Romans 1.18-32 Ė Steps to Depravity


Intro: We left off in our study last time w/ Paul declaring his confidence in the gospel !

A) Supreme / Power of God ! / Sufficient - for salvation / simple - for everyone who believes


B) Then he declared in v. 17 For in it - the gospel- the Righteousness of God is revealed from faith to Faith / Just shall live by faith !


C) Thus we see that through exercising faith in the gospel a person can be made righteous ! Awesome !

1) In Ch. 3 he puts it this way that the righteousness of God apart form the law is revealed - through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ


D) So there we see Godís heart & desire that man would come to righteousness through faith in Jesus



Now as we come to v. 18 Paul presents a sort of contrast to what he says in v 17

A) In v. 17 he says the righteousness of God is revealed to all who choose to live by faith in Jesus ! In the truth of the Gospel / Know truth Öset free Ö indeed


B) But in v. 18 Paul says that the wrath of God is being revealed against thus who suppress the truth


B) That word suppress is an interesting word it refers to a helmsman stirring a boat against the current !

1) The current wants to take the boat in a particular direction but the helmsman is determined to go the opposite way


C) So he holds the rudder in such a way that he might go his own way instead of the way of the current

1) So the person who is suppressing the truth of the gospel is one who is resisting what God says / & is choosing to go own way / do own thing

D) So beginning here in v. 18 Paul begins to outline how man deserves to experience the wrath of God being poured out on him


E) Because in his rejection of the truth he has become ungodly / and his ungodliness leads to unrighteousness / focus of this sectionRead 18-32



Now in reading this section of scripture in fact ch. 1-3 of the book of Romans you begin to realize that Paul wasnít an advocate of Norman Vincent Peal's philosophy

A) Iím ok your ok /In fact after studying the 1st 3 chapters of Romans one of Peale's followers / commented that Peale was appealing / Paul - appalling


B) Here in this section Paul describes for us the lifestyle of the Hedonist / the person who flat out rejects God to do his own thing !

1) In his book In the grip of grace author Max Lucado describes the Hedonist in this way


C) Strategy of Life - indulge myself /Goal - satisfy my passions / Bumper sticker -life is short play hard / complaint - I canít play enough /

1) Boundaries - feels it / View of sin - no one is guilty


D) Paul says the exact opposite / Paul says you are w/ out excuse & the wrath of God is being poured out upon the ungodliness & unrighteousness of men



Now what does that mean the wrath of God is being revealed ?

A) Understand there are primarily 2 Greek words used in the Bible in ref. To the wrath of God


B) The first word -thermos, a word which suggests heat, and from which we get our English wordsthermal, thermometer, and thermonuclear.

1) The Greek word thermos implies a hot, vindictive blast of violent anger.


C) But Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul chose instead to use the word Orge a word that suggests Gods attitude toward sin & not his punishment

1) Because He is a holy and righteous God / hates sin

D) One commentator / described this word / orge as a kind of Holy aversion



In fact In many ways, "the wrath of God" as it is expressed in Romans may be viewed as the moral equivalent if the law of gravity

A) If we, in our God-given free ill, attempt to defy the law of gravity by throwing ourselves off a tall building,


B) we can hardly blameGod and ask as we descend, "God, why are you dragging me down to the pavement? Why are you putting me through the terrible experience of this fall?"


C) The operation of the law of gravity is simply part of the natural, impersonal order of the universe.

1) You can ignore gravity, disagree with gravity, even rebel against gravityóbut if you do so, you willhave to pay a price.


D) The same is true of God's moral laws./Cause & affect / reap what sow E) The cause-and-effect Consequences of sin are not a matter of God deliberately trying to punish us.

1) In fact All the punishment for our sin has been endured for us by Jesus on the cross,


F) But the person who rejects the truth / rejects what Jesus did for him on the cross will experience the wrath of God on his life

1) It is the consequence of the Choice !



Many don't understand God's anger because they confuse the wrath of God with the wrath of man. The two have little in common.

A) Human anger is typically self-driven and prone to explosions of temper and violent deeds.


B) We get ticked off because we've been overlooked, neglected, or cheated. This is the anger of man It is not, however, the anger of God.

C) God is a God of Love / but it is a Holy Love / God doesn't get angry because he doesn't get his way.

