Does the Bible Really Say That…? (Marriage, Hell, & Homosexuality)

Anyone who has read Scripture knows there are several laws that exist within Christianity. In fact, there are over 600 commandments that are given throughout the entirety of Scripture. Whereas not all of these apply to Christians, who are under the new covenant law, there still remains plenty of laws we are to follow. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind (Mt. 22:37) We are not to commit murder, theft, idolatry, or bear false witness (Mk. 10:19). And we are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mt. 22:38). These are laws that we’re all generally aware of, and are rather easy to assent to. However, there are a variety of hard pills to swallow that Christianity also prescribes.

There can be moments when we read Scripture and are challenged with one of God’s mandates, and we find ourselves asking “Does the Bible really say that?”

This questioning is often the result of a cultural “truth” being confronted with one of God’s truths.

There are many things that our culture claims to be acceptable or normal, and there are many things that God has declared to be unacceptable and immoral. It’s no wonder we have so many questions about the Bible…

Therefore, I am going to address a few questions that I think are commonly questioned by individuals within the American culture. I will address the following:

  1. Does the Bible really say you can’t have sex before marriage?
  2. Does the Bible really say that homosexuality is a sin?
  3. Does the Bible really say that non-Christians go to hell?

Does the Bible really say you can’t have sex before marriage?

This question is a common one because it is the perfect example of a cultural “truth” coming face-to-face with God’s truth. I believe people often raise this question, not due to confusion, but because they don’t want it to be true. Nevertheless, it is an important topic that needs to be addressed.

To be straight forward, you will not find a “Hebrew or Greek word used in the Bible that precisely refers to sex before marriage.”[1] However, in 1 Corinthians 7:2 were alluded to the condemnation of sex before marriage: “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.”

In this passage, Paul is prescribing marriage to be the solution to sexual immorality, and he is equating sexual immorality to ‘sex before marriage.’ Additionally, the evident “each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband,” is also stated. 

Aside from this passage, the meaning and purpose of marriage can be found at the beginning of Scripture; the beginning of creation.

Genesis 2:24 says “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Again, Mark 10:8 says, “‘and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.”

It is of more than passing significance that God declares the unison of marriage to be the bonding of two people into “one flesh.”

God created sex to be experienced, exclusively, within the covenant of marriage.

This is a hard pill to swallow because our culture incessantly promotes promiscuity.

Hollywood Romcoms, the music industry, and reality television are all espousing sex to be a casual encounter that should be enjoyed by all. However, it has to be understood that our culture has moved from being a once Christian nation to a post-Christian nation.

Therefore, nothing that our culture proposes to be normal should ever be taken at face value. The things that our culture advocates should always be compared to God’s Word.

God has spoken richly on this topic and has deemed pre-marital sex to be sinful. In Hebrews 13:4, marriage is held to a high standard and is not to be defiled by casual encounters: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” God has declared judgment on pre-marital sex.

His judgment is not only received in the life after this, it is received during this life as well. It’s not curious that casual sex is evidently detrimental to the health of the human body. Chlamydia, herpes, syphilis, and HIV (the list goes on) are the result of the normalization of casual sex. Not to mention the contemporary issues of divorce and the egregious reality of abortion, that are almost always associated with premarital sex. Despite your beliefs, even “Mother Nature” is telling us that premarital sex is unnatural.


Does the Bible really say that homosexuality is a sin?

Many people are apprehensive to accept the condemnation of homosexuality because as the common argument goes: “How can homosexuality be a sin if it is rooted in love?”

This is a tough question to answer for that reason exactly. It’s a tough question because it stirs up doubt about the reality of God’s love. We say things like: “If God is so loving, then why would he condemn a relationship between two individuals who love each other?” or “Why would God disapprove of homosexuality if people are born gay?”

This topic is a controversial one indeed. I will do my best to answer it biblically. So, let’s go to Scripture.

To be upfront, God’s word has spoken about homosexuality on more than a few occasions, and always speaks towards homosexual behavior as being sinful. (Lev. 18:22; 20:13, Rom. 1:26-27, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 1 Tim. 1:8-10)

I realize that I’ve mentioned laws from the Old Testament that regard homosexuality to be sin, and that not all Old Testament laws are still applicable. Therefore, we can cast these aside for the sake of argument.

