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God's Decree Against All Evils (Romans Sermon 8 of 120)

God's Decree Against All Evils (Romans Sermon 8 of 120)

February 27, 2000 | Andy Davis
Romans 1:29-32
Righteousness of God

In Search of the Source of Sin

 Pandora’s Box – The Fountain of All Evil?

Continuing our series in Romans, we come today to Chapter 1 verses 29-32. Now, sin and all of its effects has been around a long time. There is nothing new under the sun, and so the wrestling with the variety of sins that we feel in our culture and society today is not a new phenomenon. Therefore, every culture and people everywhere are trying to come up with a way of explaining this problem of sin.

The Greeks and their mythology came up with an explanation for the variety of the manifold nature of sin in the story of Pandora's box. Now the way the story goes, Prometheus was a minor god living in Olympus with Zeus. And he felt sorry for human beings, and he took a spark, an ember, from the divine hearth on Mount Olympus and brought it down to the miserable, cold human beings. Now Zeus didn't like this. He was very angry about it and decided to punish Prometheus, and he did. But he also wanted to punish the human race as well. And so, he had Aphrodite and a number of the other goddesses make a beautiful woman named Pandora, and they befitted her with certain attributes. And Zeus gave her a box or a jar, depending on how you translate a Greek word, and in it he put all manner of evils, and sins, and all kinds of awful things. And he sealed the box, and he gave Pandora a command that she should never open this box. He also gave Pandora one more thing, insatiable curiosity. And then he set her free and brought her down to the Earth.

And so with this curiosity, she walked around with her box for a period of time. I don't know how long that time was, how long the box sat on her shelf or on her table, and with what wrestling and struggling she fought the temptation. I don't know any of that. All I know is that at one point, she caved in, and she opened that box. And out of that box came evil, and greed, and depravity, and pride, and vanity, and all of these things, in kind of demonic form, like little insects flying around to bite and to plague us. And she closed the box right before hope escaped, for Zeus had also put hope in there as well. And so there was still hope of deliverance from all these sins in the box, but all the other sins have been set free to roam and to plague us. Well, that's kind of a quaint story, is it? How much truth is there in that story? Not much.

The Exchange of the Glory of God

But there is one little kernel of truth, and that is, and we're going to see it in our text today, that all of this variety of sin that surrounds us and that plagues us within comes from one source, one central place, and Paul has identified it here, hasn't he? In Romans chapter 1, all the manner of sin in the world comes from the exchange of the glory of God for something lesser. When you trade the glory of God for something created, something lesser, all kinds of awful things happen. And we have seen that in Romans chapter 1. Now listen to verses 29, we're going to start actually at verse 28 up through verse 32, and see what Paul does in explaining the manifold nature of sin. Verse 28, "Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful. They invent ways of doing evil. They disobey their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree, that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things, but also approve of those who practice them."

Now, by way of review, we have been saying that the book of Romans is the key to understanding all of Scripture. In other words, if you understand Romans, you will understand the Bible. And I've been saying that the thesis statement of Romans is Romans 1:16-17, "I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, first for the Jew then for the Gentile. For in the gospel, a righteousness from God has been revealed, the righteousness that is by faith from first to last. Just as it is written, the righteous will live by faith." This gospel message, which is so brilliantly laid out for us in these chapters in Romans is our only salvation from sin. It's our only salvation. And we also said that, verse 17, which speaks of "the righteousness of God" puts the finger on that very phenomenon, that very issue, which is our greatest threat: The righteousness of God. God's righteousness threatens us because he is holy, and he is pure and hates sin with all his being.

But I said that in verse 17, the righteousness of God does not threaten us. In verse 17, the righteousness of God is a promise, isn't it? It's a cloak which covers us in judgment day. It's our only hope from the wrath of God. And you remember, I held out for you the righteousness of God as a robe, a robe which you didn't buy. A beautiful robe, the righteousness of Jesus Christ purchased for you on the cross, and he wants you to put it on by faith. If you trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you'll have a robe which will cover you with all of your sin, which we'll describe in a moment. With all of the sin, it's going to cover you successfully on judgment day. For it says, "The righteous will live by faith." Now, the central idea I'm going to draw out of this text today is this. All the evil in the world, all of it, all the manifold varieties of evil which we see described here and in other places, flows from the central exchange of the glory of God for something else. All of it. The exchange of the truth of God for a lie. The exchange of a pure, God-approving mind, for a depraved mind, which cannot approve what is good. All the evil comes from that. Everything.

Five Questions of the Text

And I'm going to ask five questions of the text. 1) What is the source of the 21 evils that we've been discussing here? And I've already told you that, and it's so important that I tell you a number of times. What is the source of these 21 evils? 2) Why does Paul give us the list of this evil? Why this long list? Why not three or four? Why 21? 3) What is God's response to this list of evil? What is his response to this? 4) What amazing, perhaps even shocking, glimmer of hope is there in verse 32? 5) What is the ultimate remedy for all this evil?

I.  The Source of the Twenty-one Evils

Let's ask the first question. What is the source of these 21 evils? We've already been describing that, haven't we? The source of evil is the exchange of the glory of God. Look what is says in verse 20-23. "For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man, and birds and animals and reptiles." There's that word exchange. Now, an exchange is when you have something in your hand, and you see something else that you want instead. And so you give up the thing in your hand and take back that thing which you wanted. It's an exchange. Well what did we have? Created in the image of God, we have the glory of God built into us. And we have the ability to approve, to love the glory of God, and exchange it all for a created thing.

And from that comes all this evil. From that exchange comes the wrath of God. And we saw last week that there was a three-fold cycle of wrath. Remember that? We talked about it. The three-fold cycle of wrath. There's the central exchange. We saw it once, we saw it twice, we saw it three times. Exchange the glory of God for created things, exchange the truth of God for a lie, and then in verse 28, they did not approve of the knowledge of God. They didn't want it in themselves, and so they exchanged it. And then the second aspect is that God therefore gave them over in their sin to sink into whatever swamp they chose, you remember that? And so God says, "I'll give you over to that which you prefer. Give you over to it. You prefer it, I'll give it to you." And then the third step was that we acted out in our bodily nature, our physical bodies, spiritual demonstration of that exchange. Lived it out. Verse 28 was the final aspect of that cycle. Verse 28 says, "Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind to do what ought not to be done." And this is so sad.

We had the knowledge of God in ourselves. We had the knowledge of God in our character. And what knowledge is that? We had, perhaps, a four-fold knowledge. That God is eternal. That God is eternal, that God is powerful, that God is infinite, and that God is kind. He's kind. We had that built into us, didn't we? We could see it from the created order, and we suppressed that knowledge. We pushed it away. And in verse 28, it says that we didn't think it "worthwhile." We did not approve of having the knowledge of God. Part of the ability that God gave us, the ability to think, the ability to reason, is the ability to approve or disapprove of things. That's part of us as human beings, we can approve or disapprove. We can strongly approve of something. We call that love, don't we? We call it love. We can strongly disapprove of something. We call it hate. On down to something in the middle, where we don't strongly approve or disapprove, but that's an ability that God gave us. And the ability to approve, in its extremist form, was made for Himself, wasn't it?

We were supposed to approve of God as the highest, the most glorious, the best thing. We're supposed to approve of God, and say, "There is nothing out of the universe like God. Nothing in all that He's created is like Him. He's the highest and the best that there is. And I find all my satisfaction in Him. I find all my pleasure in Him. I want to be near Him. I want to enjoy Him forever." That's the ability that you have to approve. But here in verse 28, we take the ability to approve, and we actually go the other way, and we disapprove of God. What a tragedy. And when that mental capability has been reversed like that, we are given over to a depraved mind. Do you see that? The mind has been twisted. It's depraved. And God gave us over to it, to a depraved mind, therefore we're not able to approve of what is good. We're not even able to see the problem. We don't even really know what the problem is.

Have you heard these days, people say something like, "What we really need is... We see the country's sinking into a morass. What we really need is more education. We need more education. We need to learn more. The problem is that people just aren't well-educated." Is that true? Look at the history of the 20th century. What kind of evils have been perpetrated in the 20th century? If I were to ask you right now to stop and think of the most evil thing that has happened in human history, what would you think about? Did it happen in the 20th century? Think about it. I don't know what's on your mind, I've got some ideas. Was it done by well-educated people? For example, the Holocaust. They had the whole thing worked out, didn't they? A whole system, the Nazis did. Very intelligent, very well-educated people. Did they need more education? Now there's a deep-seated heart problem here. And it's got nothing to do with education, but yet we think it does. That's evidence of the depraved mind. We're not even able to give a good diagnosis of the problem. We're not able even to figure it out. God has to tell it to us in the gospel or else we will not know.

And then out of this depraved mind comes all kinds of sin. It says, "They become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful. They invent ways of doing evil. They disobey their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless." The first question is, where does all this evil come from? The basic exchange, glory of God for something else. And the fact that God gave us over, therefore, to a depraved mind. 

II. Why Does Paul List These Twenty-one Evils?

Well, the second question is, why does Paul list so many evils? Why these 21 evils? Well, I think, first of all, that we may understand this common source.

John Piper writes this, he said, "If America has the highest murder rate in the Western world, it has to do with God. If our corporate executives are insatiably greedy, it has to do with God. If our politicians are deceitful, promising things they never intend to deliver, it has to do with God. If our television talk show hosts are insolent and boastful, it has to do with God. If our children talk back to their parents and insolently and disrespectfully refuse to obey them, it has to do with God. If we walk right by needy people and never give even the slightest thought to meeting their needs, it has to do with God." That's the point of this list, whatever we're sinking in, whatever sin we're sinking in, it's because we've jumped off the rock of the glory of God. Piper's right. All of these sins have to do with God. And that's why he lists them. He wants us to see how it works itself out in our lives.

But the second reason, I think, that he lists so many sins is that we may see the universal spread of sin. May I get even more specific? That we may see ourselves included in the list. You could say, "Well, you know something, I'm not a dark idolater, I don't make idols. And I'm not a homosexual. And so therefore I don't need the grace of God." Well, the end of chapter one disproves that. The end of chapter one says, most certainly you do need the grace of God. As a matter of fact, Paul is getting ready with this list, and as he develops it in chapter two for chapter three, in which he says that all have sinned and exchanged the glory of God. We lack the glory of God. Romans 3:10, "There is no one righteous, not even one." And so, if perhaps if this list weren't here, you wouldn't know how much you need the grace of God. You wouldn't see yourself there. We're supposed to look at this list, and we're supposed to find ourselves somewhere. Go ahead and look at the words. Find yourself, where are you?

There are extreme sins on this list, aren't there? There's wickedness, there's depravity, and murder. There is God hatred, hatred of God. There's also ruthlessness, and inventing of evil. You say, "Well, that's not me. I'm a respectable, fine, upstanding person." Okay, well, there's other things on the list too. And by the way, they're all mingled together. Have you noticed? They're all on the same list. Right alongside murder comes some of these other things. How about envy? Envy. What is envy? Have you ever wanted some earthly benefit that some other person had? I mean, really wanted it? Could be their job, it could be their automobile, could be their vacation home, could be the position they have in the company, or a certain amount of respect accorded them in the company, could be their wife, could be their husband, it could be their children, it could be something. Have you ever really wanted something that was an earthly benefit that belonged to somebody else? That's envy.

How about strife? Have you ever had an argument with someone? Somebody's shaking their head no, I think. If you have never had an argument with anybody, I want to know your secret. Is there strife? And if there's strife, where does it come from? The same place that murder comes from. How about deceit? Have you ever willingly misled someone because telling the truth would put you at a disadvantage? I mean, maybe you didn't lie, I think we grew up out of that, hopefully. But you shade the truth a little bit, you twist it a little bit, because telling the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, will put you at a disadvantage. It's deceit. How about malice? Have you ever harbored resentment, deep resentment, against an individual, just couldn't get rid of it? I mean, you just could not get rid of that feeling of dislike for that person. Malice. I'm just taking them in order.

How about gossip? And gossip's friend, slander. Have you ever spread a story about somebody that wasn't true, knowing that it would put that person at a disadvantage in the ears of the hearer? Or have you ever spread a story that was true, knowing that it would put that person at a disadvantage in the ears of the hearer? That's called gossip, and it's called slander. And it's on this list, right here, alongside God-hating and murder and other things that God hates. Paul himself was the recipient of slander. As a matter of fact, if you look at Romans 3:8, they took some of this doctrine, some of what he was teaching, and they rearranged it a little bit, twisted it a little bit, shaded it a little bit. And he said, "someone might argue, [Romans 3:7] if my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?" Verse eight, "Why not say, as we are being slanderously reported as saying, and as some claim that we say, 'let us do evil that good may result.'" "I never said that", Paul says, "but people are saying I said it." Slander. It's right here, it happened to Paul. There's all different kinds of gossip and slander, and it's very common, isn't it? And it's on the list.

