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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Romans 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.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Who, knowing the judgment of God - Δικαιωμα, the grand rule of right which God has revealed to every man, the knowledge of which he has, less or more, given to every nation of the world, relative to honouring parents, taking care of their own offspring, keeping their engagements, etc., etc. In the worst states of heathenism this great principle has been acknowledged; but, through the prevalence of corruption in the heart, this law, though acknowledged, was not obeyed; and the corruption increased so that those were highest in repute who had cast off all restraints of this kind; so that they even delighted in them; συνευδοκουσι, highly applauded, and gladly associated with those transgressors: which argues the very highest pitch of moral depravity.

  1. The preceding chapter gives us one of the finest views of the Gospel of Christ, to be met with any where. It is God's method of saving a lost world, in a way which that world could never have imagined: there is nothing human in it; it is all truly and gloriously Divine; essentially necessary to the salvation of man, and fully adequate to the purposes of its institution. Though it is an extension of the old covenant, yet it is almost wholly dissimilar; being as different from that as the person is from the picture which represents it, and as the substance is from the shadow projected by it. It is a scheme as worthy of God as it is necessary for man; hence there are no excluding clauses in it - it is for the Jew and for the Greek; for the wise and for the unwise; for all the nations of the universe, and for all the individuals of those nations. He blasphemes God who holds the contrary.
  • As God never does any thing that is not fitting, suitable, and necessary to be done, he has not made an unnecessary display of his mercy and goodness in the incarnation and death of his Son - all this was necessary, else it had not been done. But how does the necessity appear? In the deep-rooted and widely extended corruption and profligacy of the nations of the earth. Of these the apostle gives a most affecting and distressing picture.
  • Almost every trace of original righteousness had been obliterated.
  • The proofs of God's eternal power and providence, so manifest in the creation and preservation of the universe, were wholly disregarded.
  • A vain philosophy, without right, principle, or end, was substituted for those Divine truths which had been discovered originally to man.
  • Their hearts were contaminated with every vice which could blind the understanding, pervert the judgment, corrupt the will, and debase the affections and passions.
  • This was proved in the most unequivocal manner, by a profligacy of conduct which had debased them far, far below the beasts that perish; and the apostle here gives a list of their crimes, every article of which can be incontrovertibly proved from their own history and their own writers: crimes which, even bad as the world is now, would shock common decency to describe. See the whole of the second, third, sixth, and ninth Satires of Juvenal.
  • So completely lost were the heathens to a knowledge of the influence of God on the souls and the necessity of that influence, that they asserted, in the most positive manner, that man was the author of his own virtue and wisdom. Cicero, Nat. Deor., lib. iii. c. 36, declares it a general opinion that, although mankind received from the gods the outward conveniencies of life - virtutem autem nemo unquam acceptam Deo retulit - "virtue none ever thought they received from the Deity." And again: - "This is the persuasion of all, that fortune is to be had from the gods; wisdom from ourselves." And again: - "Whoever thanked the gods for his being a good man? Men pray to Jupiter, not that he would make them just, temperate, and wise; but rich and prosperous."
  • Juvenal, on this point, speaks thus: -

    Monstro, quod ipse tibi possis dare:

    Semita certe Tranquillae per virtutem patet unica vitae.

    Sat. x. v. 363.

    The path to peace is virtue; which, I show,

    Thyself may fully on thyself bestow.

    In the same stain, Horace, Epist. lib. i. E. xviii. v. penult.

    Haec satis est orare Jovem, qui donat et aufert:

    Det vitam det opes: aequum mi animum ipse parabo.

    To Jove for life and wealth I pray,

    These Jove may give or take away;

    But, for a firm and tranquil mind,

    That blessing for myself I find.

    Thus, they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened; and professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. See Madan's Juvenal, vol. ii. p. 53.

    1. By all this we see what the world was, and what it would have continued to be had not God sent a Divine revelation of his will, and established a public ministry to proclaim and enforce it. Were man left to the power and influence of his fallen nature he would be, in all places of his dispersion on the earth, what the apostle describes in the 29th, 30th, and 31st verses of this chapter. ( Romans 1:29-31;) Reader, magnify God, who has called thee from such deep darkness, to the marvellous light of the glorious Gospel of his Son; and walk as a child of the light and of the day, in whom there shall be no cause of stumbling.


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    Bibliography
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/romans-1.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    Who knowing - That the Gentiles had a moral sense, or were capable of knowing the will of God in this case, is clear from Romans 2:14-15. The means which they had of arriving at the knowledge of God were, their own reason, their conscience, and an observation of the effects of depravity.

    The judgment of God - The word “judgment” here denotes the declared sentiment of God that such things deserved death. It does not mean his inflictions, or his statutes or precepts; but it means that God thought or judged that they which did such things ought to die. As they were aware of this, it showed their guilt in still persevering in the face of his judgments, and his solemn purpose to inflict punishment.

    Were worthy of death - The word “death” in the Scriptures is often used to denote punishment. But it does not mean here that these deserved capital punishment from the civil magistrate, but that they knew they were evil, and offensive to God, and deserving of punishment from his hand; see John 8:51; Romans 5:12-19.

    Have pleasure … - They delight in those who commit sin; and hence, encourage them in it, and excite them to it. This was a grievous aggravation of the offence. It greatly heightens guilt when we excite others to do it, and seduce them from the ways of innocence. That this was the case with the pagan there can be no doubt. People do not commit sin often alone. They need the countenance of others. They “join hand in hand,” and become confederate in iniquity. All social sins are of this class; and most of those which the apostle mentioned were sins of this character.

    If this revolting and melancholy picture of the pagan world was a true representation, then it was clear that there was need of some other plan of religion. And that it was true has already in part been seen. In the conclusion of this chapter we may make a few additional observations.

    1. The charges which the apostle makes here were evidently those which were well known. He does not even appeal to their writings, as he does on some other occasions, for proof; compare Titus 1:12. So well known were they, that there was no need of proof. A writer would not advance charges in this manner unless he was confident that they were well-founded, and could not be denied.

    2. They are abundantly sustained by the pagan writers themselves. This we have in part seen In addition we may adduce the testimony of two Roman writers respecting the state of things at Rome in the time of the apostle. Livy says of the age of Augustus, in some respects the brightest period of the Roman history, “Rome has increased by her virtues until now, when we can neither bear our vices nor their remedy.” Preface to his History. Seneca, one of the purest moralists of Rome, who died in 65 a.d., says of his own time, “All is full of criminality and vice; indeed much more of these is committed than can be remedied by force. A monstrous contest of abandoned wickedness is carried on. The lust of sin increases daily; and shame is daily more and more extinguished. Discarding respect for all that is good and sacred, lust rushes on wherever it will. Vice no longer hides itself. It stalks forth before all eyes. So public has abandoned wickedness become, and so openly does it flame up in the minds of all, that innocence is no longer seldom, but has wholly ceased to exist.” Seneca de Ira, ii. 8. Further authorities of this kind could be easily given, but these will show that the apostle Paul did not speak at random when he charged them with these enormous crimes.

    3. If this was the state of things, then it was clear that there was need of another plan of saving people. It will be remembered that, in these charges, the apostle speaks of the most enlightened and refined nations of antiquity; and especially that he speaks of the Romans at the very height of their power, intelligence, and splendor. The experiment whether man could save himself by his own works, had been fairly made. After all that their greatest philosophers could do, this was the result, and it is clear that there was need of some better plan than this. More profound and laborious philosophers than had arisen, the pagan world could not hope to see; more refinement and civilization than then existed, the world could not expect to behold under paganism. At this time, when the experiment had been made for four thousand years, and when the inefficacy of all human means, even under the most favorable circumstances, to reform mankind, had been tried, the gospel was preached to people. It disclosed another plan; and its effects were seen at once throughout the most abandoned states and cities of the ancient world.

    4. If this was the state of things in the ancient pagan world, the same may be expected to be the state of paganism still. And it is so. The account given here of ancient pagans would apply substantially still to the pagan world. The same things have been again and again witnessed in China, and Hindostan, and Africa, the Sandwich islands, and in aboriginal America. It would be easy to multiply proofs almost without end of this: and to this day the pagan world is exhibiting substantially the same characteristics that it was in the time of Paul.

    5. There was need of some better religion than the pagan. After all that infidels and deists have said of the sufficiency of natural religion, yet here is the sad result. This shows what man can do, and these facts will demonstrate forever that there was need of some other religion than that furnished by the light of nature.

    6. The account in this chapter shows the propriety of missionary exertions. So Paul judged; and so we should judge still. If this be the state of the world, and if Christianity, as all Christians believe, contains the remedy for all these evils, then it is wisdom and benevolence to send it to them. And it is not wisdom or benevolence to withhold it from them. Believing as they do, Christians are bound to send the gospel to the pagan world. It is on this principle that modern missions to the pagan are established; and if the toils of the apostles were demanded to spread the gospel, then are the labors of Christians now. If it was right, and wise, and proper for them to go to other lands to proclaim “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” then it is equally proper and wise to do it now. If there was danger that the pagan world then would perish without the gospel, there is equal danger that the pagan world will perish now.

    7. If it should be said that many of these things are practiced now in nations which are called Christian, and that, therefore, the charge of the apostle that this was the effect of paganism could not be well-founded, we may reply,

    (1) That this is true, too true. But this very fact shows the deep and dreadful depravity of human nature. If such things exist in lands that have a revelation, what mush have been the state of those countries that had none of its restraints and influences? But,

    (2) These things do not exist where religion exerts its influence. They are not in the bosom of the Christian church. They are not practiced by Christians. And the effect of the Christian religion, so far as it has influence, is to call off people from such vices, and to make them holy and pure in their life. Let religion exert its full influence on any nominally Christian nation, and these things would cease. Let it send its influence into other lands, and the world, the now polluted world, would become pure before God.


    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.

    Bibliography
    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-1.html. 1870.

    The Biblical Illustrator

    Romans 1:32

    Who knowing the Judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    The displeasure of God with all who are pleased with sin

    I. Sinners do things which they know are displeasing to God. The heathen do things which God has forbidden by the law of nature; the Jews those which are forbidden by the God of revelation: both, therefore, do things which they know must be displeasing to Him. And this is true of all men now. They know that God forbids them to love themselves and the world supremely; but they do both. God forbids them to disobey His commands; but they do disobey them. God forbids them to disbelieve and reject the gospel; but they do disbelieve and reject it. And they will persist in displeasing Him, notwithstanding death appears to be their certain doom.

    II. They take pleasure in seeing others take the same path to ruin. It will be easy to account for this if we consider--

    1. That they love one another. They are all by nature possessed of the same selfish heart. And it is therefore reasonable to suppose that, notwithstanding the great diversity in their external conduct, they love one another because they are sinners, and not saints. Christ says repeatedly, “that sinners love those that love them.” And He tells His disciples that this selfish spirit is essential to their character. “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own.” Men of the world universally approve the spirit of the world, and are pleased to see one another act it out without the least reserve; though they know it is infinitely displeasing to God.

    2. As sinners possess one and the same selfish and sinful heart, so they are heartily united in opposing one and the same holy and benevolent cause. The greatest nations have been, and still are, united in their views, and feelings, and conduct, towards the Church of Christ. As all sinners wish that God’s gracious designs may be defeated; so they have pleasure in seeing any of their fellow men doing what they think has a tendency to frustrate them.

    3. Those who do things which they know are displeasing to God, take pleasure in seeing others do the same. Those who disbelieve the existence of God are pleased to hear others say that they believe there is no God. Those who disbelieve the inspiration of the Bible are pleased to hear others say that they believe it is a cunningly devised fable. Those who disbelieve the doctrines of the Trinity, of atonement, of total depravity, of regeneration, etc., are always pleased to hear others say that they disbelieve all these doctrines. Those who disbelieve in the Sabbath, who practise tavern haunting, vain and sinful amusements, like others to do the same. Those who are ambitious love to see others ambitious. Those who are worldly minded love to see others worldly minded. Those who despise all religion love to see others despise it.

    III. Improvement.

    1. If sinners love to do things which they know are displeasing to God, then they never refrain from doing anything merely because they know it will be displeasing to Him. They know what is pleasing to themselves, and they mean to do what is pleasing to themselves, though they know it will be displeasing to God. They are like disobedient children and servants, who will always do what is agreeable to their own corrupt heart, though they know it will be disagreeable to their parents or masters, unless they fear their displeasure. It is the fear and not the love of God that restrains sinners from doing any evil action or pursuing any evil course.

    2. If sinners love to do things which they know are displeasing to God, then, though they do a great many things which He has required, yet they never do anything merely for the sake of obeying or pleasing Him. They labour to please themselves, and not Him.

    3. If sinners love to do things that they know are displeasing to God, and take pleasure in seeing others act from the same principle, then no external means nor motives are sufficient to restrain them from sin, and induce them to love and please God. They sin with their eyes wide open. They know what would please God, but they do not desire to please Him.

    4. If sinners not only do things which they know are displeasing to God, but take pleasure in seeing others do the same things, then they are guilty not only of their own sins, but of all the sins of others, which they see and approve. And the approvers are often more guilty and criminal than the actors. Parents who allow their children to profane the Sabbath, to game, to attend balls and haunt taverns, are more guilty than their children that do these things. Executive officers, who see and approve of those who break the laws of the land, are more guilty than the actual transgressors. The reason is, that in all these cases the approvers know more than the actors, and are under stronger obligations to condemn and restrain those who are under their care, than the transgressors are to refrain from their evil courses.

    5. If men are guilty of all the sins which they know and approve of, then we may see what it is to be guilty of national sins. It is to approve of those sins, which the majority of a nation commit and approve of. And, in this view, it is easy to see that one nation may be guilty of the sins of another nation. (N. Emmons, D. D.)