However, in regard to the other three times that Scripture mentions homosexuality in the New Testament, the context is never positive and regards homosexuality to be sinful.

Romans 1:26-27

A read through this passage will tell you that God has explicitly stated that homosexuality is “unnatural,” “shameful,” and deserving of “due penalty.” This passage in Scripture also reveals that the causation behind homosexual behavior is the result of people denying God’s existence. To deny God is to deny his precepts, his truth, and his very nature. And when people continue in their sin and disbelief, God “gives them over” to their desires. Click here to read more on this commentary.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

It is worth noting that this passage lists sexual immorality and homosexuality as being sinful. The distinction between the two is used in order to create clarity. Homosexuality is listed in this passage as being sinful, and that those who practice homosexuality “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

1 Timothy 1:8-10

This passage also differentiates between sexual immorality and homosexuality (this distinction should be noted due the possible argument that would propose homosexuality to not be regarded as sexually immoral). The context of this passage is making an argument for the purpose of the law. It’s stated that the law is made for the lawbreakers, so that they may know the laws in which they are breaking. This passage declares a list of different crimes, to include murder, lying, and homosexuality. Homosexuality is listed among the long list of crimes that are committed by “lawbreakers.” And to break a law of God’s is to commit sin.

This is a hard pill to swallow because our culture incessantly promotes sexual fluidity.

God has deemed from the beginning of creation that man and woman were made, exclusively, for each other.  The Bible says, “at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife (Mk. 10:6-7).”

God has left us with no room for confusion on the topic of homosexuality.


Does the Bible really say that non-Christians go to hell?

Yes.

Jesus says in John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

This is one of the keystone verses in the Bible. It is by these words that the entirety of Scripture is held together in cohesion and purpose.

By definition, a Christian is a follower of Christ. A Christian is one who understands that it is never by their own merit or achievement that they will enter through the gates of heaven, thus they have chosen to believe in, trust, and follow Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the light.

Scripture tells us in Isaiah 64:6 that “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” It is not by anything that we can accomplish that we will pass through the gates of heaven. We have all “sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

We have all sinned and are unworthy of inheriting the Kingdom of God. However, it is by God’s love for us that he has changed our destiny.

God does not focus his attention on condemnation, he focuses it on forgiveness. John 3:16-17 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

God is not a tyrant who sits in heaven and rejoices over the damnation of his lost children. He mourns over them. God went so far as to take upon the flesh and suffer the punishment of the cross just so that he could be with us. 1 Timothy 2:4 says that God “desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Jesus desires for all of us to be saved. Thus, he has paved the way to an eternity with him. By his own blood he has secured our salvation.

He is “the way.” He is not just a way. He is the only way. Therefore, to deny Christ is to deny heaven. A non-Christian cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.

This is a hard pill to swallow because our culture incessantly promotes absolute tolerance and cultural inclusivity.

This is not a xenophobic statement.

The truth is, there can be only one truth. To miss the truth is to be deceived, and to be deceived in this life is to spend the next life in hell. There can only be one religion that is true, and it’s Christianity.

A Christian should never condemn someone for believing in a religion other than Christianity, but that person will be mourned for if they die believing in anyone other than Christ Jesus.

We are all equal in one regard: we have all sinned, and we are all worthy of hell. It is by Christ and Christ alone that we will spend eternity in heaven. He is the only way, and the only truth, and the only light.


[1] https://www.gotquestions.org/sex-before-marriage.html

Satisfaction Without Sin

If there is one evident truth about the nature of humanity it is that we are all in search of something. As if the entirety of mankind is in search of something else or something more – something to make us feel like more.

The reality of this observation reveals to us that although we are all individuals, we are not quite independent. We prove to ourselves far too often that we are very much dependent upon something. We’re dependent because the very nature of our essence is incomplete, for there exists an almost insatiable void within every one of us. This truth is displayed in the lives of both skeptics and believers. Skeptics (that is, individuals who are skeptical of Christianity) may seek to find that “something more” in the pleasures of this world, or they may attempt to find it in the metaphysical: in an ideology or philosophy or some type of new age spirituality. Whereas we believers not only seek it, but we find it. We find it in Christ and in Christ alone.

