"God's Wrath" (Part 2)

Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:25
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God has revealed His wrath against mankind by giving them up to the inevitable consequences and corruption of their sin.

How is the wrath of God revealed?

Remember the line of reasoning - the righteousness of God is revealed (v. 17) because the wrath of God is revealed (vv. 18-23).
So then, how is the wrath of God being revealed as it has been and will continue to be? (vv. 24-32)

God gave them up (v. 24).

The word means “to hand over.” It often carries with it the idea of punishment, consequence, or negative result.
God is doing this with mankind in general. He is handing them over to the negative results of their own sin.
Paul uses the word “impurity” to describe the moral filth that God is handing mankind over to.
Where does it come from? From within the “heart” (true self) of mankind. From their own “lusts” (evil desires, ).
It leads to “dishonoring” (shaming) their own bodies (Paul will elaborate on this in verses 26-27).
So, generally, what’s inside the heart of man comes out to their own decay and destruction, and God allows it.
Paul reminds us of God’s reason.

Why did God give them up? (v. 25)

This is a summary statement of verses 18-23.
The “lie” is in verse 23 where the word “exchanged” is also used. It is the lie about who/what should be worshipped.
Mankind chooses to be deceived and to live wasted lives (only God is praise-worthy, this is our true purpose).
Twice more Paul says that God gave them up, and then he adds each time to what God has given them up to...

What did God give them up to? (v. 26)

Paul states it, then gives an example.

Dishonorable Passions (vv. 26-27)

“Dishonorable” - shameful; “passions” - 1 of 3 uses, all in the context of sexual sin (Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:5).
Then Paul cites an extreme example of verse 24 - same root word for “dishonorable”
“Relations” (v. 26) - defined in lexicons as sexual intercourse or sexual function
“Natural” (vv. 26-27) - in accord with human nature, with original instinct, or physical design. So the sexual activity cited here, and the passions/desires involved in it, are unnatural (contrary to original, physical, instinctive nature). Sinfulness in the heart corrupts and morally erodes the actions and the desires of mankind, and this is an example of that from Paul/God.
There should be no doubt that Paul is talking about homosexuality, which was prevalent in the Roman empire in that day, and there should be no doubt that it is sinful…in the OT (Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13), …and in the NT.
But more than that, here Paul cites it as an example of how far sin will take mankind - it is an extreme.
Just as Sodom (Genesis 19), which has become a synonym for homosexuality (sodomy), is an example of extreme sinfulness (Jude 7).
Jude 7 ESV
just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Even the nation of Israel had sunk to this morally debased low (Judges 19), showing that even the chosen nation with all of their privileges will go this far when left by God to themselves.
So, God has not changed His mind on this subject, and this text makes that very clear.
This is how far mankind goes in the opposite direction of God when He gives them up.
Think of God’s design from the beginning for sex in the context of an exclusive covenant between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:6–9; Ephesians 5:31). This is a foundational design of God, so this area of sin singularly proves how far mankind goes in rejecting God.
Genesis 2:24 ESV
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
The sin-filled world violates this with heterosexual activity, but they violate it even further with homosexual activity. Thus, the statements here of homosexual activity and desire as a reversal of what is natural…as contrary to nature for mankind.
This is the result of God’s response - (the last phrase in verse 27 is a general/unidentified reference to any real, physical or physiological harm experienced by those involved in homosexual activity then and now).
It is important to acknowledge the extreme of mankind’s sinfulness (and I have tried to be faithful to the text) and our own sinfulness, so that we can more fully appreciate the extreme of God’s grace in forgiving sin (1 Corinthians 6:9–11).
1 Corinthians 6:9–11 ESV
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

What did God give them up to? (v. 28)

Paul gives another summary statement of God’s reasoning (vv. 18-23, 25).

Debased Mind (vv. 28-32)

“Debased” - morally worthless. They’re way of thinking is of no moral value. This guides mankind to do all they do.
Paul gave an example of how far mankind goes in their sin; here Paul gives a list of how much sin mankind has.
There is a lot of overlap in these sins, some specific, some general; and the applications are very broad, so that no one is left out. There’s something for everyone here. And much of it is applicable to all. The point of the list is to describe the overwhelming amount of sin in all of mankind.
From seemingly small sins to seemingly more serious sins, they’re all listed here together. All of them are equally the products of mankind left to themselves by God. This is what mankind produces apart from God. This is why the world is so dark, bad, evil.
There are different degrees of Paul’s statement in verse 32, from those who have a subtle sense of right and wrong (Romans 2:15) all the way to those who knew word for word the OT law.
And yet, mankind goes as far as they can go in wanting wrong - for themselves and for others.

Why is it important to acknowledge this bad news?

Because the good news seems even better (Luke 2:10–11).
Luke 2:10–11 ESV
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Benediction: Romans 11:33–36 “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:1-20
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