Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural 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 indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 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, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 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.
I never thought I would refer to the rapper Eminem to illustrate a truth presented in God's Word, but his song "Careful What You Wish For" (curse words aside) actually communicates the truth of this passage fairly well. The song talks about the unforeseen consequences of fame and the toll that they have taken on the rapper.
This is what I wished for
Just isn't how I envisioned it
Fame to the point of imprisonment
I just thought [that it'd] be different...
And eight years later, I'm still at it
Sleeping pill addict...
So be careful what you wish for
Cause you just might get it
Eminem's song and Paul's message above share the same theme: unforeseen consequences. Eminem is talking about the unforeseen consequences of fame and how they have made his life difficult. Paul is explaining the devastating effect the unforeseen consequences of sin have had both on the world as a whole and on individuals.
Remember, Paul has just explained that humanity has rejected God. We chose sin and refused to believe the truth. We thought we knew better than God, so we abandoned His way and went about living life our own way. Note what God's response is. Does he rain down fire from heaven or strike us all with a deadly illness? No. He simply "gives us over" to the sin we so desired. God punishes us by allowing us to get exactly what we wanted.
Look at the world around you. It is the product of our sin. Paul attributes evil, greed, envy, murder, strife, and even homosexual behavior to the "depraved mind" that we have cultivated. God has given us over to our shame and has allowed us to bear the punishment of our own works. In Paul's letter to the Galatians he puts it this way, "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."
Be careful what seeds you sow. Satan will try to convince you that all manner of sin will bring you happiness: lust, drugs, stealing, lying, etc... But these will no more bring you happiness than planting apple seeds will bring you an orange tree. Trust the Lord. His way leads to life and joy. As much as you may be tempted to believe that you know a better way, trust me when I say that you don't. God's way is perfect.
For further reading this week:
- Galatians 6:6-10 The law of sowing and reaping.
- Romans 6:20-23 The wages of sin is death.
more than he bargained for.