The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans

By G. Campbell Morgan

Chapter 4



a. A PRINCIPLE Rom 1:18-19

1. "Wrath . . . Against." Rom 1:18

a. Ungodliness. The Inspiration.

b. Unrighteousness. The Manifestation

2. "Hold Down the Truth." Rom 1:18-19

Disobedience to Light


1. The Visible Revealing the Invisible

2. The Invisible

a. Power

b. Divinity

c. GENTILE SIN Rom 1:21-23

1. "Knowing God, They Glorified Him Not." Rom 1:21

2. "Professing be wise, became fools." Rom 1:22-23


1. "God gave them up." Rom 1:24-31

a. Bodily Dishonour. Rom 1:24-25

b. Spiritual Debasement. Rom 1:26-27

c. Mental Degradation. Rom 1:28-31

2. The Witness of Conscience Rom 1:32

a. Knowing the Issue,

b. Persisting in the Sin.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


The apostle shows the need for salvation by dealing exhaustively with the subject of the ruin of the race. Writing to the saints in Rome, many of whom would be Gentiles, and others of whom were undoubtedly Hebrews, he dealt with the race by showing first that the Gentile was condemned; secondly, that the Jew was condemned; and finally, therefore, that the whole world was guilty.


In this section dealing with the Gentile condemnation, we have the statement of a principle; a declaration of Gentile knowledge; a deduction concerning Gentile sin; and a description of Gentile judgment.


In stating the principle, the apostle first declared that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against ungodliness and unrighteousness. This combination of terms should be carefully noted, revealing as it does the cause and effect in all sin and consequent corruption. That, out of which unrighteousness inevitably proceeds, is ungodliness, the putting of God out of the life, and the neglect of, or rebellion against the facts of His Kingship and requirements. That which inevitably proceeds out of ungodliness, is unrighteousness, which is life failing to fulfill the Divine requirements; for the only standard of right is that of the requirement of God.

The process is described as that of holding down the truth in unrighteousness, which is to say that unrighteousness necessarily issues from the knowledge of some measure of truth, and consists in refusal to submit to the requirement thereof.


Seeing that this is so, the apostle immediately proceeded to declare the measure of Gentile knowledge. Through created things God had at least made perfectly clear the fact of His power and divinity. There is but one conclusion for all rational thinking in the presence of creation, and that is, that such creation demonstrates power and divinity; or, if we would borrow the language of our own day, creation demonstrates force and intelligence. This then was the measure of truth possessed by the Gentiles.


Gentile sin consisted in the fact that instead of following the necessary issue of such reasoning, that of glorifying as God, those invisible forces which the visible revealed, they deified the visible things; and thus yielding themselves wholly to the creature, instead of to the Creator, they became sensualized and degraded. This action on their part had been professedly that of wisdom. The apostle declared that by it they became fools, in that they turned from the worship of the incorruptible to that of the corruptible in differing forms.


In these results already referred to consisted the judgment of the Gentiles. That judgment the apostle proceeded to describe at greater length. Its principle is evident in the threefold use of the expression "God gave them up." An examination of the three paragraphs will reveal the fact of the degradation of the whole man.

He gave them up that their bodies should be dishonoured. Worshipping the creature rather than the Creator, they fell into all manner of misuse of their own bodily powers, with the result that their physical being was debased and corrupted.

This issued in the degradation of their spirit; which, acting under the influence of deified physical powers, became in turn the very inspiration and energy of vileness; and this reacted again upon the body in all manner of unseemliness.

Once again the issue was a reprobate mind, a mind haying lost its true balance and perspective, and being characterized by all the evil things which the apostle names.

Thus the judgment of God on the Gentiles was not capricious, and arbitrary; but consisted in the natural results of their refusal to recognize as God, the One revealed through creation: and of their deification of the creation itself.

"God gave them up" is the simple declaration of the fact that God is the God of law, and another form of stating the truth that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

The apostle finally declared in this connection that those practicing such things knew that they were worthy of death, that is to say, they were perfectly conscious that the issue of their practices was their own destruction: and yet they continued in them, and consented with them that practiced them.

The wrath of God from heaven against ungodliness and unrighteousness is thus manifest in the corruption which follows upon the sin of refusing to act upon the measure of light received.