Romans 1:17-24

Rom 1:17 (KJV)
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

This was the verse which sparked the Reformation when Martin Luther read it. We read that the gospel contains the righteousness of God and it is only given to the elect. When we see faith to faith we realize that salvation is only of faith and requires and rejects all attempted works for salvation. But I believe the faith to faith goes a little deeper than just that.

The idea of living by faith is not a New Testament concept alone. In Habakkuk 2:4 we read, “
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” Notice that this passage states the just (the elect within national Israel at that time) shall live by his faith or faithfulness. This was probably a mystery at that time since Israel was tied to the Mosaic Law. So here we see a pre-cursor of the doctrine of imputed faith. This is detailed plainly for us in the New Testament in the following verses:

(Gal 2:16 KJV) Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

(Phil 3:9 KJV) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

We are justified by the faith of Christ which contains the righteousness of God as we saw in Rom. 1:17. Therefore, when we speak of living faith to faith, we are in essence drawing our faith from the faith of Christ which gives us our faith for daily living.
(John 15:5 KJV) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Rom 1:18 (KJV)
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Ungodliness - An active hostility toward God
Unrighteousness - Wickedness, wrongdoing or Injustice
Hold - Hold back, hinder or prevent

Here the Bible tells us that the wrath or judgment of God is now an open book and it has been revealed though not fulfilled yet. What type of wrath are we speaking of as many equate the wrath of God with the premillenial understanding of the Great Tribulation? If we follow the pre-Trib line of thinking, then those believers who are caught in the second half of the tribulation will experience the wrath of God yet we read in 1 Th 5:9 (KJV) “
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” If the Christian experiences the wrath of God, then that Scripture is false, which of course it cannot be. What then is the wrath of God? It is probably best described symbolically in Zep 1:2 (KJV) “I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD.” The wrath of God is aimed at the unbeliever, those who are still in their sins, it is never aimed at the believer since the true believer has been redeemed.

We see that God makes no bones about the fact that those who have an active hatred of Him will face the wrath of God. Isn’t it interesting that of all the active sins against God in this world, He exposes one major sin. Some of the active sins of the world against God are evolution, atheism, intellectualism, and others yet God chooses to expose the sin of sodomy very openly in the next few verses. This is probably because it is another sign that the end is very near. Sodomy is portrayed on TV, radio, Internet, and every other medium to exalt it’s open and happy lifestyle which of course is one big fat lie. Sodomites are some of the loneliest people in the world and that is why they incessantly search for new sex partners and multiple partners to try and fill the loneliness void. The same wrath will be dealt out to those who suppress God’s truth which includes the unsaved clergy. ALL sin will be dealt with and not just a few select sins. In contemporary society bank robbery is wrong but fornication is fine.
(Isa 5:20 KJV) Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Rom 1:19 (KJV)
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them.

Manifest - Revealed or disclosed

This verse begins the declension of man’s dark corruption of the true God. This verse tells us that the creative aspect of God is all around the creation and God has openly shown His creation to the entire human race. As a matter of fact, Scientists still cannot explain how the human eye works. The vastness and intricacy of the creation demands a designer not a “theory of chance” explanation.

Rom 1:20 (KJV)
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Invisible - Unseen (Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17; Heb 11:27)
Godhead - Divinity or Divine nature
Without excuse - Inexcusable

The creative aspect of the invisible God is clearly seen through the creation He has made. This gives man enough understanding to clearly acknowledge the existence of a Creator. The creation is also evidence of God’s eternal power and divine nature in the essence that God is outside of time. The creation of the universe clearly dictates that a divine being had to be in existence before the creation was created which is only explained by the inclusion of the eternal aspect of God. This is why mankind is totally accountable for their actions because there is enough proof given on both earth and in the universe to prove God exists and with that existence comes accountability and that is the reason man tries to elude the “idea of God.” (Psalm 19:1-4)

Rom 1:21 (KJV)
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Vain - Cause to become futile or foolish
Imaginations - Reasoning or Thoughts
“and their foolish heart was darkened” - Their hearts were darkened without understanding

There was a time when mankind did know God and acknowledge Him. This does not mean in the arena of salvation but in the context of His creation. I believe the time in view in this verse was right after Noah left the Ark, when civilization began to develop once again. With the growth of the human race came the infusion of false teachings into the human race which eventually ripped into the truths of God and as we see in the following verses how man declined in his understanding and knowledge of God. Their thoughts and reasoning were once again beginning to oppose the true knowledge of God to the point their minds were darkened by sinful reasoning which eventually led to the abolition of Godward thinking. Today we call it intellectualism which prides itself on the belief that man is self-sufficient.

