Sharon Cravens

Rom. 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 

Servant = bondservant = servant by choice; Webster:  “a person who labors or exerts himself for the benefit of another, his master….”

Apostle = one appointed to represent Christ to man and who exhibits miraculous powers

Paul was specifically called/appointed as an apostle by Jesus Christ.  Paul was set apart/separated for a specific ministry—to spread the gospel of God.  Paul defines the gospel in his letter to the Corinthians.

1Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Rom. 1:2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)


Paul is declaring that the gospel he is preaching was a result of the fulfillment of the promise of God as declared by the prophets of old.

Isaiah 52:13 Behold, my servant….

Isaiah 53:5-6 & 11 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all….He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Jeremiah 23:5–6 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

Micah 5:2 “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

Rom. 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 

The gospel of God concerned His Son, Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

This truth was affirmed to Mary by the angel Gabriel.

Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Jeremiah 23:5-6 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

The genealogies of both Matthew 1 and Luke 3 were given to prove that Jesus was descended from King David both through Joseph and Mary respectively, his earthly parents.

“our Lord” – Paul was placing himself on level ground before the Lord with those to whom he was writing when he states our Lord, our master, the One in authority in our lives.

Rom. 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: 

This verse is saying that God declared Jesus as His Son through the resurrection.  It was through the power of the Father that the Son was raised from the dead through the Holy Spirit. 

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus…

I’ll never be able to understand the Three in One.  I’ve always used an apple as a simple illustration to try and explain it—the peel, the flesh, the core, but all one apple.  Recently, I have felt like I am getting a better understanding through God’s joining of a man and woman in marriage; in His eyes these two become one flesh.  

Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

In that illustration you can see two distinct beings acting distinctly, but ideally in unity; in God’s eyes they are one.  If two can be considered one, then so can three.  Maybe when we get to heaven…..

Rom. 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: 

Rom. 1:6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:


“By whom” = the Son of God, Jesus Christ

Jesus is the One Who gives us blessing that we don’t deserve and calls us to specific service/ministry before Him.  That ministry is to be obedient to the faith as set forth in God’s word as a witness to all people.

This is a section in which I wish I knew Greek.  The “we” was added by the translators.  Paul dictated the letter to the Romans to Tertius…

Romans 16:22 I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

…and they were ministering with several others—all acknowledged at the end of the letter.  I personally believe that the gift of grace applies to all believers, but not all are called to be apostles.  However, we are all “sent ones” to testify about the gospel—ambassadors for Christ.

2Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ….

It’s not a point I’m willing to argue.

Verse 6 emphasizes that all believers are called—His by invitation (from the Greek for called).  This implies the freedom to choose to accept or reject the invitation.

Rom. 1:7 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

saint = one who is “morally blameless” in Jesus 

2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

This verse identifies to whom Paul is writing—the beloved saints of God in Rome.  As Paul most often does, he wishes them grace and peace from “God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  He is writing to fellow believers, and is bold to declare blessings from both Father and Son—two, yet One.  It’s worth repeating again, that you can’t experience the peace of God without first experiencing His grace.  It’s by grace we are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8).  

The word for “peace” includes the thought “set at one again.”  I love that expression.  Through our salvation we become spiritually reconnected in fellowship to the Creator as was intended from the beginning.  Peace is also a reflection of the temperament of our spirit.  One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 26:3; the key point in that verse is the promise of peace for the person “whose mind is stayed on Thee.”  We need to learn to keep our focus on Jesus and not on our circumstances, trials or temptations in this world.  We should “trust” that God is only going to allow what is best in the lives of those that love Him.

Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.


Rom. 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.


Paul expresses his thankfulness that the testimony of the believers in Rome is so bold and powerful that it is a topic of conversation throughout ALL the world.  These are the words inspired by the Spirit, so I take it to mean what it says.  I think it reasonable to conclude, however, it would be in reference to the known world from Paul’s frame of reference.

We only have the privilege of addressing the Father through the provision of His Son, our eternal high priest.

Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Rom. 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; 

To give emphasis to the truth of what he is saying, Paul declares God as his witness that he always remembers the body of believers in Rome in his prayers.  I have gotten much more cautious in recent years to be careful not to give the wrong impression when I tell people I am praying for them.  The reason being that “God is my witness.”  It’s so easy to fall into the habit of saying, “I’m praying for you,” in a misleading or insincere way out of habit or to bolster your spiritual reputation.  Pride is so strong in the flesh and such a strong tool of the enemy.

Paul serves God “with my spirit,” the rational part of his life and being—not as a robot or someone just going through the motions.  He is serving (ministering, worshiping) through declaring the gospel (good news) of the salvation that is ours in Jesus through His death, burial and resurrection (see verse 1).

Rom. 1:10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. 

Paul wants to go visit this group of believers.  He is clear that although his desire is to come, he will only come if it is according to God’s will.  

I don’t think there is a specific formula or way that a person can know God’s will.  God works with each of us as individuals.  The scriptures are full of many different ways that God “speaks” to individuals.  I just know that if you are truly seeking to follow God day by day, He will direct you.  I also believe that being immersed in God’s word helps develop our sensitivity to His leading.

Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

I am coming to recognize more and more that God’s direction sometimes comes in the simplest, most natural ways.  When you are seeking and looking for God’s direction, you are more apt to recognize His leadership in some of the choices you make day by day.  I’m convinced that often believers don’t recognize when God is speaking to them.  I believe the more the true believer learns to recognize God’s voice/leading, the more often he/she will be obedient to that direction.

Rom. 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 

Rom. 1:12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. 

Why does Paul want to visit these believers?  He wants to strengthen them spiritually to ensure that their faith is rooted in a strong, firm foundation.  Even as Paul wants to encourage and spiritually strengthen the believers in Rome, he also expects to be encouraged and comforted spiritually as well.  This principle is stated in the Proverbs:

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Spiritual gifts are given for the edification/profit of the body of believers.  

1Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

1Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

I like the following thoughts of John Piper:  “To strengthen someone by a spiritual gift means to help their faith not give way as easily when trouble enters their life.  We have spiritual gifts in order to help other people keep the faith and maintain an even keel in life’s storms.”

Rom. 1:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. 

Paul wants to be very sure that the believers in Rome understand that his desire is to come to visit them, but he has been prevented up to this point.  

I did a word search on Rome to refresh my memory and could find no indication of who started the church at Rome.  The first mention in the scripture was in Acts 2 where there is a listing of many of the places represented by the audience at Pentecost.  The next mention is in Acts 18 where it speaks of Priscilla and Aquila having to leave Rome when Claudius demanded that all Jews leave the city.  Some unknown saint(s) learned enough to allow a body of believers to become established there that developed a testimony that became known worldwide.

Paul wanted to be able to “bear some fruit” in the church at Rome, just as he had in so many other Gentile lands.  We usually think of that fruit bearing as winning souls, but I believe it is ministering in any area through the empowerment and leadership of the Spirit.  There are many kinds of fruit—new converts, encouraging believers, comforting or healing the sick, teaching the scripture, supplying the needs of the poor, etc. 

Rom. 1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 

Rom. 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 

The word debtor would better be translated “under obligation”—not to the Greeks or the Barbarians themselves, but to God as His chosen vessel to spread the gospel to them as representative groups of the Gentiles.  The word Barbarians is simply a reference to non-Greeks.  I think the words wise and unwise are making a distinction between those whose focus was on “exercising the brain,” i.e., philosophy and learning, and those who weren’t interested in those pursuits.  Rome was comprised of these different types of people, and Paul was eager to preach the gospel in Rome.

Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 

Paul is not afraid that preaching the gospel might ruin his reputation or cause him to be disgraced.  He is more concerned about what God thinks of him than of what men might think.  He knows through experience that the gospel message provides salvation/deliverance from the penalty of sin to every person who believes (places faith in, trusts).  This salvation is open to all—Jew and Gentile.  

David Guzik uses a quote from “Morris” that addresses the power of the gospel:  “The gospel is certainly news, but it is more than information, it has an inherent power….Paul does not say that the gospel brings power, but that it is power, and God’s power at that.”

From the very beginning of this epistle Paul establishes the Jew as possessing a position of favor before God.  Jesus was very clear in His ministry that He had come specifically to minister to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Matthew 10:5-6 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Jesus did perform miracles for and minister to Gentiles, but His first commitment was to the people of Israel.  In fact, His ministry was always intended to include the Gentiles, but not in preference to His chosen people.

