Romans: Day 2

The Righteousness and Wrath of God

by

Today's Text: Romans 1:18-32, Proverbs 1:7, 2 Timothy 3:1-9

Scripture Reading: Romans 1:18-32, Proverbs 1:7, 2 Timothy 3:1-9

In all of Paul’s letters, there are few bleaker passages than the one we encounter in Romans 1:18-32. Here Paul paints a picture of total depravity, gleeful rebellion, and blind rejection of God—all of which incur the deserved wrath of God. It’s dark and it’s grim, but there is one thing you especially need to know about it:

It’s your story.

If you’re like me, that might sound strange. Like many lifelong Christians, I was raised in the church, a rule-following “good girl” who never colored outside the lines. My life looks nothing like Paul’s portrait of self-destruction. And yet, his language is intentionally vague. He never specifies who this passage is about. Scholars have speculated—perhaps it’s about Adam and Eve, or perhaps he is describing non-Christians. But most scholars, like Dr. Douglas Moo, a professor at Wheaton College, interpret his words more broadly: “[Paul] has in view human beings generally, prone to turn away from God because of the original fall into sin.”

In other words, this passage is about us.

Paul speaks of the “godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth”—the people who struggle with “envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice” (vv.18, 29). And those people he’s describing? Well, they’re us—all of us. Paul isn’t singling out a particular group of people; he’s diagnosing the human condition.

Left to our own devices, sin distorts our souls like water-warped wood. For every human ever born, that is our story. At least, it would have been our story had God not intervened.

What we see in Romans 1:18-32 is a vision of our fate, had God not planned our rescue. Without God’s grace we were all “by nature deserving of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). To understand exactly what these harsh words mean, we must be careful not to confuse God’s “wrath” with human forms of anger. Theologian John Stott describes human anger as “irrational and uncontrollable emotion, containing much vanity, animosity, malice, and the desire for revenge.” God’s wrath, on the other hand, “is absolutely free of all such poisonous ingredients.”

By comparison, God’s wrath is His “holy hostility to evil.” This hostility is not arbitrary. God does not pick rules out of a hat, and smite those who fail to conform. No, God directs His hostility squarely at the destructive effects of sin. Sin steals, kills, and destroys everything it touches, including the crown jewel of His creation: humankind. It degrades and dismantles us, and God’s response to this cosmic terrorism is total opposition. God opposes sin because He is good and righteous and just.

He also opposes it because of His love. Like a father’s white-knuckle rage at his son’s addiction, or a mother’s howling grief at her daughter’s eating disorder, God’s wrath is an expression of His love. It is hostility towards that which devours His children whole.

This side of eternity, we may never understand the mysterious balance between God’s active condemnation and the natural consequences of human sin. But together, these two elements constitute God’s righteous wrath against all human sin. That is our story—every one of us. Apart from the grace of God, we would only choose death.

Whenever we read these words, we must ask the Spirit to reveal ourselves within them, because we cannot have the good news without the bad news. We cannot call it “salvation” if we are not being saved from something—namely, ourselves. Self-ruin is the only place our sin will ever take us. But, thanks to Jesus, it doesn’t have to.

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Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, mom, and she holds a PhD on women and calling. She is a regular contributor to Propel, blogs at SheWorships.com, and her first book releases in October 2017.

  • Jill Garcia

    I think this is one of the most misunderstood truths…God’s wrath is against SIN, not his children. It’s an expression of his love. It’s hostility towards that which devours his children whole.

    In this day in age, it’s easy for truth to sound like hate to those who hate truth, however, the Word of God transcends all human understanding. Our job isn’t to fully understand all that God’s Word says, or all that He chooses to do in our lives. Our job is to be a faithful servant of the gospel, and much of the time that is loving others the way Christ does, showing them His grace and mercy, not leaving them where they are but calling them to leave their sin behind and walk in faith that the Lord will supply all their needs. His is faithful, even when we are not.

  • ShariLeigh

    Wrath for the sin, love for His creation! Thank You God!

  • I love reading this passage in Romans. Its always a humbling experience for me. Every time I read about the awful people God “gave up” I find myself thinking “whew, sure glad I’m better than THAT guy!” but Paul doesn’t stop there. He calls out these horrible people by some specific sins…envy, malice, gossip, slander, haughtiness…so many more seemingly “small” sins. Its a reminder to me that, but for my salvation, I would be in no better shape than anyone else.

  • Self-ruin is the only place sin will ever take us. But, thanks to Jesus, it doesn’t have to!! I’ll write this in my journal today–in all caps!!!!!!

  • I really loved the teaching on God’s wrath…Holy hostility towards evil….an expression of God’s love.

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  • This explanation of the difference between human anger and the wrath of God is the clearest I’ve ever heard. Thank you for your words today.

  • Asking the Spirit to reveal to me my personal truth in the first chapter of Romans…and even that simple act of giving over control of interpretation – terrifies me. But here in this fear is my truth: my human condition seeks control as a means to save myself. See what I did here? I white knuckle and fight for control as a means to save myself. But that is IMPOSSIBLE. Blessed are the poor in spirit – in other words, blessed are those who see how futile their fighting is and who, empty and incapable, give themselves in faith to the merciful grace of Jesus. Relinquishing control, loosening your grip, admitting powerlessness. Letting go, and LETTING GOD. My Father in Heaven, how grateful I am for this truth. Amen.

    • Kelli

      Shea – I share the white knuckle syndrome with you. I am struggling with the loss of my mom and much to my surprise, I found my human condition in the passages of today’s reading. As I was working my way through the passage this morning and writing my thoughts down, I wrote, ” I need to be cautious with my grief to be sure to open my grip on my pain and sadness and ask Jesus to heal my heart so that my pain doesn’t create a barrier between me and the Lord”. I appreciate your words that remind me that constant surrender and belief in the divine power of God is the path to restoration. Letting go and letting God. Thanking the Lord with you today.

  • Thank you for this explanation of Romans 1. My best friend has started a love affair with another woman. She told me last week, in tears, saying that she knows God doesn’t approve. She told me she talked to our pastor about it and that comforted me deeply. I just held her, hugged her. I know that I’m not called to judge but to love. We’ve talked about it often en I think she knows I consider homosexuality a sin. And she herself as well. She has been abused in the past and has really bad experiences with men. She cannot see herself anymore with a man. I understand all this. But now she starts talking about her and the other woman, she doesn’t talk about God and the pastor anymore…I’m the only one with whom she can talk about this relationship. It’s so painful to me although I listen and give my advice a bit etc. In this study we see we’re all sinful and it’s good to read it. We’re all struggling and we all need God. I can pray for her and and I have to trust God, and let it go…..

    • Hayden

      My friend is dating a girl at the moment. However she has not told me, I’ve heard about it around school, and a few of her other close friends have told me. In a way, I get it. It’s so hard, but that’s where Jesus comes in. I’m praying for you and your friend! ❤️❤️

  • So struck with love for the wrath of God. If he were as wishy-washy toward my sin as I am…I would be wandering on a path toward “dismantling.” Thank God that he hated sin enough to send Jesus to bear the agony of it. May I hate sin enough to go to extreme lengths to give the Gospel to people. We want to love so desperately that we are allowing people to go to destruction for fear of hurting their feelings!! So much conviction today.

    • Chris Ann

      I ❤️how you said you’re “struck with love for the wrath of God.” I so easily misunderstand his wrath, but I can see that it’s worthy of great love when I can grasp the fact that it’s coming from a place of such great love for us…and knowing better than us that sin will destroy.

  • I just started this plan yesterday! I feel very fortunate to have found this study! Today’s reading is something I feel like I have allowed so many times. It so easy to get spiritually weakened by our own sinful nature. ( giving into the world and it’s pleasures) I distanced myself from God believing that I’ll never be good enough anyway. But I know that’s the enemy. Praying for God to deliver me once again from my sinful nature of myself so I can follow him, fully believing in the power of his word!

    • Sara-Cate

      I just started this study the other day as well!! Trying to do better with getting in the word more!

    • Kelli

      I started yesterday as well! Praying for the Lord to strengthen us and remind us of His goodness and grace which makes it possible to bear the image of Christ and to enjoy the benefits of being a child of the King.

