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Romans 1 (NIV)
21 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. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Look at Romans 1:18-20: The problem wasn’t the lack of truth, but the suppression of it.
Verse 21: 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.
Knew God: acquired through observation of the senses.
Could see God as revealed in nature (General/Natural Revelation).
They (and we) willfully rejected this revelation.
Neither glorified Him as God…
Glorified (Worship, Honor): positively acknowledge, recognize, or esteem one’s character, nature, or attributes.
“Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”
– Westminster Catechism
Nor gave thanks to him…
Gave thanks: express gratitude; show appreciation
Thanksgiving is more than just a once-a-year holiday
Willing to use God’s gifts, but not willing to worship or praise God for His gifts.
But their thinking became futile…
Vain in their imaginations. Confused
Futile: useless, purposeless; incapable of producing results
Thinking: using mind to consider something carefully
Vain (Webster, 1828): empty, worthless, having no substance, value or importance; fruitless, ineffectual
And their foolish hearts were darkened…
Foolish: lacking the ability to understand the meaning or importance of…
Darkened: Unable or unwilling to perceive or understand
When truth is rejected, in time the ability to recognize and to receive truth is impaired.
Ephesians 4:17-18: “17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”
We are called to think differently than the world.
Without contact with God, the center of man [heart] loses contact with reality, misses the purpose of his existence, and becomes ungrateful.
Verse 22: Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
Claimed to be wise…
Claimed: insist in an unqualified manner; profess
Wise: accumulated knowledge and discernment
Proverbs 26:12: “Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.”
they became fools…
Fools: devoid of good sense or judgment
Psalm 14:1a: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”
Even brilliant people who do not honor God miss the whole purpose of life and are therefore fools.
Once man rejects the truth of God in Jesus, he will fall for anything foolish, and trust far more feeble and fanciful systems than what he rejects from God.
Jeremiah 10:14-15: “Everyone is senseless [stupid] and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. The images he makes are a fraud; they have no breath in them. They are worthless, the objects of mockery; when their judgment comes, they will perish.”
The Hebrew language uses no less than four terms to quantify the level of foolishness in a person. Each successive term includes and builds upon the qualities of the previous one. According to the Hebrews, the greatest fool of all is the disobedient person who possesses the greatest intelligence!
The Greek language also uses four primary terms for fools:
 Hebrew and Greek words from Chuck Swindoll’s “Insights on Romans”