Hypocrites and Backsliders-033 How Spiritual Death Thinks, Speaks and Acts from Romans 1
5-4-08LWBC2 Spiritual Death from Eph 4:17-19 17 "This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts, 19 because they have become insensitive and have abandoned themselves to unrestraint for the greedy practice of every type of impurity."
5-4-08LWBC3 Eph 4 Spiritual Death - Mechanics 1. Futility of the Mind 2. Understanding (Appraisal Process) Darkened 3. Alienated from the Life from God 4. Ignorance in them 5. Heart Hardened - Stubbornness 6. Past Feeling - Insensitive 7. Gave themselves over 8. Lascivious - Unrestrained 9. Unclean - Impurity 10. Greedy - Insatiable
5-4-08LWBC5 Romans 1:21-23 Because, knowing God, not as God did they glorify Him, nor were they grateful, but they became futile in their reasonings, and there was darkened their stupid heart. Asserting themselves to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the uncorruptible God for a likeness of an image of corruptible man and of birds and of quadrupeds and of snakes.
5-4-08LWBC6 Romans 1:24 On which account God delivered them over in the passionate cravings of their hearts to bestial profligacy which had for its purpose the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves.
5-4-08LWBC7 Romans 1:25 Who were of such a character that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and rendered religious service to the creation rather than to the Creator who is to be eulogized forever. Amen.
5-4-08LWBC8 Romans 1:26 Because of which God gave them over to dishonorable passions, for even their females exchanged their natural use for that which is against nature.
5-4-08LWBC9 Romans 1:26 The notion that all sin stems from idolatry was not new with Paul. The author of the Wisdom of Solomon saw idolatry as the source of sexual sin as well: “For the intention to make idols is the beginning of sexual immorality, and their invention is the corruption of life” (Wis. 14:12). Later in the same chapter, just after he listed sexual sins that include homosexuality and adultery (Wis. 14:26), the author concluded, “For the worship of idols not to be named is the source and cause and end of every evil” (Wis. 14:27).
5-4-08LWBC10 Romans 1:27 (1:27) “Burned” is ekkaiō ( ἐ κκαιω), “to burn out.” Vincent comments. “The terms are terrible in their intensity. Literally, ‘burned out.’ The preposition indicates the rage of lust.” Robertson defines, “to inflame with lust.” The word ek ( ἐ κ) prefixed to the verb, intensifies its meaning. Their lust was satiated. It was an all-out endeavor to satisfy their totally- depraved natures.
5-4-08LWBC11 Romans 1:27 “Lust” here is not the usual word used, epithumia ( ἐ πιθυμια), “a passionate craving,” but orexis ( ὀ ρεξις), “eager desire, lust, appetite.” “Working” is katergazomai (κατεργαζομαι), “to perform, accomplish, achieve, working it's way out from the inside, to carry to its ultimate conclusion.” “Unseemly” is aschēmosunē ( ἀ σχημοσυνη), “want of form, disfigurement, deformed, one’s nakedness, shame.” The word refers here to that which is unseemly in that it is immodest, shameful.
5-4-08LWBC12 Romans 1:27 “Recompence” is antimisthian ( ἀ ντιμισθιαν) “a reward given in compensation, requital, recompense.” The word here refers to that natural result of their sin which pays them back for what they have done, as a person says who contemplates doing something wrong, “I suppose I shall pay for this.”
5-4-08LWBC13 Romans 1:27 The word “received” is an emphatic form of a common word and often means, as here, “to receive back, to receive in return,” i.e., to receive as the fitting result of their actions. Cranfield says it “emphasizes the deservedness of the punishment” (I:127). This verb’s object, “the due penalty,” also clearly refers to deserved punishment. Gays deservedly receive the recompense due to them as specified by the Creator’s law.