  • I am thankful that this study is being brought to me. I need to know who I am without God. Knowing this makes me seek Him and hold fast to Him

  • Beth Siesel

    This is such a good passage to parallel study with the book of Exodus. God gave His covenant and the Israelite people committed to obey His laws: “Everything You say we will do” (Ex. 24:7). And when Moses returns from the mountain, they’ve made a representation of God, god in their own image, an idol.

  • Every new paragraph brought a new wave of tears.

    Holy Spirit, you have pierced my heart. Thank you for being a good, good, GOOD father to us. Thank you for ferociously coming against the sin that is drowning us. Thank you for upholding our end of the covenant when we couldn’t do it ourselves.

    In the name of Jesus Christ, who has already conquered sin and all of the powers of darkness, I rebuke any spirit of homosexual perversion that has its grip on my loved ones today! With the authority given to me by the blood of Jesus, I command you to release my loved ones from your grip! Go and never come back! Amen, and thanks be to God for His never ending grace and faithfulness to us!

  • Todays reading really softened my heart. I feel that my wandering and sin hardened my heart and created a distance between Him and I. Because of my shame I had doubted Gods love and confused His wrath as human wrath. I failed to see that he loves me regardless of what I have done and that His wrath isn’t directed towards me but towards my sin, my sickness. He has a wrath for sin because He sees how my sin brings ruin, how it dismantles my heart. Knowing that I am loved by Him gives me strength to fight against sin and all worldly desires. Knowing he has this love for me lightens my heart, thank you for the message!

    • Brittany

      Praying for you! So glad to hear how God revealed truth to your heart through this reading!

    • emma

      I felt so similar when reading it!! It is so easy to confuse his wrath with human wrath and it’s so easy to forget how important it is to make those clear distinctions. He is on our team and it’s stinking awesome! God bless!

  • Jenn Warren

    Sisters, Started this with my kids today. Kids version with my 6 year old and adult app for my 11 year old. I didn’t realize Romans contains verses some interpret as against homosexuality. We have many gay friends who aren’t followers of Jesus but whom we love. Any idea how to talk to my 11 year old about it? She has multiple friends with 2 moms. Come Lord Jesus come!

    • Lynn

      Romans 3:23 sums it all up:

      Romans 3:23New International Version (NIV)

      23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

      We are all sinners in different ways and we all need forgiveness and salvation! Focus on yourself and not others!!

      • Sandy

        The sin is turning their back on God. Everything else flows from that sin. As Lynn said, focus on our own sin and preaching the gospel to others. Let God work out the rest.

      • Jenn Warren

        Thank you so much for taking the energy and time to respond!

    • Melissa

      Jenn – first off, thank you for wanting to raise children to know and love God! In response to your question, I would say in addition to the others suggestions, also try to point out examples of how other sin flows from an inward self. That way we can be understanding of others sin instead of judging it!

  • I’m going through Matthew Henry’s commentary along with the daily reading and wanted to share a portion related to today’s reading: “There never yet was a man, who had not reason to lament his strong corruptions, and his secret dislike to the will of God. Therefore this chapter is a call to self-examination, the end of which should be, a deep conviction of sin, and of the necessity of deliverance from a state of condemnation.”

    • Logan Christine

      Thank you Stefanie for this. I loved this quote so much I wrote it down with my notes.

  • what a fabulous message. thank you.

  • whew that was heavy

  • Today I am praising and giving glory to the Lord for His “loving” wrath in the lives of my husband and me. We had been slowly falling away out of relationship with Him and going steadily down a treacherous slope. Our marriage was also crumbling as a result as well. The Lord allowed us to be involved in a horrific wreck that involved multiple surgeries and a hospital stay. It is hard to describe, but it was like a divine wake up call to how we were living and we believe the entire experience was a miracle that led us back to Him and restoration in our marriage. He loves us so much and wants more than anything for us to be in relationship with Him. His wrath actually saved my husband and I from ourselves and set us back on track–HIS track. I give all praise and glory and thanks to our loving Father!!!!!

    • Melanie Bisson

      Praise God!! I pray you’ll continue to get closer to Him and that your marriage strengthens each day.

    • She Reads Truth

      What a powerful testimony, Raegan! Thank you so much for sharing. Grateful for you today.

      – Stormye

  • The verse that stuck out to me was Romans 1:25………worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator……I really think that is a big sin we fall for these days, we might think this passage could be about the Israelites and the Gods they created, BUT…..WE admire beautiful things, want to have more money to buy more, we envy things others have, we are more on our phones than holding our bibles.

    • Catherine Sharp

      Jessica! This verse stuck out to me and I certainly felt conviction in my heart. I wrote down “what are the things I have been worshipping instead of my gracious creator?” I have been so concerned about what people think lately. My mind circles with worry. My prayer is that I focus on who God says I am and let the rest slip through the cracks.

  • Although I began picturing non-Christians while reading the rest of Romans Chapter 1, the end of the devotional really resonated with me: “Whenever we read these words, we must ask the Spirit to reveal ourselves within them. We cannot call it ‘salvation’ if we are not being saved from something (ourselves).” This spoke such truth to me. I have to remember that we as Christians are not perfect. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Luke 5:31).

  • I am overcome by the absolute truth of this. Sin distorts everything. Self ruin and choosing death….except for God rescuing me, I would have been utterly destroyed. I know this is the truth of the matter. All I can say is “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift”!!! 2 Corinthians 9:15
    I will praise Him as long as I have breath in my lungs!

  • Amen! Verse 32 of Romans 1 personally stands out to me the most. Even though I as a growing Christian understand why different sins are wrong and that they lead to death, I sometimes see myself trying to justify the sins of others, and that can’t be. I have to learn to love others yet still condemn their sinful actions out of a love and respect for God and His truth. Very important message!

  • I think the devotionals are becoming more “mature” (I don’t know how to explain better… more profound) at each study.
    Thank you SRT!

    • Bekka Barron

      I agree. The previous studies I did were fine but mostly warm tenders. This study is making me think and growing my knowledge. I’m stoked on it, and I’m only 2 days in.

  • Sheryn Atkinson

    When I read the scriptures and study today I realized this was about me. I am a sinner and impure and I fail every day. But I wasn’t overcome with grief at this understanding…I was faced with God’s grace and realized that I can accept that grace every single day by just asking for it and asking for forgiveness every time I need it. I will never be pure, I will never be without sin…but I definitely AM forgiven and I thank God for that truth!!!

    • Jody Heavenrich Hensley

      I felt the same way. You expressed it more beautifully than I did in my study book. Thank you!!

      • Sheryn Atkinson

        Thank you Jody!

        • Debbie Ruvolo

          I feel the same as you two ladies. I agree Jody, Sheryn said it better than I did too. I read it at lunch and didn’t want to stop. I am looking forward to learning and understanding more. Loved how they have said to read it like a story.

  • God isn’t some police officer from above anticipating us to break His law so he may punish. Instead, I learn from this devo that his wrath is protection from the destruction of sin. I have to remember that the Lord is a good father who disciplines justly and for our well being.

  • Kasey Summers

    Love!!!!

  • Elizabeth Moersch

    Well, it seems Satan would love for us to negate the fact that we need a Savior! For us to think we are “good” and “just” simply by our own account; That perhaps we are worthy in some way would mean we might not seek out a Savior! We might think we had no need? If we did not see a need to be saved from our deprivaty then the enemy might be successful in keeping us from saying YES to Jesus. So, my prayer is that the Holy Spirit helps me and all of us see see our weakness, our sin, our deprived nature, and we battle the deceptive schemes of the evil one! Let us bee humble by acknowledging our Savior daily and giving thanks for his saving grace. What a gift we have been given!

  • Stephanie F

    Lord give me eyes to see the truth of myself – who I am in you, for you and because of you. Help me know I am not stuck. You are my Overcomer. I cannot Master anything on my own – especially my sin.