How about insolence? Have you ever shown disrespect for an authority figure? Boastfulness. Have you ever bragged about an achievement or a capability? How about disobedience to parents? Can I speak for a moment to children? Do you know that God wants you to obey your parents? I've said it before, He wants you to obey all the way, right away, with a happy spirit. And if you don't obey all the way, and if you don't obey right away, and if you grumble and complain about it, you're disobeying your parents, and God doesn't like it. As a matter of fact, God hates it. He wants you to obey your parents, all the way, right away, with a happy spirit. Disobedience to parents is a modern plague, and it's going to curse our country if people never learn how to submit to authority. It's going to destroy us if, in the end, a generation of people grows up, and they do not know how to bow the neck and say, "Yes, I will obey." That's why this is so important.

So, this is quite a list, isn't it? It's a long list and it's a thorough list. And if you didn't do any of the extreme sins, like wickedness, depravity, murder, God hatred, ruthlessness, and inventing of evil, have you found yourself somewhere else here? If not, then you're the only person on Earth who doesn't need grace. You're the only person on Earth who doesn't need Jesus Christ. Now you could say, "That's not fair, Paul. Listing a little gossip and slander, we all do that kind of thing, don't we?" Yes, you do. That's the whole point. You do these things.

Now, Paul's not saying these sins are equally evil. He's saying they're equally proof of the exchange of the glory of God for something else, and all the filth that comes from it's all coming from the same place. Another reason that Paul lists these 21 sins is that we may be appalled at the darkness of the human nature, that we may be shocked at it. Can I tell you, brothers and sisters, Heaven is not like this. This isn't like Heaven. There's none of these things in Heaven. And all of us who are sitting here, I hope, are cherishing a desire to be in Heaven someday. You understand the transformation that needs to occur to get people like us into that place, that holy, pure place? And there's only one thing that can do it; I already told you. It's the gospel of God, which alone has the power of salvation, to take somebody like this and move them on, fit for Heaven. Oh, what a gospel we have! What a gospel of God's grace we preach! And what a privilege it is for me to get up and preach it. And how much I feel my need of it, for I've found myself on this list too, many times. We're so used to evil, aren't we? We're so used to it, we breathe it. We're used to it.

Richard Sibbes, a Puritan theologian, said this: "A toad is an ugly thing, but it is even uglier in your own breast." Isn't that true? It's really tough when you see it in yourself, but we need to see it. And the final reason that Paul does this is that we may yearn, and I mean yearn, hunger for a solution. "We want a solution, Paul." When I find myself on there and I realize what God thinks about these things, I say, "Oh, God, save us from this. Save us, give us a solution.

III.  God’s Righteous Decree:  Death for Doers and Approvers of Evil

Alright, well, the next question is what is God's response to this river of depravity? Verse 32, "Although they know God's righteous decree, that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do those very things, but also approve of those who practice them." Alright, what is God's response? It is a righteous decree: Death. Death for the doers of evil, and death for the approvers of the does of evil. It's a decree. Now what is a decree? It's an unchangeable law. God has given a decree, that those who do these kinds of things deserve death. What kinds of things? Go back and read the list, and you'll find out. Envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slanderer, God hater, insolent, arrogant, boastful. Those things deserve death. They deserve death. Do you see how consistent God is? Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for the day you eat it you will surely…what? Die! The wages of sin is…what? Death. But the free gift of god is the eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord. God is consistent. Death for the sinner.

Now, physical death is a visible reminder of this decree, isn't it? And we can't escape it, and we won't escape it until the Lord returns. It is what He calls in 1 Corinthians 15, the final enemy. And we don't have power over it, do we? And it's a picture of this decree. We can't escape it, we can't get around it. It's common to all cultures. There's only one who has power over death, it's Jesus Christ. He alone has power over the grave. But the decree goes beyond physical death, doesn't it? It goes into eternal spiritual death, death for the sinner in hell, eternal judgment apart from God. That is His decree. The wages of sin is death. Now, it says, even though they know this righteous decree, that those who do such things deserved death, they continue to do it. This is what we call sinning boldly. Have you ever seen "No Fear"? No Fear. Well someone could answer, fear this, fear this. There is something worth fearing. "Do not be afraid of the one who can destroy the body and after that can do nothing to you. No, I'll tell you who you should fear. Fear the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him." Who said that? The loving Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ said that, "Don't sin boldly." And that's what we do.