However, it’s not really that simple to describe a Christian in such a way, for we all struggle with where we devote our attention. We Christians are still very much a part of this world, and we often fall short of the standard that God has called us to live by. What can I say? we are sinners! We prove this to ourselves time and time again, and that is why we need Christ. He is the only one who is capable of covering our multitude of sins. But despite us knowing this truth, we Christians are still inclined to sin against God. Why is this so?


We are all in constant need of satisfaction. The problem is that we don’t always go to the right source.

Satisfaction without Sin. You might be wondering what I mean by that. What I mean to say is that there exists a life that is abundantly full of satisfaction and everlasting fulfilment, and it is also void of sin. This is the life that Christ offers us. However, there also exists a life that is full of sin and the pursuit of chasing after the world, yet it is also void of genuine satisfaction – it only offers temporary happiness. This kind of life could be referred to as sin without satisfaction. This is the life that we offer ourselves.

As I’ve said, “there exists an almost insatiable void within every one of us.” I say this because well, I think that it is evidently true. We’re not like other animals. We cannot find true fulfillment by simply eating, sleeping, and mating. Well, maybe some can . . . but I highly doubt it.

As for the rest of us, we know that we’re uniquely different from any other animal in a thousand different ways. To mention a short list of unique traits that humans have: Intellect and conceptual thought, free will, ethical responsibility, moral accountability, and inalienable rights of personhood (and if one were to attempt to disagree with this standard of humanity’s unique state of being, they would in fact be engaging in “conceptual thought, exercising their free will, believing that there is an ethical responsibility to teach what is right/true, seeking to hold me morally accountable to teach the truth,” and demonstrating that they have the “right to disagree with my position”).[1] Truly, we are not animals with mere instincts. We are unique. Scripture refers to this unique quality as being ‘made in the image of God’ (Gen. 1:26).

So, we cannot simply find lasting fulfillment from quenching our body’s basic needs because there exists a “higher calling” within every one of us. If we know a “higher calling” exists, then why should be ever expect to satisfy that calling/desire with the things of this world? Our desire for satisfaction and fulfilment is not of this world! It is an immaterial and unworldly desire. It is the innate desire to be elevated.

Unfortunately, humanity too often attempts to obtain this elevation through their own authority, as if we’re all attempting to become the saviors of our own life. This is where we miss the mark. This is where we fall into sin (hamartia is the Greek word for sin, meaning ‘to miss the mark’). We fall into sin every time that we seek something other than God to satisfy our unsated state of being. We’re all guilty of this mistake and it’s because “this is simply the nature of being a creature rather than the Creator, who alone is whole and complete and lacking in nothing.” [2] Therefore, we who are incomplete, must seek He who is complete.


Do not love the world.

Scripture tells us that we must “not love the world or the things in the world . . . For all that is in the world – the desire of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 Jn. 2:15-17).

Because the world is temporary, all that it can offer must also be temporary. We mustn’t put our trust in the things of this world. For all that is of this world must remain with the world. Your house, your car, your job, your bank account, your social media accounts, your sex life – all that you have acquired on earth will abandon you in the end. It will remain on earth to be eaten by rust and rot. Even our body is destined to turn to dust. All that we can take with us when we go is ourselves – our soul.

We are not bodies with a soul, but instead a soul with a body. All that we are worth, all that we truly are, is that which distinguishes our soul. And without Christ, our soul is distinguished as sinful and unholy. Our fallen condition has rendered us helpless in reversing this reality by our own work. It is only through the work of Christ that we can hope for our sinful condition to find restoration. It is only by the blood of Christ that our soul can be distinguished as worthy and holy before God.

It is only God the everlasting, the all-loving, the all-knowing, and the all-forgiving who can grant us exactly what it is that we are looking for. He satisfies our every need and He forgives our every sin. He knew us by name before time began, He hand-crafted us in our mother’s womb, He knows our every desire and shortcoming, and it is only by Him and through Him that we will find rest from our long, exhausting quest for meaning and fulfillment.

