A Righteous Reminder.

Some may recall a teaching method used to ingrain material in students' heads: Remember, Recite, Remediate. After material is taught, it is repeated until the students can recite it accurately. Romans 1:18-32 is a repetition of the truth about fallen humanity. It was not written primarily to convict sinners, since the letter was written to believers in Rome. It is a reminder of what we were before the Lord saved us.

If Romans imitates a divine courtroom, this section is God's first charge against humanity. The question is posed, Is all the world lost? The answer is given: Yes, all are guilty before God.

Verse 17 clarifies that the description to follow does not apply to the righteous. Faith distinguishes the found from the lost (Romans 3:21-22).

The irreligious are condemned by God.

Are people's problems chemical or rooted in character? Is humanity getting better or worse? God definitively answers these questions.

God's wrath is revealed, deserved, and inflicted. The passage systematically explains why: Humanity is fallen in their intelligence and indulgence. They are guilty because of their ignorance and impenitence.

Mankind was created in God's image, and this truth is written into every human heart. We know there is a Creator through the testimony of the beauty of the creation. Yet most "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18), leading to the ignorance described in verse 21. They can be thankful to other people who they can see, but they refuse to give thanks to God who is invisible.

"Man had God's gifts in conscience and in creation, but they were not willing to worship Him as the Gift-Giver. The result was an empty, darkened heart. Man the worshipper became man the philosopher in his ignorance."

God created us to worship. But when we reject thinking as we are created to think, ignorance leads us to worship something beside God. Satan always desires the worship given to God. Romans 1:23 describes how humanity deifies self and other creatures.

In response to this defiance, God gives humanity over to indulgence and impurity (Romans 1:24); He allows them to follow sin as they desire and to receive the consequences. "The result of self-deification is self-indulgence." Sin now reigns in people's lives, though they may not display all the actions of sin listed in the rest of the chapter. Humanity is depraved, not able to make spiritual judgments.

Application Points

  • Believer, let this rehearsal of your former state make you thankful for what you have been saved from.
  • Every church needs to understand the Gospel thoroughly. This is the primary doctrine Satan targets when seeking to undermine a church.
  • How do you know who or what you are worshipping? Examine how your money and time is spent. These two indicators will show what you value most.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Genesis 3:5 – Mankind is tempted to put ourselves in the place of God.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Grace Greater than Our Sin"

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Quotes to Ponder

"The heathen continue to sin against a flood of light."