Romans is a very interesting book in church history. It was a passage from Romans that encouraged Martin Luther to start the Protestant Reformation. It was hearing Luther’s opening to the book of Romans that made John Wesley’s heart feel “strangely warmed” and led to the great revivals that swept through England and produced Methodism.
I sum up the opening chapters this way:
Chapter 1: God’s really ticked off at Gentiles.
Chapter 2: Sorry Jews, but God’s angry at you also.
Chapter 3: All are under the wrath of God deservingly.
Chapter 4: Deliverance has come!
And we can go on from there.
Tonight though, we’re simply looking at Romans 1:24-27.
The passage speaks earlier though about God’s existence being known by the creation. This isn’t a design argument per se, as Paul did not know about DNA or anything like that, but it’s a basic argument that creation exists and the wonder and beauty of creation need a creator to explain them. Thus, it’s evident that God exists.
Now what he says happens though is that people suppress this truth in vain speculations. (Wow. He’d be impressed with how much that happens today!) They become foolish and in the world of that time, idolatry will be the next step. Everyone has to worship something. One wonders if our comparing ourselves to the animals is getting us to that route.
What is the end result? Homosexuality. Men exchange natural desires and gave themselves to desires for one another. The women did the same thing and desired other women.
Is this about homosexuality?
There are some who argue all other manner of things, but friends, the word here is function. It only means function. Paul is talking about taking something proper and exchanging it for something improper. Men gave up the natural desire for women and instead desired other men. By the way guys, keep this in mind. Our desire for women is good! God made us to desire them! (Thank you Lord for that.)
Some think this refers to Pederasty where men in the army would train “young boys” but why think that? This seems to be a decision of two people that are knowing the actions that they are doing. Instead, it just seems that people are willing to do whatever they can to deny the natural meaning of the text. Paul condemned homosexuality.
Well why didn’t Jesus?
Simple. Jesus lived in Israel. Jews followed the law. Homosexuality was not an issue. They dealt with them.
In the Gentile world, it was one. Paul had to address it then.
We shall look at other texts tomorrow.