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excuse for their lapse into idolatry. Verses 21-23 show how this God-given knowledge
was lost, and verses 24-32 show the threefold giving up. God gave them up, or aside, and
this giving up resulted in uncleanness, dishonourable passions, and reprobate mind.
In order the more thoroughly to demonstrate that the state of things described in
Rom. 1: is that which is antithetical to reconciliation, a reference to Eph. 4: 17-19 will be
of service. Ion Rom. 1: 18-32 uncleanness and degradation is preceded by their being
"vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened."
Eph. 4: gives the same order. The
"Gentiles walk in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being
alienated (antithetical to reconciliation) from the life of God through the ignorance that is
in them (cf. Rom. 1: 19, `in them') because of the hardness of their heart, who being past
feeling have given themselves over (same word as `give up' in Rom. 1:) unto
lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."
It will be observed that Rom. 1: 18-32 says nothing of Adam. Responsibility is fixed
upon the nations themselves, and reconciliation deals with them in that relationship, NOT
WITH MANKIND AS INVOLVED WITH ADAM. The fall of Adam and its
consequences demanded something "much more" than reconciliation--righteousness and
Sufficient we trust has been brought forward to show the true necessity of the ministry
of the reconciliation, and how it was necessitated by the giving up of the nations by God,
and the sending to the nations of a special apostle with the gospel of God to them.
The reconciliation, a basis, not a goal (Rom. 5: and 6:).
We have given a passing glance at the claim and setting of the ministry of the
reconciliation, where we found it to be distinctly connected with Paul and his associates,
and with Christ in resurrection, without regard to fleshly distinctions or privileges. Three
expressions which come very prominently in this statement of the ministry of the
reconciliation now demand consideration:--
1. "Who hath reconciled us to Himself (God) by Jesus Christ."
2. "God was by Christ reconciling a world unto Himself."
3. "Not imputing their trespasses unto them."
Two courses are now open to us. We may still keep II Cor. 5: before us, and
investigate these items as from that standpoint, or we can turn to another epistle where
these items have been explained and amplified by the apostle himself. No Berean will
hesitate to choose the latter course, and accordingly we turn to the Epistle to the Romans,
where in chapters 5: and 11: the apostle makes his meaning very plain.