Main point summary
God's pours out his wrath on those who suppress the truth by giving them over to the sins they pursue and celebrate.
For k the wrath of God l is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
For what can be m known about God is plain to them,
because God has shown it to them.
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, n have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, 1 in the things that have been made.
So they are without excuse.
For although they knew God,
they did not honor him as God
or give thanks to him,
but they o became futile in their thinking,
and their foolish hearts were darkened.
p Claiming to be wise,
they became fools,
and q exchanged the glory of r the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore s God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity,
to t the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
because they exchanged the truth about God for u a lie
and served the creature
rather than the Creator,
v who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason w God gave them up to x dishonorable passions.
For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;
and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women
and were consumed with passion for one another,
y men committing shameless acts with men
and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God,
z God gave them up to a a debased mind
to do b what ought not to be done.
They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice.
They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness.
They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
Though they know c God’s righteous decree
that those who practice such things d deserve to die,
they not only do them
but e give approval to those who practice them.
Meditations/Observations : What is the wrath of God manifest in this passage? We normally think of the wrath of God as his end-time judgment of all those who have rejected him. However, his wrath (currently manifest) in this passage is his giving over to sin those who reject them. Because they knew him but did not honor him (Rom 1:21-23), God therefore gave them up to impurity (Rom 1:24) and to dishonorable passions (Rom 1:26) and to a debased mind (Rom 1:28), not only doing them but celebrating others that do them (Rom 1:32). God's wrath is manifest in giving people over to the sins that they have pursued so passionately. The "dishonorable passions" in v.26 were not, as some argue, "evil" kinds of homosexual activity (as opposed to "good" kinds of homosexual activity). "Dishonorable passions" is further defined in vv.26-27. What are those dishonorable passions? (1) Women exchanging natural relations for those contrary to nature. (2) Men giving up natural relations with women and being consumed with passion for one another. The dishonorable passions being described are passions for sexual activity with the same sex. The passions are further described as "men committing shameless acts with men." There is no reason to "read into" this some wrong kind of homosexual activity as opposed to a "good" kind of homosexual activity. Further, the dishonorable passions are described as "those that are contrary to nature." Sexual passions biologically are between a male and female according to nature. Homosexual activity, based on our very biological human forms, is contrary to nature. Applications : 20b - "So they are without excuse." The more revelation I have (natural and special), the more responsible I am to respond to that revelation. God's invisible attributes (his eternal power and divine nature) have been clearly perceived. God's character and redemption has been outlined in his Word that has been made available for me to read. So I am without excuse. The more revelation I have, the less excuses I have and the more responsible I am to respond in faith. God, give me a heart of faith. Keep me from believing the lies that sin will satisfy. Guard me from the darts of Satan with the shield of faith. Don't let me make lame excuses for my sin. I have been given the truth. Help me believe and not be deceived. 21b-c - "Although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him..." If I truly know who God is (and I do), then the only natural response is to give him the honor that is his due. He is worthy of honor. He is worthy of my praise. He is worthy of devotion of every moment of my day. He is worthy of being praised by the way that I work, the way that I treat my family, the way that I serve others and look on other's needs more than my own, the way that I pursue him. And if I truly know God's character, then I know that he is worthy of thanks. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father who does not change (James 1:16-18). I have unending reasons to thank God if I will just open my eyes to see them. God, since I know you, let me continually/daily give thanks to you. It is unthinkable that I could truly know who you are and what you have done and yet fail to give you thanks. How selfish and self-focused does that make me? Forgive me for my lack of thanks, in Jesus' name. Amen.