  • This.Is.So.True! So good! We need this message so bad INSIDE the Christian community. There is so much of this ugly stuff going on people’s lives under wraps because it is seen as one of those “REALLY bad sins,” or something like that. So Christians hide their addictions, their sexual sin, their rage, etc. because they think that is something only non-believers struggle with…lie. If we keep our sin in the dark, Satan will use that foothold to steal our relationships with God and others by isolating us in our sin. Let us be the Church. Let us be the one where we are not shocked by depravity like it is something new. Is it terrible? Yes. Tolerable? No. Is it surprising? It shouldn’t be. I am speaking to myself now. Let’s let go of the judgmental church and be the “Healing with the Gospel” church. Let’s not give the devil a foothold by pretending we are perfect or expecting it from others. Thank you for this perspective.

  • Christina

    One of the most powerful devotions I’ve read here. Thank you!

  • It is so helpful to understand this passage better as Paul is “diagnosing the human condition.” I think I’ve always understood it to speak to non-believers and I’ve always struggled with that. All the non-believers that I know are not like this. They are good people who love their families and are healthy members of society. So to understand this passage directed to humankind as a whole and this is ALL of our natural tendencies without God’s rescue plan makes total sense to me!

    • Megan Montgomery

      I saw it at first as a message to all who don’t know about God and their fate, but reading the devotional it does make complete and total sense that it applies to all of us who know and love Christ as well!! I agree with you that it’s helpful to understand and know the scripture better by Paul’s “diagnosis of the human condition”

  • Emilee Clemons

    That we can even praise Him for His wrath? What better news to center our whole life around? What betters goodness to walk in? Thank-You, Father!

  • “apart from the grace of God, we would choose death”……..by His grace I am saved!
    This is my thankful, humble, imperfect story.

  • What a relief to know this is me! And to be able to admit the truth to my dark side. That I don’t have to be better than I am. That God knows and loves me and wants to rescue me. He sees the trap I’m in and did something about it! It is so relieving to understand this truth. And then to remember it when I see it play out in those around me. Yes, we are sinners. And God is the good One.

  • I love where Sharon Hodde Miller says “God’s wrath is an expression of His love.” It just struck such a chord in my heart, that His wrath shows us the magnitude of His love for His creation. I think one of my favorite verses from this portion is 1:22 “Claiming to be wise, they became fools…..” so powerful!

  • I am thankful that the footnote in this text was made very clear: a fool here is someone who is morally deficient, not necessarily how we see fools as someone who is intellectually deficient. That shed light into my past life before Jesus, I was also a fool, with no moral compass or code until He came along and showed me the way. Thank you for that revelation that these words describe us more than anything and we need to put on the new self everyday lest we fall back to these old ways.

  • Thanks so much for this perspective. I found the metaphors for God’s wrath here especially helpful.

  • Renae Joyce

    I find these verses in Romans sobering, also the ones from II Timothy. It makes me search my heart/motives in life! May God continue to draw us towards himself and towards a desire to live holy lives!

  • This is absolutely me. What I’ve taken away from this passage is that we have to consistently choose God daily. There are 2 forces in the world, and they are constantly fighting. It is up to us to submit to the evil forces or the good forces of the Lord.

  • We were by nature objects of wrath, but the we were made alive in Christ. By grace we have been saved. Grace never looks so beautiful as when I am aware of God’s holiness and the wrath I deserved and yet was delivered from through Jesus. When I don’t see myself as good in the way others see but aware of the raw way I don’t follow the law perfectly, and deserved punishment yet Jesus took it all. I can only stand in awe. I’m a bit excited. Amazing. Never want it to get old.

  • Boy…Today’s reading had me bumping up against all sorts of uncomfortable spaces. Reading Sharon Miller’s words was very helpful in putting these passages into perspective.

    • truthseeker

      I echo your sentiments.

    • Natalie

      I agree. It is difficult to read the words of Paul when they hit close to home, not only because of the sin in my own life and the times that I have neglected to glorify and thank God as my creator and sustainer, but also because there are so many people in my life that also struggle with these issues and do not recognize or care to recognize God as their father and Christ as their savior. It leaves me wondering how to share with them without scaring them or coming across as judgmental, which is not my intent.

      • Heather Jones

        I can only agree. This reading has really hit me in my heart today. Thanking God for His wrath tonight.

  • Wow! I am so grateful for this study….praises to Jesus! On my own I am a lost sinner, with Jesus and because of Him, I am saved!

  • Wildflower

    Wait wait wait. “Lovers of pleasure”. Is all pleasure bad?! I mean… I love the pleasure of a beautiful sunny day… of the peace that comes with watching the birds outside… the flowers blooming… watching puppies romp around playing… don’t break my break my heart by telling me it’s bad to take pleasure in those things :/

    • Wildflower

      BUT I could also consider it just being grateful for those things which isn’t bad. Hm. I’m confusing myself.

    • Emily B.

      Are those pleasures causing you to sin? Are they drawing you into temptation? I don’t think so. Simple pleasures like the ones you mentioned aren’t bad. I think they’re gifts. :)

    • Alyssa Santos

      These passages are hard. Hard to read. Hard to reconcile with the idea of grace. I like what Sharon Miller says above that this is the story of all of us — outside of relationship with God, we always, only seek our own satisfaction (and are usually left unsatisfied!). The whole phrase is “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”. If we keep it in context of the whole of scripture, we can and should be pleased and delighted and awed by creation while remembering the Creator, too. In Job and in the Psalms so much about God’s divine nature and power and creativity is spoken of in poetic terms. God made us sensual, gave us the senses of sight, smell, touch, fast and hearing. The key word in the phrase is ‘rather’. I did a little word study and lover of pleasure was literally “friend of sensual pleasure”, usually lust. And lover of God means, friend of God. All sensual things, including sex, including puppies and chocolate and laughter, are God-given. When we experience them, do we constantly lust after more pleasurable things, hoarding them or using them to validate ourselves, or do we seek after being a friend of God, seeing his hand and acknowledging his creative power and generosity that we can enjoy the world we take in with our senses? It’s more a question of priorities and what we place more value on ‘rather’ than God.

    • songbird

      Hm I think most pleasures (well unless you take pleasure in cruelty or so) are good in themselves, but they can be such an idol without them leading you directly to sin.
      When I find pleasure in going on long walks in nature and this is what my whole life revolves around it, it can be an idol….
      Ecclesiastes tells us to enjoy life. And elsewhere in the bible we are warned against idols.
      It’s all about the right balance.

    • Megan

      “Lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God” kind of reminds me of Mt. 6:24, “you cannot serve God and money.” We can serve God and have money, but money shouldn’t be the most important thing. I think there are things, like the ones you mentioned, that God made for us to enjoy, but we can go too far and seek pleasure above God. Does that help at all?

    • Karen

      Lovers of pleasure is to be seen in context meaning their whole being is just to satisfy themselves. The pleasures you speak of honor God and not in themselves sinful. Enjoy the beautiful day and be grateful for summer weather. It’s good to give thanks.

  • “lovers of self, lovers of pleasure” – this is totally about me. I’m too human not to. How confronting…

  • PronetoWander

    “Left to our own devices, sin distorts our souls like water-warped wood.” I love that analogy. Sins are what constantly pull me from the freedom I want in Christ. I definitely have my certain sins that I seem to fall back into over and over.

  • “God planned our rescue.” Yes, He did. Thank you Father for your love and faithfulness to us even when we are at times faithless and broken. Your love changes us and empowers us to be overcomers in Christ. “We cannot call it salvation if we are not being saved from something.”
    So good.

  • I’m new to SRT and love reading all the comments. It’s wonderful to have an online Bible study where we can discuss what we are reading. I’ve gotten so much out of today’s study.

    • She Reads Truth

      Welcome, Tanya! We are so glad to have you reading with us!

      – Stormye

  • Diane Huntsman

    I don’t think this thread is meant to be a theological debate platform.. it is impossible to cover as much text as we read in Romans with the commentary.. she highlighted on a few verses but the commentary isn’t a verse by verse break down of its full meaning..
    What she said is very accurate.. we all need to be aware of our own sin.. even saved and washed in the blood we still sin.. so the good news is being made aware of sin and bringing our honest hearts in repentance of sin is our answer to our sin problem individually and globally..
    I appreciate the ministry of SRT and thank each one of the commentary writers.. you ladies have blessed and enriched my life greatly.. let’s get back to what the thread is about.. praying for one another and encouraging one another.. hugs!

