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commands all men everywhere to repent. Romans 1: contains the apostle's teaching upon
the subject of the nations as clearly as anything written during this period. In
verses 14-16 he declared his indebtedness to Greek and barbarian, and indebtedness
absolutely foreign to Peter's experience, and only possible if the estrangement of the
nations had been mercifully dealt with. In 1: 18 - 2: 1 he shows us the state of the
nations and the necessity of the reconciliation if ever he was to preach to them the gospel
of God. This passage is often rather hastily considered by some who deal with the
doctrine of the epistle, and yet it is vital to a true understanding that the passage should be
well considered. The important points will be seen more clearly if the reader will note
the following outline:--
Rom. 1: 18 - 2: 1.
The paredoken* of the nations.
A | 1: 18-20.
| a | The wrath of God.
b | Against those who hold down the truth.
c | Without excuse.
B | 1: 21-23. The nations gave up God.
Results--"change glory" (allasső), "change truth" (metallasső).
B | 1: 24-31. God gave up the nations.
Results--"change nature" (metallasső), "reprobate mind."
A | 1: 32-2: 1. a | The judgment of God.
b | Those who have pleasure in sin.
c | Inexcusable.
[* - "To give up" (see verses 24, 26, 28).]
In these few verses the apostle to the nations exhibits the crying need of the
reconciliation. The attention of the reader is particularly called to the words translated
"change." Just as there is a threefold "giving up," so there is a threefold change revealed.
The glory of the incorruptible God is changed, and the very nature of those thus far fallen
is changed. These words are the translations of a word which is the basis of the Greek
word reconciliation. "Change" in this chapter is either allasső or metallasső, while
"reconcile" in Rom. 5: and 6: is katallasső. Here is the need for the ministry of
reconciliation. Rom. 1: 18 not only speaks of a future revelation of wrath, but points to
the history of the nations and God's dealing with them. verses 19 and 20 declare most
emphatically that the nations had a knowledge of God, limited indeed when compared
with revealed truth, but a knowledge sufficient to render them in the eyes of Him Who
judgeth righteously as being "without excuse." "That which is known of God is manifest
in them." Some translate among them, others emphasize in them, and point to the mental
discernment of the next verse. Chapter 2: clearly states that conscience plays an
important part in the dealings of God with the nations, and we believe that we have in this
passage a twofold witness, namely, conscience and nature.
This manifestation was not something which the nations were left to find out
themselves, for the verse continues, "For God hath manifested it to them." The eternal
power and divinity (not Godhead in the higher sense as revealed in Christ) of the Creator
is clearly seen by His works (Psa. 19:), so much so that the nations are left without