Satisfaction Without Sin

If there is one evident truth about the nature of humanity it is that we are all in search of something. As if the entirety of mankind is in search of something else or something more – something to make us feel like more.

The reality of this observation reveals to us that although we are all individuals, we are not quite independent. We prove to ourselves far too often that we are very much dependent upon something. We’re dependent because the very nature of our essence is incomplete, for there exists an almost insatiable void within every one of us. This truth is displayed in the lives of both skeptics and believers. Skeptics (that is, individuals who are skeptical of Christianity) may seek to find that “something more” in the pleasures of this world, or they may attempt to find it in the metaphysical: in an ideology or philosophy or some type of new age spirituality. Whereas we believers not only seek it, but we find it. We find it in Christ and in Christ alone.

However, it’s not really that simple to describe a Christian in such a way, for we all struggle with where we devote our attention. We Christians are still very much a part of this world, and we often fall short of the standard that God has called us to live by. What can I say? we are sinners! We prove this to ourselves time and time again, and that is why we need Christ. He is the only one who is capable of covering our multitude of sins. But despite us knowing this truth, we Christians are still inclined to sin against God. Why is this so?


We are all in constant need of satisfaction. The problem is that we don’t always go to the right source.

Satisfaction without Sin. You might be wondering what I mean by that. What I mean to say is that there exists a life that is abundantly full of satisfaction and everlasting fulfilment, and it is also void of sin. This is the life that Christ offers us. However, there also exists a life that is full of sin and the pursuit of chasing after the world, yet it is also void of genuine satisfaction – it only offers temporary happiness. This kind of life could be referred to as sin without satisfaction. This is the life that we offer ourselves.

As I’ve said, “there exists an almost insatiable void within every one of us.” I say this because well, I think that it is evidently true. We’re not like other animals. We cannot find true fulfillment by simply eating, sleeping, and mating. Well, maybe some can . . . but I highly doubt it.

As for the rest of us, we know that we’re uniquely different from any other animal in a thousand different ways. To mention a short list of unique traits that humans have: Intellect and conceptual thought, free will, ethical responsibility, moral accountability, and inalienable rights of personhood (and if one were to attempt to disagree with this standard of humanity’s unique state of being, they would in fact be engaging in “conceptual thought, exercising their free will, believing that there is an ethical responsibility to teach what is right/true, seeking to hold me morally accountable to teach the truth,” and demonstrating that they have the “right to disagree with my position”).[1] Truly, we are not animals with mere instincts. We are unique. Scripture refers to this unique quality as being ‘made in the image of God’ (Gen. 1:26).

So, we cannot simply find lasting fulfillment from quenching our body’s basic needs because there exists a “higher calling” within every one of us. If we know a “higher calling” exists, then why should be ever expect to satisfy that calling/desire with the things of this world? Our desire for satisfaction and fulfilment is not of this world! It is an immaterial and unworldly desire. It is the innate desire to be elevated.

Unfortunately, humanity too often attempts to obtain this elevation through their own authority, as if we’re all attempting to become the saviors of our own life. This is where we miss the mark. This is where we fall into sin (hamartia is the Greek word for sin, meaning ‘to miss the mark’). We fall into sin every time that we seek something other than God to satisfy our unsated state of being. We’re all guilty of this mistake and it’s because “this is simply the nature of being a creature rather than the Creator, who alone is whole and complete and lacking in nothing.” [2] Therefore, we who are incomplete, must seek He who is complete.


Do not love the world.

Scripture tells us that we must “not love the world or the things in the world . . . For all that is in the world – the desire of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 Jn. 2:15-17).

Because the world is temporary, all that it can offer must also be temporary. We mustn’t put our trust in the things of this world. For all that is of this world must remain with the world. Your house, your car, your job, your bank account, your social media accounts, your sex life – all that you have acquired on earth will abandon you in the end. It will remain on earth to be eaten by rust and rot. Even our body is destined to turn to dust. All that we can take with us when we go is ourselves – our soul.

We are not bodies with a soul, but instead a soul with a body. All that we are worth, all that we truly are, is that which distinguishes our soul. And without Christ, our soul is distinguished as sinful and unholy. Our fallen condition has rendered us helpless in reversing this reality by our own work. It is only through the work of Christ that we can hope for our sinful condition to find restoration. It is only by the blood of Christ that our soul can be distinguished as worthy and holy before God.

It is only God the everlasting, the all-loving, the all-knowing, and the all-forgiving who can grant us exactly what it is that we are looking for. He satisfies our every need and He forgives our every sin. He knew us by name before time began, He hand-crafted us in our mother’s womb, He knows our every desire and shortcoming, and it is only by Him and through Him that we will find rest from our long, exhausting quest for meaning and fulfillment.

He loved us long before we knew Him, which is why He has sent His only begotten son into the world to save us from ourselves and to forgive us of our sins. Our only response to this kind of grace and mercy is to trust in the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, confess with our mouths that He is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9). We must allow Him to be the King of our lives, and follow Him. For He is the only one who can offer us a life of satisfaction without sin.


[1] Geisler, Norman and Frank Turek. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2004), 131-132.

[2] Barnes, M. Craig. Body & Soul: Reclaiming the Heidelberg Catechism. (Grand Rapids, MI.: Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2011), 50.

The Nature of Temptation

When a Christian speaks of temptation, it is likely to be assured that they mean to be tempted to do some sort of evil. For how often do you hear from your fellow man that he had been struggling with the temptation to smile, or to do some sort of generous act, or that he was tempted to hold his tongue back from slander? Quite the contrary is true for us all. When we speak about temptation, we are very obviously alluding to the temptation that is brought upon us by our flesh; our old man, to do some sort of evil act, or to think in a wicked way.  

Temptation is real, temptation is powerful, and temptation is always in our midst. Therefore, it is our duty to explore the nature of temptation, that we may be able to understand it in such a way that sets us up for success, that we may continue steadfast in the race set before us.


What is temptation?

Temptation is brought upon us by Satan and the demonic forces that prowl around this fallen world we find ourselves on. Temptation is never from God (Jas. 1:13). Temptation can be understood in two senses. In one sense, temptation is “the forcing of a choice to be made: either to break a law of God and satisfy a desire or to forego satisfaction in order to keep God’s law.”[1] In the other sense, temptation can be understood as being the by-product of demonic propaganda. Propaganda is the “dissemination of information–facts, arguments, rumors, half-truths, or lies–to influence public opinion.”[2] Temptation is the sensation we receive when demonic propaganda is forced upon us.


And when the devil had ended every temptation,
he departed from him until an opportune time.

Luke 4:13

Is temptation a sin?

To be forthright, temptation is not a sin. I repeat, temptation is not a sin. Christ, the perfect Son of God, was tempted by Satan himself for 40 days in the wilderness, yet was without sin. Thus, temptation is not a sin, for Jesus was also tempted.


You know that He appeared to take away sins,
and in him there is no sin.

1 John 3:5

Why am I always being tempted?

In James 1 we are given insight into the nature of temptation. Scripture says a person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Now allow me to quickly pause and explain Desire in such a way that allows us to understand it as being different from Lust. For Jesus did not lust, for it is sin. Desire: “Each of us are born with a normal, natural set of desires. The physical desires are the consequences of the operation of our bodies. We also have spiritual desires, such as not wanting to be alone, wanting to be liked by others, or wanting something pretty.”[1] Whereas Lust is, as James wrote, desire when it has conceived. “The word is never used in a positive context; rather, it is always seen in a negative light, relating primarily either to a strong desire for sexual immorality or idolatrous worship.”[3]

Desire is natural and it makes temptation possible. Lust is unnatural and inherently selfish, and it seeks to satisfy a temptation.

For example: The desire to have sex is a natural, physical desire. By itself, the desire is not inherently bad. But it certainly can be taken too far, which would be lust, that is, desire conceived.
We find ourselves being tempted so often because we all have a natural set of desires; thus, temptation is made possible. As long as we are on this earth temptation will come at any and every opportunity. Scripture tells us “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pet. 5:8).” As long as we are in the flesh the devil will remain in our midst, seeking to destroy. He tempts us by exposing us to things that will satisfy our desires in an unnatural way. Thus, it ought to be in our best interest to exercise caution when deciding who we surround ourselves with, where we will go tonight, and how we utilize the internet. Our flesh is going to naturally want to covet what we see. Therefore, we must take charge over the things that pop up on our news feed on various social media websites, and “make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires (Rom. 13:14).”