  • “Vision of our fate, had God not planned our rescue” so good

  • Renna Nightingale

    I especially loved the reminder that we cannot have the good without the bad. I’m an optimist, and always groan a little when I come across passages like these, so thank you for the fresh perspective! :)

  • Thank you Tina for your post and the prayer. Everyday is a challenge to look to God and listen to Him and give thanks. I know He led me to this study!

  • This devotional was especially eye opening today- specifically, the paragraphs explaining the wrath of God.

    I come from a verbally and emotionally abusive home- my father, although I don’t doubt he loved us, left my sister and I with scars on our hearts and in our soul. He showed and believed in a God who held and fulfilled the wrath Sharon described- picking rules out of a hat and punishing, crippling those who failed to conform. In this case, the smited was us, the children.

    Years later, I have my own relationship with God- but his ‘wrath’ has been a concept I struggle with greatly. I know he loves me dearly, but the wrath I knew of God was unexpected, outrageous, damaging. In many ways I viewed his anger in the same lens I viewed my fathers. It’s easy for me to see the terror and pain in the world and relate it to His anger. How could the God who loves me so much have so much anger!?

    Today, I find freedom in Sharon’s words – “To understand exactly what these harsh words mean, we must be careful not to confuse God’s “wrath” with human forms of anger. Theologian John Stott describes human anger as “irrational and uncontrollable emotion, containing much vanity, animosity, malice, and the desire for revenge.” God’s wrath, on the other hand, “is absolutely free of all such poisonous ingredients.”

    I feel as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. For nearly four years, I have known completely and whole heartedly that God loved me- yet I have been living in the lie STILL that the wrath of God is unpredictable and will destroy me on that judgement day, even if I find my way to heaven.

    My friends, I don’t know your struggle. I don’t know what lies have shaped you. But I hope you find freedom today as well – freedom that God deeply, fully, unashamedly loves YOU from the bottom of his heart. He pursues YOU when you are lost, he has wrath and grief over the sin that destroys you… not over who you are at your core. After all, he created you uniquely and wonderfully, with a purpose and a plan.

    I know this is so long (sorrysorry), but I am just so grateful this morning.

    • Liz

      Veronica,

      Your thoughts on this are beautiful! I love what the Lord reveals to us and how He brings complete healing to the wounds caused by sin. Continue to meditate on these words daily! I am so excited to get to see this glimpse of how God in His grace replaces the icky lies around us with such sweet truth. Praying for you this morning!

    • Wildflower

      I LOVE this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I can imagine how hard it is to have a healthy relationship with God after that abuse. It’s hard to remember that God gets disgusted WITH THE SIN and NOT with who we are at our core in Christ and in Him. I love love love that we can share our thoughts and burdens with each other through this site.

    • meg

      Thank you for sharing this. My father also loved to talk about God’s wrath and our sin, and use the words of God as a weapon against us. The love the Lord has for us brings tears to my eyes, and His salvation and my own rebirth into hope has reshaped my life. The gospel isn’t what it is without the salvation from darkness, but the hope we can have is amazing.

    • She Reads Truth

      Thank you for sharing this, Veronica! So grateful for your words of encouragement in this SRT community today!

      – Stormye

  • I have read this passage of scripture a dozen times before. And every time I read it, I thought it was a perfect representation of our world today. I always pictured the sinfulness of our society when I read Paul’s words. But I have never stopped to think that it’s about me, as well! Praise the Lord for his love and mercy! I am forever thankful that this is not my story anymore.

    • Tina

      Mary, I have always thought the same thing! This passage reflects our society and the open, indulgent, rebellion against God. I have never really thought about it in terms of myself and my own need for a savior. It’s so humbling because it’s true; the only reason I am not the wicked, unrighteous, sin glorifying people that Paul is describing is because of Christ! What a reminder that I was once lost in my sin too, desperate for a savior! It’s humbling, but it also gives me a lot of hope because I have often read this scripture and it makes me so sad because I see it mirrored in society. We live in a world that does glorify sin and rebels against God; but God saved me, sinful as I was, and He can save others lost in their sin as well.

    • Evie

      I feel the same way :)

  • Ezekiel 36:26 tells us our hearts are stone, cold, hard. Only God can take the stony heart out of us and replace it with a heart of flesh. All of us need a heart transplant! Left to ourselves we are without hope and like a caterpillar in a ring of fire. Our only help must come from above to snatch us up out of the fire.
    Thank you,SRT, for teaching us the Truth and reminding us of the loving heart of God!

  • Heather L

    Just opened up my book for today. I always like to read the devotional and comments first, it helps me to understand more of what I am getting it to.

  • One piece of phrasing that troubled me in my reading is that Paul repeatedly says that “God GAVE them up” to their sinful ways (my own emphasis on the “gave”). Anyone have insight into why Paul would say that?? I know our God would never leave or forsake us, but that phrasing, to me, suggests God giving up, which doesn’t feel right to me. Is it just emphasizing free will??

    • Beth

      I’m definitely not a scholar on this, but my thoughts on this would be that “giving up” is not a passive thing as it may seem. Like, we say ‘I give up” and that’s us being passive about our situation and saying we can’t do it. God knows He can change them, but he is actively choosing not to. So “giving up” is said in an active way, that is a part of his plan, this isn’t His plan B because things went out of His control.

      • Beth

        I just read over this comment again and realized I don’t think I addressed your question completely. My thoughts would be that it’s not about God leaving or forsaking, but more about letting them reap the consequences of their sin. Kind of like when a parent chooses to let their children learn the hard way? This is SUCH a difficult passage to understand.

      • Becky W

        Another translation says “gave them over to…” – which I understand as similar to God allowing Pharoah’s heart to be hardened. This type of comment still troubles me too, but when I think of it from a loving parent’s point of view, I know that I cannot always control my children’s actions/choices. And if I did, they would not be choices at all – they would simply be products of my control. Left alone, we are all prone to sin & while God desires our obedience and submission to Him, He doesn’t force it.

      • Jackie D

        Hi when I think of this it all comes back to – God wants us to willingly enter into a relationship with him. He can’t force it. So it can’t just force us to not desire sinful things and put Him second. He could just wipe us out like some cities in the OT but instead he chooses to just let them have what they want. He gives them over to their own mind. I’m sure he wasn’t happy to do this – but grieved. It never says he PERMANENTLY gave them over, they can always always come back but they have to do so on their own otherwise God would be a dictator. Not sure if that makes any sense or you agree, just my thoughts this morning after discussing with family as well!

    • Tanya

      In the notes of one of my Bibles, it says “God removed His restraints, and therefore, gave them unimpeded access to their desires.”

    • Leesha

      My study bible puts it this way, ” In every instance where it says “God gave them up” it is a result of idolatry, the refusal to make God the center of all existence, so that in practice the creature is exalted over the Creator. Hence, all individual sins are a consequence of the failure to prize and praise God as the giver of every good thing.” (ESV Study Bible)

    • Jackie

      My interpretation of this is that God gave them over to the desires of their hearts. One of my favorite scriptures is “Above all else, guard you heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
      God knows what the true desires of our hearts are. If we are not actively seeking Him, but rather turning our backs to Him, this is when we encounter His wrath.

    • Jackie D

      I meant to reply to you but replied on the thread below this…..! Hopefully you can see it :)

    • Marytony

      This makes me think of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. What the son wanted was selfish, rebellious and against his father’s will for him (similar to what is described by Paul as the sinful desires). Despite that the father gave the son what he wished for.
      The son at the end came back to the father after learning the hard way.

    • Kristi

      Liz, like several others have said, I view this as God giving them over to their sins. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way, like in the parable of the prodigal son. I found this webpage really helpful for understanding the concept of God giving people over to their sins and wanted to share:
      http://www.angelfire.com/nt/theology/rom01-24.html
      It breaks down the same verses in Romans that we read today and provides a lot of good insight.

