In the last message we discussed the first consequences of atheism (a claim that God does not exist) and we saw that it leads to worthless thinking, immorality, foolishness and idolatry. Remember that atheism is a sin of suppressing the truth about God in unrighteousness. We will now look at the second consequence of atheism, which follows from the first one. As I indicated in the last message, it is a slippery slope.
Consequence of Atheism
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 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.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 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. (ESV Strong’s)
We saw the progression of how one moves from suppressing the truth about God in unrighteousness, that is, convincing themselves that God does not exist so that they can continue to live unrighteous and ungodly lives, how one moves from this, to one’s thinking becoming worthless and how one’s heart becomes darkened, that is, becomes immoral. We saw how that leads to foolishness and idolatry.
As the sin gets worse, so does the consequence. Once a person who suppresses the truth about God begin to worship idols or false gods, then God judges them. In verse 24, Paul indicates to us that God gives up those who continue to suppress the truth about God and fail to honor Him as God and fail to give thanks to Him. God gives them up! According to the Complete Word Study Bible Dictionary (CWSB), to be “given up” means to be delivered over to do or to suffer something. According to the Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament (G-ELexNT), it means to turn over, hand over. It is more like being handed over to the police to be under their control. Therefore this term to be “given up”, means to be handed over to be under the control of something and includes to even suffer under the control of something.
In verse 24, Paul says that God gives them up over to the lust of their hearts to impurity, that is to a state of moral corruption (G-ELexNT). This means that God hands them over to be under the control of the desires of their hearts which, leads them to a state of moral corruption. Not only that, God handing them over to be under the control of the desires of their hearts, also leads them to dishonor their bodies among themselves. This means that they use their bodies for immoral purposes, which degrades or abuses them, and they do this among themselves. This means therefore that God hands them over to be fully controlled by the desires of their hearts, which leads them to immorality which involves degrading and abusing their bodies among themselves. As verse 25 indicates, God hands them over to be controlled by the desires of their hearts because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped creation rather the creator. They supress the truth about God, refuse to honor Him as God and give thanks to Him and then worship creation rather the creator, and then God gives them up.
An important point to note here is that, before God handed them over to be fully controlled by the desires of their hearts, it was God who was restricting and protecting them from being controlled by these desires. Once God handed them over, they simply could no longer resist their desires and they simply fell under their control. You and I can only thank and praise God for still giving us the strength to control our desires and not to be controlled by them. In verse 26(b), Paul describes these desires that are now in full control of those that God has handed over as dishonorable or shameful desires.
Then in verse 26(b) – 27, Paul shows us one of the things that people who have been handed over by God to be fully controlled by their desires do. He shows what being fully controlled by your desires have led people to do. I don’t think that Paul intended to limit the consequence of being controlled by shameful desires to only this sin but, this is one sin that God has called an abomination in Lev. 18:22, 20:13. Paul says in verses 26(b) – 27, that being under the full control of shameful desires leads to sexual immorality, and under sexual immorality, Paul mentions among others, homosexuality which God has called an abomination.
You see now how one moves from suppressing the truth about God in unrighteousness, to refusing to honor God and give thanks to Him, to worshipping false gods, to being given over by God to be fully controlled by the desires of their hearts and to sexual immorality, one of which is homosexuality. Once you suppress the truth about God, it is a slippery slope into hell and eventually the lake of fire. We will discuss homosexuality in more detail in the next message.
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