Revisiting Romans 1

Someone challenged me on the supposedly anti-gay Romans 1. I challenged him on restricting his concern to a single sin from that chapter.  His name is James.

James, Romans 1: 28-32 contains a list of sins of the mind. Sometimes that mind is called depraved, or useless. The following are also in Romans 1.

“Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness:

    • sin
    • greed
    • hate
    • envy
    • quarreling
    • deception
    • malicious behavior
    • gossip
    • backstabbers
    • insolent
    • proud
    • boastful.
    • They disobey their parents.
    • They refuse to understand.
    • They break their promises.
    • They are heartless.
    • They have no mercy.

They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.”

You single out one sin in Romans 1, yet there are 26 sins in the chapter. All of us Christians are afflicted with the sins of the useless, foolish, depraved mind. Yet some of us want to single out gays and lesbians for special criticism.

James, please read Romans 2:1-5:

“You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.

“And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things.

“Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things?

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

“But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself.”

James, with God’s grace I try to live by this as much as I can.

James, to grow into the man of God you desire to be you will need to learn to be like Christ. Jesus did not condemn or judge the people whom he loved and to whom he ministered.

The only people Jesus was rough on were people who made a living off the people of God and misrepresented God to them. These were the money changers, and the scribes, Pharisees, and priests who made God’s people feel guilty, condemned, and unworthy of God.

About Ron Goetz

My first wife used to say, "There's nothing so sacred that Ron won't pick it apart." My desire to be a pastor -- that was a temperamental mismatch. She was so patient. If my birth mother had lived somewhere else, maybe I would've become a cold case detective. But I would have had to be J instead of a P, I think. And that mid-life reevaluation, starting adolescence as a GARB fundamentalist and transitioning to a non-theist, that gave me an unusual skill set.
This entry was posted in Homosexuality, Homosexuality and the Bible, Paul Homosexuality, Romans, Romans Gays. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Revisiting Romans 1

  1. Daniel says:

    I appreciate the chance to post here. For openers, I agree it is not up to anyone to judge, I am not God. If I judge at all it is not for condemnation, it is for identification. Sometimes people, even well meaning at that, put their own spin on Scripture and therefore I call their argument, not them, into question. I am well aware of the verses in 1 Cor 6:9-10 gives quite a list of sins of which if any man says he is not then the truth is not in him. That being said, move on to the first part of verse 11…” And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” I do believe that the sins in verses 9-10 are very real and if not confessed and repented from, can and will keep one out of Heaven. Verse 11 tells us that yes, we will have dealings with some if not all of those sins however, we as believers “know they are sin and need to be forgiven and to repent from them” The sins in verses ares still sins”, that cannot be denied and if you continue in them feeling that all will be right with God, you are sadly mistaken. Just a few thoughts from me as I welcome feedback. Thank you for your time


    • Ron Goetz says:

      If God has given you the ministry of identifying people’s sin and warning them to repent, then do what he has commanded. You are accountable to God, not me.


  2. robw77 says:

    Hi Ron, I don’t think you mean to do this, but the way you have positioned the information in this post, you seem to imply that being gay is even on the list in Romans 1. It isn’t. At all.
    I am never clear why people try to look at this chapter as a list of rules, or laws, and refuse to read the simple sequence of events. The people in question rejected God and worshipped idols instead. That was their sin. (BTW– this is not the history of the vast majority of gay people, fyi. In fact most of us were actively worshipping God when we found that we were gay.) Then God gave them over to sexual immorality which seems to be the heterosexual varlety as it is described, and then it turns to same sex indiscriminate sex. Then came the sins of many stripes.
    None of this applies to most modern gay lives, and especially not to those who are wanting to love and commit to their partners.
    Further in the inability to read this chapter, is the refusal to read the passage of Romans 2:1. The chapter deliniation of the books are modern constructs, so 2:1 well may have been the conclusion of chapter one. In any case, the ignored message of 2:1 is clear. No matter who you think chapter one is describing, and no matter what you think their sins are, you are mandated not to judge.
    Funny how the anti-gays always skip that part.


  3. Pepper Boone says:

    All the sins listed in Romans 1 are sins indeed. But that doesn’t make homosexuality not a sin. It most certainly is, and if unrepented of will send one to hell just as quickly as any other sin. To deny that is to be just plain ignorant.


    • Ron Goetz says:

      Pepper, that is indeed a list of sins. Please consider the following verses. I’m not going to try to tie them all together for you. Just let tthem sink in, meditate on the Scripture.

      “Your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:14)

      “He is the atoning sacrifice for all our sins, and not only ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:2)

      “For God has bound all people over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.” (Romans 11:32)

      “At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)

      “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)


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