Second Sunday after Trinity

June 18, 2023

Romans 1:18-32

In today’s Epistle reading, the depths of sinful unbelief and wickedness is pictured. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” God is wrathful, God is angry, God is vengeful with human beings because the suppression of truth results in ungodliness (which describes wicked attitudes) and the suppression of the truth results in unrighteousness (which describes wicked actions). Every single wicked thing that is described in today’s reading from Romans is not just the suppression of the truth but the perversion—the distorting of everything that God made very good.

It all begins with the very basics that God has plainly made known to all people. “His invisible attributes… His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of this world, in the things that have been made.”

The fact that there is a God—a being who is responsible for the heavens and the earth is incredibly obvious. God created us and everything else. To sense His power we need look no further than to how puny we really are in this world and vast universe. The power of a hurricane, the power of a volcano, the power of an earthquake, the power of tornado, flood, fire. The power of the sun itself and laws of nature like gravity. The intricacy and vulnerability of life. Do we really think that this planet is situated in the right place orbiting the sun with the appropriate climate for the vast amount of life—humans and animals—that this is all by accident? It’s all arranged so perfectly and beautifully. Yet, the earth and universe are violent. God—our Creator—is a powerful, powerful being.

God’s creation is two things—beautiful and destructive. Therefore, what the average unbeliever can know amid the death and destruction of nature is that God is not pleased with our sinfulness. The Law written on our hearts and our conscience should also be sending red flags that not everything is okay with the Creator and His creatures. Therefore, no one can actually plead ignorance to God’s existence. Only the fool is willing to stand up and say “there is no God” in the face of the evidence to the contrary around us.

Sinful humanity believes there’s a God. Yet, sinful humanity doesn’t honor God or give Him thanks for the sunshine and rain, the plants and animals—all that result in the food we enjoy. God isn’t honored and thanked for His kindness and graciousness toward people. Instead, suppressing the truth, sinful humanity perverts God’s identity. They trade the Creator for His creation, worshiping nouns—people, places, things or ideas. Sinful human creatures turn to idolatry, worshiping and serving things other than the Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

In the ancient world and in various parts of the world today idolatry might mean having a physical statue—a literal idol—of some sort that is prayed to, honored, worshiped, and served. In our part of the world today, it’s often the worship of various ideologies, people, or identities that receive honor and worship.

All of these ways of thinking are completely foolish and nonsensical. It’s a futile or worthless endeavor because there’s only one true God deserving of all honor and worship—the Triune God. Worship of false gods is a senseless waste of time and energy. The truth of God is exchanged with a lie. What is foolish in the thinking then becomes darkness, corruption in the heart.

Since sinful humanity seeks the suppression of truth and the perverting of God’s good creation, the Lord allows exactly what sinners want in even greater measure. Sometimes the greatest punishment God delivers is to let us have our way and suffer the consequences.

Sinful humanity lusts over the worship of creation in perversion of truth. So, God also allows sinful humanity to lust over what is unnatural to men and women in perversion of truth—passions of dishonor. “Their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

Think of it this way. Humanity is the crown of God’s creation. Adam and Eve were created in the image and likeness of God. If sinful humanity degrades and dishonors God with unnatural worship, it’s also bound to happen that those created in God’s image and likeness are going to be degraded by unnatural acts—specifically homosexuality after which all of the other letters under the whole pride banner also fall.

The whole lgbtq+ movement suppresses the truth of God in several ways. First, it is idolatry for every single bit of it is built upon one’s sexuality as the core of their whole identity, belonging, meaning, and purpose. Make no mistake, what we’re seeing emerge in our land right now is a new—in many ways government sanctioned—religion built upon the twin sacraments of abortion and sexual pride—both of which claim to “free” the individual sexually.

Therefore, it’s also a flaunting rejection of God’s creation. The sexual revolution—that one should be completely free sexually—twists and perverts God’s truth that the proper, godly sphere of sex is one man and one woman in marriage. Anything else is sinful. Homosexuality suppresses the truth of marriage and exchanges it for a lie that a man and a man and a woman and a woman are just as complementary. All forms of sexual activity outside of marriage suppress the truth of the one flesh union and exchange it for a lie that sex is just a physical, unspiritual, unemotional, undamaging act. Abortion suppresses the truth of what sex often results in and exchanges it for a lie that sex is consequence free. Transgenderism suppresses the truth that God created humans male and female and exchanges it for a lie that these things are changeable. I’m not referring to the very rare circumstances in which a person may be born intersex, which is a real medical condition that can cause much suffering in life.

Thirdly, homosexuality and its derivatives and transgenderism and its derivates originate from the same source—the idolatry of self. When Adam was in the garden by himself, God brought all the animals to him for two reasons. So that Adam could name them—an act of stewardship. And so that Adam would see he’s alone and missing a complement human being. None of the animals were “fit for him.” When God brought Eve to Adam, he said, “This at last is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” Adam was so grateful to God and gave Him honor.

Adam and Eve—men and women—are two different human beings in appearances, in physicality, in emotions, in the ways they think, etc. These differences complement each other so that Adam needs Eve and Eve needs Adam. They’re each a whole person. The way their differences complement one another, when joined in marriage they are one flesh. Figuratively speaking, they fit together like two puzzle pieces.

When a man marries a woman and a woman marries a man each are joined to one who is very, very different from themselves with different needs, different body parts and experiences, and different mindsets. Husband and wife then must give to each other in fulfilling their God given roles. With homosexuality, one is trying to share life with someone just like him or herself with the same basic needs, the same body parts and experiences, the same kinds of mindsets. One is desiring himself or herself in a form of selfishness.

Transgenderism is the idolatry of self because the person claiming a belief in transgenderism—they don’t have to actually be transgender just believe the concept is true—the person claiming a belief in transgenderism is really saying, what I feel and what I speak is the reality no matter how I came into this world. It’s an attempt to subvert God Himself. So someone says, “I have the body parts of a male, but I feel like a woman, therefore I am a woman.” That is a claim attempting to take the place of God and is the idolatry of self.

Keep in mind that this all stems from the suppression of truth—the knowledge of God. The reason Paul speaks of the idolatry of creation and homosexual perversion is because according to appearances it is obvious that an all-powerful being created the universe and not somebody’s chipmunk statue. According to appearances it is obvious that God created man and woman for each other and not for their own sex. So where these obvious truths have been forsaken, the others will surely crumble and indeed God’s truth is suppressed by all sinners.

“Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” A based mind is one that has a proper balance of right and wrong, good and evil, what’s true or false. The refusal to acknowledge God causes debasement so that evil is called good, wrong is called right, bitter is called sweet, and so forth. We see that in droves in the world. A long list of evil is brought forth: unrighteousness, wickedness, greediness, maliciousness, envy and jealousy, murder, strife, deceitfulness, evil-mindedness, gossiping, slander, God-hating, insulting contemptuousness, arrogance, boasting, evil scheming, disobedience to parents, foolishness, faithlessness, unfeeling, unlovingness, hardheartedness, mercilessness. All of these things disrupt lives, destroy relationships, and cause societal chaos. They are flaunting rejection of God. The only difference between these and the items I already discussed—they’re a little less obvious.

Scripture says: “Those who practice such things deserve to die.” You know what this means? We’re all deserving of death. Not one of us can say that we’ve never done an action or showed forth an attitude presented in that list. Not one of us can say we’ve never given approval to them. We’ve all participated and we’re all complicit. If eating the fruit of the tree was worthy of death, what do you think the rest of humanity’s disobedience deserves? A cookie?

We are left in a position where if we want to confess the truth and not suppress it, we must all confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. That we have sinned against the Lord our God in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We must confess that we haven’t love God with our whole heart—quite the opposite. We haven’t loved our neighbors as ourselves—quite the opposite. And we deserve God’s temporal and eternal punishment. If we do not exchange the truth for a lie, we must drop to our knees, beat our chest, and confess, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” For that’s exactly what we are—death deserving sinners.


The Lord God has mercy on us all, and has sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die upon the cross for our sins—for all our suppression of the truth and the harmful guilt and shame it brings upon us—and Jesus rose again on the third day opening the kingdom of heaven to all who receive this Good News. Now through His called pastors, Jesus declares these words, “All of your sins are forgiven. Go in peace. Your faith has saved you.” You are released from sticky web of sin and eternal death to go and sin no more and to serve the Lord your God in the confession of the truth by your attitudes and actions. 

“But what if I sin again?”

You will. And by God’s power you will come here to confess your sins. You will hear His Good News that your sins are forgiven—taken away. You will receive His forgiving body and blood after instruction. By His power You will believe that you are forgiven in order to go and sin no more, serving the Lord. And you will follow this pattern of discipleship over and over until the Lord calls you to your heavenly home. That’s what our worship together is all about—receiving the Lord’s gifts, praying for His help in trouble, and thanking Him for His gifts and His help. Certainly, our Lord deserves at least this honor and gratefulness. 

By God’s grace you’ll improve in certain areas of godliness, you’ll find new areas of sin in your heart, and the pattern of sanctification is always repentance and faith, confessing sin and trusting Jesus’ forgiveness—everything He delivers to us in this sacred place.

This, my friends, is the power of God for salvation—the Gospel, the Good News of our forgiveness, life, and salvation in Jesus—that breaks, that dynamites our hearts of stone so that in Jesus we have a heart of flesh, seeking to acknowledge, honor, and thank the Lord who not only created us, but also forgave and saved us when He didn’t have to. The first thing we witnessed today was the power of God at work in bringing Rhonda from eternal death to eternal life by the miraculous Gospel of salvation. Thank you, Lord, for your powerful, merciful salvation that spares us sinners from your righteous wrath. Amen.