Romans 1:24-25 – “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!”
I don’t think there is a more terrifying phrase found in Scripture than the first 5 words in Romans 1:24. “Therefore God gave them up…” The truth about God is clear to all humanity as Paul says in Romans 1:19. God has shown us the truth that he is God. But all humanity has rejected the truth that has been imprinted on our hearts and in the skies and all over creation. We have all worshipped the creature rather than the Creator. Therefore, because of this truth, God gave them up.
As we consider the first three chapters in Romans, we hear that there is no one righteous. No one seeks God. All have fallen short of the glory of God. All are living freely as they want, gratifying their sinful flesh. But God chose to reveal himself and his righteousness to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. But even still, the majority rejects Jesus Christ, and God continues to give them over to the lusts of their flesh.
Many people believe that we as humans are entirely free creatures. Many believe that we have the ability at any point to choose God or reject God. They might say that the power of contrary choice reigns supreme over all, including the sovereignty of God. Others will go to the opposite end of the spectrum and say that we have no freedom at all. These determinists would say that God is sovereign over all things to the point that all things are pre-determined. The Bible teaches both God’s sovereignty over all, and human responsibility. Human volition and divine sovereignty must be compatible. I believe Scripture teaches that we are free to do that which we most want to do. As Bruce Ware puts it, “We are free to choose and act and behave in accordance with our strongest desires, since those desires are the expressions of our hearts and character.” Jonathan Edwards called this “the freedom of inclination.” Unless God steps in and regenerates our hearts, our desires will never be to honor and glorify God. God must be sovereign over our salvation.
When God gives humanity over to the lusts of their flesh, he is giving humanity, in their freedom of inclination, exactly what they want! We see this happening in our nation today with the Supreme Court ruling and in the undercover videos of leadership in Planned Parenthood. The majority in this nation have been given over. They have been abandoned to their own sin. What a horrible reality for us, living in this nation, in this day. God help us.
Continue to gratify the sinful flesh, and God will give you over to the sinful flesh. Live in habitual sin, and God will give you over to habitual sin. Continue to suppress the truth that you know in your mind, and God will give you over. He will abandon you to your own sin. This is not God taking your salvation. This is not God cursing you after God at one point saved you. This is God giving you over to who you really are after never surrendering your life to Christ in the first place. Continue in your sinful lifestyle and you will continue to live exactly where you want to be: outside the camp.