Sunday: Romans 1:22
v22: Suppressing the truth may begin in the individual conscience, but the process doesnt end there. It grows into a systematic part of society as a whole. Those who refuse to acknowledge the true God are still faced with the great questions of life such as: Where did all this creation and order come from? Why does nature function as it does? Why am I alive, is there a purpose? What will happen to me when I die? A gnawing pressure inside humans longs for answers to these questions. So where Gods answers are rejected, human answers must be invented. Religions and philosophies arise to fill the void. And the further humans go into their own speculations, aided by demonic deception, the further they move away from the truth. Paul describes it this way, boasting that they are wise, they became fools.
Monday: Romans 1:23
v23: History shows that when the human mind tries to answer the great questions of life it usually does so by imagining the spiritual world in terms of polytheism rather that atheism. This was certainly true in Pauls day and had been the trend from earliest humans onward. For example, the Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman empires all prided themselves in their wisdom, but all produced a wide array of gods functioning like exaggerated humans or combining in themselves human and animal powers. Some of these so-called deities lusted, raped, hated, murdered, hungered, thirsted, feared and harbored grudges just like humans. Others were pictured as animals taking such forms as falcons, bulls or snakesor combining animal and human features into one. In doing so these cultures refused to think of God as a glorious, eternal Creator and instead focused their worship on idols carved or molded to look like humans or animals which die or decay.
Tuesday: Romans 1:24
v24: Because human society rejected the limited, but real, spiritual revelation God gave them, and defiantly wandered further and further away from Him, God finally stopped trying to prevent their rebellion. He decided to allow them to pursue the desires of their hearts, and those desires always seem to focus on lust. Paul says, Therefore God gave them over in the lustful desires of their hearts to uncleanness, namely by dishonoring their bodies with each other (my paraphrase of v24) (1Pe 4:3). In other words, at some point God quit trying to stop the escalation of human sin. In making this observation Paul may be reflecting on the biblical narrative of early human history.
Wednesday: Romans 1:24
v24 (continued): In the early chapters of Genesis we see human society quickly decay to a remarkable level of perversity (Ge 6:1-7, 11-13), and then we see God try to cleanse the human race by sending a flood. However, within two generations after Noah, sin was back to such a degree He had to divide humans into different language groups and scatter them to prevent them from uniting under an early manifestation of an antichrist at Babel (Ge 10:8-12; 11:1-9). So when He called Abraham, God was shifting His strategy. He stopped trying to halt widespread moral decay and focused on nurturing a family descended from a man and woman of faith. Rather than repeatedly annihilate most of the human race in order to purge the rapid re-growth of sin (repeated floods), He decided to allow the nations to pursue their downward course (within certain boundaries) and meanwhile raise up a believing nation into which He could incarnate His Son. He chose this course because it would allow Him to forgive all who repent and accept His mercy by faith.
Thursday: Romans 1:24, 25
v24: Though Pauls words are probably meant to explain why God gave over the Gentile nations and allowed them to practice such unclean behaviors, the process of refusing to listen to ones conscience and then falling into lustful addictions is often repeated by individuals in every age. The forces that capture whole societies do so by capturing their members one at a time. So Pauls words should be taken as a warning to us all, not just an explanation of history. Here is a dangerous pattern we all ought to avoid, and also an explanation of why God is able to hold every human morally responsible for their sin. vs24, 25: At its root all idolatry boils down to this: People exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship the creature rather than the Creator. This exchange is done when people carve idols and worship them, but it is also done when people pursue sensuality and materialism in place of God (Ex 20:3-5). When someone becomes idolatrous their conscience is weakened, which lifts the restraint on their sexual passions, which opens the way for sexual addiction. Having described these inner attitudes of idolatry Paul now feels the need to lift his spiritual eyes and worship God by saying,
who is blessed forever. Amen.
Friday: Romans 1:26, 27
vs26, 27: The original purpose for which God designed human sexuality is reproduction. At creation He commanded humans to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth (Ge 1:28). Then in Adam and Eve He modeled the marriage relationship within which this reproduction was to take place. But when humans began worshipping the creature rather than the Creator they engaged in sexual behaviors outside of His created order. Paul calls these passions of dishonor, and to show how far they drifted away from Gods plan, says even females exchanged the natural use for that which is against nature. He goes on to say that males likewise left the natural use of the female and burned in their lust toward one another, males with males. Then he announces Gods verdict on this type of sexual behavior. He says those who do this bring shame down upon themselves and receive inside themselves the payment they deserve for this error.
Saturday: Romans 1:26, 27
vs26, 27 (continued): Homosexuality and lesbianism were extremely common in ancient cultures, and sexual intercourse was even institutionalized as part of pagan religious ceremonies. The biblical idea of monogamous heterosexual marriage was far from the norm in Gentile cultures. Paul says that sexual behaviors which fall outside of Gods original plan bring with them their own punishment. There is pleasure in sin for a season (Heb 11:25), but that season always ends and then were left enslaved and ashamed. Without the refining effects of worshipping a holy God nor the warnings of His Word to restrain it, human sexuality becomes increasingly unbridled and moves away from Gods original intention for it.