Monday, February 25, 2008

Romans 1:18-32, The Unrighteous Society

Throughout this entire section of Scripture, I can’t help but notice the extremely scary correlations that are observable in our own society. I believe that Romans 1:18-32 isn’t solely referring to individuals, but also to whole communities. Throughout all of time nations have risen and fallen. Some fall because they are defeated by another nation, and others fall because of internal turmoil and moral degradation. This passage perfectly outlines the general order by which a society crumbles from the inside. Ironically, Rome fell only about three centuries after this was written. The roots for the moral bankruptcy that caused Rome to fall had already been laid in Paul’s time. God’s abandonment had started. I similarly observe God’s merciful hand being withdrawn from America in our day. The 1960s verified that God was leaving men to their inner profane impulses, but the groundwork had been laid long before when men gave more credence to the creature then to the Creator (Darwinism).
Verse 18 starts out with a powerful word; “wrath.” In the Gk this word has been translated as anger, indignation, and vengeance. By implication, this word connotates the idea of Divine punishment. God’s punishment is revealed against all the unrighteous people who suppress God’s truth. How is this punishment revealed? It is revealed when God removes His restraining hand and lets sinners follow their depraved lustful passions. Where do these lustful passions start? With the choice to exchange the glory of God for idolatry. This was the main problem in ancient Israel. God punished the nation of Israel when they “played the harlot” with other gods. In the same way (although Israel is His chosen people) other nations and peoples will also be judged when they deny what He has made evident to them. What has he made evident? Creation and Conscience. Every man knows there is a God because he can look out and see the result in creation, and likewise every man has a moral law written on their hearts. This serves to leave them without any excuse. Therefore, the first result of a sinking society is the practice of idiolatry. In America this occurred when Darwinism was first practiced in biology class. We are taught to worship “mother earth” rather than Jesus Christ. The second result of a society that God is abandoning, is sodomy. Women, who usually serve to keep society intact, “exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural.” The rise of feminism and its counterpart lesbianism are clear markers that this process has occurred in our country. In the same way men also practice this horrendous exercise, “receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” I take the “due penalty” to mean the sexually transmitted diseases that dominate the homosexual community. Those who sexually sin are not only shaking their fist at God, but they are reaping the just reward for their wrongdoing. The third result of a crumbling society is a whole host of sins (unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; gossip, slander, hate for God, insolence, arrogance, boasting, inventing evil, disobedience to parents, lacking understanding, untrustworthiness, un-lovingness, being unmerciful, and giving hearty approval to others who sin). Why do societies crumble and resort to this kind of debauchery? Simply because they do not acknowledge God. This applies to the natives on Bongo-Bongo, as well as to the highest pinnacles in Western society. If God is not recognized, there will be consequences. This passage lays the groundwork for Paul’s justification of God’s judgments being righteous.