1. They are Under the Wrath of God. vs. 18
Because of man’s evil heart—(ungodliness) and his evil ways (unrighteousness) the dark cloud of God’s wrath hangs over the heads of guilty sinners. This wrath is revealed from heaven. When God drove Adam and Eve out of paradise He showed His wrath against sin. When He sent the flood and later on when He wrapped Sodom and Gomorrah with a winding sheet of fire He revealed His wrath. But it was not until His Son hung on Calvary that there was the full revelation of God’s wrath from heaven. Then the Saviour suffered for the sinner. But for those who are without Christ “there is wrath” and “because there is wrath beware” Job 36……
Revelation gives us a detailed description of the bursting of the terrible judgment clouds when those not sheltered by the Lamb will be swept by the awful storm into a lost eternity.
2. They Are Without Excuse. vs 19, 20
Some would tell us that the poor heathen are excusable, but God says they are not. God has given them His great picture book—Creation. This book was easy to read. All around them were the things God had made. “The eternal power and divinity of God” were “clearly seen” by the things that He made. The word Paul uses here is the Greek word “Poima” from which we get our word “poem.” Creation is God’s poem and as we read in Psa. 19:………, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.”
But man refused to read God’s poem, he refused to remember His Creator or bow to Him. He enthroned in His heart God’s great rival—Sin. Conscience like a faithful sentinal warned man of his folly and wrong in doing this and so he was doubly inexcusable.
3. They Have Sunk Into The Depths Of Idolatry, vs. 21-23.
What a sad picture of man’s departure from God we find in these verses. They give us the seven stages in man’s downward course into the depths of idol worship. The starting point in this dreadful story, that so completely upsets man’s theory of evolution, is the consciousness of the presence of God. The world at one time knew God. After the flood in Gen. 9:1, Noah and his sons stood around the altar and worshipped the God of heaven, but in vs…….. a reptile biting the dust of the earth is given the glory due to God. How did all this come about? Man turned his back upon God and then it was easy. They forgot Him, they became self-centered, all sorts of foolish thoughts filled their minds. They roamed on in their intellectual darkness until they had forgotten all about God and set up images of men, birds, beasts and reptiles and bowed down to them. The serpent deceived man in the garden. He said they would be like God if they listened to him. Instead sin made them very unlike God and very much like the one who deceived them and one day all the world will worship the serpent dragon. Rev. 13:3, 4.
4. They Were Unrestrained in Their Course To Ruin. vs. 24-32.
The story of how man degraded himself and became a spiritual, mental and moral pervert is found in these verses. It is a terrible story. Man left to himself sinks into unspeakable and unfathomable depths of vileness and sin. How revolting are the details as given in this story, yet how true is the picture. One day as a missionary in China was reading this chapter he was interrupted by some one calling out “It is not fair for you to expose us thus in public.” But we do not have to cross the ocean to see what sin has done. In our own favoured land these very same evils exist and we wonder at God’s patience and grace.
Three times in these verses we find the words “God gave them up.” vs…….., …….and…….First- -Man is given over to his own evil lusts and bodies that should have been consecrated to God’s service became the prey of vile passions. Second—He is given over to vile affections and his soul becomes the cesspool of every foul stream and instigator of unspeakable evils. Third—Man is given over to a reprobate mind. The spirit of man that is “the candle of the Lord” Prov. 20:…….becomes a cage for every unclean bird, the workshop of the devil. What a list of evil deeds are found in these verses, how sad that man created in the image of God should so degrade himself. But saddest of all is the fact that “knowing the judgment of God that they which commit such things are worthy of death they not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them,” vs………
1. Fill in references.
2. Why is man without excuse?
3. What three parts of man were effected by God’s giving them up?
4. How deep did man sink in sin?
5. What three words in the last verse of the chapter can be applied to all sinners?