SUBJ: The dreadful state of mankind wherein God
has given them up to the tendencies that have clearly manifested in many
and the fact that they refused to acknowledge God as the reason.
That we might look with great care on the things which have befallen men
and that we acknowledge the grace that has made the difference in us.
INTR: In the pursuit of Biblical exposition we are often faced with
issues we would prefer to bypass. It has been well said the last few
verses of Romans 1 are the most tragic in all the Bible.
1. Often in
travelling a highway we come to a part we would rather avoid such as a
tunnel underwater. But, we continue because the destination is that
2. To fully reveal the greatness of the grace of God such
passages as is before us are included – not all truth is pleasant, but
all truth is essential.
3. It is important that we be reminded that
we are not in the business of pronouncing judgment on any, nor do we
have the right. It is incumbent upon us to look with compassion on all
and desire the mercy of God on all – sin is the same in all ages, and in
all forms is despised by our Holy God.
THESIS: The condition of
mankind that we witness is not new to this age. It is rather the
consequence of having changed the glory of God, the truth of God, and
seeking to abandon the knowledge of God and thus having been given over
to the things that only fallen men do.
I. A first cause (vv.
1. Three times in this passage we encounter the expression
that “God gave them up” are simply that God gave men what they want
2. We do well to examine the reason perhaps more than the consequence.
3. Here, the reason is they esteemed themselves wiser than God and so
1) We observe that in the absence of God men become
2) They will worship an image they think to be like
themselves and such were the Greek myths and those things observed by
3) But, they do not stop there – they worship objects of the
4. And so, we read “wherefore” and that God also gave
them the consequence of refusing to worship God – they will prove their
own foolishness. God gave them up to uncleanness!
5. Persistence in
the way of a fool ends in divine abandonment and it seems that emotions
intended to serve the creation is soon turned to lusts of most evil
6. A profound consequence of these profession of wisdom above
that of God is the rejection of the scriptures which becomes more
prevalent as sin becomes more open and accepted.
II. A second
cause and consequence (vv. 25-28)
1. The second cause of divine
judgment is witnessed in that they “changed the truth of God into a lie
and worshiped and served the creature more than the creator.”
would rewrite the Bible to suit their own desires and depict God as
blessing anything they do. (In the destruction of Sodom God would have
been charged with a hate crime).
2) The idea is that of denying the
right of the creator to rule and define standard for His creation
And we note that it is He who is “Blessed for ever. Amen.”
2. And so,
we read “For this cause…”
1) God gave them up to vile affections – it
is to be noted that this is not the cause of the condemnation; it is
rather the consequence of it. In worshiping the creator, divine order is
2) It is not needful that we become graphic in calling out
that which the Scripture makes plain nor are we to condemn – we are to
pray for mercy!
3) It is enough that in v. 27 the Word identifies
them as “receiving that recompense of their error which was meet.” Sin
III. A third cause (vv. 28-32)
1. We are reminded
of v. 18 and the fact that men seek to suppress the knowledge of God in
themselves and in others.
2. V. 28 suggests that in spite of all
their denial and attempt to dethrone God in their thought and in their
cultures, the knowledge of His existence persists.
3. The thought
here is of refusal after testing and so they reject God an all His
4. The third thought expressing of abandonment to their
1) While such a situation has found expression at various
i. Such as men in the day of Noah
ii. At the feast of
iii. In modern dives and nightclubs of all sorts (I
could not help but wonder at what was going on sometime back when a
terrorist shot up a Florida nightclub (not condoning or condemning any
situation) but noting that the things herein condemned are being
celebrated throughout the land as has been the manner down through the
5. The Bible does not single out one form of sin above another
as we note in verses 29-31.
6. The ultimate condemnation is that
knowing the judgment of God as having pronounced a death sentence on
such persistent behaviors do them and have pleasure therein.
A final thought
1. We must ever be reminded of the hatred of sin and
it was even the things mentioned here that was cast on our Lord as He
went to the cross and the Father could not look on Him because of it.