This is an extension of my last post. I want to include more commentary, specifically from David Guzik...
Therefore God also gave them up: In His righteous wrath and judgment, God gives man up to the sin our evil hearts desire, allowing us to experience the self-destructive result of sin. This phrase is so important Paul repeats it three times in this passage.
i. Hos_4:17 expresses the judgmental aspects of God “giving us up,” leaving us to our own sin: Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone.
ii. We err when we think that it is God’s mercy or kindness that allows man to continue in sin. It is actually His wrath that allows us to go on destroying ourselves with sin.
b. Who exchanged the truth of God for the lie: In every rebellion and disobedience against God we exchange the truth of God for the lie of our own choosing, and set the creature before the Creator.
i. Paul uses the definite article; it is not a lie, but the lie. The lie is essentially idolatry - which puts us in the place of God; it is the lie you will be like God. (Gen_3:5)
c. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions: Paul wrote this letter from the city of Corinth, were every sort of sexual immorality and ritualistic prostitution was practiced freely. The terminology of Rom_1:24 refers to this combination of sexual immorality and idolatrous worship.
i. This begins a passage where Paul describes the sin and corruption of the pagan world with an amazing directness - so direct that Spurgeon thought this passage unfit for public reading. “This first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans is a dreadful portion of the Word of God. I should hardly like to read it all through aloud; it is not intended to be so used. Read it at home, and be startled at the awful vices of the Gentile world.” (Spurgeon)
d. Paul uses homosexuality - both female and male - as an example of God giving them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves.
i. Some say that the Bible nowhere condemns lesbian homosexuality, but the likewise of Rom_1:27 makes it clear that the sin of homosexuality condemned in Rom_1:27 is connected to the sin of women mentioned in Rom_1:26.
ii. Paul doesn’t even use the normal words for men and women here; he uses the words for male and female, using categories that describe sexuality outside of human terms, because the type of sexual sin he describes is outside of human dignity.
iii. Paul categorizes the whole section under the idea of vile passions - unhealthy, unholy. Nevertheless, Paul lived in a culture that openly approved of homosexuality. Paul didn’t write this to a culture that agreed with him.
iv. Paul wrote to a culture where homosexuality was accepted as a part of life for both men and women. For some 200 years, men who openly practiced homosexuality, often with young boys, ruled the Roman Empire.
v. At times, the Roman Empire specifically taxed approved homosexual prostitution and gave boy prostitutes a legal holiday. Legal marriage between same gender couples was recognized, and even some of the emperors married other men. At the very time Paul was writing, Nero was emperor. He took a boy named Sporus and had him castrated, then married him (with a full ceremony), brought him to the palace with a great procession, and made the boy his “wife.” Later, Nero lived with another man, and Nero was the “wife.”
vi. Homosexual practice truly is an abomination in our present culture. Statistics tell us that on average 43% of homosexuals say that they have had 500 or more sexual partners in their lifetime, and only 1% of homosexuals say they have had four or less sexual partners in their lifetime.
vii. According the Unites States Department of Health and Human Services, 77% of homosexuals say they have met sexual partners in a city park; 62% in a homosexual bar, 61% in a theater, 31% in a public restroom. Only 28% of homosexuals said that they had known their partners for at least a week before participating in homosexual sex.
viii. Homosexuals often seem to specialize in anonymous sex with no emotional commitment. At one time, London AIDS clinics defined a woman as promiscuous if she had more than six partners in her lifetime. They gave up trying to apply a workable definition to male homosexuals when it became clear that they saw almost no homosexual men who had less than six sexual partners a year.
e. Receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due: Paul speaks of a penalty for homosexual conduct; Homosexuality has within itself a penalty. This speaks of the self-destructive nature of sin; it often carries within itself it’s own penalty.
i. Sometimes it is the penalty of disease, which is the consequence of violating nature’s order.
ii. Sometimes it is the penalty of rebellion, resulting in spiritual emptiness and all it’s ramifications. The term “gay” is wishful thinking; it sends a message that there is something essentially happy and carefree about the homosexual lifestyle - which there is not.
f. Again, this “freedom” to disobey should be seen as God’s judgment, not His kindness; those who engage in such acts are receiving in themselves the penalty of their error.
g. As further judgment, God gives man over to a debased mind, so that things that are disgraceful and sickening are readily accepted and approved.
i. The word debased (or, reprobate in the KJV) meant originally ‘that which has not stood the test’. It was used of coins that were substandard and therefore rejected. The idea is that since man did not “approve” to know God, men came to have an “unapproved” mind.
ii. “The human race put God to the test for the purpose of approving Him should He meet the specifications which it laid down for a God who would be to its liking, and finding that He did not meet those specifications, it refused to approve Him as the God to be worshipped, or have Him in its knowledge.” (Wuest)
iii. A debased mind: Our rebellion against God is not only displayed in our actions, but in our thinking. We are genuinely “spiritually insane” in our rebellion against God.
h. The list in Rom_1:29-31 gives concrete examples of the kind of things which are not fitting. Notice how “socially acceptable” sins (such as covetousness, envy and pride) are included right along with “socially unacceptable” sins (such as murder and being unloving).
i. Covetousness is literally the itch for more.
ii. Whisperers: “Secret detractors; those who, under pretended secrecy, carry about accusations against their neighbours, whether true or false; blasting their reputation by clandestine tittle-tattle.” (Clarke)
iii. Is envy a small sin? Envy put Jesus on the cross. Pilate knew that they had handed Him over because of envy. (Mat_27:18)
iv. Proud: “They who are continually exalting themselves and depressing others; magnifying themselves at the expense of their neighbours; and wishing all men to receive their sayings as oracles.” (Clarke)
i. Those who either practice or approve of these things are worthy of death; they are the worth objects of the wrath of God.
j. Where does all this violence, immorality, cruelty and degradation come from? Men have abandoned the true knowledge of God, and the state of society is a reflection of God’s judgment upon them for this." - D. Guzik
This is from Robert Hawker...
"I must beg the Reader to spare me from entering into any further account than what is here given of the awful state of human nature by the fall. While I admire the chastity of language in the sacred writers, upon every occasion of this sort, when called upon to sketch the horrid features of man’s portrait, since the apostasy of Adam, in which all his posterity are equally drawn, I behold enough in the picture to be humbled to the dust before God, and desire to gather from the whole, without enlarging on the several parts of the representation, yet fuller views of the infinite preciousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, by whose vast redemption alone, his Church is brought up from such an awful state of depravity. Here, Reader! if we look at what the Apostle hath drawn, and stand convinced under divine teaching, that what one of Adam’s fallen sinful race hath done, all are equally capable of, and, but for the restraints of grace, would fail into; thus beheld, humbling as the view is, yet blessedly profitable will it become. And, oh! that the Lord may in this manner sanctify the Apostle’s account here given to the souls of his people!"
The grotesque sin of homosexuality and lesbianism is so vile and debasing, godly men of old would not even go there! Yet today, society flaunts their depravity proudly with 'gay pride' parades touting rainbow flags - it grieves me to witness all this because I KNOW God's wrath is being poured out by the letting go of society, and that severe, devastating wrath will soon follow. Again, I pray 'in wrath, remember mercy'. Even so, come Lord Jesus!!
"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan