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19 April 2021

Romans 1, Part 2


Romans 1:18-20: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from (Greek, indicating place or relation) heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold [are hindering] the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: We are told that God’s foolishness is wiser than mankind (1Cor 1:25). In Isaiah, God’s thoughts compared to man’s, are said to be as high as the heavens are above the earth (Isa 55:7-9), and we are to put away our way of thinking. God’s wrath is revealed from heaven as opposed to the earth or sea, as ways of thinking. The heavens are a symbol of spirit, or a spiritual way of thinking. What are the invisible things that can be clearly seen, being understood by the physical things of creation? The things which reside in the heart of God and in the heart of mankind.

Jesus said that whatever comes out of the mouth defiles a person (Mt 15:11). Words come from thoughts, and it is thoughts that governs all actions. A person’s thinking is determines the overall character, and God has designed that our deepest thoughts, even in the subconscious, can be revealed by the things of creation - i.e. animals give shades of meaning concerning our thoughts, as a lion = king of thought, pride. 1Peter 5:8: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: If Jesus is your head (ruler in your life), then He is “king” of your thoughts. Anyone can be an adversary walking in pride.

In verse 19 that which may be known of God is manifest in them: People actually manifest the character of the God in which they believe. A good example of this is in John 8:1-11: The Pharisees, only understanding the law in the most literal sense, brought to Jesus a woman who had committed adultery. By their interpretation, the woman was to be put to death by stoning. Yet, the law says that both the man and woman were to be put to death (Lv 20:10). They were applying the letter of the law in an unequal sense. Jesus’ response was He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her (Jn 8:7). Then, Jesus delayed His saying anything until the Spirit had time to convict each of those men in their conscience that neither were they without sin. In finality Jesus told the woman, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more (Jn 8:11). The principle Jesus stated is contained in John 3:17, He came into the world, not to condemn, but to save mankind. It is spiritual stones, or spiritual concepts every person needs in order to understand why they sin. Jesus spiritually stoned those men by his words and action. (The Pharisee is a type for a person walking in their own understanding)

The word rendered Godhead would be better translated divinity, which is God’s power, or ability, to show His love toward all who will receive it. Again, it is the cross, when understood correctly, that reveals the infinite love of the Father and Son toward each of us, and allowing us to partake of His divine nature (cf 2Pt 1:3,4)

Romans 1:21-23: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. The Greek rendered knew usually indicates knowledge obtained by experience (Mt 12:7). Verse 21 relates more to perceiving God (Mt 21:42-45). The discussion is about those who perceived God, but followed their own vain ideas and their hearts became darkened because of looking at God through a man’s eyes. And while worship of a physical idol was common in Jesus’ day, the birds and four footed beasts can be applied inward of the thoughts of man today and spiritual idols in the heart (as movie stars, singers, etc, worshiped in place of, or put before God). The result is:

Romans 1:24-25: 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature [creation as creatures, land, resources] more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. God does not punish them, or bring some catastrophe upon them, but merely backs off and leaves them to follow the lusts of their own hearts because they refuse to hear and do as God instructs. The glory of God (verse 23) is His character based on His ideas and opinions - the truth of God (verse 25). This is that which the wicked change into a lie. (Cf Jer 23:25-32). Uncleanness is the opposite of clean. We are cleaned spiritually by the words Christ speaks as we receive them (Jn 15:3); therefore, those refusing the truth are considered unclean.

Romans 1:26-27: 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections (or, passions): for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense (reward) of their error which was meet. These verses are very clear as to how God views the display of the inordinate and shameful passions of gays, women lusting after women and men lusting after men. This conduct was prevalent in Paul’s day, as it is becoming more common in our day. Leviticus 18:22: Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Leviticus 20:13: If a man also lie with mankind, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Romans 1:28-32: 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate (or, worthless) mind, to do those things which are not convenient (or, becoming); 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. The things listed in verses 29 - 32 are results of people who do not retain the truth of God in their knowledge. Knowledge is what forms our thoughts and our thoughts control our actions. A reprobate mind is one filled with rejection of truth after truth.

Here is one reference from where may have gotten Paul his understanding of God’s wrath: Deuteronomy 31:16-17: 16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. 17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face [presence] from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? Everyday we are protected by the Lord, even in our ignorance. However, when those who knows better, continue to rebel, the Lord will back away and let them suffer the consequences. Often, they will even blame God for what is happening to them. Paul also addressed the situations where a person among believers is caught up in spiritual fornication might be saved: 1Corinthins 5:5: To deliver such an one unto Satan (adversarial attitude to conforming to God’s ways) for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Give them up to their sinful ways and let the natural outcome of those things happen, so that perhaps they might learn to abstain from their fleshly ways.

Isaiah 42:23-25: 23 Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? 24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law. 25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart. God’s anger and wrath is when He gives those up who continue to rebel and the fire is spiritual, which they do not even recognize. What does he mean by giving Israel to the robbers?
Jeremiah 23:29-31: 29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? 30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words everyone from his neighbor. 31 Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. It is no different today. Preachers and teachers steal the words of truth from their congregations, and many love to have it so (Jer 5:31). They stand in the pulpits and say “The Lord said it, or revealed it to them.” How are you going to know if what someone is teaching is true or false unless you go to the Lord and let him confirm it in your conscience? Truth makes sense - there is no mystery about it. God’s word is like a fire that will consume sinful ideas and thoughts if you will receive it; His word is like a hammer that will make dust of the false spiritual concepts (rocks) and blow them away with His Spirit.

Practically the whole book of Jeremiah addresses the rebellion of Judah and how she played the role of a harlot, and an adulterous wife (Jer 3:6-10), and the result of the Lord’s actions: Jeremiah 23:39-40: 39 Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence: 40 And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten. The way God brought reproach and shame upon Judah was to allow Babylon to take them as captives and rule over them 70 years. We must have a relationship with the Lord and be refreshed daily by the understanding of the cross. God is love, and He is not willing to give up on anyone. He will not, however, force the will. It is up to every individual to choose the good over the evil. Amen.

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