5-4-08LWBC14 Romans 1:27 How may we understand this “due penalty” or recompense? Some think the sexual perversion itself is its own penalty, or at least is the just penalty for their rejection of God (Cranfield, I:126–127; Morris, 93). It seems more likely, though, that Paul is referring to some punitive consequences distinct from the homosexual acts as such, consequences they experience “in themselves” or “in their own persons” (NASB) as a form of the very wrath of God (v. 18).
5-4-08LWBC15 Romans 1:27 There is scarcely any sin that subjects its perpetrators to more severe “deserved penalties” than male homosexuality. Is AIDS an example of this? Assuredly so. MacArthur is correct (I:107): “The appalling physical consequences of homosexuality are visible evidence of God’s righteous condemnation. Unnatural vice brings its own perverted reward. AIDS is frightening evidence of that fatal promise.” This is not to say that God created the HIV virus as a penalty for male homosexuals.
5-4-08LWBC16 Romans 1:27 As it exists under the curse (8:18–22), the world is full of all sorts of bacteria, viruses, and ailments that are a threat to all of us under certain conditions. The fact is, though, that certain practices, especially sinful practices, openly invite these maladies to strike us down, and the Bible says that all sexual sins are against the body. Licentious, promiscuous sex has always reaped the deserved harvest of sexually transmitted diseases; AIDS is just the latest version of this and male homosexuals are especially vulnerable to it.
5-4-08LWBC17 Romans 1:27 We should understand, then, that AIDS is just one— albeit a fatal one—of many serious health consequences homosexuals have always received back as a due penalty for their perversion. Long before AIDS entered the picture, homosexual practices focusing on the anus have kept gay men in a constant state of health crisis. Lenski correctly comments (116–117) that the homosexuals’ “recompense is the vicious effect of the unnatural sexual vices upon men’s own bodies and their minds, corrupting, destroying, disintegrating ….
5-4-08LWBC18 Romans 1:27 It is noteworthy that in the Scriptures as in human experience sexual sins, and not only the worst form of these, carry a special curse; they not only disgrace, they wreck; their punishment is direct, wretched, severe.” This is why Paul treats this sin separately and does not just include it in the listing in vv. 29–31.
5-4-08LWBC19 Romans 1:27 Paul speaks of the due penalty for their “perversion.” The word used here is sometimes translated “error” (NASB, NRSV), but this is “too weak a noun” for what Paul has in mind. The word refers to wandering or roaming; figuratively it refers to wandering from the path of truth and morality. “Perversion” or “deviancy” captures the meaning very well in this context.
5-4-08LWBC20 Romans 1:27 Except for his use of “error,” Dunn’s paraphrase of 27b is clearly on target: “receiving in return in themselves the penalty which matches the deed and which is proper to their error”. He also well sums up the thrust of this whole section: “The divinely ordered punishment for sin is to be handed over to the power of that sin, to be left to its consequences”
5-4-08LWBC21 Romans 1:27 “Was meet” is edei ( ἐ δει), “a necessity in the nature of the case.” The evil consequences were necessary as ordained by divine law. When one violates the laws of nature, one must pay the price. “Error”, as we have seen, is planē (πλανη), “a wandering, roving,” thus, “a deviation.”
5-4-08LWBC22 Romans 1:27 Translation. And likewise also the males, having put aside the natural use of the females, burned themselves out in their lustful appetite toward one another, males with males carrying to its ultimate conclusion that which is shameful, receiving in themselves that retribution which was a necessity in the nature of the case because of their deviation from the norm.
5-4-08LWBC23 Romans 1:28-32 28 And just as they did not think God was fit to be kept in mind, God handed them over to an unfit mind, so that they did things that are not fitting. 29 Thereby being filled with all kinds of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, and malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and ill will. 30 They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, braggarts, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
5-4-08LWBC24 Romans 1:28-32 31 senseless, faithless, loveless, and merciless. 32 They know God’s ordinance that those who practice such things deserve death. Nonetheless, they not only do these things but also give their encouragement to those who live this way.
