“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 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.” —Romans 1:24, 25
As sinful, wicked, unbelieving men deserted God, God deserted them. God “gave them up” is a term used here, in Romans 1:26 and in Romans 1:28. Romans 1:24-25 first expresses the abandon of sinful men to their impure and unclean depravity. In Romans 1:26-27, the apostle makes the depravity even clearer. In Romans 1:28-32, the apostle provides even further details concerning the sinful condition of fallen man.
Our passage says that God gave them up to uncleanness. The lusts of their own flesh caused them to commit adultery; that is, to turn from God to various kinds of wickedness. And the uncleanness specifically mentioned here is a dishonoring of their bodies through the lusts of their own hearts. As idolatry in the ancient Grecian and Roman empires were closely associated with temple worship that included a great deal of sexual immorality and perversions, this uncleanness moved right into their lives apart from temple worship.
When the apostle Paul says that sinful men “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator,” in essence is saying the same thing he said in Romans 1:23, but in a slightly different manner,
“And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”
“They exchanged the true God (as in the true and living God) for a lie (idols).” They made idols of themselves, idols of their accomplishments, idols of their thoughts and idea, idols of other humans, idols of pleasure gained from other humans.
Men who stand behind the pulpit are as guilty of this kind of idolatry all the time; it nearly makes me physically ill to hear someone say, “O, when I get to heaven, I can’t wait to meet Paul… or David… or Moses… or Abraham… or Aunt Mary… or…” fill in the blank. To utter something like that from the pulpit is so very wrong that there are not enough words to describe just how sinful it is. The only thing that makes heaven heaven is Jesus Christ the Creator of heaven. Although I’m grateful that God used sinners like Paul, Peter, David, Moses, &etc., it is not my desire to see them. I long to see Christ, my Savior, who is blessed forever! Amen!
LISTEN TO THE SERMON preached on this text on August 2, 2009 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.
You can read the previous article from Romans 1:22-23, “They Corrupted God’s Glory”, by clicking here.