ROMANS 1:18-32 HUMANITY LOST
In Romans 1:1-17 Paul introduces his letter to this small church in Rome.
His aim is to share the foundation truths of Christianity with a church that is struggling with theological difficulties within and social and political opposition from without.
This church, like the church today, needs to know WHAT IT REALLY BELIEVES.
He introduces this foundation as “the gospel” … the good news about the person The Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul’s “gospel” is not a message or an idea it is a person.
It is faith in this person that saves.
It is faith in this person that changes us.
It is faith in this person that gives us the power to live no matter what comes our way.
We start Christian life by faith and we continue by faith.
Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
He now turns his attention to the question: “Why is this gospel necessary?”
“What is the real problem that afflicts mankind?”
“Why are so many bad things happening in the world that God created?”
This passage is based on Genesis 1-3
While we were in Auckland, the school near our church had some beautiful shade trees in the playground.
One day we had a huge storm.
One of the trees was found split in half on the ground … but the real problem wasn’t the storm.
The tree was rotten on the inside.
There was a problem in the roots.
Over time the rot had spread within the tree … unseen … maybe the leaves were not quite as healthy … but there was no real indication of the great danger that lurked within!
It took a storm to reveal that the tree was broken on the inside and had to come down.
Paul, in Romans 1:18-32, is revealing the same problem within humanity.
Even though there may be from time to time signs of corruption, disintegration and decay all around us, the real problem is much deeper.
In Genesis 3 the roots became infected and the rot has been spreading ever since.
What does this rot look like?
1. THE ROT IDENTIFIED
Vs. 18 “godlessness” … life without God!
Humanity was created to know, worship, love & serve the creator God.
Created WITH GOD AT THE CENTRE!
Humanity in Genesis 3 displaced God … removed Him from the centre Vs. 21
“wickedness” … lit “injustice” … society OUT OF JOINT.
Mankind is broken & needs to be put to right again.
The result? “The wrath of God”
God is angry, not at people, but at the disease!
God cares about His creation & it deeply hurts Him to see creation broken.
Our world is NOT O.K. Humanity is not ok.
It is broken … in need of a cure
2. THE ROT MANIFESTED
“suppress the truth”
Mankind refuses to allow the truth of God to shine.
Can see the evidence of God’s existence but refuse to acknowledge it.
The fallen heart of man DOES NOT WANT GOD IN THEIR LIVES! A resistence to God.
Vs. 21 “neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to him” … the art of worship was lost.
Man who was made to worship God forgot how to do it.
As a result …
Vs. 21 “their thinking became futile” … distorted thinking
“their foolish hearts were darkened” … a heart dislocated from God becomes dark.
Our thinking controls our lives, and determines the condition of our hearts.
Vs. 22 “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools”.
Mankind prides itself on its wisdom but is, in fact, REALLY FOOLISH.
Wise in our own eyes … but foolish before God.
We think we can solve mankind’s problems but in fact we make them worse (legalizing drugs, prostitution etc.)
We think making a new law will solve a problem that has its origin in the human heart … the result is a new problem.
We deceive ourselves that our thinking is right, BUT if it doesn’t match God’s thinking, IT WILL ALWAYS FAIL!
Vs. 23 “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man …”
We worshipped the created instead of the creator.
Self was put on the throne instead.
We now worship our own opinion, our own ideas and our own achievements.
“God gave them over …”
God gave the responsibilty for our behaviour over to us along with the consequences.
If we ignore Him and follow our own brokenness, we can expect our humanness to eventually dissolve.
We become more & more like what we worship!!!
Vs. 24-27 Sexual dysfunction
Vs. 28 Spiritual dysfunction
Vs. 28-32 Social dysfunction
These all deal with DISTORTED behaviour as a result of human brokenness.
They are the fruit … they are the result … NOT THE CAUSE!
This is how human beings behave when they are broken.
The answer? WE NEED GOD BACK AT THE CENTRE!