Romans 1:24 – 2:5 Don’t Have a Superior Attitude

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. We know that the judgement of God rightly falls on those who practise such things. 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? 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? 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.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
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.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Questions

  1. Which sin receives most attention from Paul?
  2. Why does he list so many sins at the end of chapter 1?
  3. Do you agree with Moo that Paul switches from Gentiles to Jews as we switch from chapter 1 to 2?  Why?  Why not?
  4. How are Christians like early Jews in the way they condemn others?
  5. How can Christians acknowledge sin wherever it is found and at the same time refrain from judgement?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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15 Responses to Romans 1:24 – 2:5 Don’t Have a Superior Attitude

  1. 1. Paul focuses on the following: homosexuality, unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. “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.”
    2. These are sins that everyone struggles with and no one escapes not doing something on that list. It shows everyone sins.
    3. I agree with Moo. I think the focus begins on the Gentiles then shifts to more general sins which both Jews and Gentiles do. This makes sense because the book is addresses to a Jewish and Gentile combined church in Rome and the book has an emphasis on Jew-Gentile relations within that church.
    4. We emphasize the things we do not do as the worst things you could do and attempt to ignore the things we struggle with ourselves. We make rules or standards for others, but we do not work through our own guilty and death deserving messes.
    5. I think we need to call sin what it is in love, wherever it occurs, especially in our own lives. We also need to openly acknowledge that we do not have it all together and be willing to share our struggles at least to some extent.

  2. Megumi says:

    1. Judging others
    2. As further proof that all are guilty of sin
    3. It does seem that the type of sin described at the beginning of the passage would have been more common among Gentiles and the type of sin described toward the end would have been more common among the Jewish people of the time.
    4. Christians have tended to assign certain sins that are usually more common among non-Christians as being worse than the sins Christians habitually commit.
    5. By taking the proverbial log out of their own eye first.

  3. Michael McCardle says:

    Which sin receives most attention from Paul?
    Judging others.
    Why does he list so many sins at the end of chapter 1?
    To enforce that fact that we are all sinners and that we have no right to judge our brother.
    Do you agree with Moo that Paul switches from Gentiles to Jews as we switch from chapter 1 to 2? Why? Why not?
    I think that the sins are universal. Just because you were a Jew doesn’t mean it wasn’t possible for you to commit “the sins of the gentiles”.
    How are Christians like early Jews in the way they condemn others?
    We judge others for the most petty things, while we sit and fester in hypocrisy.
    How can Christians acknowledge sin wherever it is found and at the same time refrain from judgement?
    Yes. We need to acknowledge sin with grace

  4. Maria T. says:

    I have come to realize more and more that if there is a lack of sin in my life, it is because God is gracious and not because I am good. He is changing me to be good. Anytime I face a person who is dealing with sin, then, I should remember that the only reason I am not dealing with that sin is because God is cleansing me. It is still sin, and it should not be acceptable. But it is not as though I am not susceptible to every sin. Therefore, we do still judge the sin by naming it as such, but we do not hold ourselves as higher than someone else just because we are not struggling against that particular sin.

  5. Emmy R says:

    It is so easy to point out the sins you see in others, especially the “big sins” that are up front for all to see, while covering up the ones in your own life. God’s grace should not serve as an excuse to keep on sinning, as Paul teaches later in the book, instead it should lead me to worship. His grace should remind me of my sinful self, and therefore respond in praise to the one who takes those sins away.

  6. Kimberly W. says:

    The verses about judging others is almost painful to read. I easily find myself falling into the trap of judging others. I know, too, that the things I judge others for are often patterns of sin I struggle with. I get angry with the Church for being hypocritical, and yet I struggle with that myself.

    I love the verse about God’s kindness– He is merciful when we are not. His kindness leads us to repentance, to His love.

    Father, forgive my judgmental spirit. May I know Your kindness more and more, and may I show that kindness to others.

  7. Jung Kim says:

    I think judging others is probably what I naturally do even today when I am saved and converted. It is not difficult for me at any time to judge on people’s appearance, height, weight, smartness, and lives. Although I pray and ask God for humility and love, I forget so easily and repeat the same thing over and over. I know God forgives. But that is what scares me the most. Because I know that is true and my human sinful nature falls into that temptation often to take it for granted. Oh, Lord. Please change me and mold me into your image. Please cast away all the evil spirits inside me.

  8. Christina W. says:

    I think that Christians can acknowledge sin while refraining from judgment in a few ways. First, we as Christians must recognize and take care of our own sin. We cannot be pointing out the sins of others without seeing that we too are sinners. Second, we must call people out when they are in sin but do so in a way that is loving and full of grace.

