The fall away from God’s intent.

We all need the gospel for we are all sinners in some way whether we are a Jew or a Gentile. That is what Paul seems to be saying through his letter to the Christians in Rome. I have been reading these next verses where Paul continues to denounce the Gentile sinful lifestyle of which the Jewish reader would be shouting ‘Amen’ no doubt. But he does so because he is leading very soon to reveal that no one ever finds themselves in the place of superiority to another.

It is a longer passage to read than usual but we do need the context of what Paul is saying. I have also left in the verse numbers.

“They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1 v 23-32)

As you can see Paul uses repeated phrases:

They exchanged the glory of God, v23. They exchanged the truth of God, v25. They exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones, v26-27.

Therefore God gave them over, v24. God gave them over, v26. He gave them over, v28. Meaning God permitted them to experience the consequences for their decisions.

And what was those consequences?

They are filled with sin (Paul uses different words for sin in v29).

They are full (Paul uses terms to show that the outcome of breaking from God was they broke each other, v29)

If he had stopped there then no doubt many would be saying, “We haven’t exchanged the glory and truth of God; we haven’t committed the sin of idolatry or having unnatural sexual sins.” But in order to encapsulate us all Paul creates a random list which he does in his other letters.

“Have you ever gossiped?”

“Have you ever been arrogant?”

“Have you ever disobeyed your parents?” Who hasn’t done this one?

No one can escape!

Finally, just in case someone manages to wriggle out of being included, Paul says even those who may not have been tempted by certain sins but who have made it easier for people to stay in them or commit them are included in the group of people who have exchanged the glory of God and the truth of God for something far inferior and resulting in great damage. Whenever we move from the Creator to the created for our satisfaction we lose.

This is why we all need the gospel for we all need saving.

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