Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the book of Romans. Tonight is study #50 of Romans 1, and we are reading Romans 1:27-29:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
I will stop reading there. We were looking at verse 27 last time, and we saw that the word “error” is the same word translated as “delusion” in 2Thessalonians 2:11: “…God shall send them strong , that they should believe a lie.” That also has to do with the time of the end in that passage. That is when Satan took his seat as the man of sin, and that happened during the Great Tribulation. So the “strong delusion” or “working error” that God sends has to do with those that are under His wrath. And His wrath began with the corporate church as judgment began at the house of God, and He sent them strong delusion to believe doctrinal lies. That is why there are hundreds of millions of “charismatic Christians.” Of course, that is a contradiction in terms. You cannot be a true Christian and believe other types of gospels, and the charismatic churches are teaching other kinds of gospels. They are in violation of Revelation 22:18 and, yet, they are widely accepted in Christendom as brothers, even in some Reformed churches. This is part of the “strong delusion” that God has sent to the congregations. They believe the lie is total truth, and when they hear the truth, they think it is the lie. They think that those who bring the truth are heretics. That was the case when they heard about the end of the church age, and about Judgment Day beginning May 21, 2011. They rejected it, and they denied these things that came from the Word of God, the Bible.
And, here, God gets into that very point – they rejected the truth. Hopefully, we will have time to look at a couple of words in verse 28 that will get into the whole matter of those who reject the truth of God, and God’s rejection of them. So let me read it again, in Romans 1:28:
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
By the way, the word “convenient” is another Greek word that is only found a couple of times; once here and once in Acts 22:22 where it is translated as “fits.” In Acts 22:22, it has to do with the Apostle Paul, with the Jews crying out, “…for it is not that he should live.” So I am not sure how to apply that here: “to do those things which are not fit.” Are they not according to life, perhaps? I am not sure exactly how that is to be understood.
But let us look at some other words, like the word “reprobate.” That is something we are familiar with and that we hear from time to time. A lot of theologians have picked up on that word, and it is a word that we are familiar with, but maybe we do not fully understand how God uses it. The word “reprobate” is translated six times as “reprobate,” and it is translated two other times as different words.
One place where this word really stands out is in 2Corinthians 13, and it is used three times here. Let us read 2Corinthians 13:5-7:
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be ? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not . Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as .
So it is used three times in those three verses.
This word is also translated as “castaway” in 1Corinthians 9, where the Apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of God, is speaking of running the Christian race. It says in 1Corthinthians 9:26-27:
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 .
That is the same word. So Paul is saying that if he does not bring his body into submission, that would mean his body was having the dominion. It is really referring to the lusts and sinful desires that the body goes after when it is not in submission to the power of Christ and the Spirit, but they are above and ruling, having the dominion. And, therefore, there is every indication that one is not saved. And that is what the Paul is saying when he said that if he were not able to bring his body under subjection, then “when I have preached to others, I myself should be a reprobate.” That would be someone that is not saved. We can definitely understand that from what we read in 2Corinthians 13 and in this verse. This is an interesting way the translators have translated this word as “castaway.”
The translators also translated this word an additional way in Hebrews 6. It says in Hebrews 6:4-8:
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is , and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
Our word is the word “rejected.” By the way, this is Strong’s #96 that is translated as “reprobate,” “castaway,” and “rejected.” Again, it says, “that which beareth thorns and briers is , and nigh unto cursing,” and that is because those are the things that came upon this creation because of the curse. They are rejected, and that is probably a good way to look at this word that is translated as “reprobate.” It is a compound Greek word. It is the word “dokimos,” with the alpha, “a,” prefix attached, so it is “adokimos,” and the alpha prefix negates what “dokimos” means. The word “dokimos” is Strong’s #1384, and it means “to be approved” or “to be commended.”
Now let us look at “dokimos,” and we will start with 2Corinthians 10:18:
For not he that commendeth himself is , but whom the Lord commendeth.
The word “approved” is our word. It is not he that commendeth himself; that is, it is not the man or woman who “accepts Christ” and then says, “I am a Christian.” They are commending themselves. They have done everything themselves. They have done the work of believing, and now they are going further by giving themselves assurance. But God says, “Hold on! Not so fast.” “For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” That is, salvation is of the Lord. He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and it does not matter what men say. A man may say he has faith, but as we read in James 2, “…faith without works is dead,” as faith must be supported by the work and faith the Lord Jesus Christ, performed on this person’s behalf at the foundation of the world. Without it, they are not commended by God – they are not approved. So, here, the word “approved” has everything to do with being accepted by God as far as His salvation program is concerned.
It says in 2Timothy 2:15:
Study to shew thyself unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Now this makes much better sense, does it not? God has utilized Bible study and involved it with His salvation process. He is speaking to the Christian reader of the Bible, saying, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God.” So we are not just studying the Bible as some sort of recreational activity that is interesting and amuses us, so that we enjoy passing the time, just as some people might watch TV or read some other kind of book. No – this is a serious matter: “Study to shew thyself unto God.” That is, that we might be commended by God and found to be approved by Him as we come to the Bible, and if that were the case, we would not be “ashamed” because our sins would be covered, as it is our sins that are a shameful thing and needed covering.
There is also another way this word has been translated, in James 1:12
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is , he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Here, our word is the word translated as “tried.” The English word “tried” is a translation of the Greek word “dokimos.” So, blessed is the man that endureth temptation when he is tried, and that means he is approved, and that gives us insight into what it means to be approved. When we read 2Corinthians 13, where it said in verse 5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith,” that means to be “in Christ,” as Christ is faith. Then it said, “prove your own selves,” and the word “prove” has everything to do with the trying or trial of faith. Then it said in 2Corinthians 13:6-7:
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear , but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.
That is our word “dokimos.” So “dokimos” is to be approved or commended of God, and it has everything to do with going through the trying process, the fire that God puts to those that are His workmanship, to see what work we are made of, whether “wood, hay, stubble,” or “gold, silver, precious stones.” And when one is tried and the process of temptation is completed and one has successfully made it through, that person is “approved” and thereby commended of God. And that fits in with God’s salvation program.
Now the word “adokimos” means “not approved,” and we saw that the best translation of that was probably in Hebrews, regarding the thorns and briers being rejected, and that is what it means to be “reprobate.” It is to be rejected of God, and back in our verse, it says in Romans 1:28:
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
So a reprobate mind is a “rejected” mind. There is something else here in verse 28 that we cannot see too well because of the way the King James translators translated it, and that is the word “like.” The Greek word translated as “like” is Strong’s #1381, and it is a related word to “dokimos,” #1384. If you go to the concordance, you will see the relationship to #1384, which is the word “approved.” And just as “approved” can be translated as “tried,” as we saw in James, so, too, this word translated as “like,” Strong’s #1381, can be translated as “approved” and “tried,” so it is a very similar word. And that would help our understanding of this verse, so let us go back and read it again, and I am going to substitute a word: “And even as they approved not to retain God in their knowledge…” It has the negative here, so it is like “reprobate.” It is a different form, but very similar to the word “reprobate,” which is a compound word with the (negative) alpha prefix attached to “dokimos.” So, again, “And even as they approved not (rejected) to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate (rejected) mind, to do those things which are not convenient (fit).” And now we can see the relationship – it is man who rejected God in their mind. They do not want God in their thoughts. They do not want to follow the Word of God, the Bible. They do not want to think of God as Creator. They want no God. They have rejected God, and they have not approved of God in their knowledge.
Therefore, the judgment of God was to “give them over,” and remember, that is the same as where it says God “gave them up” in the earlier verses. They were delivered up, and it has to do with being officially given up to the judgment. And look at the judgment that God gave them up to – a “reprobate” or “rejected” mind, to do those things which are not convenient. And then comes the list of sins, in Romans 1:29-32:
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
All of these things are the judgment of God. They are part of the wrath of God that he is pouring out on the wicked of the earth because He has delivered them up to do these things. He has given them a mind to do these things. Again, we have to understand that the way God has given them a mind is not to cause man to sin, but simply to allow man to do what comes naturally to his fallen condition, and these are the things that result. If God does not hold back sin, these things come forth, gushing forth all manner of filthiness and iniquity flowing out of the hearts of man into the world through his thoughts, his words, and his deeds. It is all the wrath of God upon mankind.
We have talked about this before, but in the Old Testament Cain rose up and slew his brother. Let us go back there. It says in Genesis 4:10-14:
And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto JEHOVAH, . Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
Cain cried out, “My is greater than I can bear,” and the word “punishment” is the word for iniquity (sin). And sin is being used by God to punish the sinner, and the world has always elevated sin, and lifted up sin, and worshipped sin, and took pleasure in sin. And the world has elevated sin above God Himself: “We want our sin. We do not want you, God. We want the darkness. We want the dungeon of being in bondage to sin and to Satan. We prefer being wrapped about with the cords of our own iniquity. We prefer that to your light, and your goodness, and your mercy. You can keep it all. We do not want you in our thoughts. We do not want you in our knowledge. We do not want you in our schools. We do not want you in our world. Go from us!” And at this time of the end, God says, “Very well then. You desire sin. You want sin. You think sin is the answer. You think sin will be your god and care for you and protect you. You think sin is the great thing. Have your sin. Here is your sin. Let us see what you do with your sin, if you think it is so great, have your fill day, after day, after day, and hour, after hour throughout the day. When you see sin spill out onto your streets and you see the true heart of man revealed on the streets of the world in every town, village, city, state, and country, then we will see what your attitude toward sin is.” Could it be that people will cry out, like Cain, “My punishment is greater than I can bear”?