But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed
by his own desire.
Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin,
and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

James 1:14

In what ways was Jesus tempted?

I think many of us want to know in what ways Jesus was tempted. We want our Creator to sympathize with us, for He is our source of strength when we are tempted. Specifically, for men I think we want to know if Jesus was tempted sexually. Note that Luke 4:13 does say “every temptation,” but this may only be referring to the temptations that were mentioned in verses 3-11 of Luke 4, and we would have to imply or guess that “every temptation” might be referring to a possibility that during these 40 days, Jesus faced every temptation known to man – which might be a bit of a stretch. So, for the sake of argument I would say Jesus did not specifically face sexual temptation during these 40 days in the wilderness.

However, think about this: Christ had women following him all the time. And I would even say He received more attention from women than any of us men ever have or ever will. In the eyes of a woman He must have been the perfect man! He was full of wisdom, He was selfless, He was affectionate, and He was a good listener, and I’m sure Jesus was good looking as well (1 Samuel 17:42 mentions that David was “handsome in appearance,” so I’m sure Jesus was as well. He is his descendant after all). Christ was not only probably attractive in a physical sense, but He was definitely attractive in the moralistic sense. So, His flesh may have been tempted to lust, but He resisted, and His popularity may have tempted Him to become prideful or egotistical, but He resisted. Jesus intentionally chose love over lust every time.

Jesus was too busy loving people to lust after them. For as Scripture says, “the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7),” and “his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see (Isaiah 11:3).” Jesus’ mission was to save the hearts of mankind. Thus, we are to focus our intentions on sharing the love of Christ with those around us as opposed to looking at others with the intent of benefiting ourselves. Intentionally choose love over lust.
Our Savior took upon the flesh and suffered as we do. He has given us His Holy Spirit to strengthen us in our struggle against temptation. So, remember and believe: Christ suffered as we do, He sympathizes with us, and He cares for us and makes provisions for us daily. He has demonstrated that we are more than capable of conquering over worldly desires. Look to God and know: “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Rom. 8:18).”


For because He himself has suffered when tempted,
He is able to help those who are being tempted.

Hebrews 2:18

How to resist temptation

When it comes to learning about how we are to resist and overcome temptation, I believe there are three major truths that we must believe and put into practice:

1: God sympathizes with you

2. Temptation has no power over you

3. You are a new creation

God sympathizes with you

Hebrews 4:15 says “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Our God has come to this earth and taken on the flesh. His body had the same neurons and nerve endings as that of our own, and He has felt every kind of temptation, struggle, and pain that we have. Scripture even says “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your own blood (Heb. 12:4).” We have not done so, but Christ has. Christ resisted temptation throughout His whole life, and then through the excruciating punishment on the cross, and He did so on account of our sins. Our God is a God of mercy and a God of sympathy. Our God sympathizes with our every weakness.

Temptation has no power over you

Scripture says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability; but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry (1 Cor. 10:13-14).” Temptation does not have power over us, for there is no temptation that can overcome us. When temptation comes, do not entertain the idea. Run away from it, and run towards God, for He will provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Trust in this promise, and trust in His strength.

You are a new creation

Temptation feels so powerful because it plays off of the desires of our flesh, and as it currently stands, we are very much “fleshly.” The flesh that we have received is of the fallen seed of Adam; thus, it is a sinful flesh that possesses sinful desires. Note: Jesus did not receive the seed of Adam, for His seed was directly from God and was never tainted by sin. This ought to give us some additional insight into why Jesus was able to overcome temptation with perfection – He did not receive sinful seed. He received the Spirit of God within untainted flesh. Whereas we Christians have received the Spirit of God within our already tainted flesh, that is, tainted by sin.

Romans 7 grants us revolutionary insight into the war that is waged between our new heart and our sinful flesh. Paul makes it very clear that he has “the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out (v18),” and that “nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh (v17).” Note: We Christians all have the desire to do what is right, yet nothing good dwells in us. How can this be so? Because the part of us where nothing good dwells is in the flesh, whereas the desire to do what is right is in our hearts.

May I propose a concept to you that you may have never heard: You have a good heart!

An immediate response might be: Well, how can that be so if I am so constantly being tempted by evil desires? I am clearly no good, I am indeed evil.

