So God Gave Them Up

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As you begin reading Paul’s letter to the house churches in Rome you clearly see Paul’s heart for the church and for the Kingdom of God now in place in this most cosmopolitan of cities:

 “This letter comes to all in Rome who love God, all who are called to be his holy people. Grace and peace to you from God our father, and King Jesus, the Lord.”

 Paul’s letter is tactful, spirited, full of information and pastoral.  He is excited and “not ashamed about the gospel” even though many outside the church are not eager to receive Good News of the Kingdom of God. Paul knew that Rome was the dominion of the “rulers of this age.”

 Paul clearly understood that by calling Jesus “King Jesus, the Lord,” that he was promoting another ruler above the Emperor.  This was seditious and dangerous for Paul.  But Paul knew the power of the Gospel.  Paul knew what God’s Good News had done in his own life and in the lives of others. He knew the cost of God’s mercy.

 Prior to Paul’s letter, Rome had gone through sweeping changes.  Pagan Rome didn’t much care for Jews and their purifying religious rituals.  They also didn’t very much care for the new “religion” in town, Christianity, which some of the Jews embraced.  Emperor Claudius had the Jews expelled from Rome.  The Jewish Christians left behind Gentile house churches. Some believe that these churches in Rome began with Gentile believers who were converted during Pentecost, while they were in Jerusalem.

 After Claudius died in AD 54 Nero became Emperor.  Under a new Emperor the Jews and with them the Jewish believers returned to Rome. It is then that Paul writes his letter, circa AD 58, describing the sweeping changes brought about by the Kingdom of God on earth.  He writes about God’s justification of all those who believe that God would keep His Covenant promise. That promise was completely fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

 Paul was deeply concerned for Christ’s church at Rome.  His “masterpiece” letter hopes to resolve conflicts between Gentile believers and Jews now returning to Rome. And, more importantly, he writes to give the church an overarching vision of God’s Covenant plan to save the world from itself.

 As you read Romans you sense that the church and the world system at that time are not so different from that of our world and our own times. 

 At the beginning of the letter Paul writes that he was under obligation to barbarians as well as to Greeks, that he was  obliged to the uncultured and the cultured. He was obliged to speak the Gospel to the wise and to the foolish.   These kinds of people are with us today, are they not?

 Paul begins God’s creation salvation story with the problem:  man’s brokenness and man’s unwillingness to turn from his sin.  To make the point, within the first paragraphs of his letter the phrase “So God gave them up” occurs three times:

 “So God gave them up to uncleaness in the desires of their hearts, with the result that they dishonored their bodies among themselves.  They swapped God’s truth for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed for ever, Amen.

So God gave them up to shameful desires.  Even the women, you see swapped natural sexual practice for unnatural; and men, too, abandoned natural sexual relations with women, and were inflamed with their lust for one another.  Men performed shameless acts with men, and received in themselves the appropriate repayment for their mistaken ways.

Moreover, just as they did not see fit to hold on to knowledge of God, God gave them up to an unfit mind, so that they would behave inappropriately.”

 Keep in mind that Paul knew the Jewish canon.  He knew about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah – God’s righteous anger poured out on the sexual perversion within those cities. Those cities had been warned.  Paul was again warning the new Christians in pagan Rome about God’s Righteousness and Justice and man’s hardheartedness. Is not homosexuality worshipping the creature rather than the Creator? But Paul was revealing a way out ~ a path made straight by the One Jew who fulfilled all of God’s desires for His rebellious people ~ Jesus.

 And lest we read Paul’s words and become smug and judge others keep in mind Paul’s words in his letter to the Corinthians:  “Some of you were once like that.”

 “Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people–none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God

Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (I Cor 6:9-11)

 I don’t have to tell you that in our time the main stream media pours out filth and degeneration into our homes.  Our lives are constantly bombarded with TV programs, movies and advertisements that use sex or by political party advocates who call homosexuality a “right.”  Yet, a “right” does confer righteousness to the owner, only license and worse, in the case of homosexuality, licentiousness.

 The perversion and antinomianism now seems even more pervasive in our age than in Paul’s because of the ever-present media.  What can Christians do to heed Paul’s words today in our pagan world? It begins with worship.  So God will give them up – the people of this age – who follow in the footsteps of the pagan Romans but for us who believe we can give up to God what Paul writes later in Romans:

 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.”

*******

Here is some helpful info if you choose to walk away from those chains:

http://www.narth.com/

NARTH 2012 Press Conference & Reparative Therapy

http://voices-of-change.org/

5 Responses to So God Gave Them Up

  1. It is not just in Corinthians: Romans 2:1: “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

    Paul is never writing about judging those sinners over there. His judgment is of his listeners, so he may convict us. So all this airy “They…They…They” is a satire, mocking what the self-satisfied Christians of Rome were saying. Which is why, when he finishes that, comes the rebuke.

