Even those with a casual knowledge of scripture very often know Romans 1. Beginning in verse 18 to the end of that chapter, the content follows that men sin as a lifestyle, not because they lack in knowledge, but because of rebellion against that knowledge of God. They know God, but they choose their lust. God judges them by turning them over to their own desires, and they are in the end worthy of His wrath. They choose not to retain God in their knowledge and God turns them over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:28). Paul lists the characteristic things that they do, things which are not proper, not fitting with God's expectations for the world and for the humanity that He created.
Get this. The end of the description of the lifestyle of those who do not retain God in their knowledge, who are turned over to a reprobate mind, says (Romans 1:32): "they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." Please pay attention. "They which commit" is present tense, committing as a lifestyle or commit as a habit. However, those who choose to keep committing these things "are worthy of death." It is not just those who do these things as a lifestyle, but those who have pleasure in those who do them. Someone doesn't even have to do them, just have pleasure in others who do them.
Since this series is about "adult children," I will talk about just one of the characteristics, but this is one of them, and in verse 30, "disobedient to parents." This isn't talking about children disobeying their parents. These are people who choose not retain God in their knowledge. That isn't describing children. These are people who have settled in this.
The Greek word "disobedient" in Romans 1:30 is apeithes, which means literally, "not be persuaded by." The portrayal here is an adult child, who has been taught scripture by his parents, and willfully rejects what they are teaching. Some adult children act, and with the agreement of other adults, like this is part of what it means to be an adult, to depart from what your parents taught you as a child.
The same Greek word is used in John 3:36 and translated in the King James Version, "believeth not," as in "believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." The Greek work conveys obstinate rejection of the will of God. Disobedience is equated with unbelief. Haldane in his Exposition on Romans on this particular characteristic writes:
Obedience to parents is here considered as a duty taught by the light of nature, the breach of which condemns the heathens, who had not the fifth commandment written in words. It is a part of the law originally inscribed on the heart, the traces of which are still to be found in the natural love of children to their parents. When the heathens, then, disregarded this duty, they departed from the original constitution of their nature, and disregarded the voice of God in their hearts.Barclay in His commentary on Romans writes:
Both Jews and Romans set obedience to parents very high in the scale of virtues. It was one of the Ten Commandments that parents should be honored. In the early days of the Roman Republic, the patria potestas, the father’s power, was so absolute that he had the power of life and death over his family. The reason for including this sin here is that, once the bonds of the family are loosened, wholesale degeneracy must necessarily follow.Albert Barnes in his commentary on Romans writes:
This expresses the idea that they did not show to parents that honor, respect, and attention which was due. This has been a crime of paganism in every age; and though among the Romans the duty of honoring parents was enjoined by the laws, yet it is not improbable that the duty was often violated, and that parents were treated with great neglect and even contempt. “Disobedience to parents was punished by the Jewish Law with death, and with the Hindus it is attended with the loss of the child‘s inheritance. The ancient Greeks considered the neglect of it to be extremely impious, and attended with the most certain effects of divine vengeance. Solon ordered all persons who refused to make due provision for their parents to be punished with infamy, and the same penalty was incurred for personal violence toward them.” Kent‘s Commentaries on American Law, vol. ii. p. 207; compare Virg. AEniad, ix. 283. The feelings of pride and haughtiness would lead to disregard of parents. It might also be felt that to provide for them when aged and infirm was a burden; and hence, there would arise disregard for their wants, and probably open opposition to their wishes, as being the demands of petulance and age. It has been one characteristic of paganism every where, that it leaves children to treat their parents with neglect. Among the Sandwich islanders it was customary, when a parent was old, infirm, and sick beyond the hope of recovery, for his own children to bury him alive; and it has been the common custom in India for children to leave their aged parents to perish on the banks of the Ganges."Disobedience to parents" is no incidental thing. Paul writes that the person who chooses this deserves death. Later Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:2 the exact same expression to describe apostates in last days, "disobedient to parents." It is the same Greek words. Concerning these in 2 Timothy 3:4, Paul writes:
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.Whatever godliness they have is just a form of godliness, and the right thing to do with this person or these people is to turn away from them.
For a moment, take the teaching about "disobedience to parents" into consideration. While an adult child disobeys his parents, that is, he rejects the scriptural teaching of His parents, turns away from their instruction from the Bible, he is accepting something else. What is it? What is so attractive in the world that would have him do this? 2 Timothy 3:6 says they are "led away with divers lusts." This is not worshiping the Creator, but worshiping the creature (Romans 1:25).
The God, the one and only true God, Who created the world, designed and created parents, and in the natural order of God is for a child to follow in his parents' teachings. In this, I'm not proposing that children disobey scripture, but to follow in the scriptural instruction of his parents. It must be some clear, plain actual disobedience to scripture that would contradict the instruction of the parents. When children have been taught the way they should go, when they are adult children, they should not depart from it, that is, they should not be "disobedient to parents."
More to Come