For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
The consequences of rejecting the righteous God are listed. These are not the death penalty; but they bring the death penalty. When we remove the existence of God from our time and space we open up the door to a plethora of evil practices and inventions. Looking at the actions listed by Paul we see a progression from gossip to murder, both of which accomplish the same;death. Specifically, the death of physical life and the death of another’s reputation in society which are evidence of the harm brought to others rather than good. We are presented with a clearly defined picture of our own day and time. There is plenty of evidence even within our personal lives to validate the existence of this evil.
Evil is the counterfeit of the real. At first glance it doesn’t seem harmful, but it grows until it is bringing harm not only to the victims but also to the perpetrators. Removing God from our world leaves us bankrupt of joy and peace. God is still there with or without our acknowledgment. So what is our take away from what appears to be a very depressing passage? Is it to determine to avoid contamination? God cannot look on sin; should we? How do we protect our young and encourage righteous living? At what point will we be required to leave as Lot was commanded, and where will we go to? Faith in God is trust in Him. This passage provides us with knowledge but not fear. There is a shelter and fortress in our God. We are promised his protection. We can provide the young with a firm knowledge of His existence and protection.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.” – Psalm 91
And find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom;From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;He guards the paths of justice,And preserves the way of His saints.Then you will understand righteousness and justice,Equity and every good path.Discretion will preserve you;Understanding will keep you,To deliver you from the way of evil,From the man who speaks perverse things,From those who leave the paths of uprightnessTo walk in the ways of darkness;Who rejoice in doing evil,And delight in the perversity of the wicked;(…)keep to the paths of righteousness.For the upright will dwell in the land,And the blameless will remain in it;But the wicked will be cut off from the earth,And the unfaithful will be uprooted from it. – Proverbs 2