5-4-08LWBC25 Romans 1:28-32 Wordplays in this text communicate that human sin is rooted in a rejection of the glory of God. Human beings failed to glorify God (v. 21) and exchanged his glory (v. 23) for idolatry. Because people did not honor God by glorifying him, he gave their bodies over to be “dishonored” (v. 24), and they had “dishonorable passions” (v. 26).
5-4-08LWBC26 Romans 1:28-32 The disgrace that has invaded human sexual relations is a consequence of rejecting God. The same connection is forged with another word linkage. Those who “exchanged” (v. 23) God’s glory and “exchanged” (v. 25) his truth “exchanged” (v. 26) natural sexual relations for that which is unnatural. Once again sexual immorality is obviously a consequence of human idolatry.
5-4-08LWBC27 Romans 1:28-32 Finally, those who did not see fit (ouk edokimasan) to keep God in their knowledge have been handed over to an unfit mind (adokimon noun, v. 28). An unfit mind is the fruit of seeing God as unfit. Paul is not referring to Adam in these verses, but he is saying that human beings have gone the way of Adam, and that they have lost glory in trying to retain it.
5-4-08LWBC28 Romans 1:28-32 The connection between rejecting God and human sin is forged again with the vice list appearing in verses 29–31. Vice lists are common in Paul (1 Cor. 5:10–11; 6:9– 10; 2 Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 4:31; 5:3–5; Col. 3:5, 8; 1 Tim. 1:9–10; 6:4–5; 2 Tim. 3:2–4; Titus 3:3), and some of the vices are occasionally included because of problems in the church addressed. The list here, though, does not reflect ethical problems in the church in Rome, it is a general and wide-ranging depiction of relevant human sin.
5-4-08LWBC29 Romans 1:28 1:28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. “Furthermore” translates the simple word καί (kai), “and.” This verse does not add anything new but reiterates what has been said thus far in vv. 18–27. It repeats the cause-and-effect principle resulting in God’s giving the Gentiles over to unrestrained sin. As vv. 18, 21, 23 and 25 have already stressed, they have dismissed the true God from their worldview.
5-4-08LWBC30 Romans 1:28 This is portrayed as a deliberate decision to the effect that the whole idea of a transcendent Creator- God is not “worthwhile,” or is worthless. The word is δοκιμάζω (dokimazō), which means “to test, to examine, to judge, to approve, to deem worthy, to see fit.” This is stated as a negative: they did not approve of the truth about God; they did not think it worthy or fit to hold on to; they weighed the idea of God in the balances and found it wanting. Remember back in v. 22, “They became fools”
5-4-08LWBC31 Romans 1:28 God’s response to such presumptuous folly is that he gave them over “to a depraved mind” in return. The word for “depraved” is ἀ δόκιμος (adokimos), which means “useless, failing the test, disqualified, worthless” (see 1 Cor 9:27; 2 Cor 13:5–7). This is a play on words and a matter of extreme irony (comparing dokimazō and adokimos). They judged God to be a worthless idea, so God gave them over to their own worthless judgements. The mind that judges God to be worthless is itself worthless.
5-4-08LWBC32 Romans 1:28 The last part of the verse, “to do what ought not to be done,” again shows that faulty speculations about God directly affect moral theory and behavior. As Cranfield says, “The adokimos nous is a mind so debilitated and corrupted as to be a quite untrustworthy guide in moral decisions.” And, we might add, in other decisions, as well.
5-4-08LWBC33 Romans 1:28 The fact is that the reality of the transcendent Creator-God is the starting point of all valid ethics and morality. Without him, there is no basis either for absolute ethical obligation or for absolute ethical norms. Without God, the only consistent ethic is some version of “might makes right.” Without Him, subjective standards of ethics and morals take precedence and we have an array, from Monastics to Headhunters, all claiming their way to be 'morality'.
