24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a 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 dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
Whenever a phrase is used repeatedly, we should take notice. Three times in this passage, we see how “God gave them up.” What does this mean? First, it means that whatever restraining grace that God put on them was removed. Why? Because if you reject the honor and fail to give thanks to what God has revealed, you set yourself up as God and begin to believe you know best the direction of your life. You delight yourself in yourself, and you seek to give yourself the desires of your hearts.
The first giving over is to “the lust of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” Remember in 1:18 how they suppressed the truth in unrighteousness. Here, the heart (the headquarters of a person) exchanged the truth for a lie. This leads to a dishonoring of the body. John MacArthur rightly noted, “No other society has done more to help the human body than ours. Yet no other society has degraded the body like ours.”
Which leads to the second giving over: to dishonorable passions. Now, this sees the light of day in its debauchery. Two issues arise here. The first is obvious: that of homosexuality. Those who say that the Scriptures do not speak on the issue of homosexuality as sin are not dealing honestly with the text. They may not believe what it says, but it is disingenuous to say that the Scriptures are silent.
For one, the Scriptures speak of homosexuality as unnatural. God did not create humans to act out sexually toward their own gender any more than He created us to act out to anyone sexually outside of the one-man-one-woman marriage covenant He ordained (Genesis 1:26-31; Matthew 19:1-6).
Secondly, these ‘passions’ receive a penalty due to their error. In other words, the God-inspired Scripture speaks that this activity is wrong (an error) and will receive punishment. Why? Because God made us for a reason and a purpose, and like any maker of anything, He does not want that Creation twisted to their harm. Do you see that this is why Christ and His followers are saddened by homosexuality? “If we reap to the flesh, from the flesh we shall reap destruction” (Galatians 6:6-7). Any life outside of God’s will and toward our will is destructive—and we do not wish to see that happen to any imagebearer.
The second is that of abortion: “For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature.” No relationship is more natural than a mother toward her baby. Yet, with our sex-starved culture, so many believe that abortions are a viable option. Some come to clinics out of fear that their lives will be turned upside down if they have this child with no husband, or are afraid to tell their parents, or are afraid their boyfriend will leave them. It is here that we tend to listen to things we shouldn’t—we may believe the lies that are told us. Abortions are not a termination of life (i.e., murdering a child) but are considered pregnancy option procedures. The fear clouds out the clear truth of God’s Word that this is a life growing in that womb.
You may not believe that this is a life. Consider:
- Day 5-9: it’s already possible to determine the sex of the baby.
- Day 18: The heart and eyes begin to form.
- Day 20: Brain, spinal cord, and nervous system begin to develop.
- Day 22-24: The heart begins to beat.
- Day 30: The brain has human proportions; blood flows in the veins and is separate from the mother’s blood supply. (It is at this time that the RU-486 pill takes effect.)
- Day 35: Mouth, ears, and nose take shape (also the time when the suction and the D&C begin.
- Day 42: Skeleton is formed. Reflux responses have begun. The brain is coordinating movement. Male sexual organs begin to form.
- Day 43: Brain waves recorded.
- Day 45: Spontaneous movements begun and teeth are developing.
- 7 weeks: Lips are sensitive to touch. Ears take shape.
- 9 weeks: Thumb sucking begins; fingernails form. Everything now in place.
- 10 weeks. Baby squints, swallows and frowns.
- 11 weeks. Baby can urinate and can smile. Can feel pain, responds to touch, light, heat, and noise.
- 12 weeks. Breathing has begun. Baby kicks, wiggles toes, makes a fist, moves thumbs, bend wrists, turns head, opens mouth.
- 13 weeks: vocal cords formed. Sex organs distinct. [Source]
ALL OF THESE THINGS TAKE PLACE IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER WHEN NO RESTRICTIONS TAKE PLACE ON ABORTIONS IN THIS COUNTRY! Everyone in the medical field and many in the political field understand the human development, but they turn their backs! Has God given up the United States of America?
Dear friends, this is why so many evangelical Christians are against homosexuality and abortion. It’s not for political reasons—its for the sake of their own soul. Remember, those who do not honor God nor are thankful want to be their own god and ruler of their lives. And when someone comes along and says, “What you are doing is wrong, but also harmful to you”—we must never be surprised at the reactions to this.
But we must not simply look at these sins and believe this is it:
Look at vv. 29-32:
29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Sadly, we have Christian homes and Christian churches all over this world filled with people whose unrepentant lifestyles bear this out. And these desires and these penalties are powerful!
But let’s return to Romans 1:16-17:
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Whatever power exists in the universe, on a soul level in regards to temptations and sin, or on a galactic level—nothing is more powerful in all the universe than the gospel of Jesus Christ! The power of His paying for the penalty of our sin on the cross is more powerful than your sin. The power that raised Him from the dead is more powerful than death itself! The grace He demonstrated is more powerful than our most destructive sin. He calls us to surrender! To repent from our sin, and surrender to Christ and what He accomplished for us!
Now that’s something for which to be thankful! Will you “honor God and give him thanks” for creation and for Christ and the cross?