Romans 1:19-23

Why Condemnation?

Romans 1:19-23



Scripture emphasizes that justice, wrath & judgment are as much a part of God as are love, mercy, & grace.

Isa 13:9 – Behold, the day of the Lord comes, Cruel, with both wrath & fierce anger to lay the land desolate, & He will destroy its sinners from it
Nah 1:2-3 – The Lord avenges and is furious…He reserves wrath for His enemies; The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, And will not at all acquit the wicked.
Mat 8:12 – sinners will be cast into outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping & gnashing of teeth.
Mat 10:28 – Do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul & body in hell.
Rv 14:9-11 – they shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire & brimstone & the smoke of their torment ascends forever & ever; & they have no rest day or night.

John Stott – misunderstandings of the gospel are “due to inadequate doctrines of God & man. If we bring God down to our level & raise ourselves to his, then of course we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical atonement to secure it. But when we have glimpsed the blinding glory of the holiness of God, & have been so convicted of our sin by God’s Spirit that we tremble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely ‘hell-deserving sinners’, then & only then does the necessity of the gospel of the cross appear so obvious.”

Romans 1-3 presents the universality of human guilt

1:19–32 – depraved Gentile society is guilty; 2:1–16 – moral people (Gentile/Jew) are guilty

2:17–3:8 – self-confident Jews are guilty; 3:9–20 – the whole human race is guilty, without excuse & condemned!\

I.  Man’s Rejection of God’s Revelation (19-23)

     A.     Types of Revelation
  1. Special – the Scriptures & Christ Jesus

Heb 1:1-3 – God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His SON, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

  1. General

Conscience – Rom 2:14-16


Psa 19 – the heavens declare the glory of God & the sky shows His handiwork.
Psa 8 – I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon & the stars which you have set in place.
      B.     Content of the Revelation (20)

Eternal power = never failing omnipotence

Josh 2:9-11- the terror of you has fallen on us, & all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt…& as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.

Divine nature – who God is – Good, Love, Wise, Judge, etc

clearly seen = easily understood.
Anyone can look at creation & see that God is & is therefore without excuse (v20).  
C.     Accountability to Revelation (20)

Notice Paul’s argument – “for

Paul:  “I am not ashamed of the gospel” (16a).
Q:        Why not, Paul?
Paul:   For/because (16b) it’s the power of God for the salvation of all who believe
Q:        How so, Paul?
Paul:   For/because (17) in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed.
Q:        But why is this necessary, Paul?
Paul:   For (18) God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all…
Q:        But how have people suppressed the truth, Paul?
Paul:   For (19) what may be known about God is plain to them …
For (20) since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities … have been clearly seen

People have taken what God has shown to them about God & have done nothing with it, so – without excuse.

Acts 17:23-28 – as I was passing through & considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar w/this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world & everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven & earth, does not dwell in temples made w/hands. Nor is He worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath & all things. He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, & has determined their pre-appointed times & the boundaries of their dwellings. Seek the Lord, in the hope that you might feel after Him for in Him we live and move and have our being.

D.     Rejection of Revelation (21-22)

People see God in creation, refuse to glorify Him & think themselves wiser than He.

We think we know better than God & so reveal futile (empty) thoughts

In other words if you reject God you have an empty mind. You are a fool.

E.     Substitute for Revelation (23)

Man eliminates the true God; creates one that doesn’t exist & calls himself wise. It’s foolish!

If ancient Gentiles could not plead ignorance, so modern people are without excuse, especially those who have easy access to the Bible, yet never read it, or who live close to a Bible preaching church, but never attend, or who are admonished by Christians, only to reject their witness & substitute their own theories of righteousness instead.


  1. You’re accountable for this knowledge of God.
The gospel comes to an open heart, not one that has closed itself to God. (Acts 16– Lydia; Acts 10 – Cornelius)

If you realize that your sin makes you guilty & deserving of wrath (18) then you’ll find that the same God who is full of wrath is also rich in mercy. (Rom 5:8)

  1. God’s self-revelation should motivate Christians to personal holiness.

If you really are thankful for His sacrifice & if you really grieve over the fact that He had to bear God’s wrath because of your sin, then every time you are tempted to sin, the thought of Christ crucified should help you to resist that sin & rest in the continuing delivering power of the gospel.

  1. God’s wrath should motivate personal Christian witness & world missions.

An understanding of the predicament of your unsaved friends & family members should give you a great passion to pray for sinners & to show them Jesus, their only hope of salvation.