    The heinous guilt of taking pleasure in other men’s sins

    From the beginning of Romans 1:18 to the end of Romans 1:31 we have an abridgment of the lives and practices of the whole heathen world. And yet, as comprehensive as this catalogue of sin is, it is but of sin under a limitation; sins of direct and personal commission. Is not this a sufficient comprehension? For is not a man’s person the compass of his actions? Or, can he operate further than he does exist? Yes; he may not only commit sins, but also take pleasure in the sins of others. Which implies, first, that thus to take pleasure in other men’s sins is a distinct sin from all the former; and, secondly, that it is much greater--the furthest that human pravity can reach. For surely, that sin that exceeds idolatry, monstrous unnatural lusts, etc., must needs be such a one as must nonplus the devil himself to proceed further.

    I. What it is that brings a man to such a disposition of mind as to take pleasure in other men’s sins.

    1. In order to show this I shall premise--

    2. From these considerations we naturally infer--

    3. What, then, are the causes that corrupt the mind of man as to take pleasure in other men’s sins?

    II. The reasons a man’s being disposed to do so comes to be attended with such an extraordinary guilt.

    1. That naturally there is no motive to tempt a man to it. The lesser the temptation the greater the sin. For in every sin, the freer the will the more sinful the act. If the object be extremely pleasing, though the will has still a power of refusing it, yet it is not without some difficulty. Now this pleasure springs from the gratification of some desire founded in nature. An irregular gratification it is often; yet still the foundation of it is, and must be, something natural. Thus drunkenness is an irregular satisfaction of the appetite of thirst; and covetousness a boundless, unreasonable pursuit of the principle of self-preservation. There is hardly any one vice but what is the abuse of one of those two grand natural principles; namely, that which inclines a man to preserve himself, or to please himself. But now, what is, or can be, gratified by another man’s pursuit of his own vice? All the pleasure that naturally can be received from a vicious action can immediately affect none but him who does it. And therefore the delight that a man takes for another’s sin can be nothing else but a fantastical, preternatural love of vice, as such, a delighting in sin for its own sake. “If a man plays the thief,” says Solomon, “and steals to satisfy his hunger,” though it cannot wholly excuse the fact, yet it sometimes extenuates the guilt. But when a man shall, with a sober, diabolical rancour, enjoy himself in the sight of his neighbour’s sin and shame, can he plead the instigation of any appetite in nature inclining him to this? No, for he may as well carry his eyes in another man’s head, and run races with another man’s feet, as directly and naturally taste the pleasures that spring from the gratification of another man’s appetites. Nor can that person, who accounts it his recreation to see a man wallowing in his filthy revels, allege for a reason of his so doing that it leaves the least relish upon the tip of his tongue. What can we then assign for the cause of this monstrous disposition? Why, that the devil and long custom of sinning have superinduced upon the soul new, unnatural, and absurd desires, that relish things not at all desirable. In fine, there is as much difference between the pleasure a man takes in his own sins, and that which he takes in other men’s, as there is between the wickedness of a man and the wickedness of a devil.

    2. A second reason is, from the boundless nature of this way of sinning. For by this a man contracts a kind of a universal guilt, and, as it were, sins over the sins of others; so that while the act is theirs, the guilt of it is equally his. Personal powers and opportunities of sinning comparatively are not great; for at greatest, they must still be limited by the measure of a man’s acting, and the term of his duration. But now, for the way of sinning which we have been speaking of, it is neither confined by place nor weakened by age; but the bedrid and the lethargic may, upon this account, equal the activity of the strongest sinner. A man, by delight and fancy, may grasp in the sins of countries and ages, and by an inward liking of them communicate in their guilt.

    3. It presupposes and includes in it the guilt of many preceding sins. For a man must have passed many periods of sin before he can arrive to it, and have served a long apprenticeship to the devil before he can come to such a perfection and maturity in vice as this imports. It is the wickedness of a whole life, discharging all its foulness into this one quality, as into a great sink. So that nothing is, or can be, so properly and significantly called the “very sinfulness of sin,” as this.

    III. What kind of persons are to be reckoned under this character? In general whosoever draws others to sin. But to particularise--

    1. Those who teach doctrines directly tending to a sinful course (Matthew 5:19; cf. Mat_15:5-6). Now these are of two sorts.

    2. Such as endeavour to allure men to sin, either by formal persuasions (Proverbs 7:13-22), or by administering objects and occasions fit to draw forth a man’s corrupt affections; such as are the inflaming of a choleric person into a fit of rage against his neighbour, the provoking of a lustful person by filthy discourse, books, and pictures.

    3. Such as affect the company of vicious persons. For otherwise, what is there in such men, which they can pretend to be pleased with? For generally such sots have neither parts nor wits. It is clear, therefore, that where a man can like the conversation of debauched persons, amidst all the natural grounds of dislike, it can proceed from nothing but the inward affection he bears to their lewd humour. It is this he enjoys; and for the sake of this the rest he endures.

    4. Such as encourage men in their sins. This may be done--

    IV. The effects of this sin.

    1. Upon particular persons.

    2. Upon communities. Some men’s taking pleasure in other men’s sins will cause many men to sin to do them a pleasure, for--

    .


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    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

    Bibliography
    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Romans 1:32". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/romans-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    Who knowing the judgment of God,.... Either of the law of God, the law and light of nature, by which they might in some measure know the difference between good and evil, and what was right and wrong; or the judiciary sentence of God against sin:

    that they which commit such things are worthy of death; at least of corporeal death:

    not only do the same, but have pleasure in those that do them; all which greatly aggravated their wickedness, since they sinned against light and knowledge, with approbation and good liking of their own sins, and took pleasure in the sins of others. The Jews have a sayingF16T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 18. 2. ,

    "that no man is suspected of a thing but he has done it; and if he has not done the whole of it, he has done part of it, and if he has not done part of it, he has thought in his heart to do it, and if he has not thought in his heart to do it, ראה אחרים שעשו ושמח, "he has seen others do it, and has rejoiced".'

    And if such a man is a wicked man, how much more wicked are such who commit sin themselves, and delight in the sins of others? now from this whole account we see the insufficiency of the light of nature to guide persons in the way of salvation; what need there was of a divine revelation; and how impossible it is that such men should ever be justified before God, by any works of seeming righteousness done by them; which the apostle had in view, in giving this account of the depraved nature and conduct of the Gentiles, and of those among them who professed to be, and were the wisest and most knowing of them.


    Copyright Statement
    The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
    A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

    Bibliography
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/romans-1.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    Who knowing the o judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but p have pleasure in them that do them.

    (o) By the "judgment of God" he means that which the philosophers called the "law of nature", and the lawyers themselves termed the "law of nations".

    (p) Are companions and partakers with them in their wickedness, and beside that, commend those who do wrong.


    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

    Bibliography
    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/romans-1.html. 1599-1645.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    Who knowing — from the voice of conscience, Romans 2:14, Romans 2:15

    the judgment of God — the stern law of divine procedure.

    that they which commit such things are worthy of death — here used in its widest known sense, as the uttermost of divine vengeance against sin: see Acts 28:4.

    not only do the same — which they might do under the pressure of temptation and in the heat of passion.

    but have pleasure in them that do them — deliberately set their seal to such actions by encouraging and applauding the doing of them in others. This is the climax of our apostle‘s charges against the heathen; and certainly, if the things are in themselves as black as possible, this settled and unblushing satisfaction at the practice of them, apart from all the blinding effects of present passion, must be regarded as the darkest feature of human depravity.

    On this section, Note

    (1). “The wrath of God” against sin has all the dread reality of a “revelation from heaven” sounding in the consciences of men, in the self-inflicted miseries of the wicked, and in the vengeance which God‘s moral government, sooner or later, takes upon all who outrage it; so this “wrath of God” is not confined to high-handed crimes, or the grosser manifestations of human depravity, but is “revealed” against all violations of divine law of whatever nature - “against all ungodliness” as well as “unrighteousness of men,” against all disregard of God in the conduct of life as well as against all deviations from moral rectitude; and therefore, since no child of Adam can plead guiltless either of “ungodliness” or of “unrighteousness,” to a greater or less extent, it follows that every human being is involved in the awful sweep of “the wrath of God” (Romans 1:18). The apostle places this terrible truth in the forefront of his argument on justification by faith, that upon the basis of universal condemnation he might rear the edifice of a free, world-wide salvation; nor can the Gospel be scripturally preached or embraced, save as the good news of salvation to those that are all equally “lost.”

    (2). We must not magnify the supernatural revelation which God has been pleased to make of Himself, through Abraham‘s family to the human race, at the expense of that older, and, in itself, lustrous revelation which He has made to the whole family of man through the medium of their own nature and the creation around them. Without the latter, the former would have been impossible, and those who have not been favored with the former will be without excuse, if they are deaf to the voice and blind to the glory of the latter (Romans 1:19, Romans 1:20).

    (3). Willful resistance of light has a retributive tendency to blunt the moral perceptions and weaken the capacity to apprehend and approve of truth and goodness; and thus is the soul prepared to surrender itself, to an indefinite extent, to error and sin (Romans 1:21, etc.).

    (4). Pride of wisdom, as it is a convincing evidence of the want of it, so it makes the attainment of it impossible (Romans 1:22; and compare Matthew 11:25; 1 Corinthians 3:18-20).

    (5). As idolatry, even in its most plausible forms, is the fruit of unworthy views of the Godhead, so its natural effect is to vitiate and debase still further the religious conceptions; nor is there any depth of degradation too low and too revolting for men‘s ideas of the Godhead to sink to, if only their natural temperament and the circumstances they are placed in be favorable to their unrestrained development (Romans 1:23, Romans 1:25). The apostle had Greece and Egypt in his eye when he penned this description. But all the paganisms of the East at this day attest its accuracy, from the more elaborate idolatry of India and the simpler and more stupid idolatry of China down to the childish rudiments of nature worship prevalent among the savage tribes. Alas! Christendom itself furnishes a melancholy illustration of this truth; the constant use of material images in the Church of Rome and the materialistic and sensuous character of its entire service (to say nothing of the less offensive but more stupid service of the Greek Church,) debasing the religious ideas of millions of nominal Christians, and lowering the whole character and tone of Christianity as represented within their immense pale.

    (6). Moral corruption invariably follows religious debasement. The grossness of pagan idolatry is only equaled by the revolting character and frightful extent of the immoralities which it fostered and consecrated (Romans 1:24, Romans 1:26, Romans 1:27). And so strikingly is this to be seen in all its essential features in the East at this day, that (as Hodge says) the missionaries have frequently been accused by the natives of having forged the whole of the latter part of this chapter, as they could not believe that so accurate a description of themselves could have been written eighteen centuries ago. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah furnish a striking illustration of the inseparable connection between religion and morals. Israel corrupted and debased the worship of Jehovah, and the sins with which they were charged were mostly of the grosser kind - intemperance and sensuality: the people of Judah, remaining faithful to the pure worship, were for a long time charged mostly with formality and hypocrisy; and only as they fell into the idolatries of the heathen around them, did they sink into their vices. And may not a like distinction be observed between the two great divisions of Christendom, the Popish and the Protestant? To test this, we must not look to Popery, surrounded with, and more or less influenced by, the presence and power of Protestantism; nor to Protestantism under every sort of disadvantage, internal and external. But look at Romanism where it has unrestrained liberty to develop its true character, and see whether impurity does not there taint society to its core, pervading alike the highest and the lowest classes; and then look at Protestantism where it enjoys the same advantages, and see whether it be not marked by a comparatively high standard of social virtue.

    (7). To take pleasure in what is sinful and vicious for its own sake, and knowing it to be such, is the last and lowest stage of human recklessness (Romans 1:32). But

    (8). this knowledge can never be wholly extinguished in the breast of men. So long as reason remains to them, there is still a small voice in the worst of men, protesting, in the name of the Power that implanted it, “that they which do such things are worthy of death” (Romans 1:32).


    Copyright Statement
    These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
    This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

    Bibliography
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/romans-1.html. 1871-8.

    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    The ordinance of God (το δικαιωμα του τεουto dikaiōma tou theou). The heathen knows that God condemns such evil practices.

    But also consent with them (αλλα και συνευδοκουσινalla kai suneudokousin). Late verb for hearty approval as in Luke 11:48; Acts 8:1; 1 Corinthians 7:12. It is a tragedy of American city government that so many of the officials are proven to be hand in glove with the underworld of law-breakers.


    Copyright Statement
    The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

    Bibliography
    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/romans-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    Vincent's Word Studies

    Judgment ( δικαίωμα )

    Rev., correctly, ordinance.

    Commit ( πράσσοντες )

    Rev., better, practice. See on John 3:21.

    Paul would have been familiar with the abominations of the pagan world from the beginning of his life. The belief in paganism was more firmly rooted in the provinces than in Italy, and was especially vigorous in Tarsus; which was counted among the three Kappa Kakista, most villainous K's of antiquity - Kappadokia, Kilikia, and Krete. Religion there was chiefly of an Oriental character, marked by lascivious rites. See Farrar's “Life and Work of Paul,” ii., 24-34


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    Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/romans-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    Not only do the same, but have pleasure in those that practise them — This is the highest degree of wickedness. A man may be hurried by his passions to do the thing he hates; but he that has pleasure in those that do evil, loves wickedness for wickedness' sake. And hereby he encourages them in sin, and heaps the guilt of others upon his own head.


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    Bibliography
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/romans-1.html. 1765.

    Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

    Not only do the same, but have pleasure, &c.; that is, they were not merely led, by the power of temptation, to the occasional commission of sin, but it was their deliberate and settled purpose to love and encourage iniquity. A blacker catalogue of sins and of crimes than that here recorded, could scarcely be penned; and yet all history establishes the justice of every one of these charges, as expressing the prevailing characteristics of pagan morality, in every age. The shocking details of the evidence cannot be presented to a virtuous Christian community, nor are those who are accustomed to the social influences of Christianity capable of fully realizing the truth, when the evidence is placed before them.


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    Bibliography
    Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/romans-1.html. 1878.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    32.Who, knowing the judgement (61) of God, etc. Though this passage is variously explained, yet the following appears to me the correctest interpretation, — that men left nothing undone for the purpose of giving unbridled liberty to their sinful propensities; for having taken away all distinction between good and evil, they approved in themselves and in others those things which they knew displeased God, and would be condemned by his righteous judgment. For it is the summit of all evils, when the sinner is so void of shame, that he is pleased with his own vices, and will not bear them to be reproved, and also cherishes them in others by his consent and approbation. This desperate wickedness is thus described in Scripture:

    “They boast when they do evil,” (Proverbs 2:14.)

    “She has spread out her feet,
    and gloried in her wickedness,” (
    Ezekiel 16:25.)

    For he who is ashamed is as yet healable; but when such an impudence is contracted through a sinful habit, that vices, and not virtues, please us, and are approved, there is no more any hope of reformation. Such, then, is the interpretation I give; for I see that the Apostle meant here to condemn something more grievous and more wicked than the very doing of vices: what that is I know not, except we refer to that which is the summit of all wickedness, — that is, when wretched men, having cast away all shame, undertake the patronage of vices in opposition to the righteousness of God.


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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/romans-1.html. 1840-57.

    Vv. 32. "Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but applaud those who do them."

    The relation of this verse to what precedes has been very generally misunderstood, hence probably the corrections of the text attempted in some MSS.

    The most serious misunderstanding is that of Ritschl. This theologian regards the men to whom this verse and the four following (Romans 2:1-4) refer as forming a class by themselves, and wholly different from the sinners described from Romans 1:19 onward. The men who repress the truth, Romans 1:18, are according to him divided into two classes: "those who through heathenism have quenched the feeling of divine revelation (Romans 1:19-31)," and "those who, while judging the immoralities produced by paganism, nevertheless take part in them by their conduct (Romans 1:32 to Romans 2:4)." But it is easy to see that this construction is devised solely with the view of finding the development of the idea of divine wrath, Romans 1:18, in the passage Romans 2:5 et seq., and not in the παραδιδόναι, giving over, of Romans 1:24; Romans 1:26; Romans 1:28 (see p. 168). This construction, proposed by Ritschl, is impossible.

    1. Because judging with a view to approve, Romans 1:32, is not the same thing as judging to condemn, Romans 2:1-2.

    2. On account of the obvious relation between the terms of Romans 1:32 : though knowing the judgment of God, and those of Romans 1:28 : they did not keep God in their knowledge.

    3. The uniform sense of the pronoun οἵτινες, as people who, forces us to seek in the description of Romans 1:32 the justification of the judgment described from Romans 1:28.

    Far, then, from indicating a change of persons, this pronoun expresses the moral qualification by which the individuals just described have drawn on them so severe a punishment. It is an exact parallel to the οἵτινες of Romans 1:25. The latter justified the judgment of idolaters by recalling to mind the greatness of their offence. The former in the same way justifies the punishment which has overtaken the resistance of man to the revelation of moral good (Romans 1:28 a): "They had well deserved to be given over to this deluge of iniquities, they who had acted thus toward God when He revealed his will to them." The terms which follow and explain the pronoun they who, set forth this radical iniquity through which men quenched the sentiment of moral truth revealed in them; comp. Romans 1:28 a τὸ δικαίωμα, strictly, what God establishes as just; here: His just sentence; ἐπιγνόντες denotes the clear discernment which men had of it. The word recalls the γνόντες τὸν θεόν, knowing God, of Romans 1:21 : moral light was produced in them as well as religious light. The words following indicate the contents of that sentence which God had taken care to engrave on their heart. What appeals to God"s justice do we not find in the writings of Gentile historians and philosophers! What a description in their poets of the punishment inflicted on malefactors in Tartarus! The phrase worthy of death has been applied by some, and recently again by Hofmann, to the punishment of death as executed by human judges. But this penalty would suit only one term in the whole preceding enumeration, viz., φόνος, murder; and the τὰ τοιαῦτα, such things, does not allow so restricted an application. Death therefore here denotes death as God only can inflict it, the pains of Hades, which the Gentiles also recognized, and which Paul, designating things from his own point of view, calls death. The second part of the verse leads from the offence to the punishment. It is the mind deprived of discernment, to which God has given up men, in its most monstrous manifestation; not only doing evil, but applauding those who do it! This is true to fact. Had not the Caligulas and Neros found advocates, admirers, multitudes always ready to offer them incense? The not only, but even, rightly assumes that there is more guilt in approving in cold blood of the evil committed by others, than in committing it oneself under the force and blindness of passion. Such a mode of acting is therefore the last stage in the corruption of the moral sense.

    The reading of the Cantab. would signify: "They who, knowing the sentence of God, did not understand that those who do such things are worthy of death; for not only do they do them, etc."...This meaning would be admissible, but the contents of the sentence of God would remain absolutely unexplained, which is far from natural. The reading of the Vatic. would give the following translation: "They who, knowing the sentence of God, that those who do such things are worthy of death, not only doing those things, but approving those who do them." The construction in this case demands the doubling of the verb εἰσίν, are (first, as verb of the proposition ὅτι, that those who; then as verb of the proposition οἵτινες, they who). This construction is very forced; it is very probable, as has been supposed, that the reading of B is only an importation into the apostolic text of a form of quotation found in the Epistle of Clemens Romanus. This Father, quoting our passage, says: "They who practice these things are abominable in the sight of God; and not only they who do them ( οἱ πράσσοντες), but those also who approve them ( οἱ συνευδοκοῦντες)." The "did not understand," and the for added by the Cantab., appear to be mere attempts to correct the reading of the Vaticanus. In the whole of this chapter the apostle evidently distinguishes two degrees in the sin of the Gentile world; the one active and internal, the other passive and external; the one a natural result of depraved instinct, the other having the character of unnatural monstrosity. The first is chargeable on man, it is his guilt; the second is sin as a punishment, the manifest sign of God"s wrath. This great historical fact is developed in two aspects. First, from the religious point of view: man quenches his intuition of the Divine Being, and clothes God in the form of an idol; his punishment in this connection is self-degradation by monstrous impurities. Then in the moral point of view: man quenches the light of conscience, and as a punishment his moral discernment is so perverted that he puts the seal of his approbation on all the iniquities which he should have condemned and prevented. This is the worst of corruptions, that of the conscience. Thus is fully justified the great thought of Romans 1:18 : The wrath of God displayed on the Gentile world to punish the voluntary darkening of the religious sense (ungodliness) and of the moral sense (unrighteousness), which had been awakened in man by the primeval revelation of God.


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    Bibliography
    Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/romans-1.html.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    Ver. 32. Have pleasure] Or they patronize, applaud, and approve, συνευδοκουσι this is set last, as worst of all; it comprehends all kinds of consent. (Theop.) To hold the bag is as bad as to fill it. The law of God requires not only our observation but our preservation, to cause others to keep it, as well as ourselves; and to rebuke, at least by a cast of our countenance (as God doth, Psalms 80:16), those that violate it. There is little difference, faveasne sceleri, an illud facias, whether thou commit sin or consent to it.


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    Bibliography
    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/romans-1.html. 1865-1868.

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Romans 1:32. Who knowing the judgment of God, &c.— It seems here to be strongly implied, that to look with complacency on the vices of others is one of the last degrees of degeneracy. A man may be hurried by his passions to do the thing he hates; but he who has pleasure in those that do evil, loves wickedness for wickedness' sake. And hereby he encourages them in sin, and heaps the guilt of others upon his own. See the followingInferences, Locke, Mill, Erasmus, Doddridge, and Hallet's Introduction to J. Pearce on the Hebrews, p. 22.

    Inferences.—From the foregoing verses we have a long catalogue of the blackest sins which human nature, in its highest depravation, is capable of committing; and that so perfect, that there seems to be no sin imaginable but what may be reduced to and comprised under some of the sins here specified. In short, we have an abridgement of the lives and practices of the whole heathen world; that is, of all the baseness to which both the corruption of nature, and the instigation of the devil, could for so many ages bring the sons of men.

    And yet, full and comprehensive as this catalogue of sin seems to be, it is but of sin under a limitation: an universality of sin under a certain kind; that is, of all sins of direct and personal commission. And is not this, it may well be asked, a sufficient comprehension of all? Is not a man's person the compass of his actions? Or can he operate farther than he exists?—Yes, the Apostle tells us, in some sense he may; as he may not only commit such and such sins himself, but also take pleasure in others who commit them. This is indeed the farthest that human depravity can reach; the highest point of maliciousness to which the debauched powers of man's mind can ascend. For surely that sin, which exceeds the horrible list before us, must needs be such a one, that it must nonplus the devil himself to proceed farther. It is the very extremity, the concluding period of sin, the last finishing stroke of the devil's image drawn upon the human soul.

    The sense of St. Paul's words, in Romans 1:32 naturally resolves itself into this plain proposition: "That the guilt arising from man's delighting or taking pleasure in the sins of others, (or in other men for their sins, which is all one,) is greater than he can possibly contract by a commission of the same sins in his own person:" and this for the following reasons:

    1. There is no natural motive to induce or tempt a man to this mode of sinning; and it is a most certain truth, that the less the temptation is, the greater the sin; for in every sin, by how much more free the will is in its choice, by so much is the act more sinful. If the object be extremely pleasing, and apt to gratify it, there, though the will has still the power of refusal, yet it is not without some difficulty where grace does not fully reign; on which account it is that men are so strongly inclined to and so hardly diverted from the practice of vice; namely, because the sensual appetite arising from it is still importuning and drawing them to it.

    "But whence (it may be asked) springs this pleasure? Is it not from the gratification of some desire founded in nature?" It is indeed very often an irregular gratification; yet still the foundation of it is, and must be, something natural. So that the whole amounts to this; that the naturalness of a desire, is the cause that the gratification of it is pleasure, and pleasure importunes the will, and so renders a refusal or forbearance difficult, except to the genuine believer. Thus drunkenness is an irregular satisfaction to the appetite of thirst; uncleaness an unlawful gratification of another appetite, and covetousness a boundless pursuit of the principle of self-security. So that all these are founded in some natural desire, and therefore pleasurable, and on that account capable of soliciting and enticing the will. In a word, there is hardly any one vice or sin, of direct and personal commission, but what is an abuse of one of those two grand natural principles;—either that which inclines a man to preserve himself, or that which inclines him to please himself.

    But what natural principle, faculty, or desire, either of pleasure or preservation, can be gratified by another man's pursuit of vice? It is evident that all the pleasure which naturally can be received from a vicious action, can immediately affect none but him who perpetrates it, and no man can feel by another man's senses. So that the delight which a man takes from another's sin, can be only a fantastic, preternatural complacency, arising from that of which he has really no feeling: it is properly a love of vice as such; a delighting in iniquity for its own sake; and it is a direct imitation, or rather exemplification of the malice of that evil spirit, who delights in seeing those sins committed, of which the very condition of his nature renders him incapable.

    If a man plays the thief, as Solomon remarks, and steals to satisfy his hunger; though it cannot excuse the fact, yet it sometimes extenuates the guilt: we consider the strong impulse of appetite, we consider the frailty of human nature; and we cannot but pity the person, while we abhor the crime: it being like the case of one ready to drink poison, rather than die with thirst.

    But when a man shall, with a sober, sedate, diabolical rancour, enjoy himself in the sight of his neighbour's shame, and secretly hug himself upon the ruins of a brother's virtue, and the dishonours of his reason, can he plead the instigation of any appetite in nature, inclining him to this?—this is impossible, and beyond a pretence. To what cause then can we assign this monstrous disposition? All that can be said in this case is, that nature proceeds by quite another method,—having given men such and such appetites, and allotted to each their respective enjoyments,—the appetite and the pleasure still cohabiting in the same subject,—the devil, and long custom of sinning, have, in the present instance, superinduced upon the soul, new, unnatural, and absurd desires, which have no real object; which relish things not at all desirable; but, like the distemper of the soul, feed only on filth and corruption, and give a man both the devil's nature, and the devil's delight; who has no other joy or happiness, but to dishonour his Maker, and to destroy his fellow-creatures;—to corrupt them here, and to torment them hereafter. In fine, there is as much difference between the pleasure that a man takes in his own sins, and that which he takes in other men's, as there is between the wickedness of a man, and the wickedness of a devil.

    2. A second reason why a conduct like this is attended with such an extraordinary guilt, arises from the unlimited nature of this mode of sinning; for hereby a man contracts a kind of universal guilt, and as it were sins over the sins of all other men. So that while the act is exclusively theirs, the guilt is equally his. Consider any man as to his personal powers, and opportunities of sinning,—at the greatest they must still be limited by the measure of his actings and the term of his duration. His active powers are but weak, and his continuance in the world but short: so that nature is not sufficient to keep pace with his corruptions by answering desire with proportionable practice.

    To instance only in those two grand extravagancies of lust and drunkenness; let a man be never so general and licentious in his debaucheries, yet age will in time chill the heats of appetite, and the impure flame will either die of itself, or consume the body which harbours it. Let a man be never so insatiable in drinking, he cannot be such a swine as to be always pouring in; but he will, in the compass of years, drown his health and his strength in his own belly; and, after all his drunken trophies, at length drink down himself too; an event which certainly will and must put an end to the debauch.