Rom 1:22 (KJV)
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

Professing - A verbal affirmation or profession without substance

As with all anti-God intellectuals their mouth is their weapon and their only evidence. There is still no missing link to prove the heresy of evolution or the existence of other gods such as we read about in the Old Testament. Man in his arrogance makes all sorts of claims to high intelligence and without proof to back up their belief system, it is nothing more than foolishness. Man asserts his intellect while his teachings “cry fool.” The following verses teach why man is really a fool in his understanding.

Rom 1:23 (KJV)
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

One of the crowning glories of the unbelief in religion is the attempt to bring God down to the level of the sinner. This has been done through the idea of earthly representations. It is mostly seen in the art and culture of ancient religions. Man is always cognizant of the fact that there is a God. The problem is that down through history man has perverted the truth of the God of the universe. This was a problem because the pride of man will not accept accountability to a higher authority. So what was man to do? Instead of showing dependence on God, they brought God down to their level and began to re-create Him in different earthly images. In this manner, if the ignorant masses can see a depiction of a god, and that creation is made to look awe-inspiring, then it is easier to control the masses of people with something they can see and that may instill fear in their hearts, especially of those false priests who attend the idols or the false temples.

If you will also notice that this verse shows a declension in the belief system of man. First, they bring God down to be a mere man. Secondly, they make him out a bird. Thirdly, they make him to be some type of animal. Fourthly, they make him out to be an insect. Some examples of these abominations are:

Man - Zeus of the Greeks
Birds - The Phoenix - In ancient Egypt, it is associated with the Sun God Ra
Beasts - Apis the Sacred Bull God of the Egyptians
Insects - Butterfly - The Mayans and the Incas

In the modern era, we have many homes and churches which are laced with pictures of Jesus. These pictures are in violation of Acts 17:29:
(Acts 17:29 KJV) Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. These pictures bring Jesus down to man’s level. It is hard to see Christ as Eternal God, when we continually bombard our senses with a picture of a man, and a picture which violates Scripture even more, especially when they show Him with long hair. (1 Cor 11:14 KJV) Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? If Christ would have had long hair, He would have been in violation of Scripture which means he would have committed a sin. This, of course, did not happen. Children should be taught that these are nothing more than an artist’s rendering. God cannot be corrupted, only man’s view of Him.

Rom 1:24 KJV
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

Uncleanness - Ritual impurity or immorality

Because of the declension in the unbelief in man’s heart, God gives them up. This is one of the saddest sayings in the Scriptures. When God begins to give someone up, there is no hope for them. These people will remain in darkness for their entire lives and never come to the truth. Since we see God is giving these people up, there is no indication that any of God’s future Elect are in this group, since God never gives up on His Elect. Many in the ancient religions would cut themselves and draw blood.
(1 Ki 18:28 KJV) And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. This verse come from the discourse on Elijah versus the prophets of Baal. It is interesting that we have a parallel today in the sudden rise in body piercing. Tattoos are bad enough but body piercing dishonors the body by causing it to have sickness such as infections and blood diseases. As we have seen above, those who cut themselves are worshipping Satan.

The lusts that pervade these unbelievers is what will drive them to do anything including destroy their own body. God uses a word in this verse which can denote impurity of a ritual. Now this would definitely point to something along the satanic lines. Nowhere in Scripture is God’s children ever spoken of as having any “ritualistic impurity.” God’s Elect have been saved through the Lord Jesus Christ and all the ceremony of the Law of God was kept in Christ. Therefore, there is no ritual impurity in any true believer, only in the non-elect. By God giving them up, He will be allowing sin to proceed to its final destination, eternal death.