  • Sara Fender

    Thank you, Sharon, for these wise words today. In a time where it seems we are collectively looking for the scapegoat more than ever, you remind me that it is always about all of us. This is unity that destroys judgement and self-righteousness and brings us all into the fold, just as God intends.

  • I have been dreading this day. But I’m really proud of how SRT handled this devotional. At the same time, this is where Paul seems to depart from Jesus. I read these verses and feel compelled to go back to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I ask myself, but what did Jesus say? How did he say it? What did Jesus do? To Jesus, what is sin? What did Jesus instruct us to do? Some of the verses in our reading today do not sound like Jesus. They sound like Paul. Going back to the gospels this morning.

    • Valerie

      I would like to suggest that this does sound like Jesus. Jesus told us to repent of our sinful ways and desires. Repent is to admit wrong and turn away from it. I believe that Paul is highlighting the separation from God that we experience when we hold on to our sinful ways and desires instead of repenting and taking The Lord’s hand out of our filth.

    • Susan

      Lana, I don’t know if this will help but in John 8 Jesus confronts the Pharisees for their condemnation of a woman adulterer and says to them “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” After he writes on the ground, those who were her condemners leave. Jesus tells the women there is no one left to condemn her and neither does he. But, he does tell her to go and sin no more, leave the life of sin (v.11). Jesus doesn’t condemn the sinner, but He does condemn her sin by telling her to sin no more because He knows she cannot be reconciled to Himself without her repentance. He does call sinners to repentance of all sins (Luke 5), including these Paul mentions.

    • Marytony

      I do think that Jesus did address sin, and the origin of sin (the sinful desires in our hearts). But I was thinking that Jesus spoke about sin in a broader sense, because He was mainly addressing jewish audiences (greatly familiar with the Law of Moses and what constitutes sin). Paul on the other hand, was taking the message of salvation to gentile people (not necessarily familiar with the Law). And the first step to receive grace, as mentioned brilliantly in today’s devotional, is to realize our own sinfulness and the need to be saved. So Paul is more specific about what constitutes sin, so gentiles can identify themselves as sinners in need of a Savior.

  • Leigh Ann Mayfield

    Had to post again! So amazing what happened after my study this morning! My husband and I read a psalm and sing a hymn together before we go to work. I had just shared with him from Romans 2 then he opened his Bible to our psalm for the day, Psalm 111 and we read…
    “Great are the works of the Lord, studied by those who delight in them (that is us She Reads Truth women!). Full of splendor and majesty in His work, and HIS RiGHTEOUSNESS endure forever! (Do you think Paul might have remembered this psalm when he put the AMEN in the middle of the passage!) He has caused His wondrous works to be remembered; THE LORD IS GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL.” Verses 2-4 the rest of the psalm is awesome too! Then we sang “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” and the phrases that leapt in our hearts were:
    “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do!”
    “Let the AMEN sound from His people again!”
    Blessings on your day “She Reads Truth Women” my prayer for you is in the midst of this passage that is such a description of our world, let the AMEN sound for His people again – So be it, Lord of grace and mercy! Our Rescuer!

  • Grateful for His Word this morning and the devotion written. It’s not comfortable to talk about our sin but how rich it makes our salvation! Thank you for letting us see that this is about us…our sin. “We cannot call it”salvation” if we are not being saved from something”. Love this.

  • Diane Huntsman

    It’s always sobering to read the words gossip and murder covetousness and hate together.. we are quick to point our holy fingers at those who practice the big gun sins but this passage reveals the sins we all participate in right along side the biggies.. it’s easy and natural to focus on the sins of others, the sins of our nation, but the sins of our own hearts is where we have to deal head on with the ugly.. pray for the nation, of course, deal with, name, repent of our own sin.. yes. Thank you once again SRT for keeping me in check!

    • Beth

      Such a good point!! All sins, no matter what “level” or how “bad” are in ONE category– Sin. The sins we commit are equally defiant to God. It’s so easy to read this passage and think about people groups around me and how they seem to fit this description perfectly. It’s humbling to realize my first reaction was not to reflect on my sins.

      • Pam Schuler

        Yes!! Great points! I felt the same way—looking outward first before looking inward—and thinking my sin is smaller than the Romans. What a humbling reminder that God created us equal and our sin is equal…and that because we know God and His word and His truth, we have a great responsibility.

  • Alexandria Buttgereit

    Hello, maybe it was just me, and I just want clarity or perhaps I missed context but she mentions “we may never understand the mysterious balance between God’s active condemnation and the natural consequences of human sin.” I thought there is now now condemnation through Christ. I just want to understand the context and meaning correctly. I like how she reminds us to be humbled that this could be us, but also Paul addresses those who knew and ignored His sovereignty. I would love some clarification please! Have a blessed day sisters!

    • That wording confused me, too. I think it goes back to the thinking earlier in the post about how God’s wrath cannot be compared to human anger. His wrath is against the sin. While it sometimes may feel to a human it is against US, because of his grace we know that’s not the case. Similarly, while the natural consequences of sin may seem like condemnation against us, it is intended to condemn our sin. Maybe that’s the “balance” they are referencing??

    • Tina Christensen

      Alexandria, you are right, Paul does tell us in Romans 8 that there is no condemnation in Christ! If you go back to John 3:17, Jesus tells us very clearly, “for God did not send His son into the world to CONDEMN the world but to save the world through Him.” I think the next part in John might bring a little clarity and insight into the author’s meaning, Jesus continues and says, “whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only son.” We are not condemned by Christ, we stand already condemned, already desperately in need of a savior because of the sin in our lives. When we follow Christ, we are no longer subject to the condemnation that arises as a result of our sin, but we are instead covered by the blood of Jesus. Without a savior, we would face condemnation for our sins, we would receive the penalty of death and eternity separated from God, but He made a way to reconcile us back to Himself so that we can claim the blood of Jesus and His righteousness above our own unrighteousness and inability to save ourselves. I think that’s the point the author is trying to make, we are all the Godless sinners Paul is talking about here, we are all in need of God’s grace and salvation in Christ; and we all have a choice to make about what we will choose to glorify in our lives, our sin or our God.

      • Alexandria Buttgereit

        Thank you Liz E and Tina for replying. Thank you for linking John with this, it definitely helps me understand the passage more now and the wording. I guess I was confused knowing there are sin consequences and then that word threw me a loop coming after. I’m glad Christ helps me stand not in condemnation but grace! His wrath is a sobering thing when I think of it. Thank you again!

  • Utterly convicted by the passages themselves. But then, the kicker – “a mother’s howling grief at her daughter’s eating disorder”. Here I am, with my self-destructive disorder (self-harm). Seldom do I consider this ‘illness’ to be a struggle with sin, but it is. Acting like this toward another human would absolutely be sinful. I am not exempt, just because I have a diagnosis that ‘explains’ it. So I need to wrestle with this as an issue that requires forgiveness as well as healing.

    • Emily B.

      It’s awesome that God is giving your clarity about this and that His Spirit is working in you. Your vulnerability is touching, and I know He’s going to meet you in it. Be encouraged! :)

    • Nancy Tuggle

      Praying for you Amanda! Nothing is too hard for our great God!

  • Leigh Ann Mayfield

    Your wrath is revealed from Heaven against all but praise to You that Your Gospel is preached. I love how right in the midst of this passage Paul after naming all the smudges of sinful unrighteousness he pauses to write out a praise and Amen! I felt this way as I read and reread this again this morning. I first chose to highlight in purple references to God. Then I chose to smudge in brown all the ungodly and unrighteousness actions. Oh did the contrast stand out on the page. But right in the middle I highlighted with bright shining yellow the praise. Then it hit me to write out what is known about God then what we as people have done that are without excuse then my prayer of praise for the opposite righteous and godly way that I may live now because I am a sinner saved by the grace and mercy of God and His Good News and rescue plan in Christ:
    Praise Your invisible attributes, O God! I am so grateful for all that You have made. Glory be to You, the Creator of all. I am eternally grateful! The desire of my heart is to glorify, worship, and serve You with a heart of gratitude, a mind being filled with Your truth and seeking Your wisdom to understand more and more of You each day. Here is my body to please You and be wholly devoted to You. You are the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen!

  • What bold truth being poured out from these words! I agree, they are hard words to hear, but it is a beautiful reminder of God’s love for us! I couldn’t imagine what our lives would be like if God did not intervene for us.

  • I love how the writer pointed out this passage is really about us. That’s scary but in a way comforting to look at because God provided a way. Growing up in church, I made a decision to follow Christ at a young age. I’m not sure if I ever really struggled with being lost. I wanted to follow Jesus. So as a grew up and as an adult really started studying Gods word I began to question that decision. Was it real. Did I really understand it all. But does anyone ever really understand it all? So this passage puts it into perspective for me that we are all lost a part from Jesus and even tho we profess Jesus as savior we will continually struggle with our unrighteousness. I don’t want t be one who is “always learning but not acknowledging the truth”. Gods word should challenge us, change us grow us. And when I really look at my life I see those changes but I still struggle with my identity in Christ. Thanks for sharing a new light on this passage for me.

    • Susan Rohman

      Janet, I would like to suggest for you to dig deeper into what scripture says about your identity in Christ. I was in a study a year ago or so that totally took me to a higher understanding about who I am in Christ. For many, many years I believed I knew. Understanding God’s unconditionally love for me was never hard. But as I’ve pressed in with much greater intentionality to have an intimate, personal relationship with my Lord, He has given me revelation knowledge about how precious I am to Him. Be encouraged! Read all of the scriptures that tell you who you are NOW! You are a daughter of the King! You are the righteousness of Christ. You are His redeemed. This understanding is critical, I believe, in becoming all that God has in mind for your life. It is everything! It is the beginning foundation of being joint heirs with Christ. Keep pressing in to Jesus. God bless you!

  • Debbie Slaughter

    I agree that these passages describe all of us, at one time or another. But, I’m a little bothered by this devotional not addressing some of the obvious passages right in the middle – specifically V. 24-27. This is the depravity of our nation right now and to avoid talking about hard matters (that might offend) is to pick and choose what you want to focus on.
    Paul thought they were important enough to address, right in the middle of his letter.
    When he describes people knowing God, without excuse, because God has shown it to them, and then goes on to say “therefore” in v.24 and “for this reason” in v.26, he’s describing the consequences.
    To answer the question previously asked about the verse in 2 Timothy, which says “Avoid these people.” I think you can look at all of these verses as a whole and see that he’s referring to people who have known God, know who he is and yet, have turned from him and gone down the way of depravity, with no remorse or conscience of their own sin.
    2 Timothy, v.6-9, in my opinion, describes “Christian” leaders – whether pastors, speakers, celebrities, who worm their way into the homes (more like invited) and are offering their false teaching and we are just sucking it all in, as if it were scripture. When you add all of these verses together, you can apply it to some women in the Christian realm currently, who are doing these very things.
    Therefore, it’s so important for us, as women, to know what God’s word says and not be so gullible, as to fall into false teaching just because it’s dressed up and funny or hip and cool or whatever.

    • Mary

      I agree with you Debbie Slaughter. I feel that these passages are indeed talking about the days we are in now. It’s not just our nation but the whole world

    • Alexandria Buttgereit

      I was thinking the same thing. Thanks for posting this comment. I agree it seems to be targeting those who foolishly chose to disqualify God and worship other things and in turn there are these sins running rampant. Although we as Christians may have some of these sins yes, we have actively decided to choose God and he helps us conquer them through His power and Holy Spirit. There are also issues that step on toes here, but God is not what we call “politically correct” now and will offend.

    • Tina

      Yes! Well said! I agree with you about these passages and the importance of the fact that the people Paul is describing are people who know better, who are without excuse and still choose to glorify sin and approve of others who are living in sin as well. I don’t think the author of the devotional was trying to intentionally gloss over that, but rather, she was sharing about what caught her attention in her reading; that we are all sinners in need of grace.

  • SBAppleby

    “Self-ruin is the only place our sin will ever take us. But, thanks to Jesus, it doesn’t have to.” Praise God!!

  • One could so easily read this and start pointing fingers at other people, but I really like how you point out that this scripture is speaking to the human condition/all of us. What a convicting passage.

    • jenni

      Yes… I am in agreement. God looks at the heart… and we have to examine our own against these sins. This is between us and God.

    • Liz E.

      I agree. At first read, this passage seemed almost unfairly judgmental. But it truly is all of us – Paul is not pointing fingers or claiming to be better, just “diagnosing human condition” – this was enlightening to me, too!

  • “We cannot call it “salvation” if we are not being saved from something.” Humbling. We think we can take care of things on our own. We are all sinners and need to be saved. We can’t see the highs without the lows. We can’t accept that we need a savior until we accept that we need saving.

  • …because we cannot have the good news without the bad news…we cannot call it “salvation” Amen to the reading of God’s word.

  • JeniaMarie

    God is a gentleman. He will not force himself on us. But he will however allow us to experience life without him by giving us up to our own desires. We have all been there. There was a point in my own life when I realized I had become my own God and now it was up to me to save myself. I quickly realized how ridiculous that was. I was worshipping the creation rather than the creator by living life according to my rules. I’m so grateful God allowed me to see my inadequacy. Without him I’m nothing. No direction no, purpose, no life! But in Christ I know how I’m suppose to operate, I know how I’m suppose to live and what my life is to be used for.

  • Courtney K.

    This hits right to the heart. What Paul is describing is all of us. There is no good in us apart from God and the gifts he has graciously given to us. Thank you Jesus for making a way when there was no other way.

  • Wow. This is so convicting. I’ve grown up in church my entire life and did everything to show that I was a Christian. But it brings new meaning to a quote I heard from Kyle Idleman, “It is possible to be raised in church, but not raised in Christ”. Yes, I knew the truth about Jesus, but I was still committing sin wilfully because I didn’t really “know”. I have read this passage many times before and I would often think “wow! This is what I see in the world right now! I know some people who are like this.”, and I never thought to think about myself in this passage. This humbles me because Paul doesn’t specify who he’s talking about. It’s about unrighteousness IN GENERAL. But I am so thankful today for God’s grace, for Jesus. I have been saved from myself and the sin that constantly tries to destroy my life.

  • Without Jesus we are sinners. With Jesus we are made clean of it all. Such a vast difference and a reminder of what a gift salvation is

    http://Www.in-due-time.com

  • Sarah Boone

    So much truth and clarity in this devotional! This explanation of God’s wrath has really opened my eyes and reminded me that God’s ways are so much higher than ours and that we really are his most prized possession and He doesn’t want anything to come between us. This scripture has also clarified some things I have been struggling with for some time. Thank you so much!

    • Jaquetta M

      Absolutely! This explanation gave me a greater insight on God’s wrath vs. Humans anger. This really makes you think about how God forgives time after time despite our falls.

  • Michael Lee

    You wrote: “Whenever we read these words, we must ask the Spirit to reveal ourselves within them, because we cannot have the good news without the bad news. We cannot call it “salvation” if we are not being saved from something—namely, ourselves.”

    Yet, salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ ultimately saves us not from ourselves, but from the wrath of the God. Salvation from myself means nothing, but salvation from God’s wrath means everything. After all, Jesus didn’t die to make us better versions of ourselves, or to save us from ourselves, but to pay the penalty our sins deserve.

    • Fay

      As I understood Sharon, it isn’t about self-optimism but quite the opposite. Saving us from ourselves means that we do exactly what Paul writes and that we’re entitled to do it. God puts our frog perspective into a bigger one and frees us from only ever caring about us or judging others wo don’t behave well. He changes our hearts toward him and his kingdom. So it’s exactly not due to our strength and capability that we become better, but through God’s grace and the Spirit who leads us more and more (hopefully). Does that help? Any other opinions are more than welcome =)

      • Marytony

        I agree with you. This reminded me when Paul later in this letter (Romans 7) talks about the struggle inside him, because the spirit wants to obey God, but in the flesh he sins. He even calls himself miserable and wretched for this reason. And asks who would deliver him from his body of death.

  • Lindsay Sterchi

    That is the best explanation of God’s wrath I have ever come across. The distinction between human anger and God’s holy, righteous wrath is so incredibly helpful!

