Is there ever a time when God looks down on the human race and gives up?
We would think not. God is a God of love. Mercy. Grace. Patience. Longsuffering and Forbearance. Surely, hope springs eternal in the heart of God. He can’t give up! Or can He?
Last night in our devotion period after Bible classes one of our Deacons, Jon Lewis, gave a powerful talk from Romans one. His lesson shed some serious light on this question.
After declaring that the Gospel is God’s power to save the human race from sin, the apostle Paul wrote, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom 1:18)
God loves the sinner but hates sin. Unrighteousness incurs His Divine wrath. The Bible says so.
The text describes a situation in the Gentile world when people possessed knowledge of God and had witnessed His Divine power. But they rejected it. They moved from spiritual intelligence to a willful ignorance. They isolated themselves from God. And became ungrateful.
As a result of their abandonment of God their thoughts became foolish, their hearts darkened and their lives futile. Not surprisingly they turned to idolatry. And they recreated God in their own image! (1:19-23).
Look, at what the Bible says God did!
“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 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. (1:24-25).
When people refuse God, they turn to their own lusts, impurity, and dishonor. And what did God do? He “gave them up”!
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 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.”
What people called an honorable lifestyle, God deemed “dishonorable.” When men and women succumbed to their baser instincts God said it was “against nature.” When people reveled in their passions, God said it was “shameless.”
And what did God do? He “gave them up”!
Paul then further described their descent deeper into debauchery.
“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. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness.” (1:28-29)
And what did God do? For the third time in this text, Paul said “God gave them up”!
Jon Lewis opined that man may reach such a wretched state of immorality that God says, “I’m just going to let you wallow in that mess!” He then suggested that our society is moving in the same direction. Only a casual glance at the news and the current issues confronting our culture shows that this is so.
God created humankind with free will. We have the power to choose right or wrong. Good or evil. God or the devil. When we constantly, willfully, and arrogantly reject God, rail against the Word of God, and refuse to repent, there is nothing God can do!
History records the tragic results when people spurn spiritual instruction. The flood. The fall of nations. And finally the captivity of Israel. These all point to a time when God says, “I’ve had enough! You’re finished!”
The chapter ends with this stern warning, “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. (1:32).
Those who engage in ungodly acts are condemned. But people who sanction sinful behavior will also be judged.
It’s time, no past time, for the silent Saints of God to speak up against sin. To stand up for Truth. And to walk in the way of the righteousness!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman