“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;” —Romans 1:28
The New American Standard Bible translates the verse in this way: “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.” Fallen, sinful, unsaved, and unrepentant men did not care anything about God to even acknowledge Him. Interestingly, this is worse than someone who claims to be an atheist, being a person who vehemently opposes the existence of God. The atheist, at the very least through his denials and opposition, acknowledge that others believe in God; which in itself is some acknowledgement of God. The people spoken of in this passage are far worse than that because they don’t even acknowledge God and care nothing for Him or about Him.
So the mind was reprobate and depraved. The fall of man, through Adam’s disobedience in original sin, corrupted every area of the human condition. Man did not become as bad as he could possibly be; however, man’s depravity was so complete that sin touched and tainted every area of fallen man’s being. The theologians call this doctrine “Total Depravity.” In the instance that Paul sites here, that which allowed man to act out his sinfulness was his depraved mind. The Greek word, translated “mind” here, is also translated “understanding” and refers to the seat of the will and the home of one’s intellect.
When a man’s mind goes, then his will corresponds wherever his mind dwells; and if God has given a sinner over to his reprobate mind, he will act upon his depravity and carry out the desires of his sinful nature. This is why the reading, preaching, hearing, studying and meditating upon the Word of God is so very, very important; for it is by the Word of God that the Lord cleanses and sanctifies His church (Ephesians 5:26; John 17:17).
The apostle then presents a list of things “which are not convenient,” or “those things which are not proper” (NASB),in the verses that follow in this chapter.
LISTEN TO THE SERMON preached on this text on August 9, 2009 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.
CLICK HERE to read the previous article in this series, “Vile Affections” (Romans 1:26-27).