God's Wrath Against Mankind
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
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:
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.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
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.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
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.
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:
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.
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;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
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.
We see that God's wrath is not going to wait for some future day of judgment, but is in fact being revealed right now, even as it was in Paul's day. Because people were (and are) so ungodly, and suppress the truth by their wickedness, God will withdraw from them, and let their evilness run it's course.
Sin is always a progressive thing. It is like a snowball rolling downhill: it may start out little, but it grows, gains speed and intensity, and becomes more destructive as it rolls downhill. That's exactly how sin does. We see this progression in the words of James 1:14,15:
- But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
- Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin:
- and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.
We see three downward steps in the progression of man's sin and God's withdrawal from man:
- Though they knew God, they would not glorify Him as God -- the Father, the Master, the Creator of all things, the giver of life, the giver of salvation, the Alpha and the Omega; who was, and is, and will forever be. They refused to worship His diety, His majesty, His glory, His pure and holy righteousness.
They also would not give Him the thanks that He so well deserves for life itself, and all the myriad of natural blessings He gives every day, from sunshine and warmth to rain and new crops . Instead, the Bible tells us: "their thinking became clouded, and their foolish hearts were darkened." (1:21) Though they claimed to be wise, they became fools. (1:22) And aren't people the very same way today as they were in Paul's time?
God's response to this unthankfulness and lack of respect was to withdraw from them a little bit. God gave them over to uncleanness, or to the sinful desires of their hearts (1:24) and the degrading of their bodies, which the Bible says are the temples of God. (I Cor. 3:16) The term "gave them over" means He stepped back and allowed sin to run it's own way, as an act of judgment. They became sexually immoral, flagrantly committing adultery and fornication in defiance of God's laws; degrading their bodies and their spirit.
Their sin and unbelief grew worse when God withdrew from them this little bit. That's the trouble with sin. Sin is never content to go so far and no farther; it will always take you farther than you ever wanted to go, make you do things you never wanted to do, and costs you more than you ever wanted to pay.
- They exchanged the truth of God for a lie. They worshipped things, rather than the Creator of all things. (1:25) As a result of their further downhill slide, God withdrew even further from them. God gave them over to vile affections, or shameful lusts. (1:26) Thus we see the increase and spread of homosexuality. They gave up their natural relations with women, and burned with lust for other men.(1:27) Even their women, who are usually the keepers of moral standards in the home and in the community, exchanged their "natural use" for un-natural. (1:26)
Now, God was quite clear about the wickedness of homosexual behavior; it is shameful, and it is un-natural. Way back in Leviticus 18:22, He commanded "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." How abhorrant is homosexuality to God? In His own words, it is an abomination. That is a pretty strong statement. He doesn't merely dislike homosexuality, or merely frown upon it. It certainly isn't an "alternative lifestyle" to Him. In fact, in His own words, it is abominable to Him!
The Bible says that men committed indecent homosexual acts, and received in themselves the due penalty for their wicked perversions. Make no mistake about it: there are always consequences NOW for our immoral actions. We have seen the widespread acceptance of homosexuality in our world today, and also the subsequent development and increase in AIDS. Can anyone possibly believe that's merely a coincidence?
Look at verse 27 again. They received due penalty in themselves, or in their own bodies, for their perversions. Or, as the Bible tells us in Galatians 6: 7:
"Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap"
And the very next verse says quite plainly:
"For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption;"
As we've already established, sin will cost more than you ever wanted to pay. And unfortunately, it spreads from those who are guilty, to others who are innocent, but must suffer the consequences of someone else's sin. Remember, God said He would "visit the iniquities of the fathers unto the third and fourth generations." (Ex. 20:5) Do not be deceived: God will not be mocked. His laws are not changeable.
- Verse 28 tells us they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God; they did not deem it necessary to remember God's words, His laws and statutes, His commandments. They chose not to remember His Holiness, His righteousness, His Deity, His Sovereignty. In response to this deliberate act of turning their backs on the knowledge of God, He withdrew even further from them. God will give them over to a reprobate, (or depraved), mind. A reprobate mind is one
morally unprincipled and shameless, one that rejects God and is in turn rejected by Him, without hope of salvation, and destined to damnation.
We know that when man refuses to repent, God finally tires of striving with him, and His divine judgment will descend.
And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh. (Gen 6:3)
Because man could not by won by God's leniency and patience, God would no longer withhold His vengeance. He sent the flood, and destroyed mankind, and all the earth, except for those in the Ark.
God is no different today than He was in the days of Noah. He will not strive with man forever. He will give them over to a reprobate mind, and His divine judgment will overtake them.
Do you see how sin has progressively gotten worse, each time God withdraws Himself a little more? Now these prideful, rebellious people have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. (1:19) They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters; they are insolent, arrogant, and boastful, inventing ways to do evil. (1:30)
they have now gone so far that although they know God has said that any who do these things deserves death, they not only choose to do these wicked things themselves, but actually encourage and support others to do them, as well.(1:32) The Bible tells us: "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20)
My friends, that is exactly where we are in America today. This nation that was founded by Godly men, based on Godly principles, has turned it's back on God, and He has given them over to the evilness of their hearts. We have watched this downhill slide into further and further depravity for the past fifty years or so. We have seen the rise of premarital and extramarital sex; we have seen huge increases in the numbers of babies born out of wedlock, and divorce rates have jumped to the point that every other marriage ends in divorce.
We have seen homosexuals "come out of the closet", and then seek to impose their perversion on all the rest of us, claiming it is merely an "alternative" lifestyle. But it doesn't even end there. There are other groups promoting every possible kind of perversion imaginable. Is it merely coincidence that there has also been a tremendous increase in the rate of suicides, murders, depression, and diseases like AIDS?
I think we can all see that there is no limit to how far sin will go; if left unchecked, sin never stops. The only possible hope for each one of us as individuals and for our nation as a whole, is to turn back to God. We must turn back in repentence, confessing our sins before the Almighty God, and worshiping His holiness and righteousness. Otherwise, wickedness and evil will continue to mutiply, getting worse and worse as God withdraws farther and farther from us, until He will finally turn us over to reprobate minds, destined to damnation.
In II Chronicles 7:14, the Lord says: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." That is our hope, our only hope.