Thoughts on the Epistle to the Romans (28)

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And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting, being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil mindedness; they are whisperers.

Romans 1, 28-29.

The heathen had rejected the knowledge they had once had of God. So God had given them over to a “debased mind” in judicial retribution. Their thinking had become worthless or useless, being no longer able to exercise its proper moral function. The result was this long list of vices that characterized the heathen at the time.

This list, however, applies equally to our own situation today. Although many individuals abstain from crude sins, our civilisation as such is marked by its toleration of them. The media bring the proof into our homes daily, for “they declare their sin as Sodom; they do not hide it” (Isaiah 3, 9). And rock bottom has been reached when they not only commit these sins themselves, but indeed even “approve of those who practise them” (v.32).

This refers not merely to the dreadful “sporting activities” that went on in the Colosseum in Rome, where crowds watched and applauded hideous spectacles, but also to the whole range of evil that is on offer and generally accepted in our society nowadays.