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Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament
Romans 1

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

1. “Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ.” Oiketees means “a hired servant”; doulos, the word here occurring, means “slave,” the signification at once beautiful and profound; a striking allusion to Old Testament slavery, which went out at the Jubilee. However, the law provided for the indefinite detention of such as were not willing to leave their masters, specifying in that case that the proprietor should nail his ear to the door-post, thus signifying that he should never go out of his house, but abide his slave forever. This is a beautiful symbolism. All sinners are Satan’s slaves. All truly sanctified people are God’s slaves. Meanwhile the unsanctified Christians rank as hired servants in the kingdom of God, serving for hire; e. g., preaching for a salary, et cetera. The sanctified gospel blows the Jubilee trumpet this day in all the world. Responsive to the trumpet call to sanctification, many reject and go back to the carnal freedom of Satan’s kingdom, serving God no longer. Praise the Lord, while they go back by thousands, rejecting holiness and forfeiting justification, yet they do not all go back. The elect few still, as in olden time, say: “Master, I will not leave thee.” “Then come up to the door-post and let me nail your ear, so that you shall abide in my house forever;” i. e., let me nail old Adam to the cross, and crucify him, thus sanctifying you wholly, so that you shall never go out of my house. How unutterably blessed to be the “Lord’s love slave.”

“Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness and lost in His love”

“An elect apostle, having been separated unto the gospel of God.” “Called” in the E. V. is the word for “elect.” We are nominated in regeneration, elected in sanctification, and crowned in glorification. Paul was utterly separated from the world for this work, as God’s elect people are this day.


Verse 2

2. “Which He before proclaimed through His holy prophets.” “Gospel” means the good news that God has redeemed the world and salvation is free. This was the burning message of His prophets from the days of Abel.


Verse 4

4. “Defined the Son of God with power from the resurrection of the dead, through the Spirit of holiness.” The resurrection of our Savior by the omnipotent power of the Holy Ghost was the irrefutable confirmation of His Messiahship, the grand leverage of human faith and the prelude of the universal resurrection of the dead.


Verse 5

5. “Through whom we received grace and apostleship, unto the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His name’s sake.” The redemption of Christ is the only procuring cause of salvation, the Holy Ghost the efficient cause, the preaching of the Word the instrumental cause, and faith the conditional cause.


Verse 6

6. “In whom ye are also the elect of Jesus Christ:


Verse 7

7. “Unto all who are in Rome, beloved of God, elect saints: Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” This is a beautiful, loving and affectionate salutation.


Verse 8

8. “In the first place, I thank God through Jesus Christ concerning you all, because your faith is spoken of in the whole world.” The emperors had built great highways into every country in the known world (as it belonged to them by conquest), so traveling was convenient in all the known earth. The stranger in every foreign land had nothing to do but find the Roman road and walk in it till he reached the world’s metropolis; as all the roads in England centralize in London. Throughout their universal conquests during seven hundred years, Rome made it a rule to adopt all the religions of the conquered nations, bringing all their gods to Rome, where all were worshipped in the Pantheon, a magnificent circular marble edifice 200 feet in diameter and 200 feet high, still standing and in a perfect state of preservation, now useful for the Holiness people to preach in, as all have a perfect right in that temple to worship any god in all the world, and in any way. Therefore the new religion (Christianity), within the twenty-eight years since Pentecost, had received notoriety throughout the whole world, in the reports carried by the travelers from Rome to the ends of the earth. Bygone ages have been filled with miracles, not only recorded in the Bible, but great and wonderful unwritten by an inspired pen. In 753 B. C. the jealous king of Alban had Romulus and Remus exposed in the wild woods on the banks of the Tiber. A wolf finding them, instead of devouring them, nursed them with her own milk. Corroboratory of this historic legend, they still keep wolves in the same cave on the spot. I saw them when I was there in 1895. These exposed infants, reared by the wolf, became shepherds on the spot, becoming a rendezvous of the wandering pioneers, and soon swelling into a tribe. By the famous stratagem, well known in history, of securing wives from the Sabines, resulting in the accession of that nation, they proceeded with their conquests over the nations of the earth. So constant was the work of death that the Temple of Janus, whose open doors indicated war, and closed were the signal of peace, never was closed but twice during the 753 years — once during the reign of Numa Pompilius, and again immediately after the first Punic war. At the end of the period it was permanently closed, as the whole world was conquered and peace had come to abide. Then was fulfilled the prophecy, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from beneath his feet, till Shiloh come.” When the Romans had conquered all the world, then Augustus Caesar was crowned universal monarch, thus taking the scepter from Judah and all other nations at the very time when Shiloh was born in Bethlehem, thus making the birth of the Savior significantly the herald of “peace on earth and good will to men,” as the Romans had conquered and thus brought universal peace. Do you not see the hand of God in all this? Nothing was so important to the preaching of the gospel in all the earth as a powerful universal empire precisely such as Rome. Do you not see with what rapidity Paul passed from nation to nation, preaching the gospel? This he could not have done if all of these nations had not been under the same government.

What was true of Paul was equally true of all the apostles and their numerous comrades. Paul, being a learned man, wrote up his travels. The original twelve, “unlearned and ignorant men,” with few exceptions, left us no history of their ministry; however, we have a mere epitome in contemporaneous tradition that they all, like Paul, went to the ends of the earth, preaching faithfully till bloody martyrdom set them free to fly away to glory: Paul beheaded and Peter crucified at Rome; Luke hung on an olive-tree in Greece; Matthew suffering martyrdom in Ethiopia, Matthias in Abyssinia, Mark in Alexandria; James, the son of Zebedee, beheaded by Herod Antipas; James, the son of Alpheus, precipitated from a pinnacle of the temple; Andrew crucified in Armenia, Philip in Asia Minor; Bartholomew skinned alive by order of the barbarous king in Phrygia; Jude shot full of arrows in Tartary; Thomas interpenetrated with a cruel iron bar, and thus martyred, in India; and John, having been miraculously delivered from the caldron of boiling oil in Rome into which he was cast to make soap of him, was then banished to Patmos, where he saw the apocalyptic visions; finally, at the age of 101 years, was translated to Heaven from Ephesus, Asia Minor. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and other Christian Fathers, so certify, and I believe. Why have we no record in Scripture? Good reason: John himself was the last writer, surviving all the other apostles thirty years. Hence no one was left to record his translation. John Wesley believed it, and so do I. God, in His wonderful providence, gave the Romans the whole world in one vast consolidated empire, as a grand preparation for the universal propagation of the gospel, which would have been an impossibility without the protection of a universal government. For a similar reason, He gave Alexander the Great all nations A. D. 325, in order to establish the Greek language in all the world as the necessary vehicle which God in His wonderful providence had prepared to transmit the gospel to the world, and retain it in its inspired original to the latest generation.


Verse 9

9. “For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of his Son, how I incessantly make mention of you always in my prayers;


Verse 10

10. “Supplicating, if possible indeed at some time I shall be pleased in the will of God to come unto you.” Paul had been preaching twenty eight years when he wrote this letter, all the time desiring and praying that it might be his glorious privilege, in the will of God, to visit the world’s metropolis and there preach the gospel in the capital of all the nations beneath the skies.


Verse 11

11. “For I long to see you, in order that I may impart unto you a certain spiritual gift, that you may be established.” Since the Bible abundantly reveals entire sanctification as the establishing grace, we legitimately conclude that this is an indirect, though exceedingly forcible, allusion to the great second work of grace, so prominent in the Pauline epistles, as well as the whole Bible. Paul made great tours traveling through many different countries, “confirming the saints;” i. e., getting them sanctified and established in the experience.


Verse 12

12. “But this is the consolation among you through the faith in one another, both of you and me.” While God is the only object of faith, yet in a subjective sense the faith of the saints mutually cooperates, developing reciprocal invigoration, intensification and augmentation.