5-4-08LWBC34 Romans 1:28 (1:28) dokimazō (δοκιμαζω), “to put to the test for the purpose of approving, and finding that the person tested meets the specifications prescribed, to put one’s approval upon him.” The human race put God to the test for the purpose of approving Him should He meet the specifications which it laid down for a God who would be to its liking, and finding that He did not meet those specifications, it refused to approve Him as the God to be worshipped, or have Him in its knowledge.
5-4-08LWBC35 Romans 1:28 Denney says; “As they did not think it fit, after trial made to keep God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a mind which cannot stand trial. The one thing answers to the other. Virtually, they pronounced the true God adokimos ( ἀ δοκιμος) (disapproved), and would have none of Him, and He in turn gave them up to a nous adokimos (νους ἀ δοκιμος) (a disapproved mind), a mind which is no mind and cannot discharge the functions of one, a mind in which the divine distinctions of right and wrong are confused and lost, so that God’s condemnation must fall on it.
5-4-08LWBC36 Romans 1:28 Nous (Νους) is not only reason, but conscience; when this is perverted, as in the people of whom Paul speaks, or in the Canaanites, who did their abominations unto their gods, the last deep of evil has been reached.” “Convenient” is kathēkō (καθηκω), “it is becoming, it is fitting.” Robertson says, “Like an old abandoned building, the home of bats and snakes, left ‘to do those things which are not fitting,’ like the night clubs of modern cities, the dives and dens of the underworld, without God and in the darkness of unrestrained animal impulses."
5-4-08LWBC37 Romans 1:28 Translation. And even as after putting God to the test for the purpose of approving Him should He meet the specifications, and finding that He did not, they disapproved of holding Him in their full and precise knowledge, God gave them up to a mind that would not meet the test for that which a mind was meant, to practice those things which were not becoming nor fitting.
5-4-08LWBC38 Romans 1:29-32 Being filled with every unrighteousness, pernicious evil, avarice, malice, full of envy, murder, wrangling, guile, malicious craftiness, secret slanderers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, swaggerers, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, stupid, faithless, without natural affection, merciless; such are those who knowing the judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only habitually do the same things, but also take pleasure in those who practice them.
5-4-08LWBC39 Romans 1:29-32 Being filled” is a perfect participle. The perfect tense in Greek speaks of a past completed action having present results. These who had disapproved of holding God in their knowledge were completely filled as a consequence with the first 4 on the list - "every unrighteousness, pernicious evil, avarice, and malice" with the result that they remained in a full condition with the subsequent overflow of the 17 remaining sins mentioned in verses 29–32.
5-4-08LWBC40 Romans 1:29 Paul launches into a detailed list of the representative sins relevant to his audience. He first speaks of the sinners as filled with wickedness, showing that they are not half-hearted about their sin. They were wholly given over to it. Their exclusion of God left room for nothing else.
5-4-08LWBC41 Romans 1:29 The vice list is organized into three main parts. First, the participle "being filled" introduces four words that all conclude with (-ia). These words are all general descriptions of human sin: (adikia, unrighteousness), (ponחia, wickedness), (pleonexia, covetousness), and (kakia, malice).
5-4-08LWBC42 Romans 1:29-32 Second, five words modify "full" (mestous): (phthonou, envy), (phonou, murder), (eridos, strife), (dolou, deceit), and (kakoחheias, malice). Envy, murder, strife, deceit, and ill will
5-4-08LWBC43 Romans 1:29-32 Finally, twelve words or phrases all in the accusative, appositional to (autous, them) in verse 28, conclude the list. The first two sins describe those who destroy others’ reputations psithyristas, gossips; katalalous, slanderers). The next six expressions seem to be allied in terms of the shocking depth of evil; (theostygeis, haters of God).
