"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." Romans 1:28
And now Romans 1:29-31 gives a list of some of the things a debased mind is involved in. "They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless." I can't really do anything to make this more clear. If you are involved in anything on this list, it's time to really look at your life. And, I'm sure we all are struggling with at least one thing. I remember hearing this passage when I was in high school. It was funny to me that a list with "haters of God," also had "disobedient to parents."
I look at where our society is right now, and it is a scary thing. This list almost defines our society. People live exactly this list. Envy, covetousness, gossip, slander, haters of God, boastful, faithless, heartless, these are all things I see and hear everyday. The whole list is lived by people I come in contact with. Or I'm struggling with it. The last verse of this wrath section says, v32 "Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." All we do is justify each other with approving statements. IF someone wrongs you, you look to others for approval to wrong them back. Instead of forgiveness and love, attributes God requires, we try to get even. We always want what's "fair".
What's fair? Do we really want what's fair? I don't think so. We want what benefits us. Look at Matt 20 and the vineyard grower parable to see how we don't want what's fair but are selfish and want what benefits us. Because "fair" for us would be Hell. We all deserve Hell. Only by God's grace do we receive salvation and Heaven. God gave some over to their debased minds to satisfy His wrath. He can not allow sin into Heaven. He can not even look on sin or allow it in His presence. God is Holy. God is Righteous. God is Perfect. God is the Judge. Guess what's coming in the next verses. God's Righteous Judgment. YIKES!!!!
We will get into the judgment that is coming from God in the next verses but to conclude my "God's Wrath" series, I want to recap in just a few words. God's wrath is real. It is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness of men. All mankind can see the invisible attributes of God in nature. But man rejects that knowledge and creates his own images to worship. God gives some over to that lust and the dishonorable passions. This leads to more sin, shameless acts, unnatural acts, a debased mind. And man continues these sins and gives approval for it to each other. Without God, sin continues and grows. Mankind IS hopeless without God.
Something I've been thinking about through this wrath study, God giving people over to sin sounds like He doesn't love those people and it seems to go against the grace of God. On the contrary, God's grace is realized by understanding the level of depravity that is in all mankind. Without God, when men are given over to sin, we see that they do not make better choices without God. Mankind sinks further into disgusting horrible sin without God. Look at that list. So much filth and evilness is a result of man's desire to do things without God. Our society slips further and further away from God and true righteousness. The battle going here in California over Prop 8 (the right for gays to marry) is just a small example of that. San Francisco tried to pass a bill to legalize prostitution. Marijuana is practically legal these days. Our society is slipping further away from God's demand for righteousness.
Without God's grace we can not avoid sin. We so often think we can do things on our own, but look at what our society is becoming. And this country started with a strong Christian belief. How quickly man's sin has turned this country so horribly wrong. We Christians need to be working so much harder in our lives to stand out as lights in this dark world. All to often we blend right in. Do your co-workers know you are saved? Do they want the joy you have that only God's grace provides? Can they see you are complete because you are living your life to glorify the true and living God? I'm afraid it's a big NO for me. We must make that our life's goal. We are the method God uses to spread the gospel. Only God can save, but we are His messengers of hope.
Praise God for He is Holy, Righteous, Perfect, Grace.
Praise God for the Perfect Hope we have in Him.