V. Verses 26-27.
A. The connection.
1. In this verse Paul refers again to the judicial ground for the “gave them up” of verse 24 — see explanation of this expression.
2. In verse 24 he had written in general of the corruption in which the Lord had “given them up” through their own lusts.
3. In this verse (verse 26) he speaks of those vile, dishonorable and filthy passions in greater detail.
B. Notice what he writes here in these verses.
1. First, the apostle refers to those passions and movements of sin which are related to a sinful and impure sexual life — why does the apostle mention this first?
a. First, this sin is really first, and stands upon the foreground in the world that forsakes God. How general is also this sin today! Explain.
b. Secondly, it is the most abominable sin, a sin which lowers man beneath the animal, the basest of all evils.
c. Finally, this sin stands at the beginning of the sum of vile passions in which God particularly burns with wrath upon the human race.
2. Secondly, the women are mentioned first, in verse 26.
a. He does this, not only because this sin is more repulsive in women than in men, but also because the women generally lead the way in this sin.
b. The meaning is not that they change the natural use of the man against nature, but that they satisfy their vile passions in their own bodies. Thereby they corrupt and destroy their own bodies.
3. Thirdly, in verse 27 the apostle declares the same of the man.
a. How terrible is the sin of sodomy!
b. And they receive in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet, proper.
1) This “error” does not refer to the change of the female and malt relations, because this is part of the recompense, but to their departure from the living God.
2) Whoever stands perverse over against God stands perverse and crooked over against all things.
3) God Himself sees to it that we can never separate the second table from the first table of that law. He makes the sinner unspeakably foolish, causes him to become lower than the animals. This is proper. If an animal be my god (verse 23) then that god must also stand above me, and I will do things that are unheard of even in the animal world.
VI. Verse 28.
A. The connection.
1. Again the apostle uses the expression, “gave them up,” as in verse 24.
2. Only, now the apostle will refer to a further giving over by God of the sinner in greater sin and corruption than he had mentioned until now.
B. Their sin.
1. We read: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge.”
2. We read literally: “And even as they did not approve to have God in their knowledge.”
a. To “approve” means to examine and then express a judgment, whether that judgment be good or bad.
b. Man stood before the question whether to serve God or not. He could not evade that question. God burned it into his soul. He had to express a judgment.
c. And his answer was: “I judge it not good to reckon with God.” What a terrible and perverted judgment!
C. Their punishment
1. God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do the things which are not convenient
2. God gave them over to a reprobate mind. What is a “reprobate mind”? What does it mean that God gave them over to such a reprobate mind? Did they not already have this reprobate mind? Or, does it mean that He gave them over to it so that they were completely governed by it in all their life, so that they judged evil to be good and the good to be evil, in all their personal, physical, spiritual life, and also in their lives as in relation to others?
3. The result was: they did those things which are not convenient, proper, fitting. They did things that did not fit anywhere. Neither did they agree with the ordinances of God for their own life. They did things which worked their own destruction. They judged it to be not good to serve and love God. God shows them that He alone is good and whoever departs from Him must experience nothing but misery and woe.
VII. Verses 29-31.
A. In these verses the apostle gives a vivid description of the actual condition of the wicked world that hates God.
B. What a list of fearful abominations!
1. We read that they are filled; there is room for nothing else! The word “all” applies to all these terms as expressed in verse 29. All these words, we must understand, apply to the sinner’s inner life.
2. Unrighteousness. This sin is the opposite of righteousness which is harmony with the will and law of God.
3. Fornication. See what the apostle has written in verses 26-27.
4. Wickedness. Unrighteousness is rebellion against God. Wickedness emphasizes the evil as such of our nature, which hates Cod.
5. Maliciousness. This sin views this evil of our nature from the viewpoint of that evil nature to seek the evil. The word may be translated “viciousness.”
6. Covetousness. This refers to the lusts of the flesh and of the pride of life to subject all of creation to their service of sin.
7. Envy. Man’s evil nature desires all of creation only for himself and never for another.
9. Debate or strife. This is the same as “murder,” only as revealed in the word. Everywhere sinners seek themselves. Hence, there is no unity among them. This is also true of nations. Notice the “United Nations” today. How every country is out to cut and slash the other’s throat.
10. Deceit or guile. Sinners try to obtain by means of deceit. The Dutch saying reads: “As is the host, so he trusts his guests.”
11. Malignity. This is evil distrust. If we deceive another we expect to be deceived.
12. Whisperers. The meaning is that we are so conscious of our own deceit and evil that we speak in secret. What we say cannot stand the light of day.
13. Slanderers or backbiters. Over against each other they speak evil of one another. They kill each other by means of the tongue. Explain this.
14. Haters of God. In itself this word “haters” can be objective or subjective, hated of God of hating God. Here the meaning is subjective: hating God. As soon as you mention God among each other, this hatred reveals itself.
13. Despiteful or insolent. They stand in an attitude of disdainful pride over against each other.
16. Proud. Always they exalt themselves above the other.
17. Boasters. They always puff themselves up, and this in contrast to others.
18. Inventors of evil things. Always they seek to invent things that can cause evil to the neighbor. They use all their powers to create things to destroy one another.
19. Disobedient to parents. This is to be expected. Such sinners, who stand in that relation to God and one another, are, of course, revolutionary. They trample all authority under foot. How true today! This does not mean that, outwardly, they trample all authority under foot. But it does mean that they will obey only insofar as it serves their own interests?
20. Without understanding.
a. The sinner has not understanding of spiritual things, and he has no conception.
b. The sinner is a fool, also with respect to all things around him. He rejects all reality.
c. He hates God, refuses to see all things as in relation to God, and therefore really knows nothing.
21. Covenant breaker. As soon as anything appears good to him he will break any bond.
22. Without natural affection.
a. Natural affection is also found among animals, also, to a certain extent, among plants.
b. ln itself, this natural affection has no spiritual significance.
c. But, as soon as the sinners’ evil passions come in conflict with these affections, also this natural affection will suffer shipwreck: the mother casts away her child, brothers kill each other, etc. In broader sense, wars ensue.
23. Implacable and unmerciful. They are unbending and without any pity.
C. We do well to remember that all this applies to the natural man, also to the child of God as he is by nature. This must serve us to thank the Lord for the wonderful grace which saved us from these terrible things.
VIII. Verse 32.
A. They know the judgment of God.
1. This knowledge is a knowledge of experience.
2. It is therefore not a question of what they subjectively might judge to be right, but they experience this judgment, know it to be true.
B. The content of this judgment of God.
1. “That they which commit such things are worthy of death.”
2. This judgment of God is proclaimed everywhere, because the wages of sin is death.
3. The sinner does not merely know that he dies, but also that his death is a Divine execution. However, he also knows more. He also knows that this execution is just, because God is righteous. The Holy Spirit engraves this knowledge of God’s righteousness in the sinner’s consciousness.
4. Hence, the sinner is one who, standing before the judge, continually affirms that the judge is righteous, that he is worthy to be sentenced, but nevertheless continues in his evil. Hence, he clearly shows that he hates and does not will the righteousness of God.
C. Besides, he not only does the same, but he also has pleasure in them that do them.
1. The sinner not only himself delights in sin.
2. But he also delights in those who commit it. This explains why, for example, Eve gave the fruit to Adam.
3. The sinner cannot tolerate the righteous. He hates him and will persecute him. Most clearly revealed in the rejection and crucifixion of the Christ.
4. And the culmination of this will be revealed in the antichristian world power shortly before the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the clouds of heaven.