5-4-08LWBC44 Romans 1:29-32 The words (hybristas, insolent), (hyperחhanous, arrogant), and (alazonas, braggarts) are thematically related insofar as they point to the self-importance and rudeness of those who are convinced of their superiority. The next two vices are linked in that they are both two-word phrases: (epheuretas kakפ, inventors of evil) and (goneusin apeitheis, disobedient to parents). Both signify the depth of evil. The former highlights their creativity in performing evil, while the latter reveals that sin ruptures relationships in the home.
5-4-08LWBC45 Romans 1:29-32 The list concludes with some rhetorical force by four terms that are joined together: (asynetous, foolish), (asynthetous, treacherous), (astorgous, without natural affection), (aneleחonas, without mercy). Dunn (1988) nicely catches the sense and partially reproduces the effect in translating the four terms “senseless, faithless, loveless, merciless,”
5-4-08LWBC46 Romans 1:29-32 The depth and full weight of human sin is communicated with verse 32, which concludes this section. The people in view are those who practice the evil described in the previous verses, they do them (auta poiousin); those who practice such things (hoi ta toiauta prassontes). It is remarkable, despite their rejection of the true God and the darkening of their understanding (vv. 21–23), that they are still keenly aware of God’s disapproval of their behavior.
5-4-08LWBC47 Romans 1:29-32 In fact, their awareness is even greater than this. They know “the ordinance of God” (to dikaiפa tou theou), which is specified in the subsequent (hoti, that) clause. God’s ordinance is that those who indulge in such behavior are “worthy of death”. It follows, then, that Gentiles, without specifically having the Mosaic law, are aware of the moral requirements contained in that law. They not only know that God disapproves of their behavior but they also know that it deserves the punishment of death.
5-4-08LWBC48 Romans 1:29-32 The depth of their evil is even greater; alla kai, not only …but also). Not only do they continue to practice evil that they know deserves God’s sentence of death, but they also “give commendation to those who practice these things”. Cranfield (1975: 135) says: “But there is also the fact that those who condone and applaud the vicious actions of others are actually making a deliberate contribution to the setting up of public opinion favourable to vice, and so to the corruption of an indefinite number of other people.”
5-4-08LWBC49 Romans 1:29-32 The full extent of the rejection of God becomes evident in such an attitude. His judgment is known, yet people are encouraged to pursue evil anyway. Those who encourage others to pursue evil commit a greater evil in that they foment the spread of evil and are complicit in the destruction of others.
5-4-08LWBC50 Romans 1:29 The hatred of God is so entrenched that people are willing to risk future judgment in order to carry out their evil desires. Once again the text hints that the fundamental sin that informs all others is a refusal to delight in or submit to God’s lordship. God’s wrath is rightly inflicted on those who not only practice evil but find their greatest delight in it.
5-4-08LWBC51 Romans 1:29 Wickedness ( ἀ δικία, adikia). The list begins with a very general term that may be like a heading over the rest, as the modifier “every kind of” may suggest. This is the term used twice in v. 18. It is a general term for unrighteousness or transgression of God’s law.
5-4-08LWBC52 Romans 1:29 Evil (πονηρία, ponēria). This is another general term, often occurring in contrast with “good.” It is used often of Satan and his demons. It describes the inner nature of a person who delights in acting in ways that oppose God and goodness, and who puts his evil desires into practice.
5-4-08LWBC53 Romans 1:29 Greed (πλεονεξία, pleonexia). This word is more specific than the first two, but is not as specific as “covetousness,” which is often how it is translated. Covetousness is usually directed toward something specific (Exod 20:17), but greed is the insatiable desire to accumulate more and more things in general, without regard for the rights and needs of others. Col 3:5 says that this sin is idolatry, because acquisition of things becomes one’s god.
5-4-08LWBC54 Romans 1:29 Greed is selfishness unlimited. We should be clear that Paul is talking about the desire to have more as a settled disposition, not an isolated incident or two. This greedy person pursues his own desires with a complete disregard of the effect on other people.
