NOTE: The questions and devotional for this week’s study were written by Stan Schuermann.
1. As you pray for your study today, ask God to use His Word in your life as the writer of Hebrews prayed in Hebrews 13:20-21: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
2. Read Romans 1:18-32
3. STUDY NOTE: 1:18 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. In this section Paul describes the three stages of the downward spiral of pagan depravity. John Stott identifies these stages as 1) Men knew God, 2) Men rejected this knowledge in favor of idolatry and 3) God gave them over. To understand verse 18, we must understand the wrath of God. John Stott describes God’s wrath as “God reacting in revulsion against sin. It is his deeply personal abhorrence of evil.” Paul says God’s wrath is being revealed against ungodliness. God’s wrath is ongoing and is visible in the moral and social corruption that Paul describes. Stott says, “Scripture is quite clear that the essence of sin is godlessness. It is the attempt to get rid of God and, since that is impossible, the determination to live as though one had succeeded in doing so. ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes’ (Romans 3:18).” As you read this section, you will see that Paul describes several “exchanges.” In order to exchange something, I must first possess it. I must first possess a shirt, before I can go into a store and exchange it for one I like better. In verse 23, men exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for images of corruptible men and animals, which they preferred. In verse 25, men exchanged the truth of God for a lie, which they preferred. And in verse 26 and 27, men and women exchanged what was natural for the unnatural function which they preferred. Paul also, in three separate verses, describes God’s wrath as the terrible judgment of giving men over, or giving men up to their own sinful desires. This is the idea of ceasing to restrain. In verse 24, God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity. In verse 26, God gave them over to degrading and unnatural passions. And in verse 28, God gave them over to a depraved mind, which is a mind that can choose nothing that is right.
4. How do men presently “suppress the truth” about the glory of God?
5. Why do men attempt to suppress the truth? Are they successful?
6. Are those whom God has “given up” (ceased to restrain from sin) beyond the saving power of the gospel? Why or why not?
To access the entire “Good News” Study, click here.