Today’s passage is one of the most brutal, depressing descriptions of sin in the entire Bible. We have in these verses a stark, totally honest presentation of the many sins that fill our lost world. We see in Romans 1:26-32 a vivid picture of what happens to people who have abandoned God altogether and fallen deeper and deeper and deeper still into the awful prison of their own wickedness. While I will not enjoy explaining these verses, I’m going to do it because: 1) It is part of God’s Word and all parts of God Word are inspired and given for our spiritual growth, 2) The culture in which we live is guilty of all of these sins, which means that many of you by middle school have already been exposed to their existence through your friends and what you have seen on your devices, and 3) We need to know what God says about the horrible depth of our sin problem so that we can see our incredible need for salvation from sin through faith in Jesus Christ. So here we go.
I will not go into detail about verses 26-27 beyond saying that homosexuality is a vile or very evil sin that God openly condemns. God loves every sinner, but He hates sin, and according to this text some sins are particularly awful in His sight. Verse 28 then tells us that as people reject the knowledge of God and resist the work of His Word and Spirit, God allows them to fall further into their own sinfulness. They become unholy, commit acts of sexual immorality, become jealous of what others have, become mean and hateful, fight with others, and whisper gossip behind their backs (v. 29). People who don’t know Jesus, people who lack the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit at work in their lives, become people who hate God and others. They commit violence against others with their hands and tongues, they are proud and boastful, they dream up ways to do evil, and they disobey their parents (v. 30). People without Christ lack understanding and wisdom, they are untrustworthy and unloving, incapable of forgiving others even for the smallest offenses (31). Worst of all, as we saw in yesterday’s post from Romans 1:18-25, lost people know deep down in their souls that their sinful thoughts and actions deserve to be punished by a holy God. Yet even though they know that those who sin so openly and habitually “are deserving of death,” they still continue on in their wickedness and even love seeing others fall into sin with them.
So what are we to make of today’s passage? First, we must realize that we are not good people on our own. Our sin problem is bad, real bad, and we cannot escape it without the supernatural power of God. Second, that means that we need Jesus bad, real bad! You and I need the mercy and grace of God every day to rescue us from the wicked world, the sinful desires of our heart, and the temptations of Satan that constantly seek to destroy us. We needed Jesus when He first came into our life when we were born again and brought to life by the Holy Spirit. And we still need Jesus each day to keep us on the path of life. So third, we must be in God’s Word every day so that the Lord can use His truth to renew our minds and make our hearts holy and good. Without the transforming work of God’s Word and Spirit, we will fall into the awful depths of sin and its bitter results. Let today’s passage be a warning to us that sin is deadly and to live in victory over it, we need Jesus every day.
The Text (Romans 1:26-32)
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Questions to Think About
- Why do think that Paul gives such a detailed list of sinful behaviors and attitudes in this passage? What does God want us to learn from a text like today’s?
- Before you accepted Christ as your Savior, did you think of yourself as a pretty good person? Why or why not?
- Do you think it is harder for a “good kid” or a “bad kid” to come to faith in Christ? Explain.
- Romans 1:26-27 is one of the clearest condemnations of homosexuality in the entire Bible. If we believe that the whole Bible is inspired by God, then we must accept according to these verses that the homosexual lifestyle is sinful and against the creation order. While we should not be mean to anyone even if they are living in open sin, we must also stand firm in refusing to say that the homosexual life is okay with God, because His Word tells us it is not. As with any other sin, we must love the sinner but hate the sin.
- What Paul is doing in Romans chapters 1-3 is laying out just how bad sin really is. God wants us to see that “all have sinned and fallen short of His glory” (Romans 3:23). We have to acknowledge that our sin problem is big and unfixable through our own efforts before we can understand our desperate need for Jesus. Good news will be coming in chapters 4-8, so hang in there with our study!