He loved us long before we knew Him, which is why He has sent His only begotten son into the world to save us from ourselves and to forgive us of our sins. Our only response to this kind of grace and mercy is to trust in the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, confess with our mouths that He is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9). We must allow Him to be the King of our lives, and follow Him. For He is the only one who can offer us a life of satisfaction without sin.


[1] Geisler, Norman and Frank Turek. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2004), 131-132.

[2] Barnes, M. Craig. Body & Soul: Reclaiming the Heidelberg Catechism. (Grand Rapids, MI.: Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2011), 50.

Why Does God Allow Evil?

When I look at the world around me, I find that I don’t have to look very far to see all sorts of evil and unnecessary suffering, and often it has driven me to ask “Why would God allow any of this?

The first thing that needs to be addressed when we attempt to answer a painful question like this is the assumption that is driving the question. When we see evil, are we wondering whether God created it, whether He allows it, or whether He even has the power to stop it? So, in order to answer this question accurately we must first ask ourselves what it is that we are assuming about the reality of evil and how it relates to God’s sovereignty.

Often the inquiry about the existence of evil is this: If God is so good and sovereign, then why is it that He would allow so much evil to exist in the first place?

This inquiry is often motivated by a familiar assumption, one that even St. Augustine was puzzled by. It goes something like this:

“God created all things.

Evil is a thing.

Therefore, God created evil.”[1]

The logic of this thought sequence makes perfect sense, however the assumption itself is false. It’s false because it posits that ‘evil is something.’ I would argue that evil cannot be something, because it’s too preoccupied with being nothing at all. You see, evil is not something that was created, but instead it is the deprivation of something else: good. I’m not denying that evil exists, I am claiming that evil cannot exist by itself. Good exists, and it is from God. Evil exists, and it is the lack of good.


The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil

To explain why it is that evil exists, it is necessary to go back to the beginning of creation, in the first chapters of Genesis. In Genesis 2 we are given a more in depth view of the sixth day of creation – the day God created mankind. On the day God created mankind He also gave the first commandment in Scripture: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die (Gen. 2:16-17).”

I know what you’re thinking: “Why would God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden if eating from it would result in death?” However, if we’re going to ask this question then it is equally fair to propose another question: “What would have happened if God had not created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?” I’ll first answer the latter.

If God would not have created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then He would not have been able to create mankind with the nature to have free will. Had God created the garden of Eden exactly as it was, without the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then Adam and Eve would have had no other option than to strictly obey all that God would ask of them – they would have been slaves. Where is the love in that?

To love someone is to give them free will. God could not force Adam and Eve to love Him in the same way that we cannot force anyone to love us, or that anyone can force us to love them. It has to be a choice – it has to come from free will. This is what the tree symbolizes, and this is why God put it in the garden. He wanted them to have free will and to be able to willingly choose rather to love and obey Him or to turn and disobey. He did it out of love.

So, to answer the former question, God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden because He had to give mankind free will. Without free will God would have made Himself a tyrant, but God is not a tyrant. God loves us and He desires for us to love Him back, thus He has given us free will.


The Fall

When God granted Adam and Eve free will He also gave them the ability of contrary choice, that is, the ability to choose what is contrary to God’s will. His will was for them to obey, however Adam and Eve were free to disobey.

In Genesis 3 we are introduced to what is commonly referred to as “The Fall.” The Fall is the point in time in which evil entered into the world.

Before this point in time, the Garden of Eden was pure paradise. For when God was finished with creation He said that “it was very good (Gen 1:31).” The Garden of Eden didn’t have any harmful plants; there were no “thorns or thistles,” there were no natural disasters, there were no predatory animals, for they all lived in harmony with Adam and Eve. There was no evil to be found. Adam and Eve were so innocent and void of corruption that they could not even perceive their own nakedness.

However, at the moment that Adam and Eve chose what was contrary to God’s will, and eat from the one tree that He had commanded them not to eat from, sin was made known. Sin was made known and evil entered into the world. The ground became cursed, harmful plants were made manifest, the ability to experience pain was introduced, and now we live in a fallen world where death exists.