Verse 13

13. “I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, I purposed to come unto you, (but was hindered hitherto,) in order that I may have some fruit among you, as indeed among other Gentiles.” A half-dozen years had elapsed since Paul first planted the gospel in Greece, which was separated from Italy only by a narrow sea, yet it is the Adriatic, in all ages notorious as a storm-center and a tempest breeder. In that age, when the art of navigation was in its infancy, the mariner’s compass and the steam engine not yet dreamed of, the enterprise of crossing that stormy sea from Greece to Italy was no insignificant affair. You must remember that when Paul made this voyage it occupied about five months, and involved an awful shipwreck after a storm of two solid weeks without letting up. We must not forget that our apostle was entirely without financial resources, so essential to this long, perilous and expensive voyage. Hence, in the providence of God appealing to Caesar, he forced his enemies to defray the expenses of this tour, all the way from Jerusalem to Rome. During these twenty eight years his work had resulted in the establishing of hundreds of churches (i. e., mostly little Holiness bands) throughout Syria, Phrygia, Cappadocia, Galatia, Cilicia, Lydia, Mysia, Macedonia, Achaia and many other countries. Hence God, in His providence, had thus long postponed his cherished enterprise of preaching the gospel in the world’s metropolis.


Verse 14

14. “I am debtor both to Greeks and barbarians, to the wise and the unwise.” The Greeks in every ramification of culture and civilization (i. e., poetry, oratory, philosophy and the fine arts) had stood at the top of the world the last five hundred years. Meanwhile, through the Alexandrian conquest, she had given to the world the most wonderful language of all ages, in the providence of God the vehicle for the transmission of the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. Hence the Greeks enjoyed a universally recognized pre-eminence above the nations of the earth, all others, even the Jews, contrastively denominated “barbarians.” Paul was God’s cosmopolitan missionary, like Bishop Taylor at the present day. God help us to feel that we, too, are debtors to all men indiscriminately.


Verse 15

15. “Thus, according to my ability, I am ready to preach the gospel even unto you who are in Rome.” The Spirit of the Lord was then profoundly impressing Paul that his long-anticipated visit to Rome was not only a verity, but soon to be realized. Hence it was only three years from the date of this writing till, to the infinite delight of his heart, he entered the world’s emporium, “in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.”


