(24) “WHEREFORE GOD ALSO GAVE THEM UP TO UNCLEANNESS THROUGH THE LUSTS OF THEIR OWN HEARTS, TO DISHONOR THEIR OWN BODIES BETWEEN THEMSELVES:”
The phrase, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts,” presents mankind not merely drifting toward depravity, but actually in a sense being shoved by God in that direction.
Since men chose to give up God and worship the creature, God could do nothing but give men into the control of the sinful things they preferred. In other words, God would not violate man’s will and force him to do something he did not want to do. When men persisted in following their totally depraved natures, God allowed them free reign. The natural result was immorality of the vilest kind (Wuest).
Alford says of God’s act of delivering mankind over into the control of utter human depravity, “Not merely permissive, but judicially, God delivered them over. As sin begets sin, and darkness of mind, deeper darkness, Grace gives place to judgment, and the Divine Wrath hardens men, and hurries them on to more fearful degrees of depravity.” God delivered man to uncleanness.
The word “lusts” is “epithumia” in the Greek Text, and means, “a passionate craving, longing, desire,” and in this sense, an inordinately sinful one.
Alford again says, “Not by or through the lusts; the lusts of their heart were the field of action, the department of their being in which the dishonor took place.” In other words, this was what their hearts wanted.
The phrase, “To dishonour their own bodies between themselves,” carries with it more than the mere profligacy in the satisfaction of natural lust, but rather bestiality, which refers to impurity in the physical, and not only in the social and religious sense. In other words, man is grossly immoral.
It speaks of adultery, fornication, pedophilia (sex with children), bestiality (sex with animals), lesbianism and homosexuality.
(25) “WHO CHANGED THE TRUTH OF GOD INTO A LIE, AND WORSHIPPED AND SERVED THE CREATURE MORE THAN THE CREATOR, WHO IS BLESSED FOR EVER. AMEN.”
The phrase, “Who changed the Truth of God into a lie,” refers back to verse 23, which speaks of spiritual and sexual uncleanness.
In the realm of idolatry, this refers to anything that is placed before Christ.
Most people presently are not inclined to make idols out of pieces of wood as they did many centuries ago; however, if we allow anything to come between Christ and us, whether we realize it or not, such becomes an idol. That’s why John the Beloved said, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (I Jn. 5:21).
However, this condition of men’s hearts in purposely refusing the Truth of God, led to the Lord using no restraining force over man whatsoever, allowing him without restraint to push headlong into this lie of darkness, which in effect is the same as God giving man a push. Considering man’s already depraved condition, the slide even further downward was terrible, to say the least!
As we see here, the words, “God also gave them up,” as given in verse 24, is a restraining force exercised by God even on unregenerate mankind, unless refused, which it was and continues to be.
However, this restraining force even on Believers can be removed as well through disobedience and rebellion.
The phrase, “And worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator,” presents that of which Paul spoke in his Message to the Athenians (Acts 17:29–30).
For man to worship and serve the creature, means that he is doing such to something he has made with his hands, and is, therefore, less than him.
Regarding the “creature,” even if man worships himself or other men and women, which most of the world does, still, what good does such do him?
The phrase, “Who is blessed for ever,” should have been translated, “bless-ed,” because it refers to God.
The word “blessed” refers to one receiving a Blessing, in which as should be obvious, God needs nothing.
The word “bless-ed,” in effect, two syllables, refers to the One doing the Blessing, in this case, the Lord.
The idea is, all True Blessings come exclusively from the Lord, with idols or anything else for that matter, able to produce none at all.
The word “Amen” means that this is anchored in the Word of God, and as such, will not change.
(28) “AND EVEN AS THEY DID NOT LIKE TO RETAIN GOD IN THEIR KNOWLEDGE, GOD GAVE THEM OVER TO A REPROBATE MIND, TO DO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT CONVENIENT;”
The phrase, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,” carries the idea of the human race putting God to the test for the purpose of approving or disapproving Him.
They wanted a God to their liking, and finding that He did not meet those specifications, the world refused to approve Him as the God to be worshiped, or have Him in its knowledge.
The “knowledge” spoken here, in the Greek is “epignosis,” and means “full and precise knowledge.” In other words, their knowledge of God, due to their rebellion against Him and, therefore, going into deep sin, was only a dim memory, and that perverted!
If one wants to know what is wrong with the modern School System in America, despite the fact of hundreds of billions of dollars being thrown at this ever-worsening situation, it is because Educators “did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” So, and speaking of the Public School System, we have Godless schools, which means that the schools are filled with Satan. We have Godless education, which means that what knowledge the students do have is largely warped and twisted, ill preparing them for life. We have Godless direction, consequently we have erroneous ways.
The phrase, “God gave them over to a reprobate mind,” presents the third time such a statement is used (vss. 24, 26). Once again, humanity wanted that which was licentious and evil and the Lord took away the restraining forces, allowing them to have what they desired.
The words “Reprobate mind” in the Greek Text is “adokimon noun.” It carries the idea of the human race putting God on trial, and because it rejected Him after trial, God gives it a “trialess” mind, in other words, one incapable of discharging the functions of a mind with respect to the things of Salvation (Wuest).
As they did not think it fit to keep God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a mind which has no way to comprehend God. In other words, Light rejected is Light withdrawn. The one thing answers to the other.
Virtually, they pronounced the True God disapproved, and would have none of Him, and He in turn gave them up to a disapproved mind, a mind which is no mind and cannot discharge the functions of one, a mind in which the Divine distinctions of right and wrong are confused and lost, so that God’s condemnation cannot but fall on it at last.
This speaks of people who are completely perverted, and as the Canaanites of old, who did their abominations unto their gods, then the last deep of evil has been reached.
The phrase, “To do those things which are not convenient,” concerns wrong direction which will affect the person in every capacity, and in a very negative way.
The Greek word for “convenient” is “katheko,” and means “It is becoming, it is fitting.” So, the human race does things which are not fitting.
It is like an old abandoned building, the home of bats, spiders and snakes, not a very pleasant place to be (Robertson).
~J. Swaggart Ministries