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Dirty World

Romans 1:18-2:4

I remember when I was in my early elementary school years. We used to go to the local pool for swimming lessons. One of my friends found a hole in the change room wall that separated the boys’ change room from the girls’ room. And he spent a long time spying on the girls in the changing room. He thought it was great that he had caught the girls out – exposed and vulnerable. What he was unaware of though, was that there was a second hole in the wall a little below the first. And some of the girls were actually spying on him. Just when he thought he was catching them out, he was being caught out himself, equally exposed and vulnerable.
You might be wondering why I’m telling this story. I’ll come back to it later.

Today, let’s continue to look at the book of Romans, starting from chapter one, verse 18, which talks about:


verse 18, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.”

Notice the object of God’s wrath. Two things. God’s wrath is revealed against godlessness and wickedness. Godlessness means living as if God doesn’t exist. That’s not necessarily atheism. It doesn’t mean you don’t believe in God. Many people believe in God but live like He doesn’t exist. They don’t think He makes any difference. That’s called secularism today. Secularism, like atheism, is godlessness.

Wickedness means living without any rules toward others.
Godlessness is sin against God. Wickedness is sin against man.

We quickly learn that

MAN IS GUILTY OF GODLESSNESS and is without excuse for such guilt.

v. 19 “Since what may be known about God is plain to them because God has made it plain to them.”

It’s unmistakable. It’s plain to see. Paul is talking about nature, creation. Look at the stars.
Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God.”
God has revealed Himself through nature.
Anthropologists have never found a civilization of atheists. Although the religion may be distorted and way off from Biblical truth, no city has ever been found without some kind of temple or worship area. There is a natural desire in man to worship. Because God made us that way.

Verses 19 and 20 state the fact that God has revealed himself. This is understandably horrifying to some because if God has revealed HImself to us then that makes us accountable to Him.

Now, notice what man does with this revelation.

1. Man suppresses the truth about God. People try to ignore it, bury it.

When I grew up I went to a public school in Australia and every year we celebrated Christmas. We were taught in public school that Christmas was the celebration of the birth of Christ. Then we took “Christmas holidays”. How that has changed! First the name ‘Jesus’ was dropped in public at Christmas because that was a bit heavy. Now even use of the word ‘Christmas’ is challenged if not already dropped. So we see society progressively suppressing the truth about God.
But Paul says, man doesn’t just suppress the truth about God, but that

2. Man rejects the truth. Man refuses to even acknowledge it. v. 21 “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him.”
21節 なぜなら、彼らは神を知っていながら、神としてあがめず、感謝もせず、
Watch out! It’s a slippery slope! And then after suppressing the truth of God and then rejecting it,

3. Man replaces the truth. This is an inevitable consequence. There is a natural sequence here. First you suppress it, then you reject it and finally you replace it with something else you prefer. When we reject the living God, we end up making our own gods (even if that god is ourself). We become idolaters.


Godlessness is the root, wickedness is the fruit. If I try to live like there’s no God, it’s going to cause all kinds of problems in my life.

There’s an important phrase repeated in the second half of this chapter: “God gave them over”. It’s used in v. 24, “God gave them over to their sexual impurity.” v. 26 “God gave them over to shameful lusts.” v. 28 “God gave them over to a depraved mind.”
24 神は、彼らを汚すままに任せられた。 26 それゆえ、神は彼らを恥ずべき情欲に任せられた。28 神は彼らを正しからぬ思いに任せられた。

We need to look at this in more detail.
“God gave them over to their sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.” v24 ゆえに、神は、彼らが心の欲情にかられ、自分のからだを互にはずかしめて、汚すままに任せられた。
This was written to the Romans 2000 years ago but it sounds a lot like a letter referring to the sexual revolution of the 1970s. And it’s only gotten worse. People in the west have lost the ability to blush.

v. 25 “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie.”

The lie is two things: The first is that you can sin and get away with it. The second is that if you want, you can be your own god. No accountability to anyone else.

Paul continues to teach that God gave these people over to degrading passions/indecent perversions. There’s another slippery slope here. After sexual impurity, the next step is indecent perversions. Unnatural sexual relations.

Paul is clear about this: even their females exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. The males in the same way also left natural relations with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error. V26,27

I’m sure you are all aware that this is a highly contentious passage in the world today. There’s no way of reading around this or somehow interpreting it in another light. The Bible’s stance – God’s stance – is clear on homosexual behaviour. And many are trying to silence the Bible on this matter.
これは今日の世界では非常に異論の多い節であることは皆さん気づかれていることでしょう。この箇所を 別の意味に解釈するなんてことはできません。同性愛の行動に関する聖書のスタンスー神のスタンスははっきりとしています。このことに関して多くの人たちが聖書が言っていることを黙らせようとしています。