    But this collateral mode of sinning, which we have been attempting to delineate, is neither confined to place, nor weakened by age. The bed-ridden, the gouty, the lethargic, all may, on this account, equal the activity of the strongest, and the speed of the most impetuous sinner. Such a one may take his brother by the throat, and act the murderer, even while he can neither stir a hand, nor lift a foot; and may invade his neighbour's bed, even while weakness has tied him down to his own. He may sin over all the adulteries and debaucheries, all the frauds and oppressions of the whole neighbourhood, and break every command of God's law by proxy:—and (as a learned divine emphatically concludes) well were it for him, if he could be damned by proxy too.—A man, by delight and fancy, may grasp in the sins of all countries and ages, and, by an inward liking of them, communicate in their guilt; he may take a range all the world over, draw in all that wide circumference of vice, and centre it in his own polluted breast. So that hereby there is a kind of transmigration of sins, much like that which Pythagoras held of souls; such a one, as makes a man not only (according to the Apostle's phrase) a partaker of other men's sins, but also a deriver of the whole aggravated guilt of them to himself;—yet still so, as to leave the actual perpetrator as full of guilt as he was before!

    Hence then we see the infinitely fruitful and productive power of this mode of sinning; how it can increase and multiply beyond all measures of actual commission; how vastly it swells the sinner's account in an instant! So that a man shall, out of all the various villainies acted round about him, extract one mighty guilt, and adopt it for himself, and thus become chargeable before God, the judge of hearts, and accountable for a world of sin, without a figure.

    3. The third and last reason that we shall offer of the extraordinary guilt attending this peculiar vice, arises from the soul's preparation and passage to such a disposition, as it presupposes and includes in it the guilt of many preceding sins. A man must have passed through many periods of sin before he can arrive at it; for it is in a manner the very quintessence and sublimation of vice, by which, as in spirituous liquors, the malignity of many ingredients is contracted into a little compass, but with a greater advantage of strength by such a contraction. In a word, it is the wickedness of a whole life discharging all its defilements into one common quality, as into a great sink of turpitude; so that nothing can be so properly, or significantly called the very sinfulness of sin as this. No wonder, therefore, if, containing in its bowels the guilt of so many years, it stands here eternally stigmatized by the Apostle, as a temper of mind rendering men so detestably bad, that Satan himself, the great enemy of mankind, is neither able nor desires to make them worse. What can or need be said more to awaken the abhorrence of every serious reader against it!—It is indeed a condition not to be thought of by any person serious enough to weigh and consider consequences, without the utmost horror. Happy they who truly fear and love God; for such will not only be kept from it, but from those easily besetting sins which lead to this perfection of iniquity!

    REFLECTIONS.—1st, The epistle opens,

    1. With an account of the author. Paul a servant of Jesus Christ, once an envenomed persecutor, but now called to be an Apostle, and glorying in this honourable name; separated unto the Gospel of God; to that delightful and happy work of preaching the glad tidings of salvation through a dying Redeemer; signally distinguished by the Spirit's call, qualified by the working of his mighty power, and solemnly dedicated and devoted to this service.

    2. The Apostle no sooner mentions the Gospel of God, than his heart fires at the views of its glory and excellence. The wondrous scheme had been the burden of the prophetic word from the beginning, where various hints of it had been given, and promises made of a more clear revelation of the divine mind and will which might be expected in the fulness of time. The grand subject of this Gospel is Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the anointed Saviour, and our Lord; the object of our faith and worship, and the King to whom we owe all duty and allegiance; who, in his human nature, was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, as had been foretold (Psalms 132:11.), and as to his divine nature, he was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead. As the eternal Son of God, he possessed the same divine nature and perfections with the Father, they being one in the Spirit of holiness, in the essence of the undivided Godhead; a demonstration of which appeared, when, by the exertion of his own power, through the operation of the holy Spirit, he raised his body from the grave; so that he is God and man in one Christ.

    3. From this risen Saviour he professes to have received, together with his brethren, grace and apostleship, both the high honour of that office, and ability to discharge it to the glory of God; for obedience to the faith among all nations for his name; this being the great end of their ministry, to bring all men, both Jews and Gentiles, to the faith of the Gospel, and that holy obedience which flows from it, by which the name of Jesus should be to eternity exalted. Note; As obedience to God's law is the great fruit of faith, so is faith itself a most eminent part of obedience, when considered as an act of submission to the righteousness of God.

    4. He with pleasure mentions the happy lot which they had among those who were become obedient to the faith; among whom are ye also the called of Christ Jesus; by his word and Spirit brought to the participation of all the privileges of the Gospel; beloved of God and called to be saints; separated from a world which lieth in wickedness. Note; Every truly regenerate soul is the happy object of the divine regard; and all such are obliged to answer in their spirit and conversation the honourable title they bear, as the saints of God.

    5. To these the Apostle addresses his epistle. To all that be in Rome, professors of the faith, and in the judgment of charity partakers of the grace of God in truth, may grace, pardoning, comforting, quickening, sanctifying, be multiplied to you; and peace, the blessed effect thereof, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    2nd, After the warmest wishes for all spiritual blessings upon them, and his benediction, that the grace and peace he prayed for, would be bestowed upon them,

    1. He thanks God on their behalf, whom he calls my God, happy in an assured interest in his favour and love through Jesus Christ, by whom alone every mercy descended on him or them. And the matter of his thanksgiving was, their faith spoken of throughout the world; they had approved themselves eminently faithful, and were the glory and joy of the churches, who triumphed in their eminent attainments. Note; (1.) When faith can say, My God, then the heart will be filled with thanksgiving and praise. (2.) A Christian's heart glows with gratitude, when he beholds the power of divine grace shining in the conversation of his brethren. (3.) Though we may not affect a name in the world, yet it is highly desirable to be spoken of by good men, and that our faith and conduct should receive their approbation.

    2. He appeals to God for his incessant prayers on their behalf. God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel of his Son; most willingly, affectionately, and faithfully preaching the glad tidings of salvation through the divine Redeemer; that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, begging that the best of blessings may descend upon you; and particularly making request (if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God) to come unto you, and enjoy the comfort of personal conversation with you. Note; (1.) Those whom we truly love, we should remember without ceasing at the throne of grace. (2.) God's service must engage our souls: nothing is acceptable to him but what is done heartily with an eye to his glory. (3.) In all our journeys the Lord should be regarded: though we devise our way, he must direct our steps.

    3. The ends that he proposed to himself in this visit, were, [1.] Their benefit. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; confirmed, if it please God, by his labours and ministry in the faith; guarded against seducers, and their ministers furnished with greater gifts for the edifying of the church. [2.] Their mutual consolation: That is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both you and me; when, by communicating their mutual experience, they might discover the gracious workings of the same divine faith, and rejoice together in the glorious hope, set before them. Note; (1.) The highest advanced in faith and grace have need of farther establishment. (2.) Mutual communications of the dealings of God with our souls greatly tend both to our comfort and establishment in the faith.

    4. He informs them that he had long meditated a visit to them, though hitherto he had been providentially hindered by the difficulties that he had to encounter, and the engagements which lay upon him; being earnestly desirous to have some fruit among them, even as among other Gentiles; that he might see his ministry attended with the same blessed effects, as in so many other places. And in these his labours he looked upon himself as a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; his call of God to the office of apostleship, and the qualifications that he was endued with, obliged him to be faithful to his trust: and as the deepest adepts in Grecian literature were, respecting the way of salvation, as far removed from the truth as the most unpolished barbarian, he endeavoured to suit his discourses to both, that the wise men of this world might become wise unto salvation through the Gospel word, and the weaker and more unlearned be fed with the sincere milk of heavenly truth. Note; (1.) All our abilities and gifts of nature, providence, or grace, are lent us of the Lord, and to be accounted for to him, as being his debtors for them. (2.) We must suit our discourses to our auditory; and though the matter be the same, the manner should be varied, to give every man his portion in due season.

    5. He professes the alacrity and cheerfulness wherewith he looks rewards Rome, amid all the dangers that he might expect to encounter there, ready to preach the Gospel in the most public manner, and fearless of any consequences from the opposition of the many or the mighty. The ministers of grace should thus be bold as lions in the cause of truth, nor fear the faces of men.

    3rdly, The apostle having experienced the power of the Gospel on his own soul, so far was he from being ashamed of the reproach of the cross, which to the Jews was a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness, that he gloried in the honour of being sent to publish to small and great the glad tidings of salvation through a crucified Jesus; and he gives his reasons for so doing.

    1. Because the Gospel which he preached was the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek; this being the great mean which God is pleased to make use of, and through the Spirit's working comes with demonstration to the sinner's heart; and it was sent to the Jews first, and then more generally to the Gentile world, that they might believe the divine report, and by faith embrace and lay hold of the hope of eternal life revealed in the Gospel; for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith, being wholly of faith, exclusive of all works and duties of our own (see 2 Corinthians 3:18.), or from the doctrine of faith in the word, to the grace of faith in the heart; or rather from one degree of faith to another; as it is written, in the Old Testament, which exactly corresponds in doctrine with the New, the just or justified man, shall live by faith; hereby he is brought into, and continues in, a state of spiritual life; so that sin has no more dominion over him.

    2. Because without this method of divine grace every human creature must lie down under eternal wrath and despair: for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; God's word denounces vengeance on every transgressor; his judgments past have often fearfully spoken his displeasure against sin; and the whole world are found guilty before him, since all have sinned in opposition to their better knowledge, whether Jews, who enjoyed the light of revelation; or Gentiles, whom God left without witness, giving them sufficient traditionary notices of his being, perfections, and attributes, which the visible objects around them served to explain, so as to leave them without excuse in their idolatry and disobedience. Note; (1.) Every sinner at God's bar will stand self-condemned; he will be made to own that he knew better, and did worse. (2.) Fearful is the wrath revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men: if it once seize on the sinner, it will burn, and never can be quenched. (3.) How highly should we value, and how eagerly embrace that glorious Gospel, which affords shelter from those terrible blasts of the divine vengeance!

    4thly, The deplorable state of guilt in which the Gentile world lay is pathetically described, and the judgment of God against them therefore evidently appears to be the most righteous.

    1. They had, though not the light of revelation, yet such notices of God's being and attributes, as left them inexcusable. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, or among them; for God hath shewed it unto them, by the traditionary notices delivered down from the beginning, and by the works of creation and providence, which confirm and evidence the truth of the being and glory of the eternal Jehovah; whose invisible things, his divine perfections, his eternal power and Godhead, his self-existence, incorporeal nature, infinite wisdom and goodness, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made: the intellectual faculties contemplating the visible objects, and man himself ( κτισις κοσμου, ) the most remarkable creature upon earth, might from the creation of the world, through the secret influences of divine grace, receive sufficient confirmation of what God had shewed unto men concerning himself.

    2. They notwithstanding fell into the grossest and most inexcusable idolatry. When they knew God, had some notions of his being and attributes, and might have obtained clearer discoveries had they attended to the means of instruction which he afforded them; they glorified him not as God, neither in their hearts, their worship, nor their conduct, not regarding and treating him suitably to his nature and perfections; neither were thankful, insensible to the blessings of his providence, and imputing to second causes all the mercies which they received from the first. Hence they became vain in their own imaginations, indulging their fancies, and, proudly reasoning about matters which were too high for them, the philosophers set up their various systems, and in their contests and disputations for their own opinions erred alike from the truth; and their foolish heart was darkened, their boasted wisdom became folly, the corruption of their nature blinded their understanding, and, in the midst of the highest pretensions to science, they sunk into the most fatal depths of ignorance and error; professing themselves to be wise, puffed up with the conceit of their vast attainments, they became fools, perfect idiots in the most obvious matters respecting the divine Being and worship; and, instead of a Spirit immortal, invisible, eternal, they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things; so shockingly debating his dignity; so horridly infatuated in their wild imaginations; changing the truth of God into a lie, ascribing to idols the honour due to Jehovah; making such false representations of him, as if he were corporeal; and worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator, ( παρα, ) above, besides, or contrary to him. Though they acknowledged a supreme Numen, their worship was chiefly directed to their inferior deities; and all the services which they paid to their idols were the greatest dishonour to God, and reflected most highly upon his being and perfections, who is blessed for ever. Amen! He is infinitely and necessarily blessed and glorious in himself, the only author of blessedness to all his creatures, and the alone worthy object of their worship and adoration; to whom may it be for ever rendered and ascribed!

    3. In just judgment upon them for such abominable idolatry, and direct opposition to the notices that he had given them concerning himself, he gave them up; abandoned them to their own heart's lusts; which, when his restraining grace was withdrawn, hurried them headlong into the foulest and most unnatural acts of uncleanness, the very mention of which should make us shudder with horror. To commit such uncleanness with greediness was at once the filling up of the measure of their iniquities, and the heavy and deserved punishment inflicted for their idolatry, the recompence of their error which was meet. And as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, but quenched the gift that he had bestowed, and acted in opposition to the knowledge which he had vouchsafed to them, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, rejected them with abhorrence, and left them to the blindness, hardness, and malignity of their fallen hearts, to do those things which are not convenient, detestable to God, dishonourable to themselves, and the consequences of which must be eternally ruinous, being filled with all unrighteousness. And the dreadful catalogue of sins here given, was not merely applicable to the more ignorant and unrefined part of the Gentile world, but was notoriously true of their wisest philosophers and their most famed moralists; who knowing the judgment of God, and having sufficient light in their consciences to discover, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, as transgressors against the Majesty on high;—yet so enslaved were they by their vile affections, that they not only do the same themselves, but have pleasure in them that do them, encourage, countenance, and take delight in others who commit the same abominations. From all which it is most evident, that men of such a character as these can never, by any works of righteousness which they can pretend to, be justified before God; but must be saved by abounding grace, or perish. Note; (1.) Nothing is a sorer punishment than for the sinner to be given up to his own heart's lusts. (2.) When God withdraws his restraints, there are no abominations into which we shall not rush headlong, as the horse rusheth into the battle. (3.) When we see the dire iniquities here recorded, and behold them in the practice and temper of others, we should reflect for our own humiliation, that our hearts are by nature the same, alike corrupt. (4.) Sin against light and knowledge is most exceeding sinful; but the summit of iniquity is, to take a diabolical pleasure in the wickedness of others, and to love sin for its own sake.