My fellow believer, were you not born again? Does Scripture not tell us we are a new creation? That the “old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17)? How can you say you are evil now that you have been born again? “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you (1 Cor. 4:16)?” Would God send the Holy Spirit to dwell in a heart of evil? Of course not!

Ezekiel 36:26-27 says “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” God has given us a new heart with new desires. The only reason that we still feel the desire to do evil at times is because we are still at home in the flesh. It is not our hearts that desire evil, only our flesh. For our flesh is not part of the new creation, only the part of us that we cannot see has been made new.

Our hearts were once evil. But now we have a new heart in which the Holy Spirit dwells, granting us power over sin.

The flesh, clinging to its old desires, makes temptation feel very powerful at times. But trust in this: “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal. 5:24).” “We may sometimes still give in to our desire to sin, but Christians are no longer people controlled by our sin. We have agreed sin is worthless, and we have declared, in Christ, our intention to move, with Him, away from sin using God’s power.”[4]


Noteworthy mention from C.S. Lewis

If nothing I’ve yet written is of any use, take this advice from a more noteworthy Christian. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said, “Only those who resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to talk against it, not by laying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. . . We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means.[5]


1. lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2012/09-19a.html

2. https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/lust/

3. https://www.britannica.com/topic/propaganda

4. https://www.bibleref.com/Galatians/5/Galatians-5-24.html

5. Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity (Great Britain, Harper Collins Publishers, 2012), pg. 142.

Why Does God Allow Evil?

When I look at the world around me, I find that I don’t have to look very far to see all sorts of evil and unnecessary suffering, and often it has driven me to ask “Why would God allow any of this?

The first thing that needs to be addressed when we attempt to answer a painful question like this is the assumption that is driving the question. When we see evil, are we wondering whether God created it, whether He allows it, or whether He even has the power to stop it? So, in order to answer this question accurately we must first ask ourselves what it is that we are assuming about the reality of evil and how it relates to God’s sovereignty.

Often the inquiry about the existence of evil is this: If God is so good and sovereign, then why is it that He would allow so much evil to exist in the first place?

This inquiry is often motivated by a familiar assumption, one that even St. Augustine was puzzled by. It goes something like this:

“God created all things.

Evil is a thing.

Therefore, God created evil.”[1]

The logic of this thought sequence makes perfect sense, however the assumption itself is false. It’s false because it posits that ‘evil is something.’ I would argue that evil cannot be something, because it’s too preoccupied with being nothing at all. You see, evil is not something that was created, but instead it is the deprivation of something else: good. I’m not denying that evil exists, I am claiming that evil cannot exist by itself. Good exists, and it is from God. Evil exists, and it is the lack of good.


The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil

To explain why it is that evil exists, it is necessary to go back to the beginning of creation, in the first chapters of Genesis. In Genesis 2 we are given a more in depth view of the sixth day of creation – the day God created mankind. On the day God created mankind He also gave the first commandment in Scripture: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die (Gen. 2:16-17).”

I know what you’re thinking: “Why would God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden if eating from it would result in death?” However, if we’re going to ask this question then it is equally fair to propose another question: “What would have happened if God had not created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?” I’ll first answer the latter.

If God would not have created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then He would not have been able to create mankind with the nature to have free will. Had God created the garden of Eden exactly as it was, without the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then Adam and Eve would have had no other option than to strictly obey all that God would ask of them – they would have been slaves. Where is the love in that?

To love someone is to give them free will. God could not force Adam and Eve to love Him in the same way that we cannot force anyone to love us, or that anyone can force us to love them. It has to be a choice – it has to come from free will. This is what the tree symbolizes, and this is why God put it in the garden. He wanted them to have free will and to be able to willingly choose rather to love and obey Him or to turn and disobey. He did it out of love.

So, to answer the former question, God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden because He had to give mankind free will. Without free will God would have made Himself a tyrant, but God is not a tyrant. God loves us and He desires for us to love Him back, thus He has given us free will.


The Fall

When God granted Adam and Eve free will He also gave them the ability of contrary choice, that is, the ability to choose what is contrary to God’s will. His will was for them to obey, however Adam and Eve were free to disobey.

In Genesis 3 we are introduced to what is commonly referred to as “The Fall.” The Fall is the point in time in which evil entered into the world.

