Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 20
THE VERDICT IS GUILTY – RELIGIOUS MAN – ROM. 3:1-23
In the last lesson we studied about God’s wrath to come. But maybe we should stop right here, and from here to Chapter 3, God is in so many words, building His case against mankind just like a prosecuting attorney. God is going to categorize them into three areas. We are looking now first and foremost at the first one that He is going to conclude as being guilty, and that is the immoral segment. They have no morals whatsoever. They’re destitute of any morality. Then we’re going to come in the next series of verses to the moral man or woman, and then we will come to the religious individual. And the conclusion is going to be on all three – GUILTY! Then Paul is going to come to that tremendous conclusion in Romans 3, that there is none that do good. There is none that do righteousness; they are all become unprofitable.
So as we come into this next series of verses, I always like to remind my classes that I’m not judging one little bit, but simply showing what the Scripture says. And it is God building His case now against all of humanity. He is going to start with those who are most obviously guilty – the immoral. In our last lesson we saw just a little bit of this in verse 24. Because they now push God out of their thinking they have now begun to worship everything and anything except the one true God, and as a result they open themselves up to the immoral lifestyle.
I read an article about a year ago by a university secular individual, and he was not writing with any religious overtones. But he made the statement, “That unless a society is guided and controlled by religious values they cannot last.” Even if it’s a religion that you and I don’t agree with, it still has guidelines that keep those people under a certain spectrum of behavior, which you have to have or you can’t have a society. When you fall into anarchy, and no restraint, then you can’t last very long. No nation ever has! The Roman Empire is a good example. They had the greatest military machine at that time, and yet Rome, the city itself, became so corrupt politically, economically, and morally. No one had to come in and defeat them, they defeated themselves. And Rome fell, and of course that is what historians have been screaming about America; we’re going down the same road that Rome went. We will destroy ourselves not with some outside power coming in and taking us over, but rather we will destroy ourselves within. God will build His case against the immoral segment of humanity. Let’s look at verse 24 once more:
“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.”
There was nothing to restrain them because they were now under nothing more than idolatry. And idolatry has no moral code. In fact, I’ve often told my classes over the years that if you go back and study idolatry and some of the mystical religions of the world, at the very core of their operations is immorality. The pagan temples of the old Greek and Roman gods were just glorified houses of prostitution in the name of religion. So it just follows that when you come from the idolatry of verse 23 you now come to the immorality of verse 24. But mankind is never satisfied to stay on this level.
I remember several years ago, a young medical intern was struggling with a very meager income, and was making about twenty-five dollars a month, and he said, “You know Les, I’ve come to the conclusion the only way to really get wealth in this world is to do something that contributes to the degeneracy of society.” And then he named alcohol, prostitution, gambling, and others. It seems anything that degenerates society, people will buy. I remember people telling me that, even in the depression, people would have money for that. They didn’t have money for food and shelter and clothes for their kids, but they had money for their booze and immorality, and it will be that way until the wrath of God is going to fall. Let’s go on to verse 25. Now from that level of immorality, and that’s sexual immorality between the male and female, we find the following:
“Who changed the truth of God into a lie,…”
Here, again, the word `truth’ can be substituted with the name of Christ Himself. He is the truth. Jesus put His stamp of approval upon the marriage relationship, didn’t He? God put His stamp of approval upon the marriage relationship way back in the Garden of Eden. And it’s all the way through Scriptures. Paul tells us that, “The marriage bed is undefiled.”God said, “It’s honorable in all.” So in God’s restraint, all these things are not only normal, but they’re what God has given. But man has taken the God-given things and used them under the influence of the adversary, Satan.
“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto (a lower yet level of life style, and now what is it?) vile affections:…”
We don’t like this language. I don’t, but The Book says it, and we have to teach it. So as a result of their original behavior of rejection, God now gives them up to something even worse. Now they go into vile affections.
“…for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:”
Remember that Satan started with the women in the Garden of Eden. Now this is not a put down to our women, not at all. It’s just a fact of human history that Satan started with the women. And you watch through Israel’s history. In fact, let’s turn to the Book of Jeremiah Chapter 44. Most of the time I never intend to do this, but as the Holy Spirit leads let’s follow. I don’t want someone to say, “Well, where do you get this or that?” I get it from The Book or I wouldn’t speak it. Now in this portion of Scripture, God is talking about Israel here, His Covenant people. They had the Temple right in their midst, they had the priesthood, they had a part of the Old Testament. And look what they’re doing.
“Then all the men which knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods (who was burning the incense? The women were!), and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying, `As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee.'”
See their attitude? The Jews didn’t like what Jeremiah had to say, in fact they threw him into prison, and that’s where the Babylonians found him. This is why he’s called the weeping prophet. He could see what Israel was heading into. They are going deeper into the same kind of sins that we are going to see in Romans Chapter 1.
“But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her,”
Now who was that? A female goddess. Every great idolatrous religion has their female goddess, it’s been part and parcel of idolatry from day one. We won’t take time to read the rest of these verses, but I just wanted you to see that it was the women of Israel who led the way, and it was precipitated by the worship of a female goddess. So now back to Romans, and we saw in verse 26 that it all started with the women who entered into a homosexual relationship. Rather than that which was heterosexual immorality up in verse 24, they go into the vile affections of the homosexual lifestyle.