Verse 16

GOSPEL DEFINED

16. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the dynamite of God unto salvation unto every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” How fortunate we are to have a clear, unequivocal, lexical definition of gospel, than which the inspired vocabulary, except the Divine epithets, has no more important word; since on this a world of theological controversy has accumulated with the roll of ages. Here we have every problem solved and controversy circled in a clear and unequivocal definition furnished by the infallible Author of revealed truth. The Greek word here used by the Holy Ghost to define “gospel” is dunamis, i. e., dynamite; a word recently introduced into the English vocabulary by the men of science, who discovered the most wonderful and paradoxical of all the mechanical powers in the scientific and artistic world. Ransacking the Anglican vocabulary of 150,000 words, and finding none adequate to reveal their wonderful discovery, they went to the classic Greek and took the very identical word used by the Holy Spirit to define gospel. Hence it is a simple and indisputable fact that gospel is nothing more nor less than “the dynamite of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” People universally stumble over the sheer simplicity of Bible truth; e. g., wagon-loads of books have been written by learned theologians in an attempt to tell the world what the gospel is. Millions of brains have grown dizzy studying over these controverted exegeses, and wound up utterly puzzled, dumfounded and farther from the truth than when they began. The six thousand sectarian denominations in the world all try to make us believe that the respective creed of each is the Gospel, which is utterly and demonstratively untrue. They are every one wrong. The Gospel is no creed, confession, theology, dogmatism nor ritualized ecclesiasticism. Neither does it consist in scholastic learning, oratorical power, natural gifts nor theoretical magnetism. It is simply the dynamite of God which reaches the heart through faith alone, as you see this is the only condition specified, and blowing all sin and debris out. When the awful convicting truth of the Sinai Gospel is faithfully preached, revealing hell and damnation for impenitent sinners, and this truth is believed by wicked, hell-ward bound people through their faith in this awful revelation of their damnation and doom, God’s dynamite reaches the deep interior of their depraved hearts, blowing them up into a knock-down conviction, bringing them wallowing and roaring at the mourner’s bench. Then when the Gospel of Calvary is faithfully preached to this heart-broken penitent, and he believes the wonderful truth of the vicarious atonement while contemplating the stupendous magnitude of redeeming love, through his humble faith in the converting truth of God, the dynamite of conversion gives him another wonderful blowing up, lifting him out of Satan’s kingdom, giving him a glorious balloon ride with Jesus, and dropping him down in the kingdom of God’s redeeming grace and regenerating love. Again, when the truth is preached of inbred sin in a subjugated state surviving in the heart of God’s children till all the debris of the fall is expurgated through the cleansing blood applied by the Holy Ghost, then through the medium of simple faith in God’s plain and unmistakable word, another conviction takes hold of him bringing him down low at the feet of Jesus, terribly humiliating him while contemplating the disharmony with the Divine administration and disconformity to the image and likeness of God, he goes mourning night and day. Finally when the wonderful Gospel of entire sanctification through the cleansing blood of Jesus and the consuming fires of the Holy Ghost is faithfully preached to him till his faith apprehends and appropriates the glorious promise of God to sanctify his children by way of consecration and faith; then through the medium of his faith in the sanctifying truth of the infallible God, the dynamite of entire sanctification is transmitted into the deep interior of his fallen nature, when a spark from heaven’s altar, through his humble faith, ignites the blast, blowing inbred sin out by the roots and transporting the man far away out of the old, howling wilderness into the ever green fields of Beulah land where the sun and moon both shine night and day, and no one says, “I am sick.” Now do not forget that this dynamite administered through the faith of the recipient is the only definition of Gospel. Hence you see that the dead churches belting the globe, whether Papal or Protestant, are literally heathenized without a scintillation of actual Gospel. They all have more or less truth, which is a valuable auxiliary in salvation, but utterly inefficient in the absence of the Holy Ghost dynamite. If the truth alone could save, the devil would have been lifted from hell long ago, for I trow he knows more truth than any of us, yet not a scintillation of Heavenly dynamite can ever reach him, because he and all the inmates of hell, demoniacal and human, have passed the borne of probation, the former when they fell from the heavenly state (Isaiah 14:12 and Judges 1:7), and the latter when they passed out of time into eternity. An illiterate old Negro, full of the Holy Ghost, has more Gospel in his own soul ready to transmit to others through his great thick dictionary and grammar-butchering lips than a whole car-load of plug-hatted theologians without the dynamite of the Holy Ghost. The reason why the Gospel is butchered and perverted on all sides is, because the people do not use their common sense and utilize the blessed Holy Spirit. God says the way to heaven is so plain that “wayfaring men, though fools, need not err therein” (Isaiah 35). Oh, how egregiously uninspired men with great heads and human learning have complicated it. All this is a trick of the devil to obscure the way to heaven till he can dump the people by millions into hell. You do not need a college to qualify you to preach the gospel. You have only need to “tarry at Jerusalem till you are endued with dynamite from on high.” Then you will preach the gospel soon enough “with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.” Since Satan has manipulated to side- track the churches on the line of human learning (not that we object to per se), God is stirring all the world with the holiness movement, raising up millions of men and women to preach the genuine old-time Pentecostal Gospel with no human power but the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, ministering the dynamite of conviction, regeneration and sanctification through their humble instrumentality. Reader, will not you be one?


Verse 17

17. “For the righteousness of God is revealed in him from faith unto faith,” i. e., from the faith of justification unto the faith of sanctification, and downward to glorification, whether through translation, if so fortunate as to be on the earth when the Lord takes up his Bride, or resurrection, bearing us on to an eternal participation of the transfiguration glory. “As has been written: but the just shall live by faith.” This is the battle shout of God’s saints in all ages and dispensations. So long as the lion’s mouth and the burning stake kept Christianity low down at the feet of Jesus, she was more than a match for the world, the flesh and the devil, and so proved the first three centuries. When the Emperor Constantine suddenly promoted the church from bloody martyrdom to the imperial palace, it marks an awful epoch of retrogression in her history, plunging heedlessly into the paganized heresies of debauched Romanism, ere long eclipsing every ray from the glorious Son of Righteousness, burying every grand cardinal truth of God’s precious Word deep in the rubbish of priestcraft and legalistic idolatry. You must not think that God’s true people were not found on the earth in all by-gone ages. They were; but after the Constantian apostasy, outside of the Catholic Church, anathematized by the popes and persecuted unto death; first called Novations, A. D. 251; at a later date Waldensees, Albigenses and still later Moravians, who were instrumental in the conversion and sanctification of John Wesley. God used Martin Luther and his compeers to dig up out of papal rubbish the great cardinal truth of justification by the free grace of God, through Christ, received and appropriated through faith alone independently of popery, prelacy and priestcraft. This glorious truth flashed into his mind while doing penance at Rome under the eye of the pope, while on his bare and bleeding knees, climbing up and down the stone stairway of Pilate, up which Jesus walked when He stood at Pilate’s bar, and which they claim had been transported from Jerusalem to Rome during the Crusades. Meanwhile climbing up and down this stairway a supernatural voice, as he said and always believed, rang out from heaven this familiar Scripture: “The just shall live by faith.”