5-4-08LWBC55 Romans 1:29 He does not care about others but is a complete egotist. Paul is talking about one who is never satisfied. He is always anxious to have more of something, and no matter what he gets he remains unsatisfied. Which is, of course, an excellent illustration of Paul’s point that the sinner is handed over to his sin. Evil is its own punishment.
5-4-08LWBC56 Romans 1:29 Depravity (κακία, kakia). This is another very general term, difficult to distinguish from wickedness and evil. Barclay says it is “the most general Greek word for badness …. It is the degeneracy out of which all sins grow and in which all sins flourish”
5-4-08LWBC57 Romans 1:29 "Full of", introduces a list of terms denoting individual sins. The adjective does not differ very greatly in meaning from the participle rendered they have become filled at the beginning of the verse, and speaks about the result of the first 4 listed, " (adikia, unrighteousness), (ponחia, wickedness), (pleonexia, covetousness), and (kakia, malice"). "Full of Envy" reminds us that evildoers are not just one happy band of brothers. There is a divisiveness about evil which sets people apart from one another.
5-4-08LWBC58 Romans 1:29 Evil people are apt to be envious rather than appreciative. From such attitudes springs murder (cf. Mark 15:10), the ultimate outcome of strife. Deceit is basically “bait for fish … hence, any cunning contrivance for deceiving or catching … in the abstract, craft, cunning” There is nothing straightforward about sin, and sinners do not hesitate to deceive one another if their purposes can be advanced.
5-4-08LWBC59 Romans 1:29 Malice (Phillips, “spite”) is “conscious and intentional wickedness.” Gossips, more literally “whisperers”, is a term which may be used in a good or a neutral sense (it was an epithet of the god Hermes). Here, however, it plainly refers to slander, whispering what one does not wish to be heard openly. Some think it refers to slander of those present as against slander of those not present (which is denoted by “slanderers” in v. 30).
5-4-08LWBC60 Romans 1:29 Most see the distinction rather as between secret slanderers and open slanderers (Phillips is picturesque with his “whisperers- behind-doors” and “stabbers-in-the-back”).
5-4-08LWBC61 Romans 1:30 "slanderers" is not attested before this passage, so Paul is not employing a well- known term. He may even have coined it himself. The meaning is clear enough. Evil people are prone to speak evil of others, and it is this to which Paul is pointing. "God-haters" is self explanatory.
5-4-08LWBC62 Romans 1:30 The next three words are all concerned with some aspect of pride. Insolent refers to a lofty sense of superiority out of which the insolent person treats all others as beneath him. It is the pride that is totally unaware of its limitations and “goes before a fall”. Arrogant does not differ greatly. Barclay quotes Theophrastus, who says that this vice means “a certain contempt for everyone except oneself.”
5-4-08LWBC63 Romans 1:30 Boastful derives from a word meaning “wandering” and apparently goes back to the extravagant claims made by wandering men: merchants with something to sell, quacks with claims to heal, and wanderers in general with tall tales to tell. Since there is no way of verifying or refuting what such people say, they are sometimes given to making claims that cannot be substantiated. The word includes the thought of evil intent; it is not used of harmless, amusing exaggeration.
5-4-08LWBC64 Romans 1:30 They invent ways of doing evil suggests a certain ingenuity in devising wrong. These people are not content to go on in the established paths of evil, but are eager to strike out on new and worse ways. To this Paul adds, they disobey their parents. In a world which took very seriously the obligation to honor one’s forebears this was a grievous sin. It indicates a readiness to be false to those to whom one owes the most. It implies a lack of gratitude and a contempt for family authority.
5-4-08LWBC65 Romans 1:31 31. Paul uses four adjectives, each of which commences with a prefix corresponding to the English “un-”. It is difficult to capture the force of this construction in English, though NIV’s succession of words ending in “-less” comes pretty close. Senseless means without intelligence; it refers to those who act stupidly (cf. v. 21). Lagrange asks why it is a vice to be unintelligent. Paul is saying that to cut oneself off from God is a stupid as well as wicked procedure.
