Bible Commentaries

Romans 1

Verses 1-32

Bringing the first and seventh verses together, we find the called apostle writing to the called saints.

As for himself, Paul declared, first, that he was debtor, because a gift had been bestowed on him for the Greeks and barbarians, the wise and the foolish. In verses Romans 1:16-17 we have a statement in brief of the whole argument of the epistle, and a declaration of the Gospel deposit which made Paul a debtor.

It is a Gospel of power, that is, one which is equal to the accomplishment of something infinitely more than the presentation of an ethic. The one condition is named in the phrase, "to every one that believeth." The provision is that God has provided a righteousness for unrighteous men.

The apostle showed, first, the need for salvation by dealing exhaustively with the subject of the ruin of the race. He commenced with the Gentiles, and in this paragraph we have a statement of general principles, an announcement concerning Gentile sin. The Gentiles' sin consisted in that instead of glorifying God they deified that which revealed Him, and yielded themselves wholly to the creature, thus becoming sensualized and degraded.

The apostle then declared the fact of Gentile judgment. Its principle is evident in the threefold expression, "God gave them up" (verses Romans 1:24; Romans 1:26; Romans 1:28). He gave them up in order that their bodies should be dishonored. This issued in the degradation of their spirit, which, acting under the influence of deified physical powers, became the force of vile passions, which, in turn, reacted on the body in all manner of unseemliness. Thus again the issue was a reprobate mind, a mind that had lost its true balance and perspective, and was characterized by all the evil things which the apostle names. The Wrath of God is thus evidenced in the corruption following the sin of refusing to act on the measure of light received.