What does Romans 1:24 mean?
ESV: Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
NIV: Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
NASB: Therefore God gave them up to vile impurity in the lusts of their hearts, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
CSB: Therefore God delivered them over in the desires of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves.
NLT: So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies.
KJV: Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:
NKJV: Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
Verse Commentary:
Paul has been describing human unrighteousness as a progression, showing how rejecting one aspect of God leads to ever greater rejections of Him. In spite of the fact that God has made his existence and basic qualities obvious through what He has made in creation, humanity in our sinfulness refuses to see Him there (Romans 1:18–20). Because we hide our eyes to the truth of Him, we do not honor and worship Him as God. Since we have rejected Him as God, we do not give Him thanks for all He provides.

Because we have rejected the truth that He is creator, provider, and Lord over all, we cannot come to any right conclusions about how the universe works. The result is that our thinking becomes worthless, and our hearts grow dark to even the possibility of the one, true God. Still, we long to worship something and so create images made to look like people and animals. We foolishly worship our images, thinking that we have become quite wise (Romans 1:22–23).

Now Paul describes God's response. This, interestingly, involves God "stepping away," in a sense. In His great anger, God gives humanity over to our animal urges. The idea seems to be this: If we are willing to worship images of animals, God will allow us to live like animals in our relationships with each other. This particularly applies to issues such as sex, but the deeper meaning applies to all of our behaviors. God's design for sex between a man and woman in marriage, established even before sin entered the world (Genesis 2:23–25), is a great and beautiful gift. In response to human idolatry, God specifically gives humanity over to the full indulgence in the corruption of this gift.

This may not sound like much of a punishment, at first. On closer inspection, though, we should consider the amount of human misery resulting from unchecked expression of human sexual desire, in all of its corrupted forms. The consequences of God stepping aside and letting us reap the natural results of our own foolish choices with respect to sex, is impossible to overstate.
Verse Context:
Romans 1:18–32 describes why God rightfully condemns humanity and some of what He has done about it. Humanity's fall is pictured as a downward progression. It starts with rejecting God as creator, refusing to see what can be known about Him by what He has made. We also reject that He is our provider and stop giving Him thanks. We worship His creation instead of Him. Finally, God acts by giving us over to the unchecked expression of our corrupt sexual desires and all other kinds of sin. In part, He expresses His wrath by giving us what we want and condemning us to suffer the painful consequences.
Chapter Summary:
Romans 1 introduces Paul and his purpose in writing this letter to the Christians in Rome. As servant and apostle of Jesus, Paul's mission in life is to preach the gospel of Jesus to all people groups, both Jews and Gentiles. He hopes to do so in Rome soon. Paul is not ashamed of the gospel. It is God's power for the salvation of all people by faith in Christ. We need to be saved because God is angry with us. Because of our sin, humanity has rejected Him as creator and provider. We worship created things, instead. In response, God has given us over to indulge in all kinds of sinful practices that lead to misery now and His angry judgment later.
Chapter Context:
Romans 1 begins with Paul's introduction of himself and his mission to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. After telling the Christians in Rome that he is eager to come see them and preach the gospel there, Paul declares that the gospel is God's power to save everyone who believes in Jesus. We need to be saved, because our sin has earned God's wrath. As a whole, humanity has rejected God as creator and provider. We worship creation instead of Him. In response, He has given us over to the full indulgence of our sinful desires. We are guilty and deserve His judgment.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
Accessed 7/18/2024 10:36:37 AM
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