2020 Summer Evening, Romans Series, Part 45, Verses 23-25

  • | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 27:56
  • Passages covered: Romans 1:23-25, 1Corinthians 15:51-54, Hebrews 1:10-12, Romans 1:21-22,
    1Corinthians 9:24-27, 1John 2:15-17, 1Peter 1:3-4, 1Peter 1:23.

| 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 |

Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the book of Romans. Tonight is study #45 of Romans 1, and we are reading Romans 1:23-25:

And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

We are moving on into verse 23, and this is referring to people, to mankind, that “ changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” They changed the Creator into a creature, and that is what is pointed out in verse 25: “and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.” Of course, that is all backwards and upside down. It is what should not be, but that is what man has done. In his sin, he has become perverted, and the word “perverted” means “to turn” or “to change.” He turns grace into works. He turns God’s glory into vain imaginations and into idols of men and beasts.

It is why there is no hope for man. There is no hope for mankind in this world in his fallen condition. The only hope for mankind was God’s redemptive program, the salvation of certain ones, His elect. And God is soon going to finish things regarding His elect and regarding this world, and then create a new heaven and new earth where things are put right and there is a proper order, not as things are presently as we live in this corrupted world and this entire creation.

Let us look more closely at verse 23 and the word “changed.” Again, it had said earlier, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man…” The word “changed” is found six times in the New Testament, and it is used twice in 1Corinthians 15, a chapter in which God goes in depth describing the resurrection, and we read in 1Corinthians 15:51-54:

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Not only do we see the word “changed,” but we also have the words “incorruptible” and “corruptible,” just as we have in Romans 1:23. (“Incorruptible” and “uncorruptible” are the same thing.) Here, God says that those He has saved, His chosen ones, will be “changed,” and the change that is in view is referring to the corruptible part of us, our bodies. The Lord has already changed our souls, but He left those He saved in their physical bodies that have seen corruption. But on the last day, the day of the Resurrection and the Rapture, He will change us. We will be changed and made incorruptible and immortal. We will receive eternal life in our bodies, as God grants us new resurrected spiritual bodies, changing us from corruptible flesh to spirit. And this is the proper order of things, as we read the Bible, and God will change His people from corruption to incorruption. We see the same thing concerning the creation in Hebrews 1:10-12:

And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

Here, God is referring to the heavens, and that would be the sky above, the space where the sun, moon, stars, and planets are located. The heavens are going to be changed like a vesture. God will fold them up. They will be changed. This is the same word that we just saw in 1Corinthians 15, so, obviously, it has the same meaning. God is going to change that which is corruptible (these heavens), and this would be a proof that it is not just the earth that God cursed and made corruptible, and not just the man and creatures upon the earth, but it is also the heavens. They would not have to be changed if they were already incorruptible, and there would be no need to make them incorruptible on the last day. But, here, God says that they will be changed, and He will create a new heaven and a new earth, and that will result in the removal of the curse and corruption upon the creation. The Lord made man, and then had to curse him because of man’s sin. And, again, this is the order. The heavens have seen corruption. They will be changed. They will be made incorruptible. God’s elect have seen corruption, and they will be changed and made incorruptible.

This is the proper order, but man had reversed that, as it says in Romans 1:21-22:

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

So man took the incorruptible God and turned it into corruption. He goes the reverse way, and attempts to corrupt the glory of the incorruptible God. And, again, this is due to the perverse, fallen nature of mankind.

The word “uncorruptible” that is used to describe God is Strong’s #862. It is a compound word. It is a word that has the negative article, the alpha prefix, attached, which negates it, so it is the word “corrupt” or “defile,” and when the alpha prefix is attached to it, it means “not corrupt” or “not defiled.” This word with the alpha prefix attached is found seven times. It is used in 1Corinthians 9 in an interesting passage. It says in 1Corinthians 9:24-27:

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

God is pointing out that the people of the world also attempt to bring their bodies undo control. That is God’s command to His people, to get control of the body so that sin does not have dominion over us. Once we become saved, then God starts to impress upon us the need not to allow certain thoughts to run through our heads or not to gorge and overeat, or not to drink (alcohol) or do other things that are harmful to the body, like smoking and taking drugs, or whatever. So we start to get control of our body though His Spirit in our born-again soul, and now sin is no longer in our heart or soul, but sin resides in our body or our members, and God commands us to “crucify our members” or “mortify the flesh,” our physical bodies. And, slowly, we begin to turn from sin and repent and keep the body under. That is our goal. We cannot save the body. That is what God will do in the last day. All we can do is to keep it from acting out by going after its lusts, so we “put it to death.” To mortify means to kill. We are to mortify our members and put them to death; that is, not literally, but by withholding the things the body desires from it. And this is a big part of running the Christian race. It is a battle within the individual elect child of God. Nobody knows except for that individual and God to what degree we are being successful, or not. Eventually, maybe other people may start to see changes in us, but, for the most part, nobody knows. It is a race we run, but there is a prize. It is an incorruptible crown. It is the crown of eternal life in salvation. It is the crown God has given to everyone He has truly saved, and we strive and put forth tremendous effort on a daily basis to press toward that mark and obtain that crown.

But the people of the world, at times, keep their body under, and we can see this with athletes, especially, whether they be high school athletes, college athletes, professional athletes, or Olympic athletes. And, often, it is to win a prize. There are individual prizes like “most valuable player,” or team prizes to be the champions. Peoples of the world strive to obtain a corruptible crown, and their trophy is part of this world and a temporal thing. Their glory is a temporal thing, even if they obtain the prize they are seeking for, and they think it is everything and worth the sacrifice and effort they put in, and, yet, it is soon forgotten. It is soon gone. Last year’s champion is quickly forgotten once this year’s champion takes over. Even in time in this world, things are quickly forgotten, let alone, given the fact that when God finishes up things, then everything related to the “glory of man” and the effort he put into corruptible crowns of glory, and all the things he worked for in his worldly life are all gone. And that is what the Lord says in 1John 2 when He admonishes everyone not to love the world. It says in 1John 2:15-17:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

The world passes away. It is just stated like a nonchalant statement, as God just kind of throws it out there, and, yet, it has such meaning. The world passes away and the lusts thereof, all the things that the people of the world had been occupied with and spent all their time, money and resources on, and the things they cared most deeply about, and even cried about and desired: “Oh, if I could only have this!” And whether they got it, or not, it is all gone, and is no more. Even the thoughts of man perish in the day that he dies, and they cease to be. God has made it known that the former things will not be brought into mind nor remembered. The things of mankind will be gone forever. And, yet, these were the things he strove for and endeavored to obtain, but they were all “corruptible crowns.”

But this is not so with the race that the Christian runs, and it is why true Christianity (not corrupted Christianity like the churches put forth) and the true Christian race that God lays before His people are tremendously more important than all the sports championships and all the honor and glory that men receive, because we are pressing toward and moving forward to reach, finally, an “incorruptible crown.” And that is (true) glory and honor to receive that crown and to have endured to the end. Then God places it upon us, as He changes us into new creatures and makes us perfect in our new resurrected spiritual bodies.

The word “incorruptible” is also found in 1Peter 1, where it is used a couple of times. I will read 1Peter 1:3-4:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

This is a wonderful description of eternal life to come. It is an incorruptible inheritance that we will obtain. It is undefiled. That is, it is not going to see corruption. It cannot be defiled, as everything in this world does see corruption and is defiled.

And it “fadeth not away.” Oh, the horror of glory and honor and good things that are fading away. We come into this world as babes and children, and we do not know this because there is such excitement when we are young. Everything is new, and everything is interesting. We are curious about everything. We see our parents in their strength and youth. And growing up in our neighborhood for a time seems as though it will always be, but then there is the process of time from day to day, and year to year, and then we see the truth. We see the truth, although we may not understand it. It is only when the Bible explains it that there can be understanding, but we see the truth that things fade away, and things see corruption, and things are defiled. Our grandparents, who were so lovely to us and who we loved so much, die. And then the sorrow of death comes. We see corruption accomplish its final work on a man, and it takes his life when death comes. Then it comes to our own parents and to others around us.

And there are all these things of the world, and at this time of the end, God is actually allowing the whole world to rapidly progress into corruption and defilement, as it fades away. Whatever remnant of goodness there was in this world (as God kept His hand upon the iniquity of man’s heart and suppressing it, allowing there to be an appearance of goodness and morality) has rapidly faded, as the Lord has lifted His hand. The very fabric of society itself has been shattered and ruined, and the world is showing its corruption and defilement, and that is because it will soon be gone forever. It will be destroyed and removed. God is removing this world in order to prepare and move in the new earth, where the Lord’s people will receive this uncorruptible, undefiled inheritance that will not fade away. It is reserved in heaven for each one that is saved.

Also, we read in 1Peter 1:23:

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

In order for something to be “incorruptible,” it necessarily must be eternal, so the Word of God is incorruptible and eternal, and that is why it was able to enter into the hearts of certain ones chosen by God before the foundation of the world to receive it. The incorruptible, eternal Word of God fell upon their hearts and took root, and then brought forth a new, born-again soul, born of incorruptible seed. And, therefore, the soul itself is incorruptible. That which is incorruptible begat that which is incorruptible, and that is why the new, born-again heart or soul is perfect, without sin, and in our souls we are sealed with the holy Word of promise, because the same Word says it will act upon our bodies in the last day to bring forth a new spiritual body that will, likewise, be incorruptible. That is what we read in 1Corinthians 15: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption…” This is why the Word of God is pure and perfect and holy. There is no corruption, and it is also why Satan and his emissaries (natural-minded men) are always assailing and trying to malign the character of the Holy Word of God. They say, “It was at one time a perfect Word, but it has been changed by the churches and changed by past generations of men.” They want us to believe that there is no pure, holy, and incorruptible Word of God any longer.

Not so. Not so. Psalm 12:6-7 points out that God has preserved His Word and kept it from this generation forever. There is no one who has been able to corrupt a jot or tittle of the original languages of the Bible, although multitudes have tried, and Satan certainly has been doing his very best for thousands of years to corrupt the Word of God, but it remains “incorruptible.” And that is a beautiful truth. It is a wonderful fact that the Bible, alone, is true and trustworthy, and we can lean upon it and know that the Bible is the one place in all the world where there is absolute perfection. There is no perversion, no corruption, and no defilement, and that is why the Word of JEHOVAH endureth forever. It will go on into eternity future.