 1:28

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,


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The contrast is to the ones who, in verses 22-23, exchanged the glory of God for an image. Here we have the ignoring of God, not seeing fit to acknowledge Him.

The words ANY LONGER are not there. The translator stretched them out from the infinitive but that is a little too much of a stretch.

These are those who ignore God, who act as though he does not exists or matter. While the application could also be to the believer, Paul is dealing with the unbeliever who does not know God.

RESULT OF THEIR SELF IMPOSED IGNORANCE: God gave them over to a depraved mind.

The result is that they do that which is not proper or fitting.


Romans 1:29

Being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,


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BEING FILLED is a perfect participle that points to a fixed condition.

The word ALL goes with the first four nouns:
1. Unrighteousness: As with verse 18 this is the acts of sins against others.

2. Wickedness: This is evil that desires to influence others with evil.

3. Greed: Basic meaning is to desire more. Not just with money but with anything in which man desires more and more as a result of not being satisfied with what he has.

4. Evil: The desire to injure and retaliate, to harm others for the supposed harm they have inflicted upon you.

Topic: EVIL

With the words FULL OF, it is as if Paul draws a breath and says from these four conditions that fill man you have the following list of sins.

Now whenever a list of sins is given in the scriptures Commentators try to arrange the list, categorizing the sins. But they usually fail. Because sins by their very nature are disorderly and irrational.


Romans 1:30,31

Slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,

Without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;


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So we have seventeen (17) sins listed:

These are applied to the unbeliever, but we have similar lists applied to the believer:

I Corinthians 6:9-10, Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

I want you to notice that is every list of sins we have some things that are extreme and yet also some things that some people might think are rather minor.

Romans 1: Boastful, disobedient children, unloving

I Corinthians 6: Covetousness, getting drunk

Galatians 5: Jealousy, envy, disputes, carousing

I do not think that any of us can read these lists and exclude ourselves. To a perfectly righteous God, any sin is abhorrent.

Topic: SIN


End Lesson 6


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