Luke 2:25-32 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.


Rom. 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 

In looking at the Greek for the word righteousness, it would seem to be defining the character of God as holy and equitable or impartial in justice.  What does it mean to say that righteousness is revealed “from faith to faith?”  Faith is defined in the Greek as “moral conviction of the truth, especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession….”  That definition actually has a natural progression:

“as it is written” – Where?  In Habakkuk 2:4, “… but the just shall live by his faith.”  The word for just is basically the same word for righteousness in the Greek.  A human can only become just through salvation and having the righteousness of God imputed to him.

Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also….

2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

What does it mean to live?  Webster defines it this way:  “to pass life or time in a certain manner, as to habits, conduct, or circumstances….”  Everything we do as believers should be rooted in our faith in God.  People should be able to look at our actions and reactions and see God reflected in our lives.

Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 

As believers, we sometimes get the Habakkuk complex and think God is letting the wicked go unpunished.  If we look at the world around us, we can see that man is reaping what he has sown as we look at the deterioration of our environment, at the onslaught of awful diseases, at the destruction of nations, at the growing disregard for life, etc.  It is true that believers are also affected by these things, the key difference being that their lives are only allowed to be touched “for good”—to accomplish God’s purposes.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

There is coming a time when God will expend His wrath on planet earth to punish the ungodly, the unrighteous, the wicked.

Nahum 1:2 God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

Revelation 16:1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

I think it is important to note that God’s wrath is being directed against the “ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.”  It is sin that God hates—not the sinner.  Obviously, His wrath is directed at the men embracing the sin.  Those who embrace sin reject the truth—the Son of God.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

By rejecting the Son, they are calling Him a liar—declaring Him unrighteous.

This verse also makes me think of those today who claim to represent God in the pulpit yet present God’s word in the context of what they think it should mean instead of what it actually says.  They are presenting God’s word as full of errors and undependable.  Again, they are calling God a liar—calling Him unrighteous.

Rom. 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

“that which may be known” – This implies that there are things which may not be known—there’s more to learn about Him.

“manifest” = shining, apparent, be seen

“shewed” = made apparent

Frankly, this seems to be referencing the human creation—“in them.”  The intricate workmanship of God is probably nowhere better expressed than in the human body.  There are many, many examples of God’s design in creation, but every human is aware of the wonder of his being.  From the intricate design of the eye that allows us to see, and the ear that allows us to hear, to the taste buds in our mouth that allow us to enjoy food, to the functioning of our vocal chords that allows us to talk, to the communication system between our brain and the rest of our body to control movement and body functions, to the intricate pathway of veins and arteries that carry the blood throughout our body, etc.  Anyone who denies the Creator is just not being honest with himself—He’s a fool!

Psalm 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

Psalm 139:14-16 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

As one observes creation, one can’t help but be put in awe of the Creator!

Rom. 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:


“the invisible things of him” = “his eternal power and Godhead”

These are the attributes of God that can be understood just by observing His creation.  In this verse we go beyond the human creation to the creation of the world; this includes all the other wonders of the universe—the sun, moon, stars, planets, oceans, forests, etc.  These are all things that are apparent by observation.  You can’t observe the creation without acknowledging that there is a Creator God and that He is the source of the greatest power.  The Psalmist declares this same truth.

Psalm 19:1-3 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.  There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

The word Godhead is simply a reference to His Divinity, the fact that He is God. The Spirit through Paul states as fact that the power and existence of God are “understood by the things that are made.”  You may choose to deny this truth, but God says you are “without excuse.”  When stated like that, it means this truth is impossible not to understand.  This verse would refute anyone who claims to be an atheist; he may declare to be so publicly, but in his heart he “understands” the truth.

Rom. 1:21 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. 

Rom. 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,


The reference point is still verse 18 regarding those who are ungodly and unrighteous.  These people chose to deny God as God; they neither felt nor expressed gratitude to their Creator.  In order to deny Him, they had to come up with a way to explain the creation, so they began to use foolish, wicked reasoning and thought processes.  They could no longer think clearly and with intelligent reasoning.  There was no light of understanding in them; their hearts/minds were darkened.

When they presented their rationale for how the universe and all associated with it came about, they declared themselves wise and possessing great intelligence and superior mental skills.  Just because they declared it to be so didn’t make it so.  Before God, they confirmed their position as fools (stupid, moral blockheads, absurd).

Psalm 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

The amazing thing to me is how quickly the majority of mankind joined this group of fools.  Why?  To acknowledge God as Creator requires that one recognize God’s position of authority over him.  Pride is our strongest enemy and submission to authority is our greatest struggle.  I believe pride is the root sin (see journal on Exodus 20); every sin we do is motivated by the idea that either there is no God or that we know better than God or that He is insufficient to meet our needs.  

Psalm 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

Rom. 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

After rejecting “God,” man decided to create his own gods, giving them credit for the works of the “I AM.”  Uncorruptible means never subject to dying—eternal, immortal.  The gods man created were corruptible gods made first in the image of man, then eventually of birds and beasts and “creeping things” (small animals, reptiles, serpents).  

I have a quote from Larry Taylor that applies here:  “When man rejects God, he always makes gods less than himself.  That is why people can do such ‘less than human’ crimes.”

God never changes.  Although the commands of God weren’t recorded until the time of Moses, we know that from the beginning, as described in Genesis, man knew what was pleasing to God and what was not.

I think an excerpt from my journal in Genesis 4 applies here.

Now we are given the record of the presentation of the offerings to the Lord of each son.  Cain brought some of his harvest, and Abel brought one of the firstborn from his sheep.  The Lord accepted Abel’s offering and did not accept Cain’s.  This made Cain angry.  He patiently explains to Cain that if he makes the right offering, it will be accepted.  (This implies that they had been given instruction regarding an acceptable offering before the Lord—either by their parents or by God Himself.)  If he chooses not to present the right offering, then it would be because of sin/pride in his life (choosing to disobey).

When listening to Jon Courson, he made an interesting observation using a reference to Hebrew 11:4.

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

“By faith Abel offered….” – Where does faith come from?  By hearing.  Hearing what?  The Word of God.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

This helps confirm that Cain and Abel had been given instruction regarding what was an acceptable sacrifice to God.


Rom. 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 

When God created man, He gave him the ability to make choices.  If man chooses to reject Him, God takes hands off and surrenders him to be governed by his immoral, impure desires.  This always results in shameful and disgraceful use of his body with others.

Rom. 1:25 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.

Paul states specifically now that these ungodly, unrighteous men “changed the truth of God into a lie” (as I concluded in verse 18).  These people always give honor to the creation over the Creator.  Their choice doesn’t change the fact that it is only God, the Creator, who is worthy of our praise and adoration.

Rom. 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 

Rom. 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 

When men reject the truth of God’s word and choose to worship His creation and not Him, God allows them to follow their shameful passions.  These passions are specifically stated to go against instincts, natural use—God’s intended purposes.  What does God call unnatural, not instinctive?  Women having sex with other women, and men having sex with other men.  These actions are called “unseemly,” indecent.  As a result, they “reap what they sow.”  They deservedly suffer from diseases that are a specific consequence of this type of behavior, the accompanying emotional problems, etc.

I’m frankly amazed at the people in the “church” today who profess to be representatives of God and condone homosexuality.  The devil has been so clever in causing men to doubt the veracity of the word of God, that men feel free to apply their own foolish rationale as to what truth is according to God.  This verse clearly refutes the argument—“I was born this way.”

Rom. 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 

Rom. 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 

Rom. 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 

Rom. 1:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 

The first phrase could read:  “Since they did not have the discernment to hold on to God and acknowledge Him as God…”  

“reprobate” = morally abandoned; given up to wickedness

“convenient” = becoming, decent, proper

Without the influence of God in our life, we have no moral basis.  This leads to wickedness, doing things that aren’t decent.  In fact these lives become filled (to the point where it can hold no more) with these actions.  When I am confronted with a list in scripture, I always like to look up definitions and try to understand all the shades of meaning.

Rom. 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 

The people who reject God and fall in the categories above know the things that are judged to be right according to God’s law.  I believe God gave us a built-in moral compass.  They know that these actions and lifestyles are deserving of a verdict of death.  Does that stop them?  No.  In fact, they not only embrace wicked actions and lifestyles, they are pleased when others join them in their wickedness and rebellion.  I think an old saying applies here:  “Misery loves company.”