Sin of pride destroyed the ancient Romans AND IT STILL THREATENS MANKIND TODAY
In the first century A.D., Rome was the greatest city in the world - but from a Christian point of view, the brazenly pagan society left much to be desired.
Recognizing this, St. Paul, the famous convert, the great apostle of the early Church, wrote a letter to the Romans circa 57-58 A.D.
In it, he described the sins of the Roman Gentiles. And the parallels between American society today - and that of Rome some 60 years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ - cannot be denied.
The excerpt that follows, in Paul’s own words, describes how the Gentiles were yoked by sin:
“For although they knew God they did not honor him as God, or give thanks to Him. And they became futile in their thinking. And their senseless minds were darkened.”
According to Paul, each and every one of us - from the ancient Romans to men and women living today - has the inborn ability to recognize that God exists.
But instead of falling down on our knees and worshipping our Creator, too often, we let sin and pride “get in the way.”
“Claiming to be wise, they became fools and they exchanged the glory of immortal God for images of mortal man, or birds, or animals, or reptiles,” wrote Paul.
The apostle focused on the sin of pride in this passage, “They thought themselves wise.”
By way of definition, in a spiritual sense, pride doesn’t mean, “I’m proud because I did a good job at work today” or “I’m proud because I drew this beautiful picture.”
The basic spiritual definition of pride is comes into play when you “push God away” and put yourself in his place.
Pride is manifest when you make yourself the center of the universe. You assume the place of the Creator. You think the world revolves around you.
And when you think you’re the center of the world, your perception of reality is distorted.
Paul said sin doesn’t just give us “a stain on our souls” in the way many of us learned on our mother’s knee.
It has two serious and spiritually dangerous effects: First, it darkens our intellect. Second, it weakens our will.
In other words, sin makes us stupid and sin makes us weak.
Paul points out that it is sin, not reason, that led the Gentiles to begin to worship themselves or even animals and craven images.
It was true 2,000 years ago and it’s still true today: Once we deny the existence of God as our creator, it’s inevitable that we are going to put something in hisplace.
Wise men through the ages - and modern researchers, too - have concluded that humans are born with the urge to worship something greater than themselves.
And worship we will. Man will give himself to something or someone because the urge is so strong.
The object of our worship may be ourselves, which is narcissism. Or it may be some object either animate or inanimate.
Some people think small - they worship food or sex or drugs or alcohol or power. Some even worship their work.
That’s the essence of idolatry.
In the pagan world of ancient Rome, as Paul pointed out, sin led to idolatry and sexual perversion.
“Therefore, God gave them up in the lust of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie,” he wrote,
“And they worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever.”
Sound familiar? Those words easily and accurately could be used to describe millions today.
The question is, do they describe you? And if they do, are you going to do anything about it?
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