I saw a bumper sticker, said, "Sin boldly! ! !" Three exclamation marks. Not two, or even one, three exclamation marks. That is a very bold bumper sticker. I prayed for the person. And what is it saying here? It says, not only do they do this, they sin boldly, but they are also acting like spiritual Dr. Kevorkians. And who is Dr. Kevorkian? Well, he is this man on a crusade to legalize physician assisted suicide. And so, basically in effect, this man is going around to help people who want to kill themselves. Well, isn't that the very same thing that's going on here in this verse? We're approving of people who are practicing the things that will bring eternal spiritual death on them. We're helping them along in their spiritual suicide, helping them do it, approving. And the very ability to approve, I talked about earlier. Remember, we're supposed to approve the things of God, disapprove the things that are not of God. Right? But now it's all reversed. Now we're approving, approving of the things of unrighteousness, and helping people to sin in that way.

And there's all kinds of examples of this. For example, in the pornography industry. Jesus said, "Everybody who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery within his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell." Fight lust with all you have. But there's a whole industry, isn't there, that doesn't help you fight lust? It helps you feel lust, be lustful, a whole industry around it. And it's very successful. US News and World Report relates that the number of X-rated video rentals rose from 75 million in 1985 to 665 million in 1996. 665 million X-rated video rentals in one year. And everyone involved in that industry is fulfilling this verse. They're approving and helping people destroy themselves, giving them the thing that will destroy their soul.

 Perhaps at a lesser level, the same thing goes this way. Hey, have you heard what's going on with this or that? You're going to say something... You say, wait a minute, that sounds like what I would do if I were starting to gossip or slander. I really shouldn't tell you what's going on. The other person should say, you're right, you shouldn't tell me. I don't want to hear. I don't want to hear it. But instead, we say, "Oh, go ahead." We're assisting them to do the very thing that God hates.

IV. A Glimmer of Hope for Evangelism: They Know God’s Righteous Decrees

In verse 32, there is an incredible glimmer of hope, an amazing glimmer of hope, a revelation. It says in verse 32, "Although they know God's righteous decree." They know it. Isn't that incredible? They know it. They know in their heart that they deserved death. Now you may not see the significance of that, but I think when we get done with Romans 1 and 2, you will see an incredible thing.

In Romans 1:18-20, he says that we know that there's an invisible God, that He exists, that he is good, that he is eternal. This verse now tells us that we know that we're under the judgment of God, that we need forgiveness. We feel it inside. We know it. And then in chapter two, it says, that we have the law of God written on our hearts. That's incredible. Do you see what advantage it gives the evangelists? We start out with the first two points of the four points already there. There is a God who's holy and righteous and good, and that we are sinful, and we're under the judgment of God. We're already there. It's incredible. It gives us hope, as we take the gospel to this world. Now people would say, "No, I don't feel this to be true." So therefore, the knowledge is somewhat subconscious knowledge, but you're calling to it as an evangelist. You're reaching out to it. You're saying, "It's in there." What I'm saying to you, you know it's true, you know it, don't you? You feel it inside your heart.

And as you're preaching the gospel and evangelizing, you say, "I am sharing with you a message that can bring you salvation. Judgment day is coming. You will stand under the judgment just like I will, all of us will, and you know it inside. Even though what I'm saying may seem a little strange to you, can I urge you to do something? When you get alone tonight, or when you're done and you can't shake the things I'm saying to you, you can't get rid of them. Can I urge you to pray to God a simple prayer. Say, "God, I know you exist. I know you're there, and I feel inside my heart that I need a Savior. Please open me up to this message. If you'll just say that, God will lead you to the truth." I think it's incredible. The knowledge of the judgment of God is already in their hearts. And we need that.

 Now today, we've looked at five questions. Number one, what is the source of the 21 evils? The common source is this: The exchange of the glory of God for something else. Number two, why does Paul give us this list of evils? So that we may see ourselves there. So that we may look in and see the mirror of what we really are. So that we may see that we need a gospel message, isn't just going to get us to walk in aisle and sign a card, but a gospel message is going to take us up out of this and fit us for Heaven. And this gospel will do that. It's a full gospel that brings you all the way to glory, so that we may see ourselves there. Number three, what is God's response to this evil? A decree of death, not just for the evil doer, but for the one who approves of the evil doer. Number four, what amazing glimmer of hope is held out is that all of us, everybody in this room, knows that what I'm saying is true. We know it, it's true.

V.  What Is the Remedy for All This Evil?  The Gospel!

 Alright, the fifth question, what is the ultimate remedy? What is the remedy? This is always my favorite part. I love to preach the remedy. The remedy is cross of Jesus Christ. With the cross of Jesus Christ comes all our salvation. From the sacrifice of Jesus Christ comes a righteousness which will clothe us completely on judgment day. God knows about this list. We know it. It's out in the open now, and it can be forgiven. It can be cleansed through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Three great reversal

1. Reversal of God’s wrath against our unrighteousness

There are in the gospel, three great reversals I mention last week, look at them again. First of all, the reversal of God's wrath against our own righteousness. Second of all, the reversal of God's handing us over to a depraved mind. And the third is the reversal of the pollution of our own mind so that we can serve God purely. All three of these reversals are available in the gospel. First, the reversal of God's wrath. Verse 17, it says in the gospel, "The righteousness of God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith, from first to last. Just as it is written, the righteous will live by faith." You don't have wrath anymore if you believe this gospel, you have righteousness from God. The wrath has been taken away. Jesus drank your cup of wrath at the cross. Drank it to its bottom. There's no wrath left. There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. In Romans 5:9 says, "Since we have been justified by his faith, how much more having been justified shall we be safe from God's wrath through him." There is no wrath left, Jesus drank it to the bottom for the believer.

2. Reversal of God’s handing us over to a depraved mind

Second reversal, the reversal of the handing over that God did to a depraved mind, that we would into and have and possess a depraved mind, he now reverses it. And he hands us over... Remember what I said last week, to doctrine. He hands us over to Roman 6:17, "Thanks be to God, that though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed that form of teaching to which you were handed over." It's a great verse. God took you as a believer in Christ and handed you over to the gospel, and it's going to take you all the way home. Isn't that wonderful? Praise God! He's going to take you all the way from this list of sin to glory in Christ. You are entrusted to the gospel message, and it will do its job.

3. Reversal of the pollution of our own mind so that we can serve God purely

And then finally, the reversal of the pollution of our own mind. The reversal of the depraved mind. And this takes time, doesn't it, brothers and sisters? We lived in this list of sins for so long, but now as part of the gift of salvation, you have 1 Corinthians 2:16, "We have the mind of Christ." Isn't that incredible? You are given the mind of Jesus Christ, and then you're told what to do with it. Romans 12:2, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you'll be able to test... " And what? "Approve." Isn't that a great word? You'll be able to test and approve what is God's will, His good, pleasing, and perfect will. You don't have the depraved mind anymore. You have a renewed mind. You have a mind free from this list of sins. What a gospel we have and what three reversals. No more wrath, but instead righteousness. No more handed over to a lifestyle of sin, now handed over to the gospel, which will take us home. And no more depraved mind, instead, the mind of Jesus Christ, pure and holy, seeing and approving things rightly.

We come now to a time of prayer. We're about to celebrate the Lord's supper. I would urge each one of you to take the Bible and open it up and look over the list. Or if you've got it in your mind, think over. You know, when I get a splinter in my hand, I take the back of my fingernail and rub it over the general area. Do you ever do that? Oh, right there, that's where the splinter is. Do that now, do it in your soul. Go over yourself, prepare yourself for the Lord's supper. We're going to have an invitation hymn. We're going to have a time of commitment. If God is leading you to personal faith in Christ, come and talk to me, don't put it off, don't stay where you are, but come and talk to me. If God is leading you just to pray for somebody, that they would come to faith in Christ. If you know of somebody, just come forward here and pray for them. If God is leading you to confess sin or just to pray to commit yourself, just come and kneel here and prepare yourself or pray where you are. Get yourself ready for the Lord's supper, but even more than that, get yourself ready to see God face to face. Let's pray.

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