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    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/romans-1.html. 1801-1803.

    Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

    The apostle here closes the chapter with the blackest character that could be given of the Gentiles sin, namely, That although by the light of nature, and the dictates of natural conscience, they knew that their adulteries and unnatural lusts did deserve death, and expose them to the wrath of God, yet they not only committed those sins themselves, but took a real pleasure and delight in those that committed them. Now this was the top and height of their wickedness. It is a greater wickedness to approve and applaud sin, than it is to act and commit sin; to delight in sin, is worse than to do sin. A man may fall into sin by the policy of the tempter, and the prevalency of temptation, but by considerations may be brought to a sense of his folly, and repent that he not only approves and applauds, but takes pleasure and delight in the wickedness of others; this demonstrates such a strong affection to sin, as brings a man nearest to the devil in sinning.

    Learn hence, 1. That there is in God an avenging justice, engaging him to punish sin with the eternal death of the sinner.

    2. That there is that evil and malignity in sin, which deserves the judgment and sentence of eternal death.

    3. That this desert of sin, as also the vengeance of God upon the sinner, is sufficiently made known to all men; to some by the light of nature, to others by the superadded light of scripture.

    4. That notwithstanding this discovery of sin's desert of divine wrath, yet multitudes of sinners everywhere do not only commit wickedness themselves but delight in it, and in them that do it, which lays them under an aggravated guilt, and will both heighten and hasten their condemnation; Who knowing the judgment of God, that they who do such things, are worthy of death, not only do the same, but take pleasure in them that do them.


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    Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/romans-1.html. 1700-1703.

    Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

    32.] The Apostle advances to the highest grade of moral abandonment,—the knowledge of God’s sentence against such crimes, united with the contented practice of them, and encouragement of them in others.

    τὸ δικαίωμα τ. θ.] the sentence of God, unmistakeably pronounced in the conscience.

    ὅτι κ. τ. λ.] viz. that they who do such things are worthy of death; this is the sentence, and must not be enclosed in a parenthesis, as in Wetstein, Griesbach, and Scholz.

    θανάτου, what sort of death? Probably a general term for the fatal consequence of sin; that such courses lead to ruin. The word can hardly be pressed to its exact meaning: for many of the crimes mentioned could never be visited with judicial capital punishment in this world (as Grot.): nor could the heathen have any definite idea of eternal, spiritual death, as the penalty attached to sin (Calov.),—nor again, any idea of the connexion between sin and natural death. “Life and Death,” remarks Umbreit, “are ever set over against one another in the O. T. as well as in the N. T., the one as including all good that can befall us, the other, all evil.” p. 246

    The description here given by the Apostle of the moral state of the heathen world should by all means be compared with that in Thucyd. iii. 82–84, of the moral state of Greece in the Peloponnesian war: and a passage in Wisdom of Solomon 14:22-31, the opening of which is remarkably similar to our text: εἶτʼ οὐκ ἤρκεσε τὸ πλανᾶσθαι περὶ τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ γνῶσιν, ἀλλὰ.…, Romans 1:22, and again Romans 1:27, ἡ γὰρ τῶν ἀνωνύμων εἰδώλων θρησκεία παντὸς ἀρχὴ κακοῦ καὶ αἰτία καὶ πέρας ἐστίν.


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    Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/romans-1.html. 1863-1878.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    REFLECTIONS

    Reader! let you and I both pause at the entrance on this blessed Epistle, and while we adore God the Holy Ghost for so precious a gift to his Church, let us beg of Him to give us an understanding and believing heart, in the right apprehension of all its sacred contents. And here, in the very opening, let us look up and behold the Lord Jesus Christ in our nature, in all the glories of his person, and offices, and character. He was, he is declared to be, the Son of God, with power. His divine nature fully proved by his quickening Spirit, and his human nature by his death and resurrection, and both confirming his suitability to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is his body, the fulness of Him which filleth all in all!

    And, oh! what preciousness is hereby discovered of the Gospel of Christ! How blessedly adapted for the delivery of our poor nature from the ruins of the fail! How graciously contrived for the everlasting happiness of the Church! Reader! behold the holy joy of Paul, in his readiness to preach it to all that were in Rome, yea, all the world, among the beloved of God, and called to be saints. I am not ashamed (said Paul,) of the Gospel of Christ! Ashamed? Who is, who can be ashamed at that which is the highest glory of our nature? The Son of God in our nature proclaiming mercy, pardon, and peace, in the blood of his cross. But, Reader! see to it, that we shrink not from the same standard, and the same cause; when we can say, and appeal as he did, God Is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel of his Son! Lord! grant that thy people, in the awful view of what thy servant hath here shewn of a fallen state, may be led to contemplate the blessed deliverance wrought out for the Church by the Lord Jesus Christ, And, oh! for grace to enter into an heart-felt enjoyment of these unspeakable mercies, that while the righteousness of God therein is revealed from faith to faith, all truly justified believers may live by faith!


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    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/romans-1.html. 1828.

    Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

    Romans 1:32. οἵτινες] quippe qui, of such a character, that they, cannot be the specification of a reason, as in Romans 1:25, and cannot consequently be intended to repeat once more the laying of the blame on themselves, since Romans 1:32 merely continues the description of the wickedness. It rather serves to introduce the awful completion of this description of vice; and that in such a way, that the Gentile immorality is brought clearly to light as an opposition to knowledge and conscience, and is thereby at the last very evidently shown to be wholly inexcusable (comp Romans 2:1).

    τὸ δικαίω΄α τ. θεοῦ] i.e. that which God as Lawgiver and Judge has ordained; what He has determined, and demands, as right. Comp Krüger on Thuc. i. 41, 1; and see on Romans 5:16. Paul means the natural law of the moral consciousness (Romans 2:15), which determines: ὅτι οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες κ. τ. λ(564) This ὅτι κ. τ. λ(565) therefore is not to be treated as a parenthesis.

    ἐπιγνόντες] although they have discerned (comp on Romans 1:28), not merely γνόντες; but so much the greater is the guilt.

    θανάτου] What in the view of the heathen was conceived of as the state of punishment in Hades (comp Philippi and Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 277), which was incurred through vice and crime, Paul designates, in accordance with the truth involved in it (comp Plat. Rep. p. 330 D), from his standpoint as θανάτος, and by this he means eternal death (comp 2 Thessalonians 1:8); not temporal (Bengel, van Hengel, Mehring); or execution (Grotius, Hofmann); also not indefinitely severe punishments,(570) the misery of sin, and so forth (so even Fritzsche and de Wette).

    συνευδοκ. τοῖς πράσσ.] they are consenting with them that do them (comp Luke 11:48; Acts 8:1; 1 Corinthians 7:12; 1 Maccabees 1:60; 2 Maccabees 11:24). They not only do those things, but are also in their moral judgment (so wholly antagonistic to conscience has the latter become in the abandonment unto which God has decreed them, Romans 1:28) in agreement with others who so act. Bengel well remarks: “pejus est συνευδοκεῖν; nam qui malum patrat, sua sibi cupiditate abducitur,” etc., and how sharply are we otherwise ourselves accustomed to see and judge the mote in the eye of another! (Matthew 7:3). This climax(572) to the description of immorality, moreover, is neither to be referred with Grotius and Baumgarten-Crusius to the philosophers, who approved of several vices (paederastia, revenge, etc.) or regarded them as adiaphora; nor with Heumann and Ewald to the magistrates, who left many crimes unpunished and even furthered them by their own example; but, in harmony with the quite general delineation of Gentile depravity, to be taken as a general feature marking the latter, which is thus laid bare in the deepest slough of moral perversity.

    The πράσσοντες and πράσσουσι are more comprehensive than the simple ποιοῦσιν (do), designating the pursuit of these immoralities as the aim of their activity. See on John 3:20. Comp Romans 2:3; Romans 7:15; Romans 13:4; Dem. de cor. 62: τί προσῆκον ἦν ἑλέσθαι πράττειν κ. ποιεῖν.


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    Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/romans-1.html. 1832.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    Romans 1:32. δικαίωμα, [judgment.—Eng. ver.], the royal, divine, principle of justice, that God approves of virtues, hates vices, visits the wicked with the punishment of death, and justly and deservedly so, in order that He may show that He is not unjust. For whilst He punishes the guilty with death, He Himself is justified [is manifested as just]. This Royal rule is acknowledged even among the Gentiles.— ὁτι) viz. that.— πράσσοντες· πράσσουσι) [those that commit or practise.] This verb, which is repeated after the interposition of ποιοῦσιν [do], accurately expresses the wantonness of profligate men, which is altogether opposed to divine justice. ποιοῦσιν)—they do such things, even with the affections, and with the reason. The same distinction between these two verbs occurs,(20) ch. Romans 2:3.— θανάτου, of death) Leviticus 18:24, etc.; Acts 28:4. From time to time every extremely wicked generation of men is extirpated, and posterity is entirely propagated from those, whose conduct has not been so immoral.— ἀλλὰ καὶ, but also.) It is a worse thing, συνευδοκε͂ ιν, to approve [of the evil]; for he, who perpetrates what is evil, is led away by his own desire, not without an argument of condemnation against himself, or even against others,—(Comp. thou that judgest, Romans 2:1), and at the same time shows his approbation of the law.—Comp. with this, ch. Romans 7:16; but he who, συνευδοκεῖ, or approves, with the heart and with the tongue [that which is evil], has as the fruit of wickedness, wickedness itself; he feeds upon it; he adds to the heap of his own guilt the guilt of others, and inflames others to the commission of sin. He is a worse man, who destroys both himself and others, than he who destroys himself alone. This is truly a reprobate mind.— ἀδόκιμον and συνευδοκοῦσι are conjugate forms.—See Romans 1:28, note. The judging, in ch. Romans 2:1, is the antithesis to the approving here. The Gentiles not only do these things, but also approve of them. The Jew judges indeed, thereby expressing disapproval; but yet he does them.— τοῖς πράσσουσι, them that do them) themselves, and others.—Comp. Isaiah 3:9.


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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/romans-1.html. 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Knowing the judgment of God; i.e. his just law and statute, or his justice in punishing sin and sinners. This the Gentiles knew by the light of nature, and by the examples of God’s justice in the world.

    That they which commit such things are worthy of death; the barbarians of Melita judged murder worthy of death, Acts 28:4: see Acts 23:29 26:31. The heathen also had some knowledge of future and everlasting punishment, as appears by their writings: and were persuaded that the sins be dementioned, and such like, did really deserve it.

    Have pleasure in them that do them; or, patronize and applaud such; see Psalms 10:3. This is set last, as worst of all; it is the highest degree of wickedness: such come nearest the devil, who take pleasure in evil because it is evil.


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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Romans 1:32". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/romans-1.html. 1685.

    Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

    Knowing the judgment of God; their desert of his wrath.

    Worthy of death; justly exposed to it.

    Do the same; commit the crimes mentioned.

    Have pleasure; are pleased with others who commit them and encourage them in their crimes. The history of the world in all ages shows, that all means to overcome human depravity without the gospel of Christ, or to remove its evils without faith in him, will be unavailing. Philanthropists, therefore, and friends of external morality as well as of internal godliness should unite in making known Jesus Christ as soon as possible to every human being.


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    Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/romans-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

    Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

    32. οἵτινες κ.τ.λ. define once more the root of the evil—rejection of known truth—here as to the fixed judgment of GOD on such acts and persons.

    τὸ δικαίωμα = the just decision or claim, cf. Romans 2:26, Romans 8:4; Luke 1:6, not so much of the judge as of the legislator. The word and its cognates used of a judge seem always to imply acquittal.

    πράσσοντες. Practise—methodically and deliberately. ποιοῦσιν = commit the acts, without necessarily implying deliberation. συνευδοκοῦσιν, join with deliberate and hearty purpose. There is a true climax. A conspiracy of evil is worse than isolated actions, because it indicates the set tendency of the heart. Cf. S. H.; cf. Luke 11:48; Acts 8:1; Acts 22:20. N. the Test. of the Twelve Patriarchs, Ash. Romans 6:2, καὶ πράσσουσι τὸ κακὸν καὶ συνευδοκοῦσι τοῖς πράσσουσιν. Charles regards this passage as the original of our verse here.


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    "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/romans-1.html. 1896.

    Wells of Living Water Commentary

    The Wrath and Judgments of God

    Romans 1:32 ; Romans 2:1-12

    INTRODUCTORY WORDS

    As we listen to the pulsings of twentieth century thought, we find that God is not only being denied by many, but his wrath against unrighteousness and His judgments against sin are being generally set aside by the ungodly.

    A study of the Word of God reveals that God's love and goodness in no sense lessens the severity of His judgment against the ungodly.

    Grace does not make justice negligible; it rather makes it more severe. Love does not make sin less sinful, nor does it make sin's punishment less severe. Mercy in no wise lessens wrath.

    What grace does, is to make God's love operative by sustaining every legal demand of the Law for righteousness, by the death of a Substitute. Grace transferred wrath from the sinner to the Saviour. Grace not only sustained the Law, but it fully met the righteous judgments of God against the sinner for his sins, by placing stripes due the ungodly upon the God-sent Son.

    He who mocks at the righteousness of God's wrath, and the honor of God's judgments, should stop at the Cross and behold the agonies of the Son of God, as He went His weary way around the cycle of His sufferings, the Just dying for the unjust.

