Rom 1:26-32 “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.”
To understand what “cause” Paul was referring to, we have to look back at verse twenty-five. This verse tells us that those Paul has been writing about (men who hold the truth in unrighteousness) “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.” Because they held the creature (themselves) in higher regard than the Creator, God gave them up to their disgraceful lusts (vile affections). He then begins to describe the various outcomes of His righteous actions.
Before we go any further, let me say that we greatly err if we pick out any one single aspect of what follows as being worse than another. Many followers of Christ today have latched onto homosexuality as being the single great sin. The scripture tells us there is no single great sin. The sins of the folks that go to church are not somehow less than the sins of the folks who wander in the things of the world.
Any of the attributes Paul describes here is sinful. If we are guilty of the “least” sin, then we are guilty of sin (James 2:10). Furthermore, Paul instructed us to use every opportunity to do good to all men (Galatians 6:10). We have no liberty to mistreat anyone because of man’s sinful nature.
I once heard a minister make the statement that God hated sin so much that He sent Jesus to remove it. Make no mistake, God does hate sin. However, if I understand the scripture at all, it was not God’s hatred of sin that caused Him to send His Son into the world. Rather, it was His love of sinners that moved Him with such compassion.
None of the sins Paul lists here are good. This was not the focus of Paul’s writing. The cause behind these sinful outcomes is what we should be concerned with. When we love the man more than God, God gives us up to vile affections. This is His judgment upon us.
All these heinous things are the result of not liking to retain God in our knowledge. Notice that Paul did not say these things came as a result of not having knowledge of God. We cannot retain something we have never been given. Having a reprobate mind (worthless understanding) is something that God gives us over to because we willfully and deliberately ignore the truth He has revealed to us. What can be more worthless than being given an understanding of the things of God and not walking in that knowledge?
The people Paul is describing here are not what we often refer to as “dead, alien sinners.” These are not people that know nothing about God or His righteous judgment. Those Paul writes about here know the judgment of God. They know that bearing the fruit of rejecting the knowledge of God makes them deserving of death (separation) from the fellowship of God and His children who strive to walk faithfully before Him.
In spite of this knowledge, there are those who still prefer to worship the creature more than the Creator. In spite having knowledge of God, they do not like to hold onto the knowledge of God. Not only do they do this, but they enjoy the fellowship of others who do the same. This is proof to me of the old saying that misery loves company.
May we hold fast, not only the truth of God, but our love of that truth and encourage those around us to rejoice in the knowledge of God and His righteous judgement!