“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.” Plain enough? Come back to Genesis Chapter 19. This is the first time that the Scripture deals with what God calls an abomination. That’s what it was then, and has been ever since.
“AND there came two angels to Sodom at even;…” Now remember these two angels back in Chapter 18 were called men.
“And he (Abraham) lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him;…” One was The LORD in human form, and the other two were angels as you see in Chapter 19. But in all outward appearance, so far as the people in Sodom are concerned, they are men. They had no idea that they were angels. Now back to Chapter 19 again:
“And he (Lot) said, `Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways.’ And they said, `Nay’ but we will abide in the street all night.'”
Old Lot knew what was going to happen, but he was hoping that he could get them inside before the citizens of Sodom would find out that two strange men were in town. But the angels knew why they were there. This is God putting Sodom and Gomorrah on trial. These two angels were sent to let the Sodomites prove that they were going to be worthy of their sudden destruction. And they sure proved it didn’t they? Now verse 4:
“But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, (that’s where we get the term `sodomy’) compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, `Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.'”
Plain enough? Now back to Romans: Of course you know what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. God destroyed it, and we will see here that the New Testament attests to it. Reading verse 27 again we find:
“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.” They are going to reap what they sow one way or another. Let’s look for a moment at II Peter Chapter 2. Now again, this is graphic language. I don’t see how anybody cannot understand it. Here in verse 5 we are dealing with the flood.
II Peter 2:5,6
“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow,…”
And again that wasn’t the wrath of God per se. It was a disciplinary action because He didn’t really make them suffer like they will in the Tribulation. It was just an instantaneous wiping out of Sodom and Gomorrah and it was plowed under. They haven’t really proven that they have found Sodom and Gomorrah yet. Some archaeologists are convinced that it’s under the Dead Sea, but nevertheless, they haven’t been able to excavate and bring Sodom and Gomorrah out where tourists can walk down its renovated streets.
II Peter 2:6b
“…making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;”
Now an example is an example, and it’s to tell us something. We are never to forget that the reason God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah was because of its homosexual lifestyle. And the world is never to forget it. But they do, and how sad. God is telling the world tonight, “Look what I’ve done to Sodom and Gomorrah, look at what I’ve done to those kind of people. Wake up!” And if you want to see what God thinks of their lifestyle look at verse 7:
II Peter 2:7
“And delivered just (or righteous) Lot (who was), vexed (or constantly in turmoil) with the filthy conversation (manner of living) of the wicked:
Now, remember what I said before. I’m not being judgmental, or looking down my nose at these people. I’m simply saying but by the Grace of God I could be where they are, but on the other hand, by the Grace of God, they could be out of that lifestyle and be where I am, and that’s where God wants you. That’s why Paul makes it so plain in Romans Chapters 5 and 6 that where sin abounded, God’s Grace can be greater. There isn’t a soul living on this planet so steeped in sin and wickedness that God won’t save in a minute, put his feet on a Rock, clean up his life, and make him a trophy of his Grace. That’s what He wants. But the Scripture tells us they walk it underfoot, they do not want to be bothered. Now back to Romans Chapter 1 and verse 28: Once they get into this lifestyle which begins with an idolatrous heart. They may not have to fall down and worship a Buddha or something like that, but they have some sort of an anti-God attitude, or something else that takes God’s place.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind (you and I look at some of these things and wonder how can people do this? Well, God has removed all restraints from them, that’s why. They don’t care what people think, or what God thinks, but it was a judicial act of God to give them over to a reprobate mind), to do those things which are not convenient;”
These things are not normal. They are not that which enhances society, or a community. And it’s going to have its effect sooner or later. Now reading on down, these are not pretty verses. I know they’re not. I wouldn’t dare to tell somebody that this is what they’re like. But God can! And God’s Word says:
“Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God (isn’t this awful?), despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents (does that ring a bell?), Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection(every time you read about child abuse, or incest, what causes it? They don’t have natural affection), implacable (can’t reason with them), unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God(they know what’s coming), that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
I remember when the filthy pornographic movie “Deep Throat” was in the news. I don’t remember the name of the actress who was in the lead position, but Harvard University, one of our primary seats of higher learning, had her for a guest speaker. And when she walked on stage they gave her a standing ovation. Unbelievable! Now that was several years back. Never forget that those very places of learning that are now the hot bed of such immorality, and leftist political thoughts, were once seminaries teaching this Book. They have just totally gone down the other direction. Ridiculing this Book, and anything concerning God, and will applaud those that live a gutter lifestyle.
I maintain that we’re not going to turn it around. I do not see a great nation or world-wide revival. I just can’t see it. We may slow it to a degree, and I think that’s our prerogative indeed. Let them call Christians the greatest hindrance to progress, but if hindrance to progress is maintaining a moral fabric that can hold together then I’m going to be proud of the fact that I’m hindering. We have to hold back these forces of iniquities until God comes.