    He who denies hell, would make Heaven impossible; for Christ's descent into hades only makes the believer's ascent into Heaven possible.

    When the world believes that there is no judgment for sin; no punishment for the wicked then sin will run riot on the earth. "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."

    The wicked have set themselves against faith in any Divine justice ever overtaking them; they have tried to persuade themselves that God doth not know, or that if He does know, He is good and does not punish the guilty; yet these same wicked men have never failed to call down judgment on the heads of those who sin against themselves.

    If law, judgment, and punishment is removed from any land, red-handed murder and repine will rule the day.

    We will bring out various aspects of God's wrath and of His judgments against sin, which should help students to understand better some things we may not have considered from God's viewpoint.

    Hasten, sinner, to be blest!

    Stay not for the morrow's sun,

    Lest perdition thee arrest,

    Ere the morrow is begun.

    I. THE FACT OF GOD'S WRATH (Romans 1:18 )

    The wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men is not a matter of conjecture, and of discussion pro and cons for it is a revealed wrath. This is the statement of our text.

    The preceding verse says that the "righteousness" of God is also revealed in the Gospel of Christ. In Romans 1:20 God's eternal power and Godhead is said to be clearly seen, so that also is revealed.

    The man who rebels against the revelation of God's wrath as set forth in Romans 1:18 , must of necessity, therefore, rebel against God's righteousness, and even against God's eternal power and Godhead.

    There is no room for finding fault because God has revealed His wrath. It is fact and not fancy. It is impossible for men to live in ungodliness that is, a wrong relationship with God: and in unrighteousness that is, with wrong relationships toward men, without meriting the wrath of God.

    All down through the ages God has manifested His wrath against sin, whether it be sin toward God or sin toward man. In the very beginning God's wrath fell on Adam and he was expelled from the garden. Cain came next under the wrath of God and he cried, "My punishment is greater than I can bear." Soon the whole world became evil and was corrupted before God and it was overthrown with the flood. The Tower of Babel, the mark of man's vaulted pride was cast down; the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown; the Egyptians were drowned in the Red Sea; the seven nations dwelling in the land of Canaan with the cup of their iniquity full were destroyed, and thus the wrath of God swept on and still it sweeps.

    Our theme is correct for God's wrath is a fact and not a fancy. Men cannot live as they list, giving vent to every desire of the flesh, without paying the penalty thereof.

    The hand of God is still writing our judgment and condemnation on the wall.

    So our deeds are recorded

    There's a Hand that's writing now:

    Sinner, give your heart to Jesus

    To His royal mandate bow;

    For the day is approaching

    It must come to one and all,

    When the sinner's condemnation

    Will be written on the wall.

    II. THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY ARE INEXCUSABLE (Romans 1:20 ; Romans 2:1 )

    The world is full of excuses. Cain was one of the first to excuse his sin by saying, "Am I my brother's keeper?" There is scarcely a sin toward God or man, be it ever so vile, but what man will seek to excuse himself. Our first verse says that men are without excuse. Our second verse says, "Thou art inexcusable, O man."

    The wicked may proclaim that their wicked deeds cannot be avoided, but God says, "They are without excuse." One man says that his fiery temper and uncontrollable wrath was inherited from his parents, but God says, "Thou art inexcusable." Another man says that the lusts of the flesh were dominant in his nature and that he could not but yield to their desire, but God says that he is without excuse. Man says that he did not know any better, that his sins are sins of ignorance, but God says that he cannot thus excuse himself.

    No matter what power sin may have in the life of any of the ungodly; no matter what sway of the world; no matter what power of Satan; the sinner is without excuse because God has provided a way of escape from all of these.

    Why should man continue in sin, or remain a dupe and slave to sin's power, when the Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth a Gospel that saves from these very things.

    "For the Lion of Judah shall break every chain,

    And give us the victory again and again."

    Even the heathen, who have never known of the Gospel are without excuse, because they have not lived according to the light which they possess. When they knew God they glorified Him not as God neither were thankful. The very ignorance in which they now dwell is due to the fact that when they professed themselves to be wise, they became fools. When they changed His glory into an image made like corruptible man, and to birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things. When they had the truth of God, they changed it into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator.

    The world cannot plead that it did not know that the wrath of God was revealed against sin, ungodliness and unrighteousness of man, because the wreckage of God's judgment has covered the world with its debris.

    There is no excuse that men can bring in honor because God has dealt fairly and squarely and above board with all sin and iniquity.

    Look unto Me, and be ye saved!

    Look, men of nations all;

    Look, rich and poor; look, old and young;

    Look sinners, great and small!

    Look unto Him, and be ye saved!

    O weary, troubled soul,

    Oh, look to Jesus while you may;

    One look will make thee whole!

    III. THE WICKED ARE WORTHY OF DEATH (Romans 1:32 )

    We have just been noticing the fact that man is inexcusable for his sin. We are now to consider that man is worthy of the judgment which God places upon him. If man had the least excuse for sinning just to that extent God's judgment would not be just. The opposite is also true. If the wicked are worthy of death, they are necessarily without excuse in their sins.

    The Bible teaches that death is the wages of sin. A man is reaping no more than what he has sown. According to this, the sinner so to speak, is the author of his own destruction. He, himself, gathers the fuel to feed the fire which shall for ever torment his soul. He sows the seed of the maddened brain; he plants the germ that develops the woes and the miseries, the gnashing of teeth and the wailing of hopeless despair.

    The wicked are worthy of death. They are receiving no more than their due. They are only being paid for their deeds. God does not have any pleasure in the death of the wicked. He would that all men everywhere should repent. He is not a tyrant who with ruthless rage casts the just to the tormentors. He, even goes so far as to open the door of hope in the valley of Achor. He offers salvation by the way of the Cross to the vilest of the vile.

    Man is worthy of death because man has rejected proffers of mercy. He has spurned the opportunity of righteousness. He has given a deaf ear to the call of the Gospel.

    Instead of heeding what he hears, he has given himself over to unrighteousness, being filled with fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful. Men who live in these things are worthy of death.

    IV. GOD'S JUDGMENTS CANNOT BE ESCAPED (Romans 2:3 )

    The argument as God has given it to us is steadily mounting up. The net is being more tightly drawn, and the sinner is being more surely entangled in his unrighteousness. Sometimes the sinner will recognize that he is inexcusable, he will even concede that he is worthy of death, and yet he will seek to escape his just punishment.

    There are criminals all over the land who have evaded justice. There are men everywhere who are trying to hide their sins. Men need, however, to know that they cannot deceive God.

    Where can the sinner go, that God will not find him? God has said, "Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down." All things which a man doeth, and all things which a man is in his heart, are naked and open unto Him with whom we have to do.

    Our Lord looks down from Heaven and all things are before His eye. He knows our downsitting and our uprising. He understands our thoughts afar off. Our God is acquainted with all our ways. There is not a word in our tongue but what He knows it altogether. How can men hide from God? for He has beset them behind and before. Where may men fly from His Spirit? or where may they hide from His presence? Listen to the Word of God, "If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee: but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb" (Psalms 139:8-13 ).

    It is useless to evade the issue. The wicked must stand before the Great White Throne and face the records of their lives. They cannot escape meeting God.

    Where will you spend Eternity

    Those years that have no end?

    Will it be where you are debarred

    Ever to know and see the Lord?

    Ever to have His great reward?

    V. THERE IS A SET DAY OF WRATH (Romans 2:5 ; Romans 2:16 )

    In the fifth verse we read that man is treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath. In the sixteenth verse we read that there is a day when God shall judge the secrets of men.

    1. This is the day of grace. We are convinced that God frequently judges unrighteousness now, and sends terrific manifestations of wrath, but these are no more than suggestive of the great sorrow and travail which awaits the wicked.

    In this age for the most part, God is allowing men to reap no more than the wreckage which his own sin now involves. God is now calling men to repentance. God is now proffering grace. Heralders of the Gospel are being commanded to go to the ends of the world and to preach to every creature the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Songs of salvation are being sung. Altar calls are being made, the Holy Spirit is striving with men. We can still say, "Behold, now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation."

    When Christ entered Nazareth, He said in the Temple, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor." He was reading from the Prophet Isaiah and He read on through the most gracious of words until He came to the expression "and the day of vengeance of our God." Before He read these latter words, He suddenly stopped, and said, of the words which He had just spoken, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears." He did not read the statement concerning the day of vengeance because He knew that that day of vengeance had not yet come.

    2. The day of vengeance and of judgment is a set day. The angel of God's grace who has hastened before giving proffers of mercy and of salvation must soon step aside, that the angel of His wrath may unsheath his sword.

    Time is gliding swiftly by,

    Death and judgment draweth nigh,

    To the arms of Jesus fly:

    Be in time!

    Oh, I pray you count the cost,

    Ere the fatal line be crossed,

    And your soul in hell be lost:

    Be in time!

    Sinner, heed the warning voice,

    Make the Lord your final choice,

    Then all heaven will rejoice:

    Be in time!

    Come from darkness into light;

    Come, let Jesus make you right;

    Come, and start for Heaven tonight,

    Be in time!

    VI. WRATH IS INCREASED BY KNOWLEDGE (Romans 1:19 ; Romans 1:21 ; Romans 1:32 )

    It was because that, when men knew God, yet glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, that God gave them up. If man had been ignorant and had not known God it would have been different. However, man not only knew God but He also knew the judgment of God.

    If no ray of light, revealing God both in grace and in judgment, had ever come to man, sin had not been reckoned against him.

    That which makes sin exceedingly sinful is its willfulness; its stubborn refusal to accept the right.

    It is because men love darkness rather than light that their darkness is made the darker; it is because men refuse righteousness that God gives them up to iniquity. He who knew not his master's will and did it not was beaten with few stripes. While he who knew his master's will and did it not was beaten with many stripes.

    In the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for Chorazin and Bethsaida for, "if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes."

    In the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for Capernaum, not but that Sodom was morally more vile, but that Capernaum had been exalted unto Heaven by the presence, the words, and the miracle working of the Son of God, which Sodom had never known. Christ said to Capernaum, "If the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been in Sodom, it would have remained until this day."

    Sinners who live in this day of grace with the blazing light of the glory of God's grace bursting full around them should beware lest they by their refusal are treasuring up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath. In the silent midnight watches,

    List thy bosom's door!

    How it knocketh, knocketh, knocketh,

    Knocketh evermore!

    Say not 'tis thy pulse is beating

    'Tis thy heart of sin;

    'Tis thy Saviour knocks, and crieth,

    "Rise, and let Me in!"

    Death comes down with reckless footsteps

    To the hall and hut;

    Think you death will tarry knocking

    When the door is shut?

    Jesus waiteth, waiteth, waiteth;

    But the door is fast:

    Grieved, away thy Saviour goeth,

    Death breaks in at last.

    Then 'tis time to stand entreating

    Christ to let thee in;

    At the gate of Heaven beating,

    Wailing for thy sin!

    Nay! alas, thou guilty creature.

    Hast thou then forgot?

    Jesus waited long to know thee,

    Now He knows thee not!

    VII. THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD ARE RIGHTEOUS ALTOGETHER (Romans 2:2 ; Romans 2:5 )

    The day of wrath of which we have just heard will bring forth the revelation of the righteous judgment of God. God's judgments will be according to truth.

    At the Great White Throne no sinner will be able to say that he got more than his dues, nor will he receive less. Those who are contentious and obey not the truth but obey unrighteousness will receive indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish. Mark the word, this will befall every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first and also of the Gentile.

    All the wicked, all unbelievers, all the fearful and the abominable and murderers will have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, and yet all shall receive according to the sins done in the body.

    When the dead small and great stand before God, the Books which carry the records of their earth deeds will be opened, and every man will be judged out of those things which were written in the Book according to their works.

    When death and hell are cast into the lake of fire, and God's judgments are completed, there will be no room for disputes and no reasons for an appeal to a higher court. God's judgments are not only final but they are eternally just.

    AN ILLUSTRATION

    IN A RING OF FIRE

    An ungodly European was once trying to convince a convert in India that his religion was of no use, and that he never would be any the better for it. "What, after all," said the scoffer, "has your Jesus done for you?"

    "He has saved me!" said the native, with great animation: "He has saved me!"

    "And what is that?" said the European.

    "Step with me to the door," was the reply, "and I will show you." So saying, he took him outside of the house, picked up a quantity of dry leaves and straw (of which there were plenty close at hand), and made a large circle of them. He then sought for a worm; and, having found one, he placed it in the center of the ring. Forthwith he applied a lighted match to the material that surrounded it, the scoffer looking on all the time with no little astonishment. As the heat of the fire approached the poor worm, it began to writhe and show symptoms of distress, but could not get out of the burning ring. The man darted his hand through the smoke, plucked the worm out of its dangerous position, and placed it on the green grass, out of reach of all danger.

    "There," said he, "that is what the blessed Jesus has done for me: I was exposed to the flames of hell there was no possibility of escape; I was condemned and ready to perish, and He rescued me by dying for my sins, thus snatching me as a brand from the burning; and He has given me, a poor dying worm, a place near His heart,"

    Can you thus speak of yourself as saved fay the death of Jesus? Are you able to say, like the poor native, "He has saved me"? It not, we entreat you to come now, as a sinner, to Jesus, who is at the right hand of the Majesty on high, and He will give you rest. Take shelter in His blood, and you will be cleansed from sin, and delivered from the wrath to come.

    "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6 ).

    "Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom" (Job 33:24 ).

    "Thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for Thou hast cast all my sins behind Thy back" (Isaiah 38:17 ).


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    Bibliography
    Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Living Water". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lwc/romans-1.html.

