Monday, June 10, 2024

2024.06.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 1:24–32

Read Romans 1:24–32

Questions from the Scripture text: Who did what to men (Romans 1:24)? To what did He give them up? In what? To do what to what? Among whom? What did these given-up men do (Romans 1:25)? What two things were exchanged? In what worship did this result? Rather than worshiping Whom? And what is the glory of this Creator? How does the end of the verse add solemnity and certainty to this statement? To what did God further give them up in response (Romans 1:26)? Upon whom did this further judgment of vile passions especially fall? What did they exchange for what? Against what is their behavior? Who else gave up what natural use (Romans 1:27)? In what did they burn? For whom? Committing what, together? Receiving what? Where? For what was this penalty due? For what does Romans 1:28 say that God is still punishing them (cf. Romans 1:18-21)? To what does He further (thirdly!) give them up? What do they end up doing in this debased mind? With what are they thus filled (Romans 1:29)? What twenty-two examples does the apostle give of this unrighteousness that fills them (Romans 1:29-31)? What do all men know (Romans 1:32)? Whose righteous judgment do they know? What does He righteously judge about those who practice such things? But how do they respond to knowing that these things deserve death? And even what to others who practice them? 

Why is perversion of marriage so abominable and alarming? Romans 1:24–32 is an important passage for our current cultural moment. In these nine verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that perversion of marriage is abominable and alarming because being given over to this sin, and its celebration, is a display of being under God’s righteous wrath for refusing to know Him. 

The mayor of the nearby town has declared it pride month, joining the masses in our nation and its churches who “not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” It is a fulfillment of God’s Word, an expression of His righteous wrath (Romans 1:18) upon a nation, and even churches, who refuse to know Him, thank Him or glorify Him (Romans 1:19-23).  It is also a providentially provided opportunity to see the riches of His glory in His gospel mercy. 

The whole discussion of the revelation of His wrath (Romans 1:18) comes in the context of unashamedly preaching the gospel, because in it the saving righteousness of God is revealed (Romans 1:16-17) over-against this revelation of God’s wrath. So how has God’s wrath been revealed? Especially in three “givings up” that show what all sin deserves, and how the practice and approval (!) of sin is the sure and horrible demonstration that men are indeed under God’s wrath. 

Uncleanness in the lusts of their heartsRomans 1:24-25. The first “giving up” shows how dreadful our sin is. It brings us into uncleanness, making us unfit to draw near to God in worship. As those whose hearts have chosen desires other than God (and apart from Him), every bodily expression of what’s in a man’s heart dishonors himself. The great truth about man is that he was created in God’s image, for God’s glory, according to God’s law. But man exchanged that for the devil’s lie: that man could create himself in his own image, for his own glory, according to his own ways. The uncleanness of living this way displays that man is under wrath for refusing to know, thank, or worship God.

Vile passionsRomans 1:26-27. The second “giving up” shows how irrational our sin is. “vile passions” in Romans 1:26 means “disgraceful emotions.” Not only is man’s will evil, choosing creatures over the Creator, but his affections are evil too. The perversion of women with women, or men with men (instead of one man and one woman), displays God’s wrath. Adultery and fornication are not marriage either, but when God gives men over to such perversions as in these verses, the very irrationality displays how deep-seated is man’s God-rejecting wickedness. Our evil is so great that it not only misuses nature but even goes contrary to nature itself. 

Debased mindRomans 1:28-31. The third “giving up” goes to our very root. God has designed our intellect to inform our affections, which move our wills. In the display of His wrath, God gives them over to themselves in their will, their affections, and their minds. In this case, the “debased mind” (Romans 1:28), the non-functional mind, exposes them to being filled with all unrighteousness. This is what ungodliness and unrighteousness deserve: to fill up one’s sin (Romans 1:29). The perversions in Romans 1:26-27 are emblematic of all sin. By being “against nature” (Romans 1:26), they are the extreme case of what is “not fitting” (Romans 1:28). All sin is irrational. All sin is abominable to God. All sin is destructive to man and to creation. Consider, from the twenty-two examples listed in Romans 1:29-31, those which especially beset you. Do you easily recognize your sin as God-rejecting, self-destruction to which His wrath would rightly give you over? The perversions that are being celebrated by so many this month are so abominable, precisely to show us the abominable nature of all of our sin.

Approving those who doRomans 1:32. And all of this brings us to “pride month.” This is end-stage spiritual cancer that displays God’s wrath upon a person or a nation. The conscience becomes so seared that they do not feel the need either to be alarmed or to be ashamed at their sin. Those who do such things know that they deserve death (versev32), but they suppress this to the point that they do them without alarm. And they are so far from being ashamed of sin that they approve of it. Indeed, they make their sin their very identity. Some protest that by “pride” they mean not arrogant boastfulness (though all affirming of sin is arrogance against God!) but self-approval of their “identity.” Yet, self-approval is exactly that to which the Lord has given sinners up. For those whom the Lord gives over to their sin, it has been “pride month” for some six thousand years. 

Vessels of mercy. In Romans 1, this display of wrath is the backdrop for the gospel’s display of God’s saving righteousness. God gives—even to such sinners as this!—His own righteousness through faith in Christ (Romans 3:21–24)! He patiently bears with vessels of wrath prepared for destruction precisely to “make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory” (Romans 9:22–23). 

How dreadful is our sin! There is nothing more hateful than to tell ourselves that our sin is permissible or excusable. To celebrate “pride month” is to perpetrate “hate month.” Those who celebrate sinners’ perversions hate sinners by doing so. But God loves and saves sinners. He reveals not just His wrath against sinners, but His righteousness, offered to them. How grateful we should be for His mercy! How eager to be found in Christ! And loving our neighbor means calling him to repentance and inviting him to God’s righteousness revealed in Christ—inviting him to rejoice in God’s mercy as a vessel of mercy. 

For further consideration: “Righteously Given Up to Godless Feelings, Choices, and Thoughts”—available at

Of the 22 sins listed in Romans 1:29-31, to which are you most prone? What do you deserve? What does the Lord offer you instead? How?

Sample prayer:  Lord, forgive us, for we have so often been unmindful of You and unthankful toward You. But even to such sinners as we are, You offer Your own righteousness through faith in Christ. So give to us, by Your Spirit, to believe in Christ, to be forgiven of our sin, and to be righteous with His righteousness, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH51C “God, Be Merciful to Me”

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