Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 10

This entry is part 10 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

Nothing ruins a man as much as slipping from this anchor. Consider what safety we shall enjoy by having God before our eyes! Even the Devil himself will hesitate to attack us when we are so conditioned. 

Part 10

“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” (Romans 1:28). Paul often compares the behavior of the Jewish Christians to that of the gentiles. They often act as though they have no religion at all or worse than the gentiles. He points this out when saying, “Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the other Gentiles which know not God.” (1 Thessalonians 4:5) And later, “sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (vs. 13). Paul shows them their error and leaves them without excuse. It would be one thing if he had said, “they knew not God”, but what he actually said was, “they did not like to retain God in their knowledge”. This is a worse evil on their part. They did not think that it was important to know God. So, God allowed them to become like prisoners to their own wicked minds. As a result, they acted in ways that were not right and proper. God ‘allowed’ them to do these sinful deeds. This does not mean that their behavior is acceptable. It means that God gave to people the opportunity to make decisions. People should realize that they will suffer the results of their actions. 

“Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers. Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents” (Romans 1:29-30). Worse than being sinners they did so with a conceited mind. He warned the Corinthian Church of the same concerns saying, “Ye are puffed up.” (1 Corinthian 5:2) They sin in every kind of way. They are completely wicked, evil and greedy. They are jealous. They murder. They fight and they cheat. They hate other people. They gossip. They tell lies about other people. They hate God. They do not respect other people and they are proud. They boast. They think of new ways to do evil things. They do not obey their parents. 

“Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful” (vs. 31). They are foolish. ‘Foolish’ means that people do not learn from experience. They are not loyal. They do not remain loyal to any agreement. They do not show any natural love, even for their own children. They have no love or pity. ‘Without pity’ is an accurate description of the way in which many masters dealt with their slaves. Masters thought that slaves were mere possessions rather than people. Roman law allowed masters to punish and even to kill slaves because of a very small mistake or accident. This was a very wicked law. 

“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” (vs. 32). The people in this congregation sinned openly, and they knew exactly what they were doing, yet transgressed willingly. Could this situation be any worse? Yes, to make the situation worse they “not only do such things,” he says, “but have pleasure in them that do them.” They knew that this behavior was wrong.

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