Before this point in time, the Garden of Eden was pure paradise. For when God was finished with creation He said that “it was very good (Gen 1:31).” The Garden of Eden didn’t have any harmful plants; there were no “thorns or thistles,” there were no natural disasters, there were no predatory animals, for they all lived in harmony with Adam and Eve. There was no evil to be found. Adam and Eve were so innocent and void of corruption that they could not even perceive their own nakedness.

However, at the moment that Adam and Eve chose what was contrary to God’s will, and eat from the one tree that He had commanded them not to eat from, sin was made known. Sin was made known and evil entered into the world. The ground became cursed, harmful plants were made manifest, the ability to experience pain was introduced, and now we live in a fallen world where death exists.

As I’ve said earlier, evil was not created, but instead it entered into the world after the completion of creation, due to mankind’s sin.

So, “Why does God allow evil?”

God allows evil because mankind has chose to bring it into this world. The fallen world we know is the result of Adam and Eve’s decision to choose what was contrary to God’s will. God created paradise, whereas mankind summoned chaos.

However, despite our wickedness God has paved the way back to Him. He has sent Christ Jesus into the world to rescue, redeem, and restore what was broken in the fall of Adam and Eve: our relationship with Him. No one is without sin except the perfect Son of God, our Savior Jesus Christ. He has come down from heaven, taken on the flesh, and has sacrificed Himself to atone for our sins. It is only through Him that we can ever expect to find the paradise that we are all in search of. Jesus is “ the way and the truth and the life,” and no one can come to the Father except through Him.


[1]  Geisler, Norman and Frank Turek. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2004), 177.

Commentary | Romans 1:28-32

Romans 1:28-32 (NIV): 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.


Commentary

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind,” – The fallen nature of humanity is depravity. As creatures, we belong to the Creator, and this is best. But for those who discount their Creator and think of Him as unworthy will find themselves depraved; hollow and empty, forever seeking to fill the void within the inner longing of their soul with the things of this world.

so that they do what ought not to be done.” – It is due to their depraved mind that they “do what ought not to be done.” This is the answer to the question that so many skeptics ask: “Why does God have so many rules?” The rules are guidelines (to keep us on the narrow path, Mt. 7:13-14), and the guidelines exist so that our being may remain close to His being, for our sake. When we lack God, we lack purpose and fulfillment, so we seek out the pleasures of the world to fill our void. We “do what ought not to be done,” for we are depraved. If we turn to God and accept Him into our lives then we will know our purpose and find fulfillment in his precepts.

Everyone wants to be more than what they are. To be the popular one, the most affluent, the most intelligent, the best looking, the best dressed, the strongest, the hero in the movie, etc. And to be honest, this is all quite natural: the desire to be more than what we are. We all cling on to this fantasy that if we keep chasing the world, we will catch up to it. That time might just decide to stand still for us. However, the truth is that if we aim for the world, then the world is what we will get. This desire of ours to always be something more is indeed truly innate. But this is not a desire that the world can satisfy. The root of this desire of ours; this instinct, this insatiable thirst, it is the Lord’s calling. It is His calling to us and it says “Come to me, come and see, come and be all that I made you to be.” God has made us to be followers of Him, not followers of this world.

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness…– Due to depravity (of God) mankind seeks to fill their inner void. If the depravity is a depravity of God, then what they are seeking needs to be God. If it isn’t God it can only be “wickedness, evil and greed . . . envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malic.” A godless humanity becomes “gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful.” These are all of the things that mankind becomes once they denounce God and seek fulfillment and purpose by means of the world.

This defines the true meaning of evil: the deprivation of good. You could make a real good moral argument on just the basis of Romans 1:28-32.

The passage says it is they who “invent ways of doing evil.” It isn’t God who invents this evil. No, it is by the fallenness of mankind, the turning away from God. It is original sin that “invents” evil. To see more about this go to Why Does God Allow Evil?

         “They disobey their parents” – It only makes sense that if a person is incapable of obeying an all-loving and all-knowing God of the universe, then they will absolutely be incapable of obeying their parents who are perhaps loving, but not without fault, and only human. For mankind is rebellious, always bound to rebel.

When mankind casts away all understanding and reasonableness, they have no fidelity, which leads to more sin approval of sin corruption steals their love selfishness no mercy.  A slippery slope indeed.

Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” – Mankind knows God but they deny Him on a volitional basis; they choose to not want to know, and live accordingly. People often seek happiness through their own vices, and often choose happiness over the truth. However, true fulfillment can and will only ever be found in our Creator. The creator of all that is good.