Take a look at this man: [image]
His name is Vitit Muntarbhorn. He was recently appointed the first UN Independent Expert on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by the Human Rights Council. He speaks in lofty, noble-sounding terms. But his goal is to make sexual orientation and gender identity a human right (which it is not and has never been) and to elevate sexual orientation and gender identity above freedom of religion which is a human right. This means that any person who believes what the Bible teaches on human sexuality, and any Church that teaches Bible-based human sexuality would be in violation of human rights according to the UN. Be warned. Be aware. This guy is coming and his mandate is to silence the Bible at all costs.
この人の名前は、 彼は最近、人権理事会の性的指向と性同一性に基づく暴力と差別に関する最初の国連独立専門家として指名されました。彼は気高く、高尚に響く話し方をします。しかし彼の目標は、性的指向と性同一性を人権とすることであり(それは人権ではないし、今までそうではなかった)性的指向と性同一性を人権である宗教の自由より高くすることです。これは聖書が人間の性的傾向について教えていることを信じている人、聖書に基づく人間の性的傾向を教えている教会は、国連によれば人権に違反していることになります。警告しておきます。気をつけてください。この人はこれから世界に知られてきます。この人の指令は何が何でも聖書が’言っていることを黙らせることです。

Again, it’s a slippery slope. It starts with sexual impurity, it slides into indecent perversions and it ends in a depraved mind.

v. 28 “Furthermore since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind to do what ought not to be done.”

This is what it means when it says “God gives people over”. It means He allows people to reap the results of their own choices. He allows people to do what ought not to be done. You asked for it, you got it. You can go out and make a mess of your life and God will not stop you. Because He’s given you a free will. He won’t stop you.

From this point Paul goes all out. He says,
29 They are filled with all kinds of wickedness, evil, greed, and vice; they are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, deceit, and malice. They gossip 30 and speak evil of one another; they are hateful to God, insolent,[b] proud, and boastful; they think of more ways to do evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no conscience; they do not keep their promises, and they show no kindness or pity for others.
30 そしる者、神を憎む者、不遜な者、高慢な者、大言壮語する者、悪事をたくらむ者、親に逆らう者となり、
31 無知、不誠実、無情、無慈悲な者となっている。

Honestly, that seems over the top to me. That’s because I’m not God. I’ve been evangelised by the world, to some extent as we all have. In the book of Romans we’re learning about God’s righteousness, not our own. Paul speaks in ways that seem over the top because the sin of man is that vile to God.

What follows a depraved mind is
* fellowship of the like-minded and
* hostility toward those who are not like-minded.

v. 32 “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death they not only continue to do such things but approve of those who practice it.”

Sin loves company. The more people who do it, the more acceptable it becomes.
Today, evil passes for entertainment and we give very prestigious prizes for it! We give Academy awards for movies that promote sexual promiscuity, perversion and violence. Movies that produce a lifestyle totally contrary to the righteousness of God.

We live in evil times amongst evil people. And just when Paul has fully exposed the sin of godless people, and got us up in arms about the evil in those around us, he takes us into what is now chapter 2 of Romans and turns the whole thing around.

He writes:
Do you, my friend, pass judgment on others? You have no excuse at all, whoever you are. For when you judge others and then do the same things which they do, you condemn yourself. 2 We know that God is right when he judges the people who do such things as these. 3 But you, my friend, do those very things for which you pass judgment on others! Do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or perhaps you despise his great kindness, tolerance, and patience. Surely you know that God is kind, because he is trying to lead you to repent. Romans 2:1-4
だから、ああ、すべて人をさばく者よ。あなたには弁解の余地がない。あなたは、他人をさばくことによって、自分自身を罪に定めている。さばくあなたも、同じことを行っているからである。 わたしたちは、神のさばきが、このような事を行う者どもの上に正しく下ることを、知っている。 ああ、このような事を行う者どもをさばきながら、しかも自ら同じことを行う人よ。あなたは、神のさばきをのがれうると思うのか。 それとも、神の慈愛があなたを悔改めに導くことも知らないで、その慈愛と忍耐と寛容との富を軽んじるのか。

Remember my friend who was spying on the girls in the change room? He thought he was seeing the girls exposed and vulnerable when really there was another hole in the wall looking back at him and he was just as exposed and vulnerable. If there is any temptation for us to peep into the lives of others and look down on their live sinfulness, we need to remember my friend in the boys’ change room because we are just as vulnerable at the judgement seat of God.
I’ve chosen to study the Book of Romans because I believe it will lead us into maturity in Christ better than any other book. Romans is a challenging book. It forces us to look honestly at our sinful selves and the sinful world around us. It teaches us about the righteousness and holiness of God. And it takes us right into the heart of the gospel where righteous God provides salvation for unrighteous sinners.

Today we’ve looked at God’s judgement on a sinful world and how we are a part of that sinful world. But we have finished on an understanding that the reason God is being so harsh with us is because he loves us and is leading us to repentance. He is turning our hearts back to Him and cleansing our minds of the impurities of the world.

Thank God for His kindness and mercy as he deals with the sin in our lives.