    William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

    32. “Who, knowing the righteousness of God that those who do such things are worthy of death, not only do them but take pleasure in those who do them.” This is the darkest conceivable climax; when people not only commit indiscriminately the most atrocious crimes, but take delight in those who do these things; “birds of a feather flock together.” The very presence of the good is a withering rebuke to the bad. Murderers love the company of murderers. Libertines, debauchers, harlots, thieves, liars, blasphemers, swindlers, and obscene, vile reprobates all love the company of one another. Carnal church people, both clerical and civic, love to lean to their own sect. If you ever expect to get to heaven you would better see that you actually love the society of the most holy people you can find. If this is not so, you are a long way from the pearly gates.


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    Godbey, William. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/romans-1.html.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘Who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they who practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with those who practise them.’

    Paul then draws out that man’s sinfulness has indeed reached such a state that men not only do such things but also consent to them as a general practise. They are not only pulled down by sin, but they also in their minds consent to it. They even encourage others in similar sins. They live in a world of sin and treat it as commonplace. This is in complete contrast with the one who ‘with the mind serves the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin’ (Romans 7:25), who longs to be righteous even when he is behaving unrighteously.

    This is also a reminder that if we know what God requires, and know that what others practise is sinful and therefore ‘worthy of death’, but do nothing about it, we share equal blame. Consenting to another doing something means that we are equally involved in it and are equally guilty. Indeed, we are more guilty. For consenting to such things in cold blood is more blameworthy than doing them under the control of passion.


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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/romans-1.html. 2013.

    Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans

    Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    Knowing the judgment of God. — Sentence or ordinance of God. This the heathens knew, from the work of the law written in their hearts. Although they had almost entirely stifled in themselves the dictates of conscience, it did not cease, in some measure, to remonstrate against the unworthiness of their conduct, and to threaten the wrath of God, which their sins deserved.

    They recognized it by some remains they had of right notions of the Godhead, and by which they still understood that God was judge of the world; and this was confirmed to them by examples of Divine vengeance which sometimes passed before their eyes. They knew it even by the false ideas of the superstition in which they were plunged, which required them to seek for expiations. That they knew it in a measure is evident by their laws, which awarded punishments to some of those vices of which they were guilty. Worthy of death. — It is difficult to determine with certainty whether death is here to be understood literally or figuratively. Mr. Stuart considers it as decided that it cannot mean literal death, because it cannot be supposed that the heathens judged everything condemned by the Apostle to deserve capital punishment. He understands it in its figurative sense, as referring to future punishment. But an equal difficulty meets him here. Did the heathens know that God had determined to punish the things thus specified with death, according to its figurative import — everlasting punishment? He does not take the word, then, in this sense to its full amount, but as meaning punishment, misery, suffering. But this is a sense which the word never bears. If it refer to future punishment, it must apply to that punishment in its full sense. That the heathens judged many of the sins here enumerated worthy of death, is clear from their ordaining death as their punishment. And the Apostle does not assert that they judged them all worthy of death, but that they judged the doers of such things worthy of death. It seems quite enough, then, that those things, for the commission of which they ordained death, were such as he mentions. In this sense Archbishop Newcome understands the word, ‘For they themselves,’ he says, ‘punished some of their vices with death.’ Not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. — This is added to mark the depth of their corruption. For when men are not entirely abandoned to sin, although they allow of it in their own circumstances and practice, yet they condemn it in their general notions, and in the practice of others, because then it is not connected with their own interest and self-love. But when human corruption has arrived at its height, men not only commit sins, but approve of them in those who commit them. While this was strictly applicable to the whole body of the people, it was chargeable in the highest degree on the leaders and philosophers, who, having more light than the others, treated in their schools some of those things as crimes of which they were not only guilty themselves, but the commission of which they encouraged by their connivance, especially in the abominable rites practiced in the worship of their gods.

    By these conclusive proofs Paul substantiates his charge, in verse 18, against the whole Gentile world, first of ungodliness, and then of unrighteousness as its consequence, against which the wrath of God is revealed. It should also be observed that as, in another place, Titus 2:12, he divides Christian holiness into three parts, namely, sobriety, righteousness, and godliness, in the same way, in this chapter, he classes Pagan depravity under three heads. The first is their ungodliness, namely, that they have not glorified God — that they have changed His glory into images made like to corruptible creatures — that they have changed His truth into a lie, which is opposed to godliness. The second is intemperance. God had delivered them up to uncleanness and vile affections, which are opposed to sobriety. The third is unrighteousness, and all the other vices noted in the last verses, which are opposed to righteousness.

    It is impossible to add anything to the view here given of the reign of corruption among the heathens; even the most celebrated and civilized, which is fully attested by their own historians. Nothing can be more horrible than this representation of their state; and as the picture is drawn by the Spirit of God, who is acquainted not only with the outward actions, but with the secret motives of men, no Christian can suppose that it is exaggerated. The Apostle, then, had good reason to conclude in the sequel, that justification by works is impossible, and that in no other way can it be obtained but by grace. From the whole, we see how terrible to his posterity have been the consequences of the sin of the first man; and, on the other hand, how glorious in the plan of redemption is the grace of God by His Son.


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    Haldane, Robert. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans and Hebrews". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hal/romans-1.html. 1835.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    32. Knowing the judgment of God—There are two knowledges ascribed by the apostle to the heathen as ennobling man’s nature, yet aggravating his guilt. One is the knowledge of God’s existence, and the other the knowledge of a just retribution. The knowledge and the wicked conduct go hand in hand. Yet man awakes to this consciousness distinctly after the guilt is incurred, and after his becoming inextricably involved in the meshes of destruction. Without a divine aid there is no hope for a single individual.

    Worthy of death—The capital punishment under the divine government.

    Have pleasure—They not only deliberately follow every temptation to sin themselves, but they delight in seeing others committing equal sin. So that they love sin not only for the pleasure it yields, but also for the very sake of its being sin. Total depravity (if the phrase must be used) is not true in the sense that man is as bad a being as possibly can be, a total black; for a mortal race so bad would naturally destroy each other, and so could not long exist. But it does mean that man is totally destitute of that love to God which his Spirit only can inspire, and totally unable to attain salvation without that Spirit through the grace of Christ. Yet this does not deny to man’s nature a conscience, aesthetical faculties, nor a susceptibility to the impressions of truth and to the influences of the Divine Spirit. Indeed, man’s soul is adapted for these influences, so that there is a truth in saying that “man is a religious being,” and even a truth, to be carefully guarded, in Tertullian’s maxim that “The human soul is naturally Christian.” Man sins and rejects the Gospel and the Spirit against his own nature. Christianity is the true complement to humanity. And just because man possesses these qualities his apostasies become guilty. Without them he might be, like brutes, or like created immutable fiends, incapable of responsibility. A possibility of becoming good, in some part of the individual being, is requisite in order to an accountability for being bad.


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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/romans-1.html. 1874-1909.

    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    Romans 1:32. Who; or, as in Romans 1:25, ‘being such as.’ This verse adds to the description of vices a deeper degree of immorality; showing how entirely the heathen are ‘without excuse’ (Romans 1:20; chap. Romans 2:1).

    Knowing. A stronger word than that in Romans 1:21. Their conscience gave such knowledge.

    Ordinance of God. The word ‘ordinance’ is derived from the verb meaning to Justify, and means a justifying verdict or decree; here it is the sentence or decree of God as Righteous Lawgiver and Judge, connecting death with sin, and life with righteousness, as recognized in the conscience.

    Practise. This word suggests the repetition and continuance of the actions.

    Worthy of death. The heathen recognized that sin must be punished, and Paul indicates that the punishment is ‘death,’ by which he usually meant whatever the heathen understood) eternal death. There is, however, no objection to understanding it more generally.

    Consent with them who practise them. This is the sign of completed moral abandonment; they fail even to condemn it in others. It is almost equivalent to saving,evil, be thou my good.’ The climax of the punishment of sin by sin suggests one feature of the eternal death threatened in the Bible. This dark picture of heathen corruption is not overdrawn, though honorable exceptions existed. Not all heathen had these vices, but as a whole the description is correct. It can be verified by testimony from the classical writers, especially from Seneca and Tacitus. Comp. Schaff, Church History, vol. i., p. 302 ff. Deep moral corruption has, it is true, pervaded Christendom. But there remains this radical difference: heathen religion produced and sanctioned heathen corruptions; Christendom is corrupt in spite of Christianity.


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    Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/romans-1.html. 1879-90.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    Romans 1:32. Who, knowing the judgment δικαιωμα, the righteousness, or righteous judgment, or appointment; of God — And because God’s law is founded in righteousness, and is the rule thereof to us, the word is often used in Scripture to denote an ordinance, statute, or particular law, Numbers 27:11; Numbers 31:21; and in the plural, the appointments, or institutions of God moral, or ceremonial, Luke 1:6; Romans 2:26; Hebrews 9:1; even those which were purely ceremonial, Hebrews 9:10. Here the word signifies the law of God written on men’s hearts, called by philosophers the law of nature, and by civilians, the law of nations. For the Greeks could know no other law of God, being destitute of revelation; that they which commit such things are worthy of death — God hath written on the hearts of men not only his law, but the sanction of his law. For the fear of punishment is inseparable from the consciousness of guilt. Further, that the heathen knew that the persons guilty of the crimes mentioned here by the apostle merited death, is evident from the laws which they enacted for punishing such persons with death. Not only do the same — Allow themselves in the practice of these sins; but have pleasure in them that do them — Approve, encourage, and patronise them in others, and even take pleasure in their committing them. This is the highest degree of wickedness. A man may be hurried by his passions to do the thing he generally hates. But he that has pleasure in those that do evil, loves wickedness for wickedness’ sake; and thereby he encourages them in sin, and heaps the guilt of others upon his own head. In this stricture, Dr. Macknight thinks “the apostle glances at the Greek legislators, priests, and philosophers, who, by their institutions, example, and presence, encouraged the people in the practice of many of the debaucheries here mentioned, especially in the celebration of the festivals of their gods.”


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    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/romans-1.html. 1857.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    passage in the present Greek versions is rather different from the Vulgate: but the text of the Vulgate is conformable to the most ancient Greek manuscripts, of which some are more than twelve hundred years old. Greek: Oitines to dikaioma tou theou epignontes ouk enoesan oti oi ta toiauta prassontes azioi thanatou eisin, ou monon de oi poiountes auta, alla kai oi suneudokountes tois prassousin. See Var. Lect. Mill. in hunc locum et Prolegom. 41. 42.


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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/romans-1.html. 1859.

    Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

    Romans 1:32 who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.

    "Who" -these very people, the Gentiles.

    "Knowing the ordinance of God"-"Here is another intimation that Paul is dealing with people WHO HAD HEARD MORE THAN THEY WOULD HAVE CARED TO CONFESS THEY HEARD". These people were well aware that God have given "ordinances/regulations/laws" against such things, and they also knew the EXACT PENALTY-I.E. DEATH.

    "But also consent" -"encouraged others to do them, too" (Tay)

    -"but they even applaud those who do them" (TCNT)


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    Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/romans-1.html. 1999-2014.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    knowing. Greek. epiginosko. App-132.

    judgment = righteous sentence. Greek. dikaioma. App-177.

    commit = practise.

    have pleasure in = consent also to. See Acts 8:1.

    do. Same as "commit", above. This list of heathen iniquities is the Figure of speech Synathroesmos. App-6.


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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/romans-1.html. 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    Who , [ Hoitines (Greek #3748)] - 'Such as,'

    Knowing , [ epignontes (Greek #1921)] - 'knowing well'

    the [righteous] judgment of God [ to (Greek #3588) dikaiooma (Greek #1345) - see the note at Romans 5:16] - the stern law of divine procedure, to which every man's conscience bears witness,

    That they which commit such things are worthy of death. The word "death" is here used in its widest known sense-namely, the uttermost of divine vengeance against sin. What that is will be variously conceived according to the light enjoyed. The mythic representations of Tartarus sufficiently show how the pagan conscience in classic lands pictured to itself the horrors of the future "death."

    Not only do the same - which, under the pressure of temptation and in the heat of passion, they might do, even while abhorring it, and abhorring themselves for doing it,

    But have pleasure in (or 'consent to') them that do them , [ suneudokousin (Greek #4909)]. The word conveys the idea of positive satisfaction in a person or thing (see the note at Acts 8:1). The charge here brought against the pagan world is, that they deliberately set their seal to such actions by encouraging and applauding the doing of them in others. This is the climax of our apostle's charges against the pagan; and certainly, if the things are in themselves as black as possible, this settled and unblushing satisfaction at the practice of them, apart from all the Blinding effects of present passion, must be regarded as the darkest feature of human depravity.

    Remarks:

    (1) "The wrath of God" against sin has all the dread reality of a "revelation from heaven" sounding in the consciences of men, in the self-inflicted miseries of the wicked, and in the vengeance which God's moral government, sooner or later, takes open all who outrage it. Nor is this "wrath of God" confined to high-handed crimes, or the grosser manifestations of human depravity, but is "revealed" against all violations of divine law of whatever nature - "against all ungodliness" as well as "unrighteousness of men," against all disregard of God in the conduct of life, as well as against all deviations from moral rectitude; and therefore, since no child of Adam can plead guiltless either of "ungodliness" or of "unrighteousness." to a greater or less extent it follows that every human being is involved in the awful sweep of this "wrath of God." There is a tendency among some critics to explain away all such language, as purely anthropathic, or as merely accommodated from human feeling to the divine nature; and some of the soundest divines think that they exhaust its legitimate application to God when they say it expresses 'the punitive justice of God,' or 'the calm, undeviating purpose of the divine mind, which secures the connection between sin and misery.' (So Hodge).

