The Unrighteousness of Mankind: Notes


ONE gospel

Romans 1:18-3:20

The Unrighteousness of Mankind

“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praise. Amen.” (Romans 1:25)


What makes you angry these days? It shouldn’t be too difficult to come up with a sizable list in just a few moments. Try to limit your list to those things which represent some injustice or some lack of fidelity. When have you found yourself angry and saying, “it just isn’t right”? When have you found yourself angry and saying, “they, of all people, ought to know better”?


Romans 1:17 claims that “in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed.” The very next verse (18) follows with “The wrath of God is being revealed.” Who or what does it go on to say is the reason for God’s wrath? Is God’s wrath justified? Why is it difficult for us to attribute wrath to God? Some have said that the opposite of love is not hate but indifference. How might that idea resonate with the wrath of God?

Romans 1:25 is certainly not the first or last place in scripture to make the claim that idolatry is the underlying root of the evil in the world. We may not bow down to statues much anymore but where do you see the propensity for idolatry in our day? Who or what do we tend to worship in place of God? Some have suggested that recent struggles and crises may be lending themselves to a disenchantment with our idols. Are you seeing evidence of this? What is the opportunity in this?

Romans 1:26-31 provide several lists of the kinds of activities that “God gave them over to.” What surprises you about these lists? What stands out to you? What does it tell us that murder and disobeying your parents are on the same list? What strikes you about the list in vs 31 of the things that “they” don’t have? How does this resonate with what we are seeing play out all around us? What significance is there in the proclamation of 1:32 that those who do such things deserve death?

Romans 2:1 represents a convicting turn. Why according to 2:1-4 is it appropriate for God to pronounce judgment but not for us to pass judgment? The remainder of Romans 2 and the first twenty verses of chapter 3 deal with a particular dilemma. What do you do when those who are supposed to demonstrate the righteousness of God to the world are just as unrighteous as the world? How can the people of God stand against evil when they themselves are evil? How do you see this playing out in our own day?

Romans 3:9-20 concludes with an admission. “There is no one righteous, not even one…” We anticipate where this is headed as much as Paul’s original audience. But why is it important not to rush past Romans 2-3? Why are these chapters so important?


As you end your study time, pray that our thinking would not be futile, that our foolish hearts would no longer be darkened and that we would exchange the mortal images we have made for the glory of the immortal God. Pray with a longing that the curse would be reversed. Pray that this would happen in you

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