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Willingly Ignorant of God

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Romans 1:28–32 KJV 1900
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:18–20 KJV 1900
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
God’s eternal power and Godhead are evident in creation.
They know the truth about God yet they suppress it. Beware! We are ALL masters at twisting truth to justify ourselves or our ideas.
They did not glorify God or give Him thanks
They exchanged the glory of God for images.
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie.

They Chose Not to Retain God in Their Minds

Romans 1:28 KJV 1900
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
In their decent from God they have gotten to the place that they no longer are willing to retain the knowledge of God. They have go far beyond simply not glorifying God or worshiping idols instead of God or twisting the truth about God, they now have concluded that it is inconvenient to retain any notion of God.
John 3:19–21 KJV 1900
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
2 Peter 3:3–7 KJV 1900
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

God Gave Them Over to a Depraved Mind

Romans 1:28 KJV 1900
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Their is a play on words here that is lost in the english. But as close as we could get would be to read it “They did not see fit to acknowledge God so God gave them over to an unfit mind
The recompence of their error was meet. God’s judgements fit the crime. They chose not to glorify God as God he makes the imaginations of their minds futile. They chose to worship the creation rather than the Creator and He gives them over to dishonour their bodies through the lust of their own heart even unto homosexuality. They conclude that it is unfit to acknowledge God, God gives them over to an unfit mind.
Then Paul gives the result of this final giving over of God listing 23 sins. This sort of list was common in Jewish and early Christian writings. This list is particularly difficult to categorise
The first 5 seem to be general sins which are characteristic of these that are willingly ignorant of God.
Romans 1:29 KJV 1900
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Then the next five “envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity” depict the breakdown of human relationships.
The next two whisperers, and backbiters could possibly be included with the previous five as they to depict the breakdown of human relationships. But they also stand on their own as sins of an unruly tongue.
Romans 1:30 KJV 1900
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
The next four “haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters” Are all sins of pride. These are those which are most characteristic of Satan himself. Instead of feeling shame or remorse for their sins they are puffed up and proud.
1 Corinthians 5:2 KJV 1900
And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
This must surely be the worst kind of sin. it begins with haters of God which is breaking the first and greatest commandment.
Romans 1:30 KJV 1900
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Then the next two “inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents” are often grouped together. Inventors of evil things that is to say, they have put their unfit depraved minds to the task of finding out new ways to do evil things. And disobedience to parents or rebellion which Samuel said that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.
Romans 1:31 KJV 1900
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
The next five are only four in the NIV and are all negatives “senseless, faithless, heartless and ruthless. Or as the Jerusalem Bible renders it without brains, honour, love or pity.

They Celebrate Their Evil and Encourage it in Others

Romans 1:32 KJV 1900
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
We have again here the knowledge. The knowledge of God in creation and the knowledge of our own conscience tell us that these sins are worthy of death. Later Paul tells us plainly
Romans 6:23 KJV 1900
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
But back in our text he tells us that knowing that these things are worthy of death they not only do these things but and the NRSV renders it “they applaud others who practise them” By their pleasure and praise of sin they encourage others into sin and they do the work of Satan himself. This is the utter failure of mankind and the hight of our sinful condition.
We must be very cautious here I believe because by nature we love to look at others who we think are worse sinners than us so that we can feel better about our own sins. As we have been going through this chapter it would be easy for us as believers to be cheering on as we read out the judgement of these who have turned away from God. I would encourage you, however, to resist that urge and consider the beam in your own eye. Each one of us is guilty of all these things. We are puffed up when rather we should mourn. Each of us are masters at suppressing truth that we find inconvenient. We are experts at justifying our own sins while condemning others. Let us come into the light and if we find.that our deeds are evil then repent and confess to God that He might forgive us and cleanse us. Let us ask God to reveal His truth and lets not twist it to suit our lifestyles. Let us be sanctified with the truth this morning. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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