  9. Christians are very much like Jews in the way that they condemn each other. We expect perfection from each other and don’t often allow room for grace. During my freshman year, I actually heard a girl say, “you would LIE at a Bible school?!” This quote has turned into a joke within my friend group, but when you actually think about what is being said, it’s concerning. While this quote wasn’t directed at me when it was said, it says a lot about how we expect people to act at a Bible school: perfect. We expect perfection, whether we admit to it or not. We are almost shocked when we see people really screw up, and treat it as if we don’t have secret sins of our own. We need to help each other grow in our struggles and give grace when people fall short.

  10. Christa says:

    1. Which sin receives most attention from Paul? It seems like Paul spends a considerable amount of time speaking to the problems of judgment and idolatry
    2. Why does he list so many sins at the end of chapter 1? I think that he wants the church to recognize that there are many sins that displease God so they should not think that just because they do not struggle with one certain sin that they are free of sin.
    3. Do you agree with Moo that Paul switches from Gentiles to Jews as we switch from chapter 1 to 2? Why? Why not? I could see the point that Moo is trying to make in the transition from different sins. The first sins that are mentioned are more typical of a pagan society while the latter mentioned sins are sins that the Jewish people would be more likely to commit
    4. How are Christians like early Jews in the way they condemn others? We know the standards that God has put in place for us to follow and so we are quick to call out others on their sin; however, we often do so in inappropriate manners and with a prideful heart in our own obedience to God
    5. How can Christians acknowledge sin wherever it is found and at the same time refrain from judgement? I think that it is important to call sin what it is and to be able to tell others in the context of relationship when we see sin in their lives. I think that we also must be humble in our manner of approaching them and being careful to examine ourselves through prayer and meditation on God’s Word before we speak to them.

  11. Andrew Moore says:

    It can be very easy to judge people for sins that we do not struggle with. Additionally, I think that we have a tendency to think of sins in the wrong way. We view homosexuality and lust as very different problems, but both are sexual sins. In that regard, I think that we need to be wise and discerning. We need to lovingly encourage people to flee from their sins while also realizing that we struggle with sin as well.

  12. Olyn says:

    I think oftentimes we judge non-believers based on a standard that they know nothing of. This can come from a behaviour-focused Christianity. It seems like oftentimes it is easy to tell non-believers “You’re sinful and wrong! Stop that behaviour!” with no explanation as to why or what will replace this behaviour. We need to help them see that Christ will fill the need that they are currently filling with sin. It is not a strict father who has unreasonable expectations; it is a loving father who wants a relationship. Once you have this relationship you love Him so much that you want to do anything to please Him and stay away from anything that is not pleasing to Him. This is what leads to the heart transformation that results in lasting, sincere changes in behaviour.

  13. Maelynn says:

    Whenever I read this passage, I feel afraid for the people whom this passage describes. I am afraid to think that the passage may be describing myself in some ways. In reference to question number five, I think that there has to be middle ground between accepting sin and judging sin. As Christ followers, the Bible tells us to flee the evil desires of youth. We are to flee situations that and people who will cause us to sin. Nevertheless, we cannot go around and judge others who sin. It is critical that we remember that only God alone is Judge. We also must remember that “love covers over a multitude of sins.” God desires us to love the imperfect people of this world and share the gospel with them.

  14. 1. Judging others
    2. Paul is showing the readers the multitude of sins that we fall into and show that we are all sinners even though we may sin in different ways
    3. I understand why he says that and see that the first sins that are mentioned relate more toward pagan societies while the latter ones relate more with Jewish societies
    4. Christians are quick to judge others for their sin and don’t look at the sins of their own heart enough
    5. We can address someone’s sin in a loving and caring way while emphasizing the fact that we are not judging them or looking down on them in any way

  15. Nate Silvieus says:

    It’s extremely easy to always be looking at the faults in other people. Christians especially, and even moreso, especially in myself, it is easier to look at the sin in others rather than at the sin in myself. Nowadays, the Christian population seems to be twosided, in church they acknowledge that they are sinful and that the world is sinful and we all need the grace of God. However, from what I have seen, there seems to be two major issues that Christians have no problem speaking out on and condemning everyone who practices them terrible and evil people and those things are abortion and homosexuality. They have no problem calling these people out, but I do not think they do it in ways that puts Christianity in sort of good standing and completely puts off people to ever becoming Christians. Where is the balance between the cliche of loving the sinner and hating the sin?

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