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Under the power of sin

What do we believe  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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itAs we talked about last week, sin comes about through unbelief which leads to pride which leads to disobedience. We examined the account. This week we are looking at another perspective found in Paul’s writings in Romans
[Pray]

All under the power of sin

Romans 1:
Romans 1:18–25 NRSV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Even though they knew God, they chose unbelief or doubted the God they knew and made the God they wanted. Just as we talked about last week, this began as Paul says with doubting and unbelief.
Second, their pride took over and they made their own gods by their own dark thoughts and tried to make God in their image or in some other image of creation. Pride changed them to where they would not accept the God who had revealed Himself through creation.
Finally, God turned them over to their disobedience. God “gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity.” In other words, They denied God and refused to believe in the One who revealed Himself through creation, instead they pridefully followed their own ideas and created their own “gods” ironically in the very image of God’s creation work.
It was in truth a way of trying to recreate God below them as idols or things they could make and control.
So God gave them up to their own lies where they served creation instead of the Creator. In other words, fine if you want to worship a log or a hunk of metal that you think is God then go for it and let me know how that works out for you.
An often asked question is “what is God going to do with those who have not heard about God through the scriptures?” The answer is found here in .
Paul makes the point that although you may not be a Jew who was given the law, there is still evidence of God found in creation itself. Although you may not have the had the benefit of having heard and known the bible, you still have this inner sense of right and wrong. You still have this subconscious understanding of a higher being who created the world and everything in it.
In the apologetics (defense of the faith) and the secular world, there is an understanding of this and it is called the “natural law.” It is the thing which comes naturally to us without having to be taught it.
However, just because we know it, does not mean we follow it. Take a child (or an adult) and put them in a situation where they have to choose between doing the right or wrong thing.
I will pick on myself. So lets say that we just finished this great fellowship meal and I am full from all this delicious food. However, I see this piece of peanut butter pie that I did not try yet because my stomach is so full. The right thing obviously is to skip over it but instead I will eat a piece of that pie and in turn make myself overly full.
Nobody had to tell me that overeating is bad. I know that and unfortunately, experience reinforces that understanding. The same goes for stealing or hurting someone else. Deep down, I know these things are wrong. Even though we may know right and wrong, this does not mean we do the right thing.
This is what Paul is saying here. We doubt that it really is bad and harmful or we believe the lie that it is denying us freedom. We doubt that inner knowledge and try to replace it with our own “wisdom?”
So the point in all this is that Paul shares this natural law or the inner law that we know right from wrong without anyone teaching us this from the bible.
What Paul is doing here is building up a case to prove that regardless of whether you were a Jew and tried to follow the law or a Gentile and tried to follow the moral code God wrote in your heart, both failed. Both fell prey to sin and its abuse of the law.
Paul speaks later in the letter to the Romans of this but first it is important to note that Paul is being direct here by explaining why he said all have sinned and all have failed. Paul lays out the case here in Romans 2:9-15.
The New Revised Standard Version The Righteous Judgment of God

9 There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

12 All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. 15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.

So what is Paul saying here? If you have been given the law (Jew) you will be judged by the law or if you have not been given the law directly but know it instinctively (Gentile) you will still be judged by following that moral compass God placed in your heart and mind to know right and wrong. In either case, it is still sin and you are still responsible for it. Both are judged. They are judged by what they have been given but nonetheless both fall under God’s wrathful judgement because of sin. It is sin regardless of whether it is in the bible or whether instinctively that it is wrong.
We need to understand that sin is not discriminant among people who have heard God’s word and those who have received the moral law written on their heart by God.
Again, as we talked last week, Adam and Eve were not the origin of sin. Something else was at work before them. This week we see how Paul has taught that none of us have an excuse for sinning and we can’t use the I had not been told it was wrong argument because God took care of that part already. It is important to see how God is not unfair in all of this. God has not created a hopeless situation or environment. The point being is that we can’t blame God for our sin either. God gave us the knowledge of right and wrong so that even if we were not raised in a Christian life, we still know God’s moral law written in our heart.
Since we are here, we have heard about God’s grace and the blood of Christ that has cleansed us from all unrighteousness. Yet there is still a whole lot more to unpack from Paul’s teaching on sin. Next, we will see what did happen that caused this rift in our perfect relationship with God. How did sin get in there and why is it that seems like a never-ending battle? Next week we will pickup in where Paul presents some personal passages that speak directly to this sin condition we find ourselves wrapped up in. It is also here where we finally make those final decisions on what we believe about sin.
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