24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;27 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.
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. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practise such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practise them.
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgement on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practise the very same things. 2 We know that the judgement of God rightly falls on those who practise such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practise such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgement of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed.
Don’t Have a Superior Attitude
Homosexuals know that Christians can cop an attitude. We can become really vocal about sins like abortion that we don’t commit. We can judge and condemn. Jews in the time of Paul would have been similar. As Paul made his way through Romans 1, they would have been nodding in agreement. However, when he finished up the chapter he listed sins that they would probably have committed. The Jewish people are being drawn into Paul’s general thesis that we all start our lives under God’s verdict of ‘guilty’.
So do Christians escape the verdict. In one sense we do because Jesus has made us righteous. In another sense we don’t. We do not escape because of our own innocence. We escape because of God’s grace. Grace is undeserved and so there is no room for anyone to get on their high horse.
Although contempt can surface in any relationship, it is extremely destructive in the marriage relationship. When a person fixates on their partner’s sin it can become a marriage killer. However, as we build up the myth of self-esteem, it doesn’t sit well with us that we might be responsible for failings in our relationship. We blame our spouse when we feel bad because our brain works against us. They become responsible for our feelings.
We are all guilty of offense before God. In Paul’s day Jewish believers would have claimed that their heritage made them pure. Paul lets them know this is not the case. At the end of the passage above the sad conclusion that all people have to reach is that our own sin leaves us guilty before God.
Prayer (Psalm 51)
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgement.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
- Which sin receives most attention from Paul?
- Why does he list so many sins at the end of chapter 1?
- Do you agree with Moo that Paul switches from Gentiles to Jews as we switch from chapter 1 to 2? Why? Why not?
- How are Christians like early Jews in the way they condemn others?
- How can Christians acknowledge sin wherever it is found and at the same time refrain from judgement?