1) He gets angry because ourdisobedience always results in self-destruction.


D) Do we think he giggles at adultery or snickers at murder?


E) Do you think he looks the other way when people indulge inperverse pleasures? Does he shake his head and say, "Humans will be humans"!

1) No it breaks His heart / & grieves His spirit !

F) God is rightfully angry. God is angry at the evil that ruins peoples lives !

1) Think of it this way / God loves you but He hates what you become when you turn from Him !


So the wrath of God is being revealed - Present tense / constantly being revealed against all ungodliness / unrighteousness of men

A) Ungodliness is sin against God / unrighteousness is sin against man


B) Godlessness is acting like God doesnít exist / it is a disrespect of God which results in unrighteousness / the order is never reversed


C) It is the godless attitude that produces the wicked actions thatresult in injury & hurt toward others !


D) Godlessness makes men unrighteous, wicked, selfish, and spiteful. Why do we hurt each other? Because we disregard God.

1) This is Paul's analysis and he says these hurtful and selfish acts suppress the truth.


Verses 19 and 20 tell the kind of truth that is suppressed: 19because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,


A) They suppress the truth that God exist / that He is the creator & that He is all powerful !†† Talked about Sunday Creation = Creator / design = designer


B) They suppress the truth of His Power & Deity ! This is the sin ofungodliness


V. 21-23 Paul details how men suppress the truth about God !

21because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

22Professing to be wise, they became fools,23and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man; and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.


3 steps are seen here

A) 1st they didnít glorify him as God / rightful place on the throne / nor were they thankful


B) Result : Their thinking becomes futile / foolish hearts darkened


C) 2nd device men use to suppress the truth is they claim to be wise

1) Result : Become fools



D) 3rd Device Change the glory of God into images like man birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.


E) Notice the descending order man birds animals /creeping things

1) It is interesting to me that we see thisdescending order in the car world


F) First cars namedafter men / Ford , Dodge , Chrysler , Desoto, - then came bird names thunderbird , firebird,then animals .

1) Impala , cougar, Pinto , Mustang, Jaguar, Rabbit


G) Now we have the Cobra / & the Viper !†† Coincidence


H) So steps of godlessness / Suppress truth - ignore reject / donít glorify , not thankful / profess wise / Idolatry

The next thing that Paul outlines is that When men lose sight of God / they lose themselves godlessness turns to wickedness

A) Paul reveals how this wickedness follows a 3 step process / the process is identified by a phrase that is repeated 3 times / God gave them over


B) Seen first in v. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,


C) The first mark of wickedness in a godless society is a widespread sexual immorality ! They Become Sexually Promiscuous !


The phrase God gave them up really means that he gave them over to their own lust - he took away the restraints

A) In other words God allows men & women to experience the full affects of their attempts to satisfy their hunger cravings & desires apart from Him


B) He allows them to indulge themselves in their lust so that they realize they donít have the answers

1) And he forces them to suffer the full affects of what they do ! remember part of Godís wrath being revealed is that people reap what sow!


C) Now as some people experience the emptiness of this lifestyle they turn to the Lord / seen this in the example of the free love moment of 60ís

1) Many turned to Christ ! - when they realized this isnít the answer


D) Should give us some hope today as we witness our modern day youth culture reverting back in many ways to the mindset of the 60ís

1) The stage is being set for another great harvest !


So we see that those who realize that they satisfaction they are looking for isnít going to be found in sex often turn to the Lord

A) But those who donít turn to the Lord usually go deeper in their sin


B) That is what Paul outlines here as well / the wickedness that begins w/ sexual impurity proceeds to sexual perversion ! Sexually Perverted

1) Which brings us to the second mark of godless & wicked society v 25-27

25who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26For this reason God gave them up to vile passions .or shameful Lust For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.

27Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.


Sexual Perversion orHomosexuality is the 2nd sign of a godless & wicked society

A) The reason why homosexuality is considered shameful is it goes against the natural process God has designed


B.) Now homosexuals and lesbians obviously donít like to hear this but it is what God says!

1.) and this passage here in Romans makes it clear as well that men and women are not born this way but choose this lifestyle.


C.) Well, I had these tendencies and desires inside of me! - not goingto deny it!