         “People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.” – Blaise Pascal


Feel free to use the discussion questions below for a group Bible study and if you would like, the commentary above to help facilitate the discussion.


Discussion Questions

  1. What are some reasons that people think it’s “not worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God?” If God is so good, why reject Him?

  2. What is the meaning of a “depraved mind?”

  3. What is the result of having a “depraved mind?”

  4. Why is “disobey their parents” listed among this long list of abhorrent crimes?

  5. Why is it that Christians are still inclined to sin, despite knowing the penalty for sin?

Commentary | Romans 1:26-27

Romans 1:26-27 (NIV): 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.


Commentary

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.” – The list of mankind’s habitual sin goes on. Whereas lust has already been deemed sinful by Christ (Mt. 5:28), this verse speaks of another lust: lust for the same sex. This passage is explicitly stating that homosexuality is “unnatural,” “shameful,” and deserving of “due penalty.” This is without a doubt a controversial topic within our culture. However, despite what our governing laws may say to rationalize homosexuality, God, the ultimate governor has already spoken.

Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men,” – Whether man or woman, homosexual relations have already been judged by God to be considered unnatural. There are many verses throughout Scripture that speak clearly on this topic: 1 Tim. 1: 8-11, 1 Cor. 6: 9-11, Lev. 20:13; 18:22. Scripture is persistent in mentioning this sin, and often does so by listing it amongst many other sins: murder, theft, lying, covetousness, drunkenness, and idolatry. Regardless of the offense against God, it is sin.

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife (Mk. 10:6-7).” Since the beginning of mankind’s creation, God not only made man and woman, but He then deemed that they were made for each other – for heterosexual relationships.

and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.– What is the due penalty? Whatever it is, it says that they have “received it in themselves.” I believe this is referring once again to the wrath of God, and that it is being revealed by God “giving them over.” That is, their penalty is their slavery to sin (Jn. 8:34), for they “received [it] in themselves.” What God has made to be natural and good has been unnaturally defiled.

This country was founded on Judeo-Christian values, however our culture now seeks to eradicate these values. Let it be known, we are living in a Post-Christian nation. When the U.S Supreme Court legalized gay-marriage in all fifty states on June 26, 2015, it was a direct attack at God’s law. This nation now continues to slowly, but relentlessly attack Christianity.

Persecution in America is commonly perceived to be rather weak, however be warned: Scripture promises that Christians will be persecuted for their faith (2 Tim. 3:12). Our country’s independence may have been founded in the name of our Creator, but that same independence and freedom is being used to elevate the status of humanity and to decrease the authority of God.  

Bernie Sanders, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, made a verbal assault on Christianity just recently. Sanders claimed the Gospel is “indefensible, it is hateful, it is Islamophobic, and it is an insult to over a billion Muslims throughout the world.”[1] Ladies and gentlemen, these are the words of a man who ran for president. This should not be taken lightly. Please pray for our country, for our government officials, and for God to ignite a revival in this country.

Final Word

All sin is detestable in God’s eyes, and regardless of the sin, it is in need of forgiveness. We may not all have committed murder . . . oh wait (Matt. 5:21-22), never-mind. Nonetheless we are all sinners and we need to accept Christ as our Savior, allow Him to come into our lives, and follow Him. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).


Feel free to use the discussion questions below for a group Bible study and if you would like, the commentary above to help facilitate the discussion.


Discussion Questions

  1. What does it mean for God to “give them over”?

  1. What comes to mind when you think about “unnatural sexual relations?” Why is homosexuality considered a sin?

  1. What does the phrase “received in themselves the due penalty for their error” mean?

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/bernie-sanders-chris-van-hollen-russell-vought/529614/

Commentary | Romans 1:24-25

Romans 1:24-25 (NIV): 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.


Commentary

Therefore, God gave them over” – here we begin to see “the wrath of God” that “is being revealed” from verse 18. His wrath is revealed in the sin that is being committed, by “giving them over” to it. The penalty for their sin is the sin itself. Note: Romans 6:20 & Romans 6:18. The point is, we are bound to be slaves to something, for our nature is to follow. For we are creatures, part of the creation, created by the Creator. Our longing is to follow him but many “suppress and exchange” the truth due to pride.

