Thursday, May 17

Romans 1:28-32 (First, the bad news)

Romans 1:28-32 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Here in the final four verses of Romans 1, Paul lays out the case for the depravity of man with a lengthy list of sins that are common to the human race. When God allowed men to follow the inclination of their fallen nature, bondage to sin became pervasive in all men. Each and every man may not become extremely depraved in every sin that Paul lists, but the inclination of his heart is evil and, apart from God’s grace, he cannot escape the depravity of his sinful nature.

When I was around nine years old, I got a BB gun for Christmas. One day in the backyard of a friend, I saw a bird similar to the cardinal in the photo above light on a limb. I took aim at the little bird and pulled the trigger and, as when Opie shot the bird with the slingshot on the Andy Griffith show, the bird fell dead to the ground. Why did I do it? I had an urge to kill the bird for nothing more than the thrill of the kill, and I was fully aware that it ought not be done just as Paul said. This desire was a part of who I was and it illustrated vividly that I met Paul’s standard for being heartless. It is not at all unusual for little boys to have these desires to hunt and kill animals for this reason alone. This sort of thing is often passed off as boys will be boys, but in reality it is boys have a sin nature. Although I may not have struggled this much with some of the other sins on Paul’s list, it clearly demonstrated that I had a serious problem with compassion. I am convinced that this sin did not improve at all until God gave me the gift of his grace some forty years later. Paul is laying out the case in these few verses that everyone struggles to varying degrees with all kinds of sin. He is asserting that fallen man has a serious and fatal sin problem known as total depravity. This is a problem that man cannot fix in and of himself.

Praise God that he did what we are incapable of doing by applying his intervening grace. He provided a savior to pay our sin debt and gave us a new heart that is needed to access saving grace through saving faith. This new heart also enables redeemed sinners to begin to mortify such sins as being heartless. Perfection has not or will not come in this life, but praise God that I could no longer kill a bird for absolutely no reason whatsoever.


Marcian said...

Very good insights. I appreciate when you adimtted before killing the bird that you KNEW it was wrong. God was so good to give us a conscience, that we may plainly see just how far gone we are when it comes to our desire to sin.

Even So... said...

Yes...we are not just sinners saved by grace, but because of that grace we are also saints growing in it...all to the glory of God...

jazzycat said...

Thanks. My wife has just informed me that little girls are not immune from the same activity.

Yes and we should be very thankful that grace does not leave us helpless in sin and it is to his glory. Good point.

Craver Vii said...

Okay, but then why did God make the bird red... like a bullseye? Because you were SUPPOSED to take a shot at it!!

(How's that for deep theology?)

jazzycat said...

To quote a great president... "There you go again."

mark pierson said...

"Each and every man may not become extremely depraved in every sin that Paul lists, but the inclination of his heart is evil and, apart from God’s grace, he cannot escape the depravity of his sinful nature."

I liked that part especially.

jazzycat said...

Thanks Mark. Yes, I believe I am speaking from experience about my bondage to sin and depravity. I believe God did it all in my case. I did not wake up one day and decide to come to faith with the exact same nature that had rejected him for forty years. No, He had imparted a new nature that made it possible.

donsands said...

We no it's wrong, and yet approve of those who sin. Ain't that the truth.

Gossip is approved of everywhere, and even murder of babies is approved of.

Seems America at whole, and the visible Church in America, are fullfilling this Scripture for sure: "God gave them up".

Well done with another fine post.

jazzycat said...

Thank you. Yes indeed we do approve and as in the case with the murder of babies, often silence is tantamount to approval. Interestingly even liberal 'professing' Christians accuse conservative Christians as being hate moungers for opposing abortion. I guess the calling of evil good and good evil is alive and well.

Baptist Girl said...

Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work pure, and whether right.

Right from a very young age we know what we are doing, Yet we do it because we are depraved. I was a handful for parents when I was a youngster, thank the Lord for His grace.

I had to laugh, the other day my mom informed me when I was young I use to pick weeds and sell them door to door for money..finally a neighbor came to our house to let my mom know what I was up to.She was more shocked that folks were paying me for the weeds lol


jazzycat said...

That is a funny story. You didn't happen to become a lawyer did you?

Marcian said...

Your wife is quite correct.

Shiloh Guy said...


I had almost the exact same experience! When I was 12 I got a BB gun and went on a bird-killing rampage. We went on vacation to the desert outside Palm Springs and I changed prey. I began to shoot ground squirrels. My younger sister went out with me to admire her older hunter-gatherer brother. I shot a squirrel and we ran up to look at it and it was still squirming around. Both of us were absolutely horrified by what I had done. I haven't shot a living thing since. I don't judge the hunters/fishermen who do these things but I just can't bring myself to kill. There is a farm nearby where the man grows veal calves and I can hardly drive by there without a "sick" in my stomach! (Yes. I eat meat. I just can't kill it myself.)

jazzycat said...

Thanks. I believe so to.

Good point. As I related, my moment did not come to much later. I agree about hunting, but I can't help but wonder about people spending enormous amounts of money on hunting and claiming it is to provide food. Several hundred dollars per pound of deer meat seems a bit high to me.