    There is no reason to suppose that he agrees that the particular things in Romans 1 are sins: he is simply parodying the judgmental.

    • Rising Window says:

      Paul is writing that “those sinners over there” are already under God’s judgment. He is not parodying judgment. Paul is saying in no uncertain terms – in black and white terms – that people are already banned from the Kingdom of God who practice such things as he is describing in his letter to the Romans and elsewhere in his Corinthian letter.

      Just as I wrote above, Paul is describing the human condition, a condition that began in Genesis and remained to his present time. I then extrapolated the human condition to present day since the human condition is obvious to all except to those in denial of their state or to those who listen to a Carl Rogers or a Matthew Vine.

      I see from your blog that you mock Christians and especially Evangelical Christians, the “self-satisfied Christians”: “So all this airy “They…They…They” is a satire, mocking what the self-satisfied Christians of Rome were saying.” Your mocking comes with self-actualization’s protection of narcissism.

      “There is no reason to suppose that he agrees that the particular things in Romans 1 are sins: he is simply parodying the judgmental.” You are in denial. Do you think that God is just a mish-mash of good and evil? That God’s holiness accepts evil along with good? The synthesis of good and evil does not lead to self-actualization. It leads to anarchy and self-indulgence. Paul is not writing to create the Human Potential Movement. He is writing about God’s Kingdom on earth and not about your kingdom. Carl Rogers says that organisms know what is good for them, that evolution has provided all that is needed to guide the individual with “organismic valuing.” Paul is writing that evolution is only a starting point. The Kingdom of God is the Ultimate Main Point (and Salvation) for evolutionary creation.

      Abraham Maslow of the Human Potential Movement wrote “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is ultimately to be at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.” So, do you believe then that you must be homosexual to be fully self-actualized? No, homosexuality is a choice that you are making just as a poet makes a choice to put pen to paper. And, people do not have to live at the animal level scrounging for basic survival needs (food, shelter, safety & animal lust) and nothing higher. They can look away from themselves and look to God. This among many other things is what Paul is writing about in his letter to Rome.

      The self-actualization movement reminds me of the Dwarf Ghost in chapter 13 of C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. The opening paragraph: “I do not know that I ever saw anything more terrible than the struggle of that Dwarf Ghost against joy. For he had almost been overcome. Somewhere, incalculable ages ago, there must have been gleams of humor or reason in him. For one moment, while she (a Bright Spirit) looked at him in her love and mirth, he saw the absurdity of the tragedian. For one moment he did not at all misunderstand her laughter: he too must have once known tha t no people find each other more absurd than lovers. But the light that reached him, reached against his will. This was not the meeting he had pictured; he would not accept it. Once more he clutched at his death line, and at once the Tragedain spoke.”

      At the end of chapter 13 the Dwarf Ghost clings to the Tragedian’s chain (and words) and becomes increasingly smaller until you could no longer see him. George MacDonald later remarks to his student ghost that hell is exceedingly small, smaller than an atom of heaven

      I do not hate homosexuals. I hate the sin (those chains; those words) that keeps people outside of God’s Kingdom of Love and Light.

      Here is some helpful info if you choose to walk away from those chains:

      http://www.narth.com/

      http://www.narth.com/#!key-narth-documents/cf3y

      • I love Carl Rogers. Here is useful insight if you choose to understand gay people: http://www.glaad.org/ . I am aware of Narth’s wilful distortion of truth, and have no wish to sully myself further with them.

        OK. So we can state our positions. I remember the Tragedian, and in the end there is only the chain, and the ghost is invisibly small at its end. And the blessed wife says to the Tragedian “I never knew you.” The Tragedian says “Poor me”, the Wife sees Love and reality.

        But- do you remember the man with the lizard on his shoulder, whispering evil rubbish in his ear? He tore it away, with great pain and difficulty, and threw it away; and it became the steed for him to ride into Heaven.

        So, he hears a voice telling him he is gay (for example), and because he listens to you, he imagines that is evil. He sees the speaker as a lizard gripping his shoulder. But when he admits his true, God-given nature, he finds that his Steed, his Power. He can Love, just as all human beings can Love. His ways of being with everyone, as sexuality informs all our relationships, not just sexual relationships, are beautiful in the sight of God. He is liberated.

        See Love and Reality with the Wife. Some people are Gay. God is cool with that. Do not call evil what God has made beautiful.

        And- if you read the Bible with insight, