Thursday, 22 June 2017

tim keller on romans 1:18-32 and epithumia

The word [in verse 24] that the NIV translates 'sinful desires and the ESV renders 'lusts' is epithumia. Literally, it means 'over-desire', an all-controlling drive and longing. This is revealing. The main problem of our heart is not so much desires for bad things, but our over-desires for good things, our turning of created, good things into gods, objects of our worship and service.
....
How should God's people respond to these verses [verses 18-32], and the dark view of humanity they give us? .... [Thirdly,] we are to read these verses in light of 1:16-17, knowing that we do not need to fear God's wrath because we have received his righteousness. This gives us both the humility and the freedom to ask: What idols could be, or are already, jostling for position with my Creator in my heart and life? This passage prompts us to look for places where we are envious, slanderous, disloyal, lusting, and so on. These things are the indication that we are worshiping an idol; that something other than God has become our functional master. And so we need to ask: What would it look like to depend on my Creator in this area? How would I love and feel and live differently if I praised my Creator at that point, rather than serving a created thing? That is the way to turn our epithumia, our over-desires, into simple enjoyment; not serving as slaves what God has made, but appreciating them in praise of God in his world.

- part of what Tim Keller says on Romans 1:18-32 in his book Romans 1-7 For You.