As I’ve said earlier, evil was not created, but instead it entered into the world after the completion of creation, due to mankind’s sin.

So, “Why does God allow evil?”

God allows evil because mankind has chose to bring it into this world. The fallen world we know is the result of Adam and Eve’s decision to choose what was contrary to God’s will. God created paradise, whereas mankind summoned chaos.

However, despite our wickedness God has paved the way back to Him. He has sent Christ Jesus into the world to rescue, redeem, and restore what was broken in the fall of Adam and Eve: our relationship with Him. No one is without sin except the perfect Son of God, our Savior Jesus Christ. He has come down from heaven, taken on the flesh, and has sacrificed Himself to atone for our sins. It is only through Him that we can ever expect to find the paradise that we are all in search of. Jesus is “ the way and the truth and the life,” and no one can come to the Father except through Him.


[1]  Geisler, Norman and Frank Turek. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2004), 177.

Commentary | Romans 1:28-32

Romans 1:28-32 (NIV): 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.


Commentary

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind,” – The fallen nature of humanity is depravity. As creatures, we belong to the Creator, and this is best. But for those who discount their Creator and think of Him as unworthy will find themselves depraved; hollow and empty, forever seeking to fill the void within the inner longing of their soul with the things of this world.

so that they do what ought not to be done.” – It is due to their depraved mind that they “do what ought not to be done.” This is the answer to the question that so many skeptics ask: “Why does God have so many rules?” The rules are guidelines (to keep us on the narrow path, Mt. 7:13-14), and the guidelines exist so that our being may remain close to His being, for our sake. When we lack God, we lack purpose and fulfillment, so we seek out the pleasures of the world to fill our void. We “do what ought not to be done,” for we are depraved. If we turn to God and accept Him into our lives then we will know our purpose and find fulfillment in his precepts.

Everyone wants to be more than what they are. To be the popular one, the most affluent, the most intelligent, the best looking, the best dressed, the strongest, the hero in the movie, etc. And to be honest, this is all quite natural: the desire to be more than what we are. We all cling on to this fantasy that if we keep chasing the world, we will catch up to it. That time might just decide to stand still for us. However, the truth is that if we aim for the world, then the world is what we will get. This desire of ours to always be something more is indeed truly innate. But this is not a desire that the world can satisfy. The root of this desire of ours; this instinct, this insatiable thirst, it is the Lord’s calling. It is His calling to us and it says “Come to me, come and see, come and be all that I made you to be.” God has made us to be followers of Him, not followers of this world.

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness…– Due to depravity (of God) mankind seeks to fill their inner void. If the depravity is a depravity of God, then what they are seeking needs to be God. If it isn’t God it can only be “wickedness, evil and greed . . . envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malic.” A godless humanity becomes “gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful.” These are all of the things that mankind becomes once they denounce God and seek fulfillment and purpose by means of the world.

This defines the true meaning of evil: the deprivation of good. You could make a real good moral argument on just the basis of Romans 1:28-32.

The passage says it is they who “invent ways of doing evil.” It isn’t God who invents this evil. No, it is by the fallenness of mankind, the turning away from God. It is original sin that “invents” evil. To see more about this go to Why Does God Allow Evil?

         “They disobey their parents” – It only makes sense that if a person is incapable of obeying an all-loving and all-knowing God of the universe, then they will absolutely be incapable of obeying their parents who are perhaps loving, but not without fault, and only human. For mankind is rebellious, always bound to rebel.

When mankind casts away all understanding and reasonableness, they have no fidelity, which leads to more sin approval of sin corruption steals their love selfishness no mercy.  A slippery slope indeed.

Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” – Mankind knows God but they deny Him on a volitional basis; they choose to not want to know, and live accordingly. People often seek happiness through their own vices, and often choose happiness over the truth. However, true fulfillment can and will only ever be found in our Creator. The creator of all that is good.

         “People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.” – Blaise Pascal


Feel free to use the discussion questions below for a group Bible study and if you would like, the commentary above to help facilitate the discussion.


Discussion Questions

  1. What are some reasons that people think it’s “not worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God?” If God is so good, why reject Him?

  2. What is the meaning of a “depraved mind?”

  3. What is the result of having a “depraved mind?”

  4. Why is “disobey their parents” listed among this long list of abhorrent crimes?

  5. Why is it that Christians are still inclined to sin, despite knowing the penalty for sin?

Commentary | Romans 1:26-27

Romans 1:26-27 (NIV): 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.


Commentary

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.” – The list of mankind’s habitual sin goes on. Whereas lust has already been deemed sinful by Christ (Mt. 5:28), this verse speaks of another lust: lust for the same sex. This passage is explicitly stating that homosexuality is “unnatural,” “shameful,” and deserving of “due penalty.” This is without a doubt a controversial topic within our culture. However, despite what our governing laws may say to rationalize homosexuality, God, the ultimate governor has already spoken.

Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men,” – Whether man or woman, homosexual relations have already been judged by God to be considered unnatural. There are many verses throughout Scripture that speak clearly on this topic: 1 Tim. 1: 8-11, 1 Cor. 6: 9-11, Lev. 20:13; 18:22. Scripture is persistent in mentioning this sin, and often does so by listing it amongst many other sins: murder, theft, lying, covetousness, drunkenness, and idolatry. Regardless of the offense against God, it is sin.

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife (Mk. 10:6-7).” Since the beginning of mankind’s creation, God not only made man and woman, but He then deemed that they were made for each other – for heterosexual relationships.

and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.– What is the due penalty? Whatever it is, it says that they have “received it in themselves.” I believe this is referring once again to the wrath of God, and that it is being revealed by God “giving them over.” That is, their penalty is their slavery to sin (Jn. 8:34), for they “received [it] in themselves.” What God has made to be natural and good has been unnaturally defiled.

This country was founded on Judeo-Christian values, however our culture now seeks to eradicate these values. Let it be known, we are living in a Post-Christian nation. When the U.S Supreme Court legalized gay-marriage in all fifty states on June 26, 2015, it was a direct attack at God’s law. This nation now continues to slowly, but relentlessly attack Christianity.

Persecution in America is commonly perceived to be rather weak, however be warned: Scripture promises that Christians will be persecuted for their faith (2 Tim. 3:12). Our country’s independence may have been founded in the name of our Creator, but that same independence and freedom is being used to elevate the status of humanity and to decrease the authority of God.  

Bernie Sanders, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, made a verbal assault on Christianity just recently. Sanders claimed the Gospel is “indefensible, it is hateful, it is Islamophobic, and it is an insult to over a billion Muslims throughout the world.”[1] Ladies and gentlemen, these are the words of a man who ran for president. This should not be taken lightly. Please pray for our country, for our government officials, and for God to ignite a revival in this country.

Final Word

All sin is detestable in God’s eyes, and regardless of the sin, it is in need of forgiveness. We may not all have committed murder . . . oh wait (Matt. 5:21-22), never-mind. Nonetheless we are all sinners and we need to accept Christ as our Savior, allow Him to come into our lives, and follow Him. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).


Feel free to use the discussion questions below for a group Bible study and if you would like, the commentary above to help facilitate the discussion.


Discussion Questions

  1. What does it mean for God to “give them over”?

  1. What comes to mind when you think about “unnatural sexual relations?” Why is homosexuality considered a sin?

  1. What does the phrase “received in themselves the due penalty for their error” mean?

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/bernie-sanders-chris-van-hollen-russell-vought/529614/

Commentary | Romans 1:24-25

Romans 1:24-25 (NIV): 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.


Commentary

Therefore, God gave them over” – here we begin to see “the wrath of God” that “is being revealed” from verse 18. His wrath is revealed in the sin that is being committed, by “giving them over” to it. The penalty for their sin is the sin itself. Note: Romans 6:20 & Romans 6:18. The point is, we are bound to be slaves to something, for our nature is to follow. For we are creatures, part of the creation, created by the Creator. Our longing is to follow him but many “suppress and exchange” the truth due to pride.

