Friday, September 10, 2010

In Search Of Truth, Romans 1:26-32



Romans 1:26-32


Earlier in this chapter (verses 21-23 and 25) Paul explains
that humans willfully make the decision to ignore what God has revealed about
himself, choosing instead to worship gods or false versions of God that they
have invented themselves.


It is because of this that God “gives people over” to
shameful desires. These “desires” are not necessarily sexual, but Paul gives
homosexuality as an example of behavior that happens when people ignore truth
and pursue their own desires instead of God’s design for our lives. (v. 26-27)


Some have suggested that the “penalty” for error in verse 27
refers to sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, though this is pure
speculation and is an argument that has some noticeable weaknesses.


God is strongly committed to the free will of humanity. So
when people decide to ignore God, he allows their minds to think illogically.
In verse 28, the Greek adjective used to describe a “depraved mind” means
“undiscerning, not distinguishing and void of judgment”. The implication here
is that acknowledging and worshiping God is the natural result of logical
thinking. In order to ignore God, we have to set aside logic, which God allows
us to do if that is what we want.


Once the human mind becomes “depraved” in this way, it
naturally gravitates toward choices and actions that are not suited to God’s
design for humans. Paul uses a series of descriptive words to identify the
symptoms of this state, and I’ve made an effort to examine each of these words
in their original Greek and convey some of their meaning below to help us better see these symptoms in humanity.


In this, humanity’s default, fallen state, our minds are
filled with all kinds of thoughts that oppose God (unrighteousness). We do
things that are harmful to others (wickedness), we crave money and
“stuff”(greed), our natural impulses and thoughts are contrary to God’s will
(evil), we aren’t happy unless we have what others have in either wealth or
attributes(envy), we lose sight of the value of human life and become willing
to snuff it out if it suits our desires(murder), we are in regular conflict
with each other(strife), we misrepresent the truth in either small, subtle ways
or larger ways in order to gain or avoid something(deceit), and we assume the
worst about people, having a tainted, negative outlook(malice). (v.29)


We become people who love to “talk dirt” about others when
they aren’t around(gossips) and misrepresent each other in negative ways. We
hate hearing, talking and thinking about God(haters of God). We are
purposefully rude to others because we are entertained by the
results(insolent). We draw more attention to and think higher of ourselves than
we do others(arrogant). We find ways to verbally showcase ourselves in a
positive, and exaggerated light(boastful). We spend creative energy exploring
new ways to do things that we know God does not approve of(inventors of evil).
We’re unwilling to listen and apply the Biblical guidance of our
parents(disobedient to parents). (v.30)


We fail to understand the most important truths in
life(without understanding), we back out of things we have agreed
to(untrustworthy), we don’t love our families(unloving), and we’re unwilling to
forgive or to give people some slack(unmerciful). (v.31)


And even though we are all aware that God has absolute legal
rights over us, and we know that punishment waits for those who disobey God, we
not only continue to disobey him, but applaud the disobedient actions of


Next Week- Acknowledging Who We Are


Coffee House Question- If this kind of depravity is the
natural state of the world, why do you think “God loved the world so much that
he gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish, but will
have everlasting life”?(John 3:16)

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