1.) understand - there are tendencies and desires inside of all of us


D.) Some have a tendency to steal! Others to murder. Others to lie. Reason = sin nature

1.) not about to legalize those things / but this isnít harmful! Really?



Did you know that the AIDS virus was originally called GRIDS for the 1st year.

A.) Gay Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome


B.) Lorraine Day - S.F. General Hospital Surgeon - exposed a cover up.
What government isnít telling youĒ

1.) called GRIDS / but after receiving pressure from homosexual lobbyists changed to AIDS


C.) Because they didnít like the fact that this virus was linked to them


D.) Now is AIDS Godís punishment upon the homosexual community? No

1.) But it is the result of their sin! Which is what Paul means when he says they receive in themselves the penalty of their error!



Consider the findings of Dr. A.E. Wildersmith who is perhaps one ofthe most brilliant thinkers in chemistry and physiology alive today.

A.) Wildersmith has pointed out that AIDS is not the result of some weird virus which is going to infect everyone


B.) But AIDS is the direct result of the immune system short circuiting due to the passage of too many foreign fluidscoming into the body


C.) God has designed the immune system in such a way that it can easily handle foreign fluids in a monogamous relationship

1.) but when a person receives foreign sperm into their body there is literally a breakdown in the antibodies that strengthen a person against Aids virus


D) So the more promiscuous a person is / the more sexual partners a person has the more of a breakdown they experience in the built in system God designed


E) Plus we hear all this talk about safe sex today & the importance of using condoms / here is something they donít tell you

1) The Latex that condoms are made of have little tiny microscopic holes in the latex / but those holes are not small enough ! Aids virus is smaller


F) This is something that was documented in JAMA /Journal American Medical Association !



I think it is also interesting to note that the historian Gibbons in his work The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire

A.) Gibbons notes that in the years before Rome fell 14 of the last 15 emperors were homosexual


B.) And many of the generals and commanders were as well

So the Characteristics that Paul outlinesof a society that has rejected God & is falling into wickedness & unrighteousness are : 1st Sexually Promiscuous

leads to 2ndly become sexually Perverted/††† Which leads to



3rd - They become mentally perverted! Paul describes in V.28-32And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;29being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,

30backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,31undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;32who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.


A.) Paul describe the consequences of this mental perversion and does so by piling up one word after another/ in an attempt to show that manís wickedness knows no bounds when unrestrained.

1.) the sins described v.28-32 fall into several categories


B.) Wrong thinking results in debased human character

1.) men become unrighteous, wicked, covetous, malicious, envious and deceitful, backbiters†† God haters, despiteful, proud, & unmerciful


C.) It results also in Debased Human Conduct

1.) Men become guilty of fornication and murder. They defy parental authority and treat contractual obligations with contempt.

2.) wrong thinking results


D.) Debased Human Concepts.

1.) men become inventors of evil things and God says that they are without understanding.




This is a terrible list of sins, and they are marks of a civilization nearing collapse.

A) They reflect a arrogant disregard for others a desire to exploit other people


B.) The term debased mind literally means an unacceptable mind

1.) a mind that cannot be lived with, a mind that refuses to fit into any kind of civilization or culture or society


C) In 2 Timothy 2 Paul says that people living like this will be a sign that we are living in the last days !

But know this, that in last days the perilous times will come:

2For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,4traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,5having a form of godliness but denying its power.


D) That is exactly what Paul has been outlining for us here in this section of Romans !


But there is one more thing that we need to see that Paul says here ! Maybe you are sitting here listening / making a mental check list

A) Nope / not that one / ok there /


B) Notice the last thing that Paul reveals here in v. 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.


C) Wait you say I donít approve of that kind of lifestyle !†† Word approve could literally be translated takes pleasure in !


D) Suggest to you that we are approving of these things / taking pleasure in these things every time we watch a movie or T.V. program where portrayed

1) Taking pleasure in watching people get blown up / or in seeing different characters engaging in sexual immorality / adultery !


We are taking Pleasure in those things & approving of those things every time we watch that stuff !

A) Result is it is going to affect your life ! it is going to affect the way you think !


B) Remember the wrath of God that is constantly being poured out means that we will reap what we sow / Flesh reap destruction !


C) Spirit - everlasting life !


D) Destroy your intimacy w/ the Lord ! Affect your marriage / influence your kids