    But "wrath" - whatever be meant it in relation to God-is a feeling, not a purpose; not can it, in any fair sense of the word, be identified with justice. Of passion, indeed-in the human sense of the term-there can be none in the divine nature. But are we to strip the divine nature of all that we mean by the word 'feeling?' Is there no such thing essentially as love in Him of whom it is said, "God is love?" Those who say so-alleging that all such language must be understood metaphorically, nor metaphysically, and that all such ideas are regulative, rather than real in God-divest the Godhead of all that is fitted to awaken the affection of love in reasonable creatures. Straining after metaphysical accuracy, they dry up the springs of all that the Bible enjoins, and the human heart feels to be its own proper emotions, toward God. If God loves no object and no quality, nor is capable of dislike or displeasure against anything that is unlike Himself, how can He be capable even of approving or disapproving! And if not that, what Personality, that is worth the name, remains to the Godhead?

    (2) The apostle places the terrible truth, that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, in the forefront of his argument on Justification by faith, in order that upon the basis of universal condemnation he may rear the edifice of a free, world-wide Salvation; nor can the Gospel be scripturally preached or embraced, except as the good news of salvation to those who are all equally "lost."

    (3) We must not magnify the supernatural Revelation which God has been pleased to make of Himself, through Abraham's family to the human race, at the expense of that elder and, in itself, lustrous Revelation which He has made to the whole family of man through the medium of their own nature and the creation around them. Without the latter, the former would have been impossible; and those who have not been favoured with the former will be without excuse, if they are deaf to the voice and blind to the glory of the latter.

    (4) Wilful resistance of light has a retributive tendency to blind the moral perceptions and weaken the capacity to apprehend and approve of truth and goodness; and thus is the soul prepared to surrender itself, to an indefinite extent, to error and sin.

    (5) Pride of wisdom, as it is a convincing evidence of the want of it, so it makes the attainment of it impossible (Romans 1:22; and cf. Matthew 11:25; 1 Cor. 13:18-20 ).

    (6) As idolatry, even in its most plausible forms, is the fruit of unworthy views of the Godhead, so its natural effect is to vitiate and debase still further the religious conceptions; nor is there any depth of degradation too low and too revolting for men's ideas of the Godhead to sink to, if only their natural temperament and the circumstances they are placed in be favourable to their unrestrained development. The apostle had Greece and Egypt in his eye when he penned Romans 1:23-25. But the whole Paganisms of the East at this day attest its accuracy, from the more elaborate idolatry of India and the simpler and more stupid idolatry of China, down to the childish rudiments of nature-worship prevalent among the savage tribes. Alas! Christendom itself furnishes a melancholy illustration of this truth; the constant use of material images in the Church of Rome, and the materialistic and sensuous character of its entire service (to say nothing of the less offensive but more stupid service of the Greek Church) debasing the religious ideas of millions of nominal Christians, and lowering the whole character and tone of Christianity as represented within their immense pale.

    (7) Moral corruption invariably follows religious debasement. The grossness of Pagan idolatry is only equalled by the revolting character and frightful extent of the immoralities which it fostered and consecrated. And so strikingly is this to be seen in all its essential features in the East at this day, that missionaries have frequently been accused by the natives of having forged the whole of the latter part of this chapter, as they could not believe that so accurate a description of themselves could have been written eighteen centuries ago. The kingdoms of Israel and Judah furnish a striking illustration of the inseparable connection between religion and morals. As the great sin of the kingdom of Israel lay in corrupting and debasing the worship of Yahweh, so the sins with which they were charged were mostly of the greaser kind-intemperance and sensuality: Judah, on the other hand, remaining faithful to the pure worship, were for a long time charged mostly with formality and hypocrisy; and only as they fell into the idolatries of the pagan around them did they sink into their vices. And may not a like distinction be observed between the two great divisions of Christendom-the Popish and the Protestant? To test this, we must not look to Popery, surrounded with, and more or less influenced by, the presence and power of Protestantism; nor to Protestantism under every sort of disadvantage,internal and external. But look at Romanism where it has unrestrained liberty to develop its true character, and see whether impurity does not there taint society to its core, pervading alike the highest and the lowest classes; and then look at Protestantism where it enjoys the same advantages, and see whether it be not marked by a comparatively high standard of social virtue.

    (8) To take pleasure in what is sinful and vicious for its own sake, and knowing it to be such, is the last and lowest stage of human recklessness. 'The innate principle of self-love (says South, in a sermon on the last verse of this chapter-we take the passage from Wordsworth), that very easily and often blinds a man as to any impartial reflection upon himself, yet for the most part leaves his eyes open enough to judge truly of the same thing in his neighbour, and to hate that in others which he allows and cherishes in himself. And, therefore, when it shall come to this, that he approves, embraces, and delights in sin as he observes it even in the person and practice of other men, this shows that the man is wholly transformed from the creature that God first made him; nay, that he has consumed those poor remainders of good that the sin of Adam left him; that lie has worn off the very remote dispositions and possibilities to virtue; and, in a word, has turned grace first, and afterward nature itself, out of doors.' Yet,

    (9) This knowledge can never be wholly extinguished in the breast of man. So long as reason remains to them, there is a still, small voice in the worst of men, protesting, in the name of the Power that implanted it, "that they which do such things are worthy of death."


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    Bibliography
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/romans-1.html. 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (32) Knowing.—Again the word for “full or thorough knowledge.” With full knowledge of the sentence of eternal death which is in store for them.

    They show that it is no mere momentary yielding to the force of temptation or of passion, but a radical perversion of conscience and reason, by the fact that they not only practise such things themselves, but in cold blood commend and applaud those who practise them.

    With reference to the truth of the description which is here given of the ancient pagan world, see Excursus C: On the State of the Heathen World at the Time of St. Paul.

    Judgment.—Just decree or sentence.


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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/romans-1.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
    knowing
    18,21; 2:1-5,21-23
    worthy
    6:21
    have pleasure in them
    or, consent with them.
    Psalms 50:18; Hosea 7:3; Mark 14:10,11

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/romans-1.html.

    Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians

    Who well knowing the righteous judgment of God; that is, although they well know, etc. They were ( οἳτινες) such as who. The heathen whose acts had been just described, are declared to be, Men who although they knew the righteous judgment, etc., ( δικαίωμα) decree, a declaration of what is right and just; and δικαίωμα τοῦ θεοῦ is the declaration of God as to what is right and just. The import of this declaration is contained in the clause, that they who do ( πράσσουσι, commit) such things are worthy of death. By death here, as often elsewhere, is meant punishment, in the general meaning of that word. It expresses the penalty of the law, and includes all evil inflicted for the satisfaction of justice. Paul therefore teaches that the heathen knew they deserved punishment for their crimes, or in other words, that they were justly exposed to the wrath of God, which was revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. The source of this knowledge he explains in the following chapter, Romans 1:14. It was a knowledge written on their hearts, or included in the constitution of their nature; it was implied in their being moral agents. As he had before shown that the impiety of the heathen was without excuse, inasmuch as they had a knowledge of the true God, so here he shows that their immorality was inexcusable, since their sins were not committed in ignorance of their nature or desert. This passage also shows that the judicial abandonment of God does not destroy the free agency or responsibility of men. They are given up to work iniquity, and yet know that they deserve death for what they do. The stream which carries them away is not without, but within. It is their own corrupt nature. It is themselves. Notwithstanding this knowledge of the ill-desert of the crimes above enumerated, they not only commit them, but approve of those who do (or practice) them. This is the lowest point of degradation. To sin, even in the heat of passion, is evil; but to delight in the sins of others, shows that men are of set purpose and fixed preference, wicked. Such is the apostle's argument to prove that the heathen are all under sin, that they are justly chargeable with ungodliness and unrighteousness, and consequently exposed to the wrath of God.

    Doctrine

    1. The punitive justice of God is an essential attribute of his nature. This attribute renders the punishment of sin necessary, and is the foundation of the need of a vicarious atonement in order to the pardon of sinners. This doctrine the apostle assumes as a first principle, and makes it the basis of his whole exposition of the doctrine of justification, Romans 1:18.

    2. That sin is a proper object of punishment, and that, under the righteous government of God, it will be punished, are moral axioms, which have "a self-evidencing light," whenever proposed to the moral sense of men, Romans 1:18, Romans 1:32.

    3. God has never left himself without a witness among his rational creatures. Both in reference to his own nature and to the rule of duty, he has, in his works and in the human heart, given sufficient light to render the impiety and immorality of men inexcusable, Romans 1:19, Romans 1:20, Romans 1:32.

    4. Natural religion is not a sufficient guide to salvation. What individual or what nation has it ever led to right views of God or of his law? The experience of the whole world, under all the variety of circumstances in which men have existed, proves its insufficiency; and, consequently, the necessity of a special divine revelation, Romans 1:21-23.

    5. The heathen, who have only the revelation of God in his works and in their own hearts, aided by the obscure traditionary knowledge which has come down to them, need the gospel. In point of fact, the light which they enjoy does not lead them to God and holiness, Romans 1:21-23.

    6. Error (on moral and religious subjects) has its root in depravity. Men are ignorant of God and duty, because they do not like to retain him in their knowledge, Romans 1:21, Romans 1:28.

    7. God often punishes one sin by abandoning the sinner to the commission of others. Paul repeats this idea three times, Romans 1:24, Romans 1:26, Romans 1:28. This judicial abandonment is consistent with the holiness of God and the free agency of man. God does not impel or entice to evil. He ceases to restrain. He says of the sinner, Let him alone, Romans 1:24-28.

    8. Religion is the only true foundation, and the only effectual safeguard for morality. Those who abandon God, he abandons. Irreligion and immorality, therefore, have ever been found inseparably connected, Romans 1:24-28.

    9. It evinces, in general, greater depravity to encourage others in the commission of crimes, and to rejoice in their commission, than to commit them one's self, Romans 1:32.

    10. The most reprobate sinner carries about with him a knowledge of his just exposure to the wrath of God. Conscience can never be entirely extirpated, Romans 1:32.

    Remarks

    1. It lies in the very nature of sin, that it should be inexcusable, and worthy of punishment. Instead, therefore, of palliating its enormity, we should endeavor to escape from its penalty, Romans 1:18, Romans 1:32.

    2. As the works of God reveal his eternal power and Godhead, we should accustom ourselves to see in them the manifestations of his perfections, Romans 1:18-21.

    3. The human intellect is as erring as the human heart. We can no more find truth than holiness, when estranged from God; even as we lose both light and heat, when we depart from the sun. Those, in every age have sunk deepest into folly, who have relied most on their own understandings. "In thy light only, God, can we see light," Romans 1:21, etc.

    4. If the sins of the heathen, committed under the feeble light of nature, be inexcusable, how great must be the aggravation of those committed under the light of the Scriptures, Romans 1:20.

    5. As the light of nature is insufficient to lead the heathen to God and holiness, it is one of the most obvious and urgent of our duties to send them the light of the Bible, Romans 1:20-23.

    6. Men should remember that their security from open and gross sins is not in themselves, but in God; and they should regard as the worst of punishments, his withdrawing for them his Holy Spirit, Romans 1:24-28.

    7. Sins of uncleanness are peculiarly debasing and demoralizing. To be preserved from them is mentioned in Scripture as a mark of the divine favor, Ecclesiastes 7:26; Proverbs 22:14; to be abandoned to them, as a mark of reprobation.

    8. To take pleasure in those who do good, makes us better; as to delight in those who do evil, is the surest way to become even more degraded than they are themselves, Romans 1:32.


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    Bibliography
    Hodge, Charles. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hdg/romans-1.html.

    The Bible Study New Testament

    They know that God's law. "They" means the evil men and women just described. God's "natural law of right and wrong" is written in the minds of every human being! Compare Romans 1:19. Deserve death. The Gentile philosophers showed they knew this, by the things they wrote. Yet, not only. This is a deliberate Acts, because they know what God's law (of nature) says. Knowing the consequences, they sin, approve of others who do the same things, and actually taught people how to sin!!! Historians such as Tacitus, Horace, Seneca and Juvenal show that this picture of sin which Paul shows to us, is accurate in describing the Gentile world of the first century. This is conclusive proof of the mess man makes of things when he tries to escape God.


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    Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/romans-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

    : who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.

    The Gentiles knew about God (compare verse28), and they knew that anyone doing what they did surely deserved "death" (the second death, Revelation 21:8). The Living Bible offers a clear picture of Paul's point ("They were fully aware of God"s death penalty for these crimes"). These people knew what was wrong, they knew the penalty, but they didn't care. They willfully chose sin and sin in its worst form. It also appears they encouraged others to join them, so Romans 1:1-32 describes a very low point in human history.

    Cranfield (p38) said, "The sentence implies that approving of others' doing evil deeds is even more depraved than doing them. This has often been judged- and still is judged by some commentators- to be untrue. But a good many have argued- surely rightly- that it is indeed true that the man who applauds and encourages those who practice something shameful, though not himself practicing it, is not only as depraved as those who practice it, but very often, if not always, actually more depraved than they. For those who applaud and encourage the vicious actions of others make a deliberate contribution to the establishment of a public opinion favorable to vice and thereby promote the corruption of an unnumbered multitude; and they will not usually have been under any such powerful and violent pressure as those who commit the actions will quite often have been." The word translated "consent" (suneudokeo) is rendered "have pleasure" in the KJV. This term is used elsewhere, and one of these other passages is Acts 8:1 ("consenting"). Here, it means "approve, applaud" (Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 3:305).

    Lessons from Lanier (p7):

    The most degraded of men are not completely destitute of the knowledge of God.

    A knowledge of God's law does not of itself keep people from sin.

    The knowledge of God's disapproval of a judgment against sin does not create a hatred for sin among man.

    Only a love for God and a desire to be like Him will cause sinners to turn to God.


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    Bibliography
    Price, Brad "Commentary on Romans 1:32". "Living By Faith: Commentary on Romans". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bpc/romans-1.html.

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