Mighty God, with a thankful heart I remember that Jesus came to pay a debt he didn’t owe, because I owed a debt I couldn’t pay.
Read Romans 1:18–32
God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 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.
26 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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIn Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead, the protagonist Reverend John Ames writes, ‘Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don’t have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see.’ Are we willing ‘to see’?
Today’s reading considers the general revelation of God to all: ‘For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen’ (v 20). Read over verses 18 to 20 again. Why does Paul consider all of us ‘without excuse’?
Yet instead of acknowledging God’s goodness to us, Paul says that we refuse to acknowledge and worship God, instead turning to idolatry (vs 23– 27). Tim Keller writes that an idol is ‘anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God…’* Paul shows how this idolatry leads to numerous social ills that bring trouble to all of us (vs 29–31).
Paul’s words are mirroring contemporary Jewish commentators who condemned the pagan culture around them. But as we will see in Chapter 2, both Jews and Gentiles are united in their failure to respond to God’s goodness. Ultimately, Paul is building an argument that points to the need for the transforming work of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22,23).
Pray that God will free you from any ‘idols’ in your life and trans- form your heart by his Spirit.
Dear Lord, keep walking with You so that I may not go down the slippery slope of sin.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Discovery is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.