Unnatural Retrogression of Man: Part 2 of 2 (series: Lessons on Romans)
by John Lowe
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
Being filled expresses the thought that the heathen were not simply tainted by the list of sins that follow but were in fact saturated with them. As a result the ugly character traits listed as the result of abandonment by God include: unrighteousness (injustice); sexual immorality (fornication, adultery, and other forms of illicit sex); wickedness (active evil); covetousness (greed, the never-ending desire for more); maliciousness (the desire to do harm to others; venomous hatred); envy (jealousy of others); murder (premeditated and unlawful killing of another, either in anger or in the commission of some other crime); strife (wrangling, quarreling, contentiousness); deceit (trickery, treachery, intrigue); evil-mindedness (ill-will, spite, hostility, bitterness); whisperers (secret slanderers, gossips); backbiters (open slanderers, those who bad-mouth others); haters of God (or hateful to God); violent (despiteful, insulting); proud (haughty, arrogant); boasters (braggarts); inventors of evil things (devisers of mischief and new forms of wickedness); disobedient to parents (rebellious to parental authority); undiscerning (lacking moral and spiritual discernment, without conscience); untrustworthy (breaking promises, treaties, agreements, and contracts whenever it serves their purposes); unloving (acting
in total disregard of natural ties and the obligations that go with them); unforgiving (irreconcilable or merciless); unmerciful (cruel, vindictive, without pity).
32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
The heathen world is aware of God’s displeasure with these activities. Therefore, fully aware of the consequences of their sin, they continue to defy the Lord God and take great pleasure in keeping company with those who do the same.
Paul’s conclusion is that the heathen are never without a witness to the presence and personality of God. They have the witness of nature and the witness of their own conscience. However, the heathen have deliberately suppressed these witnesses to the truth and have consistently opted for a lie in place of the truth. They have chosen the course of idolatry, which is always accompanied by depravity. Thus, God has revealed His wrath from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth of God. In addition, God has given them up to idolatry, to degraded passions, and to an undiscerning and unapproving mind. Are the heathen lost? Yes, the entire heathen world is lost, deserving condemnation, desiring evil, and desperately wicked.