  • Allison Hines

    Praise be to God for these words of Truth today!

  • churchmouse

    My sister has told me she doesn’t need saving from anything. She does the best she can and she sees herself as being a pretty good human being and citizen so what’s the fuss? She doesn’t need saved from herself because she’s not so bad. She’s just fine, thank you. And so she has no regard for God. He’s merely a myth for the weak, a false comfort for those who deflect personal responsibility for their lives. Oh. My. When I recall those words from my sister and couple them to Sharon’s words in the devotion – a”picture of total depravity, gleeful rebellion and blind rejection of God” – my heart breaks. My sister’s fate (as was mine before meeting Jesus) is no less than the “deserved wrath of God.” That phrase in relation to my own sister makes the tears fall. These verses from Paul are PERSONAL and they cut deep. Today, the truth does indeed hurt. What can I do or say, that I haven’t said or done, to draw my sister back to God, Whom she once professed to believe? Her heart is hard. Her attitude one of superiority. Perhaps you have someone similar in your life. Oh Holy Spirit, do what I so obviously can not. While there is yet time, penetrate the hard heart and make it malleable in Your hands. I cannot but You most certainly can. Do it. Please, do it.

    • Jenn

      I wish I knew. My sister is the same way. We both grew up in church and she loved God so much and now she has turned her back and says she is far too educated to believe in that nonsense or a God who doesn’t allow people to be who they want to be. It’s sad, but I pray for her daily. It is all that I can do and I know that one day she will find her way back.

      • wendy

        We are spiritual beings — our spirits are immortal and will outlast our earthly bodies; we are intellectual, we can think, reason, and solve problems; like God, we are relational — we can give real love; and we have a moral consciousness — we can discern right from wrong. The Bible says that ALL people, not just believers, possess part of the image of God. When we think of those we love that aren’t where we are yet on this journey, we are not to be the “judge” but a witness…..a witness of the fruit of the Spirit. LOVE. Yes the world we live in today has fooled many with it’s blessings. Some, many, think life is SO good, and that this has to be heaven on earth. Earth is NOT heaven! This culture portrays that YOU are the center of the universe. When people say that “what I do is okay as long as nobody gets hurt,” are fooling themselves. In the long run (or short run) sin hurts people — individuals, families, whole societies. We are human-beings, not human doings – we need to be Christlike to all, and especially those who are closest to us. Being Christ-like, the by-products of love, joy, peace, have patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control….and let God do what He does best. He has patience with us…….

    • CJ

      your words bring tears to my eyes. praying for you. Spirit move!

      • Rachel

        Prayer. Always prayer. God will work all things to good. We trust in Him.

    • Lynn

      “Be still and know that I am God,” dear heart. The Spirit seems to work in His own time, and not on the schedule we ask for. I dug in my heels for 35 years before surrendering. The joy and peace in Christ that fills your life will be a light for your sister, in due time. Love her and love God, and place this burden in His hands.

    • Wildflower

      Sweet sister, yes, that sounds identical to what my own sister has said over and over. I’m glad we can share with each other and encourage each other.

      • Susan

        Two of my three children have expressed the same indifference to God/Christ/and the Word that I believe in … I could howl in wrath at them but I choose not to. My God has given me free will. I choose to believe in the Scriptures and my God without shame, accept where they are on their paths and give them my unconditional love and encouragement to go their way, but keep an open mind and heart to my beliefs. I trust that my God will find them in the right time and at the proper place on their paths. All I can do is continue to try to live close to my understanding of the Word and be the best example for them that I can. I know I will fall down; Paul speaks to this. I am human. I have faults and sin and weakness, but I trust my God to point me in the right direction. Today’s reading was a hard one, as it lines up all the ways in which people stray from the path of righteousness and it forces us to see parts of our lives somewhere in that collage of sin and depravity. It’s eye-opening. It’s humbling. It does exactly what it’s meant to do … stop us in our tracks and make us think about how we stand right in amongst the other sinners. We are no better or worse. We cannot glorify ourselves as being without sin. We must stand in the muck and look toward our God’s glory, patience, and wrathful love and His Word that would wake us up and bring us back to Him. And … I’ve rambled enough. Be well, all. Read on.

      • Bridget

        I struggle with confusing God’s wrath with human forms of anger, going back to growing up with a father whose anger colored my childhood and still affects me. God’s wrath is an expression of His love. My dad’s anger was and is an expression of his heart in need of healing. I know that now, but grieve at the damage human anger does and how an earthly father’s anger can distort and affect his childrens’ understanding of and desire for God.

    • Emily B.

      Your sister’s words sound like what I imagine my unbelieving family members would say if I talked to them about God. I’ve said a few things here and there, but I know I need to be bolder in witnessing to them, no matter what their reaction might be. Thank you for your words this morning; I’ll be praying to the Spirit for the same things in my situation.

  • The Spirit is using this study of Romans to jump out and speak loudly to my heart! I’ve read Romans before, but never in depth and with context. Praising God for that today and asking it for you, sisters!

  • Kristine L

    Verse 20 stood out to me today, how evidence of our divine Creator God is all around us, evidenced by the things He had made. Sometimes I get so caught up in life, I forget to notice the small miracles around me, the way the flowers and bees work together in my garden, the perfect symmetry that pesky spider’s web… May these mundane miracles draw my eye today and point me back to my Creator.

  • I have always thought it interesting, and have even used these verses when speaking to my children about obedience, that “disobeying their parents” is also lumped in there with all of these “horrible” sins. I feel like there are so many ways of looking at it:
    1)Paul is trying to speak to every sinner in this passage and therefore, includes disobedience to your parents as a sin that we are all guilty of at some point in our lives.
    2)Because God is our Father, we are to obey Him and when we don’t, we reap destruction.
    3)Disobeying the people (our parents) that God has placed in our lives to give us instruction and guidance will cause us great harm and grief to those around us. We always tell our kids, “It’s just so simple! All you have to do is obey us! We know what’s best, we’ve been where you are, and are here to guide you down the right path.” How many times does God have this same conversation with me? How many times do I cover my ears like a child and run in my rebellion down a path that I think is “better, easier, quicker” only to find myself back at His feet begging for mercy? So thankful for God’s compassionate love and forgiveness for his children! May I have the same for my children when they go astray♥️

  • THANK YOU, SRT, for being faithful to not watering down the texts as so many do out of fear of “scaring people away.” No, we NEED to be scared! The Truth is what sets us free, and no matter how “scary” it may be, it’s the TRUTH and our lives depend on reading the Scriptures for what they are because it’s what God wants us to know! You said it at “you can’t have the good news without the bad news.” This study is amazing so far! May we all have the strength to turn away from the sin that so easily entangles us today and turn instead to the face of freedom and life, Jesus himself!

  • I sat here reading the passages, thinking of “godless” people in my life that fall into the category. And then I read that this is about me (everyone). Wow – what a wake up call. Sometimes I am guilty of categorizing others into “sinners,” and falsely think I’m doing a better job. Lord, forgive me for judging others, when you have forgiven me of my evil sin.

    Today’s devotion also made me think about how much I’ve learned over the past few months about the balance between God’s condemnation and natural consequence of sin. While I don’t understand most of it, I understand the difference between the two, and it has opened my eyes to help get some answers to some of the “why” questions floating around in my head. Why is there so much pain? Why do children suffer? Why doesn’t God heal everyone? I think those thoughts draw a lot of people away from God, assuming that he doesn’t care, or isn’t real. I am so thankful to begin understanding this better, so that I can hopefully help others begin to understand it as well.

    • Jackie

      This is so true Caitie! I have also read these verses many times and believed them to be a picture of how humankind has fallen away from God. But for the grace of God, those verses would be describing my sin. As we mentioned in the Devo, we are prone to turn away from God. It’s our natural tendency since the original fall. May we seek God daily and constantly to help us remain in him, like the branches remain in the vine. Apart from the vine, the branches wither.

    • Blessed

      Hi Catie,
      I love your thoughts. I would love it if you could share your thoughts on the “whys”. I too struggle to understand it all and would love some insight if you don’t mind. Thank you.

      • Caitie

        Hi Blessed,
        Thank you! I’m hoping my response isn’t too late, I didn’t see it until today. I think a lot of pain comes from the fact that we live in a broken world, and God gives us free will. Just my thoughts…He doesn’t want people to get sick, but it is often a result of the broken world we live in. We as humans have created a world full of toxins (chemical as well as spiritual) and some sicknesses are a result of that. and because God has given us free will, he doesn’t jump in and change the consequences of our actions. I think it pains God to see this hurt, but if he took away free will, we wouldn’t be able to choose him. He wants us to want him…not be forced into a relationship with him. I don’t feel like I explained it very well, but hoping that helps!i got a lot of clarity through the Isaiah Lent SRT study. :)

        Again, just my thoughts!

    • Terri

      Caitie, thank you so much for your comment. It truly spoke to me and helped me to ‘connect the dots’, so to speak. It helped me to understand this better now, too. Thank you.

  • Ugh. Such hard words to read. Initially they spark fear in my heart. And cause me to ponder what I can do… I’m filled with worry over MY – and my children’s – actions. I pray. For me, for my children, my grandchildren, for the state of the world in which we live that grows increasingly more evil year by year… knowing I’ll leave one day and those for whom I now pray will remain. This brings tears. And more worry. And then… I acknowledge a faint thought playing on the edge of my consciousness… “I’m not IN control. Abide in HIM. HE has a plan.” God… please have your hand on us. As we walk in this land filled with distraction and enticements… please be louder than the voices around us. Holy Spirit seek us. Pursue us. Protect us. Keep us, God, I pray… in the palm of your hand… under the shelter of your wing. Give us ears to hear your voice and eyes to see your path… even as we walk in this land overgrown with weeds. Lead us on your path of righteousness, I pray. Have mercy on us Lord. Cause us to seek your face… give us the desire to ABIDE IN YOU…

  • Kandria Johnson

    I love how it states “whenever we read these words, we must ask the Spirit to reveal ourselves within them.” This just spoke volumes to my spirit. Sometimes I forget that simple thing, correction from God. I forget because he does not beat me over the head on a daily basis for my short comings. But once I read, the Holy Spirit always shows me what I need to know at the right time.

    • Emily B.

      It’s nice that God doesn’t beat us daily for our shortcomings, but I can relate to what you shared. It can be easy to forget the state of my heart without His presence and how much I need His grace and mercy.

  • …….because we cannot have the good news without the bad news. We cannot call it “salvation” if we are not being saved from something—namely, ourselves….

    Ouch.

    What truth..
    Plain and simple.
    No envy.
    No murder.
    No quarrel.
    No deceit.
    No malice.

    Truth. Plain and simple.

    Needing saving…. absolutely, from myself…

    Thank you Lord God for your intervention, for your plan of rescue, for your grace, and for the gift of your Son Jesus, through whom we are saved from ourselves. Thank you Lord God, thank you, for the Good News of your Word that guides me to change Me, that helps me process who I am in you and to live not apart from you, but with and alongside you…Lord , I thank you for your grace, love and mercy, without them… doesn’t bear thinking about.!
    Thank you Lord God, thank you.

    Amen.

    What a start, Ladies, to the book of Romans… phew… truth always has a reaction… it stirs hearts… mine is stirring right now…
    Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. Until then… love and hugs to all..

    Happy Tuesday.

    • Carole Price

      What a truth indeed Tina. The way it was put there really struck me too. So simple and so true. As you say ouch! I don’t often comment here but always appreciate your input Tina. God bless and thank you Father for our sisters in Christ.

    • Heidi

      ❤️

    • churchmouse

      Have not seen you post for awhile, Tina, so very happy to hear from you today. I’ve missed you! Yes, Romans will indeed help us “process who I am in you.” And that’s the only opinion that matters! Hugs to you dear friend from across the pond

  • Thanks for the input, it helped me
    a lot to understand the passage better. One phrase in Timothy shocked me a bit, though: “Avoid these people”. Aren’t it the people who are so caught up in themselves who need Jesus most? Timothy sums in that phrase up what I’m experiencing among some Christian friends: They huddle in their bubbles, afraid of the world and not interacting or caring about non-christians, only concerned with their purity and righteousness. I don’t want that. My heart bleeds somehow for such people. If we just leave them for themselves and don’t bring better news, how are they given a chance to change their hearts?

    • Abi

      This struck me too Fay. Was just chatting about this with a friend.
      I think we are to read it in context of the whole of verse 5… “having a form of godliness but denying its power”. One commentary I read says that it is referring to people who claim the they are Christians but their lives dishonour His name? So it seems that we are to have nothing to do with those who claim this but are not actually living it rather than those who do not know the truth of the gospel at all?
      Any one else have anything on this?

      • Jessi

        I’ve struggled with this lately. I know many people who claim to be christians and yet live in contrast in particular ways in their lifestyle. In my case in particular they are not people I can “stay away from”, they are my family. And I don’t feel the Holy Spirit leading me away. In contrast I feel Him teaching me to love them anyway. But I am confused and have a hard time knowing how to reconcile loving them with mercy and yet holding them to the standards of truth they claim they believe in. How does one do that and keep relationships intact and Jesus love forefront?

      • Missy J

        Ditto for me as well. I just composed an email to my daughter based on this mornings readings! My fight or flight antenna has been tuned to flee as of late which is unusual for me! I have to set boundaries lovingly and leave the rest up to Him!

      • songbird

        I have indeed friends whom I don’t think their lifestyles and convictions match with what I see as Christianity and a Christian life, making the friendship hard and at times shallow. But I think the last thing to do is avoid these friends…

    • Karen

      I agree with Abi. It seems to refer to those who have heard the truth, but are more concerned about what “looking” godly, rather than actually allowing a true inward change by the Holy Spirit. Similar to Jesus’ frustration with the Parise especially, being outwardly “religious,” but corrupt on the inside. Being around this can give us a distorted view of what God really wants for us…an inward change!

    • Lauren

      I got hung up there too. My thoughts are (and forgive me if this is too much of my own interpretation) that we should still love those who are far from Jesus – spend time with them, talk with them, encourage them – but we should guard our hearts around them. We should not be influenced by their worldly views, or let them steer our hearts and minds away from God.

      I’m confident that God calls us to love others and share the love of Jesus so, surely, we should not physically avoid those who are far from Him.

      • Marytony

        I agree with u. And lets see the context as well. Paul is giving Timothy instruction, since he is a young and faithful disciple in charge of a church planted by Paul. So I think that Paul is talking about church-goers. They would be the new testament version of the Pharisees that opposedJesus, that thought they “knew” but their hearts were so far from the truth. I do not think it is an excuse to hide in a bubble away from unbelievers, because those that do not know need to see Jesus in us and through us. And they wont do that if we are always avoiding them.

    • amylou

      I interpret these verses to be warning against negative influences, especially those who claim to be in the Truth but who are in reality opposed to it. I see Paul warning Timothy, a young pastor, in a book filled with advice on church leadership, to be wary of those who hold “to the form of godliness bit denying its power” and who deceive others and resist the truth. Here he is not saying, “don’t evangelize to lost people”, but, “be wary of those who claim godliness and truth, don’t allow them any influence over you or over your flock of believers”. That’s how I interpret those verses, especially in the larger context of 2 Timothy.

    • Amy

      This can be a hard one, but I think a passage in Ephesians can help explain. In Ephesians 4:18-19, Paul states that we can become callous or lose our sensitivity to sin. I personally believe Paul is telling Timothy to be careful not to let this happen. Avoid being drawn in by sin and particularly as other women have mentioned, those who make evil good and good evil, but call it godliness. The Young’s Literal Translation states “and from those be turning away”…,which I interpret to mean be careful not to get caught up with them. Just my thoughts. I sure appreciate this study and you ladies! You provide such encouragement and challenge me to keep growing in my faith.

      • Fay

        Wow, you ladies are awesome! Your responses will linger in my head as I read again the texts! So good to share Romans with you =D

    • Carina

      Hi Fay- I would think it means avoid letting these people into your heart in a way to gain foothold. Not to avoid helping a person in need

  • This is very confronting! That is not a bad thing, but it just is…

Further Reading...