Men of Debase Minds
Text: Isaiah 5:18-24
I. Starting in Romans 1:18, Paul lays out the moral decay of the Gentile society
A. All men at one time knew God, but there came a point in the Gentile society when the true God was rejected.- Romans 1:18-21
1. He was replaced with gods of man’s imagination, copied after things found in the Creation - Romans 1:22-23
B. Once truth was exchanged for a lie, man’s impulse is to indulge his physical appetite, especially in the realm of sex - Romans 1:24-25
C. The problem is that part of the thrill of sin is the novelty of it - Proverbs 9:17
1. Thus what was shocking and exciting eventually becomes yesterday’s news.
2. People continue to press the envelope.
3. Disgusting and unnatural forms of sex is sought - Romans 1:26-27
4. God allows the consequences of their sin to become a part of the punishment for the sin – things like sexually transmitted diseases
D. But even that becomes old after awhile. People’s minds debased.
1. Rather than turning from sin because of its natural penalty, people turn to worse sins.
II. In Romans 1:28-32 is a list of sins that result from the decay of a society which has turned its back on God.
A. Unrighteousness (adikia) - The word is the opposite of justice. It is the evil man who robs all of their rights. Since he is focused on himself, he disregards the rights of others.
B. Fornication (porneia) - This word doesn’t appear in most copies and is suspected to have been a misspelling of the following word. However, the concept is covered in the earlier decay of society. It refers to sexual acts that take place outside the bounds of marriage.
C. Wickedness (poneria) - The desire to harm another person, to deliberately corrupt or inflict injury. It refers to a person who lacks an ethical foundation.
1. A form of this word, hoponeros, or the evil one, is the title given to Satan (Ephesians 6:16).
2. While the word is not used, the situation is described in James 4:1-3.
3. We see this happening not only in the world, but among the saints as one brother sets out deliberately to harm another through conflicts and strife.
D. Coveteousness (pleonexia) - A simple definition is greed, though not limited to money. It literally means “to have more.” It is the lust to get and possess that allows a person to trample over others to obtain what they seek - Luke 12:15.
1. It is well illustrated by those shoppers who run over each other to gain the latest “toy.”
2. It is sometimes connected with sexual sins, indicating the reason people fall prey to these sins - Ephesians 4:19; 5:3
E. Malice (kakia) - A defect or badness in character. It is the opposite of goodness or excellence.
F. Full of envy (mestous phthonou) - The displeasure at the prosperity or advantage of another. Ill will stemming from another’s good fortune.
1. It is the opposite of rejoicing with those who rejoice - Romans 12:15
2. It was the motivation behind Jesus’ crucifixion - Mark 15:10
G. Murder (phonou) - Not just the physical act, but also the intent of the heart - Matthew 15:19-20
H. Strife (eridos) - Quarreling, discord, contention typically resulting from a desire for prestige.
1. Paul was concerned that he would find the Corinthians caught up in this - II Corinthians 12:20
2. It is the typical result of false teaching - I Timothy 6:3-5
I. Guile (dolou) - It refers to the bait used for fishing and means trickery, deception, craftiness or treachery.
1. This is a person who cannot walk in honesty, so he stoops to devious and underhanded methods to get his way. Good may be done, but devious man always as an ulterior motive behind what he does.
2. It is the opposite of how Jesus behaved - I Peter 2:22
3. It is not how the gospel was spread - II Corinthians 4:2
J. Evil dispositions (kakoetheias) - The word literally means ill-natured. This is the attitude that tends to put the worse connotation on the actions of others.
1. It is the opposite of love’s “believes all things” - I Corinthians 13:7
2. Titus 1:15
K. Whisperers (psithuristas) - This is the gossip or the talebearer
1. This is the coward who defames another behind his back
2. It is among the sins Paul feared he would find in Corinth, along with the next word.
L. Slanderers (katalalous) - A defamer, someone who maligns another’s character.
1. Where a whisper does it in hidden fashion, the slander does it openly
2. I Peter 2:12 - A related word, people who speak against you as evil doers
3. James 4:11 - Condemned
M. Haters of God (theostugeis) - God represents restrictions on behavior and the hater of God wants to do as he pleases. A godless world is preferable to such people.
1. Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - II Timothy 3:4
2. These are the people who try to drive religion out of schools and government.
N. Insolent (hubristas) - It describes a man who is so proud he is willing to defy God. He is confident in his own power. It also describes a man who is wantonly cruel and insulting. A violent man who finds delight in hurting others.
1. A man like Paul once was - I Timothy 1:13
2. It is a man so caught up in himself, he has no regard for others.
O. Proud (huperephanous) - Literally “I appear above.” In other words, a person trumpets himself above other people.
1. God resists such people - James 4:6
2. Don’t set your mind on things above - Romans 12:16
P. Boasting (alazonas) - Refers to wandering salesman saying boastful, but false, things about his wares. An imposter, a charlatan, or a braggart. Thus it is the attitude of pretending to have what you do not to gain an advantage.
Q. Inventors of evil things (epheuretas kakon) - This is related to “malice” above, but here the person does not just turn toward evil, he seeks out new sins. Old sins are no longer thrilling, so he seeks out new thrills in new sins.
R. Disobedient to parents (goneusin apeitheis) - Contrary to the command to honor your parents, this rebels against his parents rules. It literally means a person unable to be persuaded by his parents. Someone who is stubborn and inflexible.
S. Without understanding (asunetous)- Literally “unintelligent”, stupid, foolish.
1. Used back in Romans 1:21, “their foolish heart was darkened”
2. Have you ever heard of someone’s sin and think “how dumb can you get?” That is the sense of foolishness that is being used here.
T. Treacherous (asunthetous) - Literally, “covenant breaking,” without faith, unable to be relied upon or trusted.
U. Without natural affection (astrogous) - Being without the natural love between parents and their children.
1. It was used by Seneca as “justification” for killing unwanted children
2. It is a person without the natural affection for their immediate family - Luke 11:11-13
V. Irreconcilable (aspondous) [Not in all manuscripts]- Not willing to make peace or come to an understanding.
W. Unmerciful (aneleemonas)- Without pity or compassion, cruel
III. A society that is involved in these sins, though knowing that they are wrong, and also approving those who do them
A. In other words, right and wrong is reversed
B. Acceptance of sin - Psalm 50:18
C. Approved by rulers - Hosea 7:3
D. Isaiah 5:18-24