That moment Luther abandoned all of his castigatory penances, left Rome, returned to Germany, and shook the whole world by preaching this great law of God’s kingdom, utterly upsetting all the chicanery of intriguing priests who for centuries had held the world in a dark delusion. Luther spent his life in the establishment of this great fundamental doctrine. John Wesley was converted while listening to the reading of Luther’s preface to Romans, beautifully and triumphantly setting forth this great fundamental Bible doctrine. God used him not to spend his life in the old tracks of Luther, his gospel father, but to move on with his fire-baptized contemporaries in the grand evolution out of legalistic dry-bones, restoring to the world the precious vital truth of entire sanctification by the free grace of God in Christ, received and appropriated by faith alone. It is the glory of the present holiness movement not only appreciatively to walk in the track of our gospel predecessors, but under the leadership of the Holy Ghost, sitting meek and lowly at the feet of Jesus, still deeper to explore the wonders of revealed truth, bringing to the light the beautiful scriptures expository of the Lord’s return to the earth, the glorious millennial theocracy, the final and triumphant restitution under the mediatorial reign; at the same time encouraging woman’s ministry and divine healing, so prominent in the apostolic age.


Verse 18

ATTITUDE OF THE HEATHENS

18. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men holding down the truth in unrighteousness,


Verse 19

19. “Because the knowledge of God is manifest in them: for God revealed it unto them.” The Holy Spirit, the light of nature and human conscience, are universal regardless of age, race or condition, revealing to every human being light and knowledge sufficient to save them, if they would only walk in it. The trouble is these divine lights are obscured by ten thousand devices, for human damnation manipulated by Satan and his myrmidons.


Verse 20

20. “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being known by the things which are made, both His eternal power and divinity, so that they are left without excuse.” God-head in E. V. is wrong, the Greek being theiotees, which means divinity, instead of theotees, which means God-head; the words being so much alike, transcribers and translators mistook the one for the other. The truth of the matter is, while God is revealed to all the heathens by the light of nature, conscience and the universally present Holy Spirit, it is a matter of fact that the different Persons of the Trinity are not thus revealed. Hence, though the heathens can know God and be saved without the revealed Word, in the absence of the latter, they never would be able to recognize three Persons of the Trinity. You see Paul positively affirms the gracious possibility of universal salvation, otherwise they would not all be left “without excuse.” Hence you see from this positive statement that no one in the judgment day can give an apology for his disqualification to meet the Lord and enter heaven. The untutored savage in his primeval wilds sees God in the clouds and hears him in the winds:

“Whose soul proud science never taught to stray, Far as the solar walk, the milky way.”