5-4-08LWBC66 Romans 1:31 Faithless is concerned at base with the breaking of agreements. When people enter into solemn undertakings, they should do what they say they will do. Satisfactory living comes to an end when people cannot be trusted to keep their pledged word. But such considerations do not trouble the wicked. Where they see personal advantage, keeping faith does not matter to them. Promises to perform or promises to pay mean little or nothing when it comes time to fulfill their word.
5-4-08LWBC67 Romans 1:31 Heartless means “without natural affection”. There is every reason to expect that members of a family (or other natural group) will be united in bonds of love and affection, and it is an evil thing when a person disrespects or damages a family member.
5-4-08LWBC68 Romans 1:31 Ruthless, a word found here only in the New Testament, means “without pity”, “without mercy”. It is significant that, in an epistle that will stress God’s mercy throughout, the list of vices should be rounded off with “merciless”. This is the very depth of evil. The person who shows no mercy can scarcely go lower.
5-4-08LWBC69 Romans 1:32 We come back to the thought that these sinners do not act out of ignorance. Granted that no evildoer ever understands all the implications of the wrong he is doing, it still remains that he knows enough to know that he is doing wrong. It is the point that Paul has been stressing throughout this chapter, namely that God has revealed enough of himself for people to know what is right and what is wrong.
5-4-08LWBC70 Romans 1:32 Decree is a legal term. It is one of the righteousness words and has a meaning like “righteous (or just) ordinance”. It sometimes means a verdict or declaration that a person is just, but here decree is clearly the meaning. Paul affirms that the decree is God’s. God is sufficiently interested in what people do to lay down his decree for them. Paul does not, of course, mean that the Gentiles had a codified system of divine laws as the Jews did.
5-4-08LWBC71 Romans 1:32 He is not concerned at this point with the way knowledge came to them, nor with the precision with which they had apprehended it. He is concerned only with the fact that they have enough knowledge to be sure that they should not act in the way in which they were in fact acting. They know that people who act as they do deserve death.
5-4-08LWBC72 Romans 1:32 Paul uses this word death 22 times in Romans, which is more than in any other book of the New Testament. Mostly he employs it in connection with sin, as he does here. Of the 22, no less than 18 are related to sin (four concern the death of Christ, one of which connects also with sin, and one is linked with identification). Many of the “sin” passages are vivid, picturing death as a tyrant reigning over sinners. Here the thought is simply that death is the desert of sin.
5-4-08LWBC73 Romans 1:32 Some think of physical death as the meaning; it was sin that brought death. Others think of spiritual death. More probably Paul is not defining death closely but simply viewing it as a horror. It tyrannizes the human race and keeps people from the life that is life indeed, whether we think of this world or the next.
5-4-08LWBC74 Romans 1:32 Only is another typical Pauline word. Here it is part of a statement that brings out the enormity of the offence. Not only do these sinners do evil things, but they also take pleasure in other people who do them. The Greek means a little more than NIV’s "approve", it is rather “have pleasure in them that do them” (KJV) or “applaud such practices” (NEB). There are thoughts not only of full support but also of enjoyment. The word certainly includes the encouragement to publicly do wrong.
5-4-08LWBC75 Romans 1:32 Through the centuries Paul’s statement has caused difficulty. Many have felt that it is far worse to do an evil thing than simply to express approval when others do it. But Paul is not talking about people who do not practice vice themselves but simply encourage others. He is talking about those who do evil things (continue to do these very things). Then, not content with vice in themselves, they actively promote it in others and get a thrill from watching it.
5-4-08LWBC76 Romans 1:16-32 16 For I am not ashamed of the good news of the Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation to every one who is believing, both to Jew first, and to Greek. 17 "For the righteousness of God in it is revealed from faith to faith, according as it hath been written, "And the righteous one by faith shall live…" (Believer)
5-4-08LWBC77 Eph. 4Rom. 1 Futility of Mind Understanding Darkened Alienated from God Ignorance in them Stubborn Heart Insensitive Gave themselves over Lascivious (Unrestrained) Uncleanness (Impurity) Greedy (Insatiable)
5-4-08LWBC78 Romans 1:18 18 "for revealed is the wrath of God from heaven upon all impiety and unrighteousness of men, holding down the truth in unrighteousness" Can you see this in Eph. 4:17-19? "due to the hardness (stubbornness) of their hearts" (verse 18)
5-4-08LWBC79 Romans 1:19-21 19 "Because that which is known of God is manifest among them, for God did manifest it to them, 20for the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world, by the things made being understood, are plainly seen, both His eternal power and Godhead - to their being inexcusable; 21because, having known God they did not glorify Him as God, nor gave thanks…" What does this correspond to in Eph. 4:17-19? "Hardness (Stubbornness) of heart" verse 18
5-4-08LWBC80 Romans 1:16-32 21… "but were made vain in their reasoning's…" Where do you see this in Eph. 4? "and their unintelligent heart was darkened…" And, where do you see this? "In the futility of their minds" (verse 17) "because of the ignorance that is in them" (verse 18) And: "Understanding darkened" (verse 18)
5-4-08LWBC81 Romans 1:16-32 22 "professing to be wise, they were made fools, 23and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of fowls, and of quadrupeds, and of reptiles." Tricky One! Where is it? "because they have become insensitive" (verse 19)
5-4-08LWBC82 Romans 1:16-32 24 "Wherefore also God did give them up, in the desires of their hearts…" Okay, an easy one: "have abandoned themselves" (verse 19) But wait, Eph. says, "they gave themselves", and Romans says "God gave them? Is that the same?
5-4-08LWBC83 Romans 1:16-32 24 "to uncleanness, to dishonour their bodies among themselves;" Okay, how about this phrase? "Uncleanness" = "Uncleanness" in both passages
5-4-08LWBC84 Romans 1:16-32 25 "who did change the truth of God into a falsehood, and did honour and serve the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed to the ages. Amen. 26Because of this did God give them up to dishonourable affections, for even their females did change the natural use into that against nature; 27and in like manner also the males having left the natural use of the female, did burn in their longing toward one another; males with males working shame, and the recompense of their error that was fit, in themselves receiving." "Impurity"
5-4-08LWBC85 Romans 1:16-32 28 "And, according as they did not approve of having God in knowledge, God gave them up to a disapproved mind, to do the things not seemly;…" "alienated from the life from God…" (verse 18)
5-4-08LWBC86 Romans 1:16-32 29 "having been filled with all unrighteousness, whoredom, wickedness, covetousness, malice; full of …" "Having received being filled" and "full of" are the key words here: "Lasciviousness/Unrestrained"
5-4-08LWBC87 Romans 1:16-32 29 "having been filled with all unrighteousness, whoredom, wickedness, covetousness, malice; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil dispositions; whisperers, 30evil-speakers, God-haters, insulting, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents 31unintelligent, faithless, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful; " Is it: "every type of impurity"? Or, is it: "In the futility of their minds"? It is both - 29-31 are the description of the futility.
5-4-08LWBC88 Romans 1:16-32 32 "who the righteous judgment of God having known -that those practising such things are worthy of death - not only do them, but also have delight with those practising them." Last One! Which is it? "Insatiability!"
5-4-08LWBC89 References Morris, Leon: The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leicester, England : W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1988, S. 87 Wuest, Kenneth S.: Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English Reader. Grand Rapids : Eerdmans, 1997, c1984, S. Ro 1:18 Young, Robert: Young's Literal Translation. Oak Harbor : Logos Research Systems, 1997, S. Ro 1:16