romans 1: 18-32, nlt
18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
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if one is going to make an argument about the way god feels about sin, it’s important we don’t read this passage out of context in the way sin (and sinners) is described. i encourage you to read very, very carefully what paul is saying. equally important, understand what he is not saying.
in verse 21, paul defines the wicked as people who know who god is, have been shown and taught the truth of who god is, and then deliberately choose -as in, turn their backs entirely on- god. not only that, but it goes on to say in verse 22 that these same folks created false idols and other gods to worship. they were offered the option of following christ (so they couldn’t feign ignorance) and turned in the complete opposite direction. and that is when god turned his back on them and left them to their wiles. they were savages with no regard to the nature of god, even choosing against the justice system of god.
again, in the end, it’s our hearts that matter.
what, then, is paul not saying?
would love to hear any truth, insight, or theology you can bring to the table.