Romans 1:18-32: Not So Stupid
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
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.
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. 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. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
By Sarah Morris
I sometimes think that some of the people in the Old Testament must have been dumb. Why would they make a golden calf and start worshiping it? They saw the wonders of God, saw that He had parted the Red Sea and caused Pharaoh to change his mind. They were free and transformed, and yet as soon as Moses left to go up on Mount Sinai, they freaked out and made a false god. I shake my head and wonder what in the world were these people thinking? But as I read this passage, it starts to make sense. “(T)hey exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.” Many of us are not in the habit of creating golden calves and false gods. But how many of us wish to please ourselves? We may not be bowing down to idols, but are we worshiping our desires and our plans? Are we putting our wishes and thoughts above the God who created us?
The funny thing is that this passage clearly states that they had no excuse for their actions. They knew who God was. They saw what He had done, because God had shown them. Do we do things that we know are contrary to God’s will? Many people might read this and pull out one certain sin that Paul is writing about. But, at the end of the passage, twenty sins are listed as well. In God’s eyes, sin is sin. Murder and being disobedient to parents is grouped in the same list. In our society, they are far different. But both are against God’s plan. Maybe we should stop comparing and contrasting our sins and instead seek to be the people God has made us to be. And though sin is all sin in His eyes, His grace is the same for all. We all sin, we all don’t deserve forgiveness and we all certainly shouldn’t be entitled to righteousness. But God gives us all the same amount of grace and mercy. The people turned from good because they turned their gaze off of God. Let us not worship the idol of ourselves by turning away from our Savior.