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Focal Passage:  Romans 1:21-32

Romans 1:32 “Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

Paul is not finished making his point on man’s complete and total need for God’s grace.  It’s not enough that mankind when left to its own desires and thoughts will choose sin, but another indication of man’s total depravity is that he will also agree with and encourage sin in others.  We need only look as far as our televisions to see that.  Fornication and adultery and pornography are not only found there on a daily basis, their existence on TV is protected by law.  Homosexual marriage is largely given legislative approval throughout the U.S., and the legalization of marijuana is on the rise.  Society encourages rebellion and “independent” thinking, applauding any attempt to marginalize God and His Word.  Indeed, without God’s intervening grace, all of us would be lost in ourselves, a world of dark and death-bringing sin.  Hallelujah that He has intervened, however—in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Study/Meditation:  Why do you think mankind is so quick to do and even approve of evil?  What examples would you give an unbeliever if having this type of conversation with him/her?

*Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to save me from myself.  Thank You for Your mercy and grace in that act.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 1:21-32

Romans 1:29-31 “They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice.  They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness.  They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”

Just in case we were to look at the sin of homosexuality or sexual perversion and think, “That’s not me; he’s not talking to me,” Paul follows his words against these sins with a more comprehensive list of 21 more.  Basically, Paul is writing about the sin of total depravity, and while this list is certainly not comprehensive of every sin known to man, it most definitely runs the gamut of sins that are committed by every one of us at one time or another.  Once again, Paul’s goal is not to point fingers at any particular group, but to get us to point our own fingers back onto ourselves.  We all need the grace of God, and in order to appreciate that fact to its fullest, we all must see the extent of this need.  In order to fully appreciate the good news, it is imperative that we are first of aware of the bad.  Each one of us, when left to our own desires and thoughts, fall short of the glory of God, but in His grace there is mercy and salvation for all who believe.  That is truly good news!

Study/Meditation:  How does this list make you view yourself in light of God’s justice and mercy?  Meditate for a few minutes on His amazing goodness and mercy on sinners such as us.

*Father, You are truly merciful and mighty!  Thank You for choosing a sinner such as me, offering me salvation in spite of my sin.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 1:21-32

Romans 1:28 “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.”

God’s judgment against sin is absolutely just.  No one could successfully argue that His sentence on those who rebelliously deny His lordship is unfair or too harsh.  God’s judgment basically says that if a person wants to sin and deny Him as Lord, then He lets that person do just that.  He gives him or her over and lets them live according to their own thoughts and deeds.  Yes, there is eternal punishment for those who do not proclaim Him as Lord and King, but here on this earth the punishment is also levied, and it is done so in the most just manner.  What we think invariably makes us who we are.  When sin is all we think about and not God, He gives us what we want, and this never leads to joy or true happiness.  Only God-centered and God-honored thinking will bring what we really need and ultimately want, and in His just love, He gives His children nothing less.

Study/Meditation:  How does Paul’s teaching about reaping what one sows in Galatians 6:7 parallel with his teaching here in Romans 1:28?

*Father, forgive me for each time I choose sin over You.  I know that only in You do I find rest and joy.  You are my God and my King, and I love You.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 1:21-32

Romans 1:26-27 “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.  For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

One cannot argue that the Bible condemns homosexuality as sin; it is quite clear on a number of occasions. (Genesis 19; Judges 19; Leviticus 18, 20; 1 Timothy 2; 1 Corinthians 6)  If one believes the Bible, then this act as sin is indisputable.  Paul is simply using it as an example in his point:  When mankind refuses to worship God, He will give them over to their sin.  The “unnatural” act of homosexuality (and one only need look to human anatomy and basic behaviors in the animal kingdom to see that physical relations within gender are unnatural) is one illustration of what man will do when unchecked by God’s authority, the due penalty being the sin itself.  Paul is about to list many more sins in the next verses, but he is listing this particular one first because it is perhaps often more obvious than the others—no more sinful, just more obvious.  The good news is that God’s grace covers all our sins, and not only that, but transforms us by the renewing of our minds.  In all things, we must point others to God, the only means by which we are saved from sin and its consequences.

Study/Meditation:  What is the definition of “sin”?  How should we, as believers, lovingly point out sin without condemning the individual outside of the sin?

*Father, thank You for giving us clear guidelines within Your Word.  Help me to lovingly point others to You for saving grace.  Amen.

Focal Passage:  Romans 1:21-32

Romans 1:25 “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!  Amen.”

It’s very important that we understand the disease before we can seek the cure.  We go to see a medical professional when we feel poorly so that the illness can be diagnosed.  Only then can we receive the proper route to a cure.  Paul is doing the same thing here.  He is giving us the disease, the problem, with our natures before he reminds us of the cure, and the disease as he describes it is idolatry.  It is in our natures to rebel against God’s total and complete reign in our lives, but as we stated before, it’s also in our nature to worship something.  Consequently, we worship the things God created rather than Him, the Creator.  When we place our families or our spouses or our friends or jobs or houses or any other created thing above our Lord, we have made them idols, and we are no less guilty of idolatry than the man who cuts down a tree and carves an image out of it to worship.  God is God, and there is no other god before Him.  Worship Him in heart, mind, body, and soul.

Study/Meditation:  In what ways are you guilty of idolatry?  What can you do to combat that tendency in your life?

*Father, You are the one, true God and I worship You.  Hallelujah and Amen!

Focal Passage:  Romans 1:21-32

Romans 1:24 “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves.”

What does Paul say is the result of suppressing God’s truth in unrighteous disobedience?  The result is God’ giving them over to their sin.  Many might wonder if God’s judgment on mankind comes in the form of some natural disaster, like a hurricane or tornado or a flood, and this is not necessarily a bad question.  However, Paul would tell us that God’s judgment on sin is sin itself.  Our Father has not given us His Law to constrain us or to limit our happiness.  In fact, His statutes and ordinances were given to us because they lead to our happiness; they result in good for us.  When mankind willingly suppresses God’s truth, a truth He has made plain for all to see, then His judgment on them is their own sin.  Sin brings only sadness and pain and misery and death, and without God, those things are not only present, they are inevitable.

Study/Meditation:  How do you think rebellious man pays for his sin in his sin?  What does this look like in today’s society?

*Father, continue to help me see Your perfect will and to sanctify myself to that.  Forgive me for the times I fail.  Thank You for loving me still.  Amen.