What About Those Who Never Heard? (Romans #3)

Text: Romans 1:18-32

God is love. And God is a judge. As the Creator, He doesn’t appreciate when His creation is perverted in ways it wasn’t meant to be. So in turn, God is also a God of wrath. This next part of Paul’s letter to the Romans deals with the natural revelation of God being sufficient to understand judgment and guilt. And in the first part of this letter Paul establishes that Gentiles and Jews both have sufficient witness to understand their sin. The natural course of reason and observation in life arrives at a personal Creator. Reason arrives at a Creator who made things a certain way and requires that they work how He made them.

God is responsible for revelation, not heathen ignorance (vss 18-19)

  • Man is a steward of relationships that a personal God created.
    • Like marriage in its natural state leads to many blessings and the progress of society. Companionship, reproduction, financial stability, mutual support, etc. (Obviously when these things are perverted or out of place there is a breakdown that’s harmful.) But marriage isn’t something man made or could have made.
    • Parent and child relationships could not be created by man. Mankind became a steward of this ability to reproduce himself that came from a personal Creator.
    • Manifest in them means there are so many things than man is a steward of, not a Creator himself, that these things explain and order set up by someone higher than man himself.
  • How do religious and non-religious people both arrive at the general conclusions that love is good and hatred is bad? Who told you love is good? Why is your argument against God that He is hateful and judgmental? Why is your argument against Christians that they are hypocrites? Who told you that saying one thing but doing another was morally corrupt? Why do you think it is bad?
  • The point is humanity takes many things for granted that come from God, then turn them on God. You can’t get rid of God by assuming something like Him exists.

Invisible things of God are clearly seen in created things (vss 20-23)

  • Not only does man carry the very light that shows him his errors, but he can also observe it as well.
    • Stars organized in constellations show order in the heavens.
    • The Sun and moon are as dependable as the God that created them.
    • The earth is nourished with water from above in the form of rain.
    • Seed bears fruit after its kind. Nothing else has been observed. And at this point, we know too much about cellular structure, DNA, and the millions of complicated systems that must operate simultaneously to bring about one life onto this earth, to believe it could possibly be a chance event.
    • Care taken for the most fragile creatures like sparrows and dressing up the lilies in the field with beauty are the way things are supposed to be.
    • Jesus used parables of natural things to explain spiritual principles like the way a seed works and the way God’s words work.
    • Literally, the lessons seem endless.
    • True science leads to a personal Creator.
  • Man rejects the light and the alternative is to descend into self-righteousness, which is just darkness.
    • Vain imaginations are ideas that increase corruption and destroy man’s soul.
    • These ideas tend to pleasure because they must have some appeal.
    • Then the ideas become institutionalized as common knowledge and wisdom. It says there is nothing more than what I can take in with my senses. The highest thing is something I can see. Materialism where the highest powers are ascribed to the material world.
    • As people travel down this road of sin they come up with justifications and medical explanations for why these things are happening. Professing themselves to be wise.
    • Alduous Huxley set up a Utopia in the Brave New World of mass production, mass consumption and instant gratification. Government controlled people with pleasure. To the end that man loses his conscience, patience, sympathy, compassion, discipline, purpose, etc. Man engages in an endless pursuit of happiness as he falls into depression, meaninglessness, in order to get the new high.

God gives them up in that He chooses not to intervene in their lives (vss 24-32)

  • The LORD has already made much of what needs to be known known.
  • Every point of revelation has been met with hostility and perversion of the revelation. So the LORD chooses to allow the cultures to continue to rot.
  • He chooses to allow the meaningful parts of man to be hollowed out by man’s endless pursuit of self-indulgence where pleasure is the highest moral and feelings are equated to truth.
  • The cause of this uncleanness, vile affection, and reprobate mind was rejecting the light that was given
  • Vile affection means what’s wrong with LGBTQ and sodomite lifestyle is that the affections are vile and unnatural in light of how God created intimacy to function. This is why in the LGPTQ list there is no “S” for straight, married, men with women. Because it is about everything but the way God created man.
  • Now, I’ve heard that the list of sin in verses 29-31 is not just about sexual sin therefore you can’t criticize sexual sin as worse. What’s notable is he’s mentioned the same sexual sin three times though. It’s mentioned as the most unnatural activity from a heart and mind so averse to the things of God.
    • What does it mean that God gives them over to this stuff? It means he doesn’t strike anyone dead when they’re caught in the act. It means He chooses not to intervene. It means 6th street in Austin hasn’t been burned down by God. It means the French Quarter in New Orleans still exists. It means a Pride Parade isn’t met with lightning from heaven.
    • How does a Christian minister in a culture where these things are now institutionalized and generations don’t even think twice about them? There is not a one-size fits all answer. It depends on your relationship with people you’re ministering to. It depends on whether or not the person your ministering to is confused because of bad information or if they’re fully committed to hating the God of the bible.
  • But Paul’s point is not to start a debate about how to handle a culture who worships these things, but to identify guilt and how sin clearly affects society. Therefore the heathen are guilty before God.