Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 8

This entry is part 8 of 15 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

“And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (v. 23). 

Part 8

The Romans made many errors in not intuitively knowing God. They did not think to know the creator, although they seemed to be wise and had worldly knowledge, they did not seek God, and they also placed God at the same level as the created things of the earth; i.e. stones and rocks. Does God belong on the same level as the created things or is he above all? Paul writes similarly in the Corinthian letter when he says, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men” (1 Cor. 1:25). These people, instead, should have had some idea of who God truly is, for instance, that He is God, that He is Lord of all, that He made them, which were not, that He exercises providence, and that He cares for them. This is the “Glory of God.” However, in the absurdity of their minds they did not even place God in a similar level to man, but instead “to an image made like to corruptible man.”  

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves” (v. 24). God leaves those that are not mindful enough to receive the gifts that come from Him, and who would rather turn away from him, although He Himself has fulfilled His part in its entirety. He gives all reason and understanding which will make them capable of perceiving what is needful. During that time, the Romans of that day did not use this knowledge to guide them unto salvation, but they perverted what they had received. How should God respond? Should he drag them by compulsion and force? 

“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (v. 25). Paul makes his assertion strongly by not simply saying, “they served the creature,” but “more than the Creator”. Paul shows them here that it was not in self-defense that God left them alone and He, God, suffered nothing Himself. Even if these people treated Him insolently, He was not harmed, neither did it impact His glory, but He remains continually blessed. Often men, through philosophy, insult other men, however, if they are not offended by this much less would God be, the imperishable and unalterable Nature, the unchangeable and immovable Glory. Tell me now, if your little child were to insult you, would you then reason the insult an insult? Let us seek to be free from insults and when insulted to bear them. Remember that the children in the furnace were not burned? and that Daniel in the den suffered no harm? Insults will even now come to pass. There stand by us also lions, anger and lust, with fearful teeth tearing asunder him that falls among them. Let these affections never fasten their fangs into your soul. If we are sober-minded, those that try to hurt us might even profit us. Even Paul grew brighter out of those that thwarted him and plotted against him, Job out of the many scourges, Jeremiah out of the miry pit, Noah out of the flood, Abel out of the treachery, Moses out of the bloodthirsty Jews, and Elisha, each of the worthies of old, not out of relaxedness and softness, but out of tribulations and trials.

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