Romans 1:24-32 (some of the most unpopular verses in the Bible)

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are
whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

II.  The result of humans rejection of God – God gave them up: (1:24-31)
A.  to dishonor their bodies (1:24-25)
B.  to vile passions (1:26-27)
C.  to a debased mind (1:28-31)

The result of humans suppressing the clear things they know about God is given to us.  God “gave them up”.  What does this mean?  The greek word is “paredoken” and means “abandoned”.  So in other words God stopped restraining humans desire to sin and let their sin nature take its course.

Before we get into the specific results of humans dishonoring their bodies, living in vile passions, and having debased minds, let us remember Paul’s audience.  Rome at the time this is written was a terribly wicked place and would continue to become worse and worse until its fall.  We can say without doubt that the specific sins Paul is about to give were participated in by at least some of those receiving this letter.  We can see from the letter Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth (I Corinthians) a great example of this same thing.  Now much of their sinful activity would have come before their belief in Jesus but not all of it.  Paul takes the opportunity to point out to all what is wrong in the sight of God.

The result of rejecting God is to no longer have a basis for right and wrong but to live by selfish desires, emotions, pragmatism, and if it feels good to you in the moment – do it. We do not need to look but a few minutes on the news or at history to see the results of such godlessness…the pain that both the one who is sinned against and the one who sins endure.  On sanctity of life Sunday, why does the church even need to talk about the sanctity of life?  It is because the world has made life very cheap.  Today about 16,000 children will die from hunger related issues. Why?  We can even say that never before in history has so much been done or so much been given to help the poor.    Yet we continue to fall so short.  When we think of MLK day, why was there the need for a civil rights movement?  It is because the hearts of humans are corrupt and the minds of humans are debased.

Whether or not you or I have participated in all of the sins that are listed, no one can honestly read the list, examine their heart and their past, and feel good about the life they have lived.  Who among us has not been “disobedient to parents” or “gossips” or “full of envy” or “prideful”. Now it is important to note that the Greek words used here are in a present tense and give the idea that these things are the ongoing pattern of life – without repentance, without seeking forgiveness, without striving to walk in the ways of God.  So we can say that verses 28-31 are surely descriptive of most everyone at some point in their lives, but it doesn’t have to stay that way because the Gospel of Christ is the power of salvation to everyone who believes.

III.  The righteous judgment of God against ungodliness is death (1:32)

Note the strong statement given in verse 32 about those who approve of sin. We must call sin, sin, if we are to have any hope.  The list before us must first be dealt with in the local church and then that church can have a proper voice in its community.

Humans who have rejected a good and loving God, who have suppressed the knowledge of God, who have perverted justice and exercised evil are deserving of one thing and one thing only; and that thing is death.  By death we mean a termination of life on this earth and an eternal separation of one’s spirit from God Almighty.  If we know what we really deserve then we can be full of thanksgiving for God’s grace!

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