          “God gave them over” – The greatest penalty is to be separated from God. We get what we choose!

in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another” – Key word: ‘Desire.’ It is by desire that the theme of our life comes to fruition. Those who desire sin will indeed sin. Those who continue to sin will continue to desire sin. For sin opens the door to more sin. It is by God’s grace that our desire becomes His desire. Or should I say: His desires become our desires. We must always remember to continue in prayer, and ask that God will continue to soften our hearts and make our desires – His desires.

          “degrading of their bodies” – our bodies are of much significance, and to be treated as such and taken care of. They’re gifts, and by them our hearts and minds become affected. As Christians, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. For all mankind, our bodies are the vessels of our souls. Protect your body, protect your mind, and God will protect your soul. Keep filth far away.  

they exchanged the truth about God for a lieOnce the truth is “exchanged,” all you’re left with is falsehood. We either receive the truth, and become free from sin and obedient to righteousness. Or we exchange it for deception, and enslave ourselves to sin and rid ourselves of God.  

and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.Key word: Worshiped (revered). Mankind, once having exchanged the belief in the true God will inevitably worship something. To worship; revere, bend the knee, devote, and to hold high – all makes sense when the worship is for God. For He is worthy. But mankind has so often chosen to worship the creation instead – how ironic! We worship that which we believe to be worthy (and worth our time), and it is all decided by our desires. What do we desire? Money, sex, thrill, “success,” popularity, image?

So many have chosen to worship the mere creation. Whether the flesh of others – by giving into sexual impurity. Or their own self – by holding themselves as high as God, seeking thrill and satisfaction, power and recognition, popularity and security. We chose to worship the things that provide us with momentary satisfaction. Mankind, with our God-given bodies, indulge without restraint, all in the pursuit of satisfaction and fulfillment.  

Mankind chooses to worship the temporal over the eternal. God, both divine and eternal, is the only name to be lifted above every other name, the only One who is worthy to be “worshiped and served.” Why do we, who know the truth, ever dare to worship and serve the created things?


Feel free to use the discussion questions below for a group Bible study and if you would like, the commentary above to help facilitate the discussion.


Discussion Questions

  1. “Therefore” <– what is the “therefore” there for?

  1. What does it mean for God to “give them over?”

  1. Why is sexual impurity referred to as a “degrading of the body?”

  1. What does it mean to “exchange the truth?” What are some areas in our culture or our life where we “exchange the truth?”

  1. What can truth be exchanged for?

  1. What does it mean to “worship & serve created things?”

Commentary | Romans 1:21-23

Romans 1:21-23 (NIV): 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.


Commentary

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” – God has made himself known. His existence is only denied by those who suppress the truth that has been clearly revealed to them. Their wickedness disqualifies them from glorifying Him and thanking Him. By suppressing the truth, foolishness begins to thrive. For if truth is denied, then lies are accepted. The truth is what softens our hearts and sets us free. Thinking in a godless way is futile and it turns our hearts hard and dark. This leads to conceitedness and self-sufficiency (prideful thinking); the claiming to be wise, but there is no wisdom without God. For without God the truth cannot be known, only foolishness and giving into deception.

and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.” –  Mankind still expresses the belief in the Higher Being and the Divine, for they “exchanged” the glory of God for other images, ideologies, and beliefs. All of mankind is incapable of denying the “higher calling.” They can only “suppress” and/or “exchange” it. The law (the objective moral law) is written on all of our hearts. Mankind gives credence to God’s nature but denies its source. In the context of this passage Paul would be alluding to all of the false beliefs and philosophies that were prevalent at the time (Acts 16-17). Particularly Pantheism and Gnosticism that was made evident through their erection of many statues of different gods. These people didn’t deny the Divine, they only “exchanged” it for false beliefs, especially the beliefs that suited themselves. This type of belief system can still be clearly seen in the modern age.

  • God’s divine nature cannot be denied, for it is He who makes it known. But mankind can choose to “suppress” or “exchange” it.

Feel free to use the discussion questions below for a group Bible study and if you would like, the commentary above to help facilitate the discussion.


Discussion Questions

  1. How is it that mankind can know God and yet not acknowledge Him?

  1. What is the difference between mankind’s wisdom and God’s wisdom?

  1. What are reasons that people suppress and exchange the truth about God?