Captain John Smith, a cultured Episcopalian, during his captivity with the Indians, after the old chief had adopted him as his son and successor, was left in charge of him and his old wife and little grandson, while all the balance went off to war. During a terrible wintry storm, when a great sleet everywhere covered the deep snow, the loud roar of whose breaking beneath the feet entirely disqualified him to get in gunshot of the wild animals on which they were all dependent for their daily food, day after day the young Englishman returns at nightfall from a laborious all-day walk over the ice fields, crushing beneath his feet and letting him down into the deep snow, weary and forlorn, faint with hunger and fatigue. Every evening the venerable chief lying flat on his back on his bear-skin, prostrate with rheumatism, delivers his adopted son a profitable exhortation on the patience and humiliation requisite to qualify a soul at life’s end to ascend above the snow clouds, and dwell in the glorified presence of the Great Spirit forever. Finally John concludes that they are all going to starve to death in a pile. Consequently, with much regret in his own heart to leave those people to die alone, he set out apparently as usual on a hunting excursion, but with his mind made up to escape and make his way back to Jamestown. While thus trudging along, seeing a herd of buffaloes at a great distance, taking position in concealment, he prays God to send them within gun-shot, as he had had nothing to eat for a week but some broth made from the bones of a wild-cat, which the vultures had picked, and they had recovered from beneath the snow. Sure enough, his prayer is answered and the herd comes roaring along near by. He fires away and downs a fat heifer. Running, he cuts out some meat and satisfies his awful hunger by eating it blood-raw. Then supplying himself with some of the food to eat on his journey, his heart turns back with incorrigible sympathy for those poor people he had left to die. Consequently, loading himself with the meat, he wends his way back to the wigwam, arriving at nightfall, and saluted by the venerable chief, lying on his back, “O, my son, I knew you would bring it today. Oeneah (the name of his God) told me so.” Smith wanted to hand him some of it raw to eat at once. “O, no, my son, I am not in a hurry.” “Well,” says Smith, “I will broil you some on the coals.” “O, no, I prefer it stewed. While it is cooking I want you to sit down that I may talk to you about the great spirit, Oeneah, who always takes good care of his children.” Smith felt himself a missionary among them, and had been teaching them the Christian religion the best he could from the Bible. Now he finds, to his surprise, that the old Indian, who had spent his life in savagedom, knew much more about the Lord, and his salvation, than he did. I mention this to demonstrate a case of a heathen who was intelligently saved, walking with God and bearing the fruits of the Spirit. A multitude of Scriptures intelligently corroborates this great truth, that all the people in the world can be saved if they will, having nothing to do but walk in the light which God gives them, as in that case, in the glorious ultimatum, the “blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth them from all sin” (1 John 1:7). This is true of all the people in the world, whether heathen, Moslem, Papist or Protestant (John 1:9 and Titus 2:11). Then why send the heathens the gospel if they can be saved without it?

(a) Because God has commanded us to go and preach the gospel to every creature. We must obey or fall under condemnation.

(b) Because the more light they have, the greater the probability that they will walk in it and be saved. For the same reason we keep on preaching to people in gospel lands, not because they can not be saved without it, but because they will not. In all cases it is a question of will and probability rather than privilege and possibility.


Verse 21

21. “Therefore knowing God, they did not glorify him as God nor were they thankful, but they became vain in their reasonings, and their foolish heart was darkened.” All the heathens in the world are but the apostasy of the Patriarchical church, having the true light in the days of Noah; the Mohammedans and Jews, the apostasy of the Mosaic church, and the Roman Catholics, the fallen Apostolic church; while the great Protestant denominations are going at racehorse speed the same downward trend into spiritual darkness, formality, hypocrisy, legalism and idolatry. Paul in this verse describes the first stage of apostasy from God, i. e., landing them in intellectualism; the second stage subsequently described, putting them in idolatry, and the third and last in brutality. The heathens are now in the last stage, i. e., brutality, and the Romanists in idolatry, and the Protestants in intellectualism, seeking the power of natural talent and education instead of the spiritual dynamite which constitutes the only definition of gospel in the Bible.


Verse 22

22. “Saying that they were wise they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of corruptible man, birds, quadrupeds and creeping things.” The Greeks worshipped gods in human form, and the Egyptians in the form of many animals; the former reached idolatry and the latter brutality.


Verse 24

24. “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto impurity to dishonor their bodies among themselves,


Verse 25

25. “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for evermore. Amen.” Here we see the fatal downward trend of humanity, alienated from God; like a ship loosed from her moorings, adrift on the sea, the sport of the billows and the caprice of the storm, till wounded or wrecked. Hence when people get away from the personal indwelling Holy Spirit, they float on hellwardly whether through churches or outside. Creature worship is idolatry, whether it be a fine house, a pipe-organ, an old creed, water baptism or an elegant, learned preacher. It is creature worship instead of the heart cry after God.


Verse 26

26. “Therefore God gave them up to the lusts of dishonor.”…


Verse 27

27. These two verses describe a horrible state of humanity, cohabitation with animals, and other abominations unmentionable, peculiar to the inhabitants of Sodom and in the hell dens of many other cities in all ages. When I was in that country I went to the site of Sodom and Gomorra and found it all covered by the Dead Sea. Not only is the sea utterly desolate, no fish competent to live in its poisonous waters, but the surrounding country is all a burning desert waste without a drop of rain, whereas in the days of Abraham and Lot it was “well watered,” God having sent the withering desolation because of their wickedness. As this wicked age fast ripens for destruction, the horrors of Sodom are fast multiplying with the inventions of the age utilized by Satan. I write these pages in New York. A sanctified man, saved out of the horrors of slumdom, tells me that we need not leave the American metropolis to find all the horrors of ancient Sodom.


