Day 4 Read: Romans 1:26-32
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Reflect: Describe the downward spiral of sin depicted in Romans 1:18-32. What is God’s verdict against humanity’s sinful condition? How did the people about whom Paul wrote show they were ignoring God’s verdict?
Consider: It seems that Paul has chosen homosexuality as the nadir of sinful expression because of its complete reversal of God’s natural order. Some forms of sexual immorality (perhaps that referred to in v. 24?) at least falls within the natural order of male-female relations. But homosexuality (vv. 26–27) so totally moves out of the realm of what is natural that it indicates a total throwing off of the revealed will and design of God. It is as if those practicing it have said, “There is no order, reason, or logic associated with anything. We are free to experiment and create at will. We have become as gods, creating new orders and practices of our own.” Homosexuality, while perhaps not the most hurtful of sins (as say, compared to murder), is certainly the ultimate in arrogance and sinful rebellion against the order of God. It is frightful to consider what happened to the Roman Empire after reaching a point of immorality, which championed homosexuality (not tolerated, but championed), and then to look at modern cultures which have devolved to a similar place morally.4
Respond: How can the power of the gospel affect the depraved condition of those described in Romans 1:18-32? In what ways can we be more alert to the sin in our lives and more committed to rejecting sinful ways of living? How can we encourage one another in this pursuit?
4 Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier, Romans, vol. 6, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 55.