For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”Paul introduces this passage with a quote from Habakkuk summing up the necessity of faith. The focus in Paul's letters is that salvation comes from Christ and we need to have faith in him. Paul sets up the Jewish believers by showing that the pagans are lost. He demonstrates this convincingly yet at the moment the Jews agree with Paul's conclusion he reminds them that they are in the same predicament. Not only are the Gentiles gossips, haughty, faithless; so are they. And while the Jews may condemn the Gentiles for certain actions, they behave similarly. Later Paul argues that they can't condemn Gentile adultery and theft when they do likewise.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.
Paul ends the discussion of Gentile sin with a vice list that he says is obvious to all: they know God's righteous decree; they know the just punishment is death; yet they both practice such sin and approve of others. This is particularly damning judgment as Paul is saying that such behaviour is not ignorant sin, it is defiant sin.
But the prelude to the vice list is to describe the depths of depravity of the Gentiles. Paul discusses serious pagan sin and argues his case indirectly from Genesis. His discussion concerns the pagan rejection of the Creator and throughout Paul repeatedly alludes to creation.
- God's invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world (Gen 1:1), in the things that have been made (Gen 1).
- God (Gen 1:1) is rejected for man (Gen 1:27), birds (Gen 1:21), animals (Gen 1:25), and creeping things (Gen 1:25).
- They exchanged the truth for a lie (Gen 3:4).
- [They served the creature rather than the Creator (Gen 3:6).]
- Women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature (Gen 2:24; 4:1).
- Men gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another (Gen 2:24; 4:1).
- Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
- They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator
- Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
- For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.
- For their women (θήλειαι) exchanged natural (φυσικὴν) relations (χρῆσιν) for those that are contrary to nature (φύσιν); and
- the men (ἄρσενες) likewise gave up natural (φυσικὴν) relations (χρῆσιν) with women (θηλείας) and were consumed [burning] with passion [desire] for one another, men (ἄρσενες) in men (ἄρσεσιν) committing shameless (ἀσχημοσύνην) acts and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
- Acts between men and women when the relationship is inappropriate
- Acts between men and men
- Acts between men and animals
- Acts between women and animals
Following this Paul again states that God gives people over to their wickedness.
- God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
- all manner of unrighteousness
- haters of God
- inventors of evil
- disobedient to parents