19th October 2022
Read Romans 1:24-31
Message Alan Burke
I want to start by paraphrasing verses 18-23 of Romans in this way as what we turn to today is connected to in, this is what we have learnt… ‘a sinful people reject the truth of God even though it’s clear to them and they are without excuse’. That is what we do, that is what we have been thinking of over the past number of weeks, that by our nature we reject the truth of God even though it’s clear and all are without excuse. Now as we bear that in mind here in these verses there is a clear teaching of scripture, it is not popular today but it is unmistakeable and it is God’s revealed truth. The word of contained in the Scriptures principally teach what we are to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of us. What I want to do is to help you see the consequences of sin, the manifestations of that sin are seen in the society around us but the passage we look at today tell us of a consequence of it.
Look to how v24, connects what is now being said to what has come before as this passage starts with a ‘Therefore’. If you have a KJV before you you’ll read wherefore. Wherefore and therefore have the same meaning. Therefore as a result of what Paul has just said, in how a “sinful people reject the truth of God even though it’s clear to them and they are without excuse” we read ‘Therefore God gave them over’! The ESV puts it as ‘God gave them up’ the KJV says ‘God also gave them up’, the literarily meaning of the greek word is ‘to hand over’. This is what God does to ‘a sinful people reject the truth of God even though it's clear to them and they are without excuse’, He literally hands them over to their sin. Three times in these verses we are told of God handing over human beings because of their rejection of Him (24, 26, 28), people are given over to the sin that they so desire.
When we think of the wrath of God we often think of the end times, when Christ will return, we think of that final day of the Lord when the Lord almighty will judge the living and the dead, when He will come with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it (Isa 13:9). But look back to verse 18, for here and this is the context of God handing them over to their sin, God is revealing His wrath. The Lord is handing sinners over to their sin, the desires of their heart as we are told in v24, to shameful lusts v26, a depraved mind in v28, is all a result of His wrath.
The Lord is handing people over to these things because this is what they long for, this is what they want, God is giving those who want sin over to their sin precisely what they want and allowing them to store up greater wrath for the day of the Lord the day when all will be judged. But this is also revealing the wrath of God on them and this world in this way, God is withdrawing His restraining grace on sinful man. The more people reject God’s rule in their lives and in this society, as we reject what thirty years ago were moral absolutes, God will lift His restraining grace and abandon man to himself and to his sin and the result is what we see being played out more and more today. God gives people over to what they want.
You and I can fall into grievous sin, we must not think that we are above that danger, but we know that there is forgiveness for sin even that which is detailed in this passage for “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:8). We know that we will fall short of what is required of us but we must not disregard the teaching of scripture, if we want to please God we keep His moral law, Jesus said “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. (Jn 14:23–24). We show that we are Christs by living according to the word of God.
Q82 Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, (Eccles. 7:20, 1 John 1:8,10, Gal. 5:17) but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed. (Gen. 6:5, Gen. 8:21, Rom. 3:9–21, James 3:2–13)