Romans 1:18–32 (NKJV)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.Romans 1:18-23
Paul moves from an introduction of God’s plan and Paul’s role in it to an explanation of the need for God’s grace and the gospel of Jesus. God’s wrath is to be unleashed on evil men. They are without excuse for their sinfulness, for God’s attributes are revealed through creation, and they are therefore guilty. In their rebellion, their senses were dulled to conviction, and they did as they felt appropriate, worshipping the creation rather than the creator.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.Romans 1:24-32
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 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; 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 result of the extreme rebellion is a release from the restraints of conviction. When one treads over the voice of the Holy Spirit long enough, the sensitivity of the soul becomes seared and no longer strongly guides the individual to godliness. Instead, the ungodly man dishonors his own body in false worship, in deviant sexual behavior, and in a variety of sinful behavior, as listed in this passage from verse 29 through verse 31. This litany of sin encompasses much of what passes as sins of commission (action sins). “The penalty for their error” comes to rest on them, consequences of their actions. They know what is right, they know there is a God, yet they do wrong anyway, and pay the penalty. This, in short, describes the plight of mankind, at least those who refuse the grace of God and the leadership of God, and then champion the cause of those compatriots who do the same. This is fallen man at his worst, when he or she lives autonomously instead of submitted to the mighty and glorious God of creation. This is the people who live according to their own lusts and sin, and march together with the debauched and deceived. This is why we need a Savior.