The Book of ROMANS
James J. Barker
MARKS OF A REPROBATE MIND
Text: ROMANS 1:24-32
- The theme of this epistle is the Gospel (1:1, 9, 15, 16).
- The Gospel is "good news," but one cannot appreciate good new apart from bad news. The bad news is man is a wicked sinner deserving the judgment of God (1:18-32).
- Three times in Romans 1, the apostle Paul states that God gives up on impenitent sinners (1:24, 26, 28).
- This is because "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge" (1:28).
- F.B. Meyer said, "Once men have deliberately chosen the downward path, there is nothing to stop them. They go headlong from one point to another in their descent into darkness."
- Sinners do not want to answer to God. Sinners try and replace God with evolution, environmentalism, humanism, reincarnation, drugs, drinking, sexual immorality and perversion, the occult, etc.
- Romans 1:28 says, "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind." "A reprobate mind" is a twisted mind, a depraved mind, a debased mind, a confused mind that cannot tell right from wrong.
- Here in Romans 1, Paul gives us the marks of a reprobate mind. This list of sins (1:29-31) should be compared with similar lists in Paul's epistles (cf. II Corinthians 12:20, 21; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-5; I Timothy 1:9, 10; II Timothy 3:2-5).
SINNERS ARE FILLED WITH ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS (1:29).
- God wants us to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."
- But rather than being filled with the Spirit, sinners are "filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness," etc. (1:29).
- Sinners are "full of envy" (1:29). Envy is a wicked sin. Proverbs 14:30 says, "envy (is) the rottenness of the bones."
- Proverbs 27:4 says, "Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?"
- Matthew 27:18 says Pontius Pilate "knew that for envy" the Jews had delivered Christ to be crucified.
- Acts 7:9 says Joseph's brothers "moved with envy," and "sold Joseph into Egypt."
- God wants us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, but sinners are "filled with all unrighteousness" (1:29). Sinners are full of themselves!
- And because they are full of themselves, they are "despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents" (1:30b).
- Sinners are filled with "covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters..." (1:29, 30).
- They are "haters of God" (1:30). They hate God but they love sin.
- "For men shall be lovers of their own selves... lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God" (II Timothy 3:2, 4).
- "Malignity" (1:29) is an appropriate word to describe many people. Strong's Concordance says this word means, "bad character, depravity of heart and life; malicious craftiness."
- "Whisperers" (1:29) refers to gossips.
- "Backbiters" (1:30) refers to defamers, evil speakers, slanderers. First Timothy 3:11 says the deacons' wives should "be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things." The word translated "slanderers" is diabolos, from where we get our English word "diabolical."
- This same word is usually translated "devil." Revelation 12:9 says, "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil (Diabolos), and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
- Sinners are filled with devilishness, and devilish ideas, and devilish habits, etc. That is why they are "haters of God" (1:30).
- A recent World Net Daily article: "Legislation currently sweeping the country...decrees that boys and young men must be allowed to use girls' restrooms and locker rooms if they claim to identify with the opposite sex (and vice versa); mandates pro-homosexual indoctrination of children as young as five; requires the integration of open homosexuals into the military; forces same-sex marriage on the nation; and, perhaps most disturbingly, criminalizes Christian businesspeople for simply opposing homosexuality or same-sex marriage on moral and religious grounds." God help America!
- Recently CNN had a segment on the shootings in Texas by Muslim terrorists over a “draw Mohammed” cartoon contest. Don Lemon (who is a homosexual), Ben Ferguson, and Lamont Hill discussed the shootings. Ben Ferguson said there’s “a section of Islam that is a real threat," but Lamont Hill said Christians are the ones that are dangerous.
- On a different CNN program, CNN host Ashleigh Banfield compared a Muslim terrorist killing innocent people to a Christian praying the "Lord's prayer."
- A recent USA Today op-ed included this strange warning: "Beware of the Christian Extremists" (http://newsbusters.org, May 11, 2015).
- The ACLU told the media that Christians are just as extreme as ISIS.
- These God-haters are "despiteful" (1:30), which means "insolent, haughty, boastful" (Scofield Study Bible margin).
SINNERS ARE WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING (1:31).
- This refers to moral and spiritual understanding. Sinners foolishly ignore and disobey the Word of God and rush on to eternal perdition.
- Thayer's Lexicon says "a wicked man has no mind for the things which make for salvation."
- This same word translated "without understanding" is translated "foolish" in Romans 1:21 -- "their foolish heart was darkened."
- Because they love sin, and have a "reprobate mind," they are "without understanding" (cf. 1:22).
- First Timothy 4:2 says "their conscience (is) seared with a hot iron."
- Ranchers brand their livestock with a hot branding iron. By continually sinning, sinners have their consciences seared with a hot iron. Their mind becomes hardened, and is dead to sensibility.
- Strong's Concordance says this describes those "whose souls are branded with the marks of sin."
- Satan has many of these reprobate "God-haters" (1:30) in influential and powerful positions -- in government, in the universities, in the news media, in the entertainment media, and in religious circles.
- But these men and women are "without understanding" (1:31). They are spiritually blind; they are "dead in trespasses and sins... without Christ...having no hope, and without God in the world" (Eph. 2:1, 12).
- "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Corinthians 2:14).
- Jeremiah 4:22 says, "For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish (stupid, silly) children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge."
- "Covenant-breakers" (1:31) means they are not trustworthy. You cannot believe a word they say (like our corrupt politicians).
- William Newell says, "The word denotes that wickedness that does not intend to carry out its pledged word, except for selfish ends. Broken business contracts, violated national treaties, light betrayal of personal confidences, — all have this hideous condition as their root."
THEY KNOW THE JUDGMENT OF GOD (1:32).
- They are responsible, and "they are without excuse" (1:20).
- Those who practice the wicked things listed in Romans 1 are "worthy (deserving) of death" (1:32).
- Statistics reveal that only two or three percent of Americans are homosexual. Therefore, the vast majority of Americans are not guilty of the "vile affections" referred to in Romans 1:26-28. But they "have pleasure in them that do them" (1:32).
- They are giving their approval to sodomite marriage, sex-change operations and other perversions. They vote for pro-homosexual politicians like Clinton, Obama, Cuomo, DeBlasio, Schumer, et al.
- W.H. Griffith Thomas said, "As certain as cause and effect, so it is with sin and punishment. There is no possibility of escape from condemnation for those who persistently continue in unrighteousness. This is a truth that needs constant emphasis and frequent repetition today. God's righteous action against sin is certain, inevitable, universal" (St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans).
- S. Lewis Johnson said, "What we have today is the manifestation of the outpouring of the judicial wrath of God upon the human race. We are under the wrath of God and the ultimate wrath is to come."
- Only God knows how much time we have left. Certainly America will soon face the outpouring of God's judicial wrath.
- Dan Knickerbocker recently put a short video on Facebook. The video was taken right after the earthquake in Nepal, and it shows a building collapsing.
- Bro. Knickerbocker wrote: "When the foundation is destroyed what can the righteous do? This reminds me of America teetering on the brink of disaster!"