The sequence of events outlined in Romans 1 recalls the story of Adam in Genesis 1–3. God revealed to Adam what can be known of Him (Rom 1:19), and that from the creation onward, God’s attributes were clearly discernible to him in the things that had been made and that he was thus without excuse (v. 20). Though Adam knew God, he failed to honor Him as God, and grew vain in his thinking and allowed his heart to be darkened (v. 20). Adam’s fall was the result of his desire to be God, to attain the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3:5), so that, claiming to be wise, he in fact became a fool (Rom 1:21).
—M. D. Hooker, “Adam in Romans I,” New Testament Studies 6 (1960), 300
You’re never more like Satan than when you’re trying to be God. [Isaiah 14:14; Genesis 3:5; Romans 1:21,25]
Romans 1:18-23 captures the essential nature of idolatry as consisting precisely in the confusion of the creature with the Creator.
—Larry W. Hurtado, At the Origins of Christian Worship, 110
Romans 1:18-32 is a foundational passage for understanding all of Paul’s theology. . . . [It] centres on the nature of worship. Human beings are clearly portrayed as creatures who must worship, and whose sin lies in the fact that they do not choose to worship as they should. . . . The real goal and scope of redemption [is] the restoration of true worship and the destruction of the false.
—Noel Due, Created for Worship, 29
The error described in Romans 1:18ff., is not the neglect of worship, but the exchange of worship. Men and women are inveterate worshipers. Worship belongs to their essential structure. The expression of human sin is that the worship for which they were created is exchanged for idolatrous worship. They sin, not by not worshiping, but by worshiping wrongly.
—Noel Due, Created for Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You, 27
The theological counterpoint to the opening chapter of Romans, with its emphasis on illicit worship and the moral degradation brought about by idolatry, is Romans 12. Whereas in Romans 1 we are given a picture of illegitimate worship that leads to the moral breakdown of every kind of social relationship, in Romans 12 we are given a picture of the integrating effects of true worship, in which the whole of the new covenant community delivered from the power of the idols and brought out from under the wrath of God which such idolatry merits – expresses its worship through love. p. 185
—Noel Due, Created For Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You, 185
May all who use these hymns experience, at all times, the blessed effects of complying with the Apostle Paul’s injunction (Eph. 5:18, 19), “Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Yea, may they anticipate, while here below, though in a humble and imperfect strain, the song of the blessed above, who, being redeemed out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, and having washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, are standing before the throne, and singing in perfect harmony with the many angels about it (Rev. 5:9-12 and 7:9-14), “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing, for ever and ever. Amen!”
—Moravian Hymnal (1789)