READ: Romans 1:18-32
THINK: Have you noticed that a lot of people who are considered intelligent by human standards are skeptical of–or outright opposed to–spiritual issues, particularly Christian faith and the standards of God’s Word? This proves that worldly wisdom is essentially the opposite of true, godly wisdom. In fact, worldly thinking and behavior always tend to suppress and defy God’s truth. But those who are humble and open-minded enough to consider how God has revealed himself and to take Him at His Word will discover the truth. Their hearts will be receptive to God’s love and forgiveness. Their minds will be open to His wisdom. And their lives will be renewed by His life-transforming power.
RESPOND: What is “the wrath of God” and what provokes it? (See 1:18 note.) How is God’s wrath evident at present, and how will it be unleashed in the future? How can people escape God’s wrath? How should God’s wrath against “the godlessness and wickedness” (v. 18) influence Jesus’ followers? (See 1:18 note, sub-point 5.) How do godless people “suppress the truth” (v. 18)? How are God’s “invisible qualities” (v. 20) evident in creation? How do people who claim to be wise often prove to be foolish instead? (See 1:22 note.) In what ways do people who defy God demonstrate foolishness? What does it mean that “God gave them over to sexual impurity”? (See 1:24 note.) Why does God do this? What does it mean that people exchange God’s truth for a lie, and how does this relate to honoring other things above God? (See 1:25 note.) What does this passage indicate about homosexual behavior? (See 1:27 note.) What other equally detestable, yet common, behaviors result from failing to honor and follow God (vv. 29-31)? Are any of these sins worse than the others? Why or why not? (See 1:27 note.) How can God transform people’s lives, helping them overcome sinful tendencies? What evidence is there in society that people not only defy God themselves, but also approve of others who defy His ways? (See 1:32 note.) Why is this such a serious issue? In what ways are some who claim to be Christians guilty of such approval? What affect does this have on society?
PRAY: Give God thanks for who He is and for specific things He does in your life. Pray that people you know who are caught up in God-defying behaviors and lifestyles will recognize God’s truth and trust Him to transform their lives.
ACT: Look through several news and information sources, making mental note of how people approve of ungodly behaviors. Pray for the people and situations you come across in this exercise. Reach out and demonstrate God’s love to people who are caught up in things that defy and dishonor God. Pray for opportunities to influence them for Christ.