Vain in Their Imaginations

Romans 1:21-25 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 

‘Knew’ [Greek: ginosko] to know by experience (John 1:48; 1Jn. 5:20; Eph. 5:5). ‘They glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations’ they made God a mystery and gave the people images of all kinds (Rom. 1:23). ‘Imaginations’ [Greek: dialogismos] reasonings. Substituted foolish concepts of God, and fooled themselves.

‘Uncorruptible’ [Greek: aphthartos] immortality, meaning “deathlessness” and “immortality.” It is used of God being immortal in body and of the bodies of the saints in the resurrection (1Cor. 15:53-54; 1 Tim. 6:16). Twice this word is used of man’s future immortal body (1Cor. 15:53-54), and once of God being the only immortal one (1Tim. 6:16). This does not mean that He is the only one who has immortality of body, but that He is the Source and Giver of all such life to others. Angels have immortal bodies. Christ and the saints that have been resurrected with Him received immortal bodies (Matt. 27:52-53; 1Cor. 15:20-23; Php. 3:20-21; Rev. 1:18). All men will be raised from the dead to live conscious lives forever, both the righteous and the wicked (John 5:28-29).

‘Corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things’ images of people, birds, cattle, dogs, crocodiles, frogs, and snakes are common among all idolaters. Such idolatry has been the root of all the abominable immoralities of the heathen. The idols have been the patrons of licentiousness (Rom. 1:23-32). When they formed their gods in human shape they endowed them with passions and represented them as slaves to disgraceful sexual perversions and as possessing unlimited powers of sexual gratification.

‘Gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves’ – God permitted them to give themselves over to homosexual sins and similar perversions.

‘Uncleanness’ [Greek: akatharsia] a scriptural term for homosexuality and other sexual perversions of men and women (Rom. 1:24; 2Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 4:19; 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1Thess. 4:7; cp. 2Pet. 2:10).

‘Changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator’ established idolatry for the true worship; a lie for the truth; and worshiped creatures more than the Creator. Idols are called “lies” in Isaiah 44:20; Jeremiah 10:14; 13:25.

Do Not Err

James 1:13-16 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bring forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. 

After using the word temptation in the sense of trial, it is now used in the sense of solicitation to sin. God cannot be tempted with evil, neither does He tempt any man with it. Evil temptations come from evil, not from good. Do not be deceived by supposing that God is the author of sin or that He impels any man to commit it.

Temptation starts with us being tempted in our thoughts of evil, thereafter we are drawn away with strong imagination and lust or delight in viewing whatever we put our minds on. We are being enticed as our wills are weakened and lust conceives as we yield and a sinful act is committed. The result of actual sin is death.