Verse 28

28. “And so as they did not approve to hold God in perfect knowledge, he gave them up to a reprobate mind to do the things which are abominable.” Here we see how people become reprobated. They first reprobate God and then He reprobates them, as He saves none against their will. So if you want to be elected to glory, heaven and immortality, you go ahead at once and elect God, and be true to God and it will turn out that He has elected you. Here we have a picture, like the brutality in Romans 1:26-27, too black for description.


Verse 29

29. “Is filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, vice and covetousness.” Those who go to heaven must have the fullness of grace in entire sanctification, while in a similar manner Satan ripens his people for hell, by filling them with the very diabolical attributes which congenialize them for the society of hell. “Full of envy, murder, deceitfulness, strife, and evil affections.” These black vices are germinally born in humanity by the fall. Afterward they reach maturity by practice, ripening the soul for hell. In this probation all people are fast rushing to dramatically opposite destinies, diverging incessantly either from another; the one class in due time getting full salvation and ripening for heaven, and the other class, full deterioration and maturing for hell. There is no medium; we must all go one way or the other. So you have your choice between full salvation and full damnation. Which will you have?


Verse 30

30. “Secret maligners,” i. e., eaves-droppers clandestinely stirring up a hell-fire to burn you forever, meanwhile they flatter you with their lips, and claim to be your best friends. “These slanderers.” How frequently does murder follow slander! These remorseless liars, whether clandestinely or openly, set whole communities on the fires of hell, often deluging homes with blood. “Haters of God.” Satan imparts his own nature to the people given up to him. So they actually loathe and despise the God who made them and gives them the air they breathe. “Proud, haughty, arrogant.”

These words express different phases of that abominable Satanic delusion that makes the beggar think he is a king, the fool think he is a philosopher, the debauchee think he is a gentleman, and the hypocrite think he is a saint. “Practitioners of evil,” i. e., they are professional scoundrels, ready to do anything that is bad and nothing that is good. If they pretentiously do good, it is only a cloak for their meanness, that they may unsuspected perpetrate a blacker crime. “Disobedient to parents.” How awfully dissolute the present age on parental discipline: children rushing headlong to hell under the immediate eye of parents who make a profession of Christianity! In many so-called Christian homes, the children are Incorrigible. In Georgia, an old- style Methodist forbade his daughters to attend Satan’s dances, their silly, half-hearted mother encouraging them to go and catch beaux so they could marry. One day the father comes into the family room, finding them all busy making lustful ball-dresses, getting ready for Satan’s fandango. They could no longer hide the matter, so they confess outright. He then picks up all of the goods, seventy dollars worth, and laid them into the big, old-style wood fire, and looks at them till they all burn into ashes. Then turning he addresses his wife and daughters: “If there is anything more of this, I will sell out [and he had a princely house] and give all I have to the missionary cause, tramp for my living, and you shall all go to the wash-tub for your bread.” He had an iron will, and they knew he would do it, so he had no more trouble to rule his house. Good Lord, give us more like him!


Verse 31

31. “Incontinent.” This word means reckless in every sense, incorrigible, abandoned, awful in the extreme. “Covenant breakers,” i. e., recreant to all obligation at home or abroad, all mooring loosed, and utterly unreliable in every respect. “Without natural affections.” The poor heathens in Africa are in this horrific state this day, as all the missionaries can testify. I heard them at Old Orchard Camp-meeting last August testify as eye and ear witnesses to these horrors. E. g., All of their doctors are diabolical wizards claiming to hold communication with the gods, (and true, with the demons, the gods of the poor heathen). They impute all sickness to witchcraft, and simply practice to find the witch. In that case the nearest relatives must set on them and kill them; otherwise they will be implicated as accomplices and killed. Bishop Taylor witnessed the awful tragedy of a man killing his own little daughter ten years old because the doctor said she had bewitched her sick mother. The gospel is the only possible remedy for these horrors. “Incapable of mercy.” This indicates an appalling depth of diabolism and cruelty beyond all hope.


Verse 32

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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Bibliography Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Romans 1:4". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/romans-1.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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