The Righteous Shall Live by Faith & God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Rom 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
Rom 1:19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Rom 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Rom 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
Rom 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Rom 1:26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
Rom 1:27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
Rom 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
Rom 1:29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,
Rom 1:30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
Rom 1:31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
Rom 1:32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
v16 – Paul is not ashamed of the gospel and the calling he has from God to proclaim it. To the Jews he was regarded as an apostate. By the wise among the Gentiles he is persecuted and despised, and looked down upon as unintelligent and not worth listening to. However, even these things did not cause him to walk away because he is convinced that this gospel of Christ is absolutely true. That it is the “power of God for salvation” for everyone who believes. Look at 1 Cor 4:9-13, “For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.” This was a difficult position for the apostles. Would you be willing to go through this for the sake of Christ’s calling?
v17 – Through the gospel we see the righteousness of God revealed through the justification of all who believe and by faith accept this in faith. It has nothing to do with us. It is our faith in Christ and His completed work on the cross. We must come to Him in humility recognizing our sin, repenting and yielding ourselves to Him. You this in the verse Paul quoted. Hab 2:4, “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.“
v18 – This verse explains why there is a need for salvation, All men, prior to accepting Christ, are under the wrath of God. We are all guilty of ungodliness and unrighteousness against God. We all have made the same decision Adam and Eve made in the Garden, that being following our own will and not God’s. All unbelievers suppress the truth, not allowing it to be manifest because of our wrongdoing.
v19-20 – God has shown us through His creation that He exists and is real. We see the heavens and all the stars just within our view. And with the use of powerful telescopes, we can see far beyond our ability with the naked eye. We see the magnificence of His work through all the living things, especially ourselves. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, according to the psalmist in Psa 139:14. We have no answers to the miracle that is life. All we see, and the fact we can see it, along with the order and precision of all He made is proof there must be a God. We have no excuse, He has made this abundantly clear. However, many ignore this by suppressing the truth as noted in verse 18. They do not wish to accept the fact there is a God, so they make up reasons to answer why anything exists.
v21 – Just as Adam and Eve knew there is a God, they know there is a God. However, they refuse to acknowledge the fact and instead make up reasons why God cannot exist. With all the evidence available, these proofs have no basis in fact and end up as simply nonsense. Their minds become darkened because the light of God is ignored.
v22 – And because they reason and produce ways of how all this came into being without a God, they believe they are so intelligent and wise, and we who believe God created everything are fools. They follow the ways of the philosophers of old who believed they were the wise ones. However, Paul turns the tables around. The word philosophers literally means ‘lovers of wisdom’. However, in their endeavor to be wise above all, they became foolish regarding what is real.
v23-25 – They wanted something to believe in something, however it could not be the true and living God, so they replaced Him with idols made in the image of men and animals and all manner of living creatures. God made man in the image of himself, however, man reversed this and made Gods in their image and likeness as well as animals. They want to be the center of the universe and so they replace God with images of themselves. And because of this, God ceased to restrain them from living as they desired due to the fact they exchanged the truth about God for a lie, worshipping what they created rather than who created them.
v26-27 – Because they worshipped gods of their own making rather then the true God, their thinking became corrupt and they began to follow all the desires they had, no matter how debased. Both men and women followed relations that were contrary to nature. And because these relations were wrong and against the way God created us, they suffered ailments or injuries that would not have happened if they remained as how we are created.
v28-32 – And because they chose not to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to their own desires and the depravity that logically followed their decision. They gave in and acted upon thoughts and deeds that were not good or proper. They were filled with all unrighteousness and wickedness. The list includes greed, evil, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. Does not this list sound like many in the world today? We see these things because they ignore God and act as though either He does not exist or He is unwanted. People know these things are wrong, because if these things were done against them, they would be very angry and declare them wrong. However, knowing these things are wrong and deserving of punishment, they continue in these deeds and heartily approve of those who practice them.