          “God gave them over” – The greatest penalty is to be separated from God. We get what we choose!

in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another” – Key word: ‘Desire.’ It is by desire that the theme of our life comes to fruition. Those who desire sin will indeed sin. Those who continue to sin will continue to desire sin. For sin opens the door to more sin. It is by God’s grace that our desire becomes His desire. Or should I say: His desires become our desires. We must always remember to continue in prayer, and ask that God will continue to soften our hearts and make our desires – His desires.

          “degrading of their bodies” – our bodies are of much significance, and to be treated as such and taken care of. They’re gifts, and by them our hearts and minds become affected. As Christians, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. For all mankind, our bodies are the vessels of our souls. Protect your body, protect your mind, and God will protect your soul. Keep filth far away.  

they exchanged the truth about God for a lieOnce the truth is “exchanged,” all you’re left with is falsehood. We either receive the truth, and become free from sin and obedient to righteousness. Or we exchange it for deception, and enslave ourselves to sin and rid ourselves of God.  

and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.Key word: Worshiped (revered). Mankind, once having exchanged the belief in the true God will inevitably worship something. To worship; revere, bend the knee, devote, and to hold high – all makes sense when the worship is for God. For He is worthy. But mankind has so often chosen to worship the creation instead – how ironic! We worship that which we believe to be worthy (and worth our time), and it is all decided by our desires. What do we desire? Money, sex, thrill, “success,” popularity, image?

So many have chosen to worship the mere creation. Whether the flesh of others – by giving into sexual impurity. Or their own self – by holding themselves as high as God, seeking thrill and satisfaction, power and recognition, popularity and security. We chose to worship the things that provide us with momentary satisfaction. Mankind, with our God-given bodies, indulge without restraint, all in the pursuit of satisfaction and fulfillment.  

Mankind chooses to worship the temporal over the eternal. God, both divine and eternal, is the only name to be lifted above every other name, the only One who is worthy to be “worshiped and served.” Why do we, who know the truth, ever dare to worship and serve the created things?


Feel free to use the discussion questions below for a group Bible study and if you would like, the commentary above to help facilitate the discussion.


Discussion Questions

  1. “Therefore” <– what is the “therefore” there for?

  1. What does it mean for God to “give them over?”

  1. Why is sexual impurity referred to as a “degrading of the body?”

  1. What does it mean to “exchange the truth?” What are some areas in our culture or our life where we “exchange the truth?”

  1. What can truth be exchanged for?

  1. What does it mean to “worship & serve created things?”

Commentary | Romans 1:21-23

Romans 1:21-23 (NIV): 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.


Commentary

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” – God has made himself known. His existence is only denied by those who suppress the truth that has been clearly revealed to them. Their wickedness disqualifies them from glorifying Him and thanking Him. By suppressing the truth, foolishness begins to thrive. For if truth is denied, then lies are accepted. The truth is what softens our hearts and sets us free. Thinking in a godless way is futile and it turns our hearts hard and dark. This leads to conceitedness and self-sufficiency (prideful thinking); the claiming to be wise, but there is no wisdom without God. For without God the truth cannot be known, only foolishness and giving into deception.

and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.” –  Mankind still expresses the belief in the Higher Being and the Divine, for they “exchanged” the glory of God for other images, ideologies, and beliefs. All of mankind is incapable of denying the “higher calling.” They can only “suppress” and/or “exchange” it. The law (the objective moral law) is written on all of our hearts. Mankind gives credence to God’s nature but denies its source. In the context of this passage Paul would be alluding to all of the false beliefs and philosophies that were prevalent at the time (Acts 16-17). Particularly Pantheism and Gnosticism that was made evident through their erection of many statues of different gods. These people didn’t deny the Divine, they only “exchanged” it for false beliefs, especially the beliefs that suited themselves. This type of belief system can still be clearly seen in the modern age.

  • God’s divine nature cannot be denied, for it is He who makes it known. But mankind can choose to “suppress” or “exchange” it.

Feel free to use the discussion questions below for a group Bible study and if you would like, the commentary above to help facilitate the discussion.


Discussion Questions

  1. How is it that mankind can know God and yet not acknowledge Him?

  1. What is the difference between mankind’s wisdom and God’s wisdom?

  1. What are reasons that people suppress and exchange the truth about God?