Agonizomai: Romans Chapter 1<br>Present Revelation of God's Wrath - Part 3

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Romans Chapter 1
Present Revelation of God's Wrath - Part 3
The Self-Worship of Humanity

Romans 1:24-26a Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up...

Such behaviour doesn’t go unchecked by the real God. When men turned away from Him (and all have) he gave them up to the results of such an attitude. If there is no God then there can be no morality. The natural result of human anarchy and rebellion is that men turn to doing as they please, without restraint. Who is to say what is right any more?

The most powerful person might impose some arbitrary rules upon the weaker ones – but only so long as nobody stronger comes along. This is what we still see in unChristianized societies, or in post Christian ones. It is what we will see universally when all the Christians are removed from the earth.

So God gave men up to do as they themselves wanted. God did no wrong in giving them up. It was what men wanted. It was their choice. This is freedom of the will. This is the only end of freedom of the will for unsaved men. People get so downright uppity in demanding their right of freedom of the will to choose what they want. Take a look at what freedom of the natural will of man results in. It results in slavery to evil. Man’s will is enslaved just like his mind and his emotions. He chooses slavery to evil rather than submission to God.

Without God, the natural man turns to what Paul calls “unnatural acts”. H*mos3xuality and l3sbi@nism, when welcomed and when practiced openly with approval and acceptance, are the harbingers of judgment and the signs of utter depravity. We are getting there. Our apostate country has forsaken the faith of its fathers, trashed the legacy of God’s blessings of grace upon their obedience and is headed, pell-mell, for the most severe judgment of God.

And God gave men up to all the other depravities of moral relativism and amorality. These are simply “immorality”. If there is a kind of evil that it is possible to commit then man has either discovered or invented it. Whenever God gives men up it means He withdraws His restraining grace. He lets them be what they are. Do we get the picture?

Apart from God we are all covetous, malicious, envious, murderous, contentious, deceitful, malignant, gossipy, slanderous, hateful, insolent, proud, boastful, disobedient, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless evildoers. Some of us are more of one thing than another, but we all have depraved hearts that are utterly alienated from God. Men are willful rebels. They love sin and they hate God.

If you are saved, you were like this, and there are strong elements remaining in you that witness to you of this evil nature. Your wife or husband and children are like this, your neighbour is like this, the nicest pagan you know is like this at heart. All mankind is like this unless they have been saved by the grace of God. So don’t fool yourself. Remember what Christ knew…
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs which he did; but Jesus did not trust himself to them, because he knew all men and needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man. {John 2:23-25}
This teaching is not easy to accept. Many people will not believe that man is depraved in mind, emotion and will. They may believe it of those in whom there are worse, or more outward, or more obvious evidences of corruption, but they will not believe it of those they know as “good” people, or – sad to say – many will not believe it of themselves.

But God explicitly says that men all know better than to disobey Him. In saying that “they knew God’s decree” Paul is affirming that all men still have written on their hearts the traces of the glorious truth of God’s immutable and eternal law. Whatever light men have – whether nature, conscience, law or gospel – they choose to willfully sin against that light. Men do more than simply sin, as we shall see – they are sinners by nature. And one result of their sinfulness is self-deception.

That is why Paul wrote what we find in the next chapter, where there are seven different kinds of self-justifiers. People who say that the shocking depravities of Chapter 1 may be true of others, but not of themselves. Paul demolishes all seven of these self-deceptions and renders true to our hearing that phrase with which we find starting out Chapter 2 –
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, whoever you are, when you judge another; for in passing judgment upon him you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. {Romans 2:1}
Next, the axe will be laid at the root of hypocrisy and self-deception. Don’t miss it.


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