When man rejects God’s revelation, whatever the form of that revelation might be, he regresses through rationalization and false religion ultimately to reprobation, which, in Romans 1:24-32, Paul proceeds to relate (John MacArthur).
The Supreme Court of the United States of America delivered their decision today. They have effectively made homosexual marriage the law of the land. For some it is a surprising decision. But for those who believe the Bible, it is the expected result. This decision is not the result of a homosexual agenda, it is not the result of propaganda, proponents, policy, or protests. This decision, though being verbalized by SCOTUS, celebrated by advocacy groups, and applauded by the President of the United States of America, is simply part and parcel of a firm and settled decision of Almighty God Himself. Now, I don’t mean that God is the One who is the immediate cause. But the Scripture says that these kinds of actions and this kind of ideology is the result of man who (1) knows that God exists but denies Him; and (2) worships creation instead of the Creator. When man denies the existence of God and worships creation instead of the Creator, God “gives them up in the lust of their hearts to impurity” (cf. Romans 1:24). In other words, the decision of SCOTUS and the moral trajectory of our nation is a result of a decision to deny God and worship creation instead of the Creator.
God says that these kinds of things that we are experiencing now in America are the expressions of His wrath. These kinds of things are evidences of the wrath of God’s abandonment. God has given man over in the sense that He has withdrawn His hand of protection and in the sense that He is giving them up to experiencing further (and even future) wrath. We ought not take today to celebrate a supposedly new-found freedom but rather to mourn the current and forth-coming indignation of God.
According to Romans 1:24-32, God’s wrath is presently experienced in three ways:
“to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves” (Rom. 1:24, ESV).
The word for “dishonor” here is used in Luke 20:11 where it is translated “treated shamefully”. It is a word that speaks of being treated with indignity and abused. The actions of mankind today result from being abandoned by God. God has given them over to doing things with their bodies that are shameful and abusive. This doesn’t make God responsible for their actions, they are reaping the harvest of their actions.
“receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Rom. 1:27, ESV).
The word translated “due penalty” here is the word that means “reward” or “recompense”. Homosexual behavior, as indicated by verse 27, is so deplorable that it is said to be the actual vessel of God’s wrath itself. In other words, the action has, in itself, the penalty (much like a broken back is the recompense for denying the law of gravity and jumping off of a tall building) and the action reaps the penalty. But the act is part of the degradation that comes from denying that God exists and worshipping the creature instead of the Creator.
“God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not be done” (Rom. 1:28, ESV).
The final experience of God’s wrath is perhaps most horrible. It is described in Romans 1:28-32. This means that there are further expressions of wickedness and depravity to come. We can expect America to be “filled with all manner of unrighteousness…”. So, when we see an accelerated and furious decline into further evils such as “envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness…” (Rom. 1:29, ff.), we now understand that these things are the present experience of the wrath of God.
The Good News
Ah, but let’s not end there. Let’s draw this to a close with our mind and heart on the Good News. The Apostle Paul, before launching this expose on God’s wrath, declares,
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes… (Rom. 1:16).
Why do we need the power of God for salvation/deliverance? Because we are all facing the judgment of God’s revealed wrath against ALL ungodliness of ALL men. You can be delivered from the wrath of God that is yet to come (and even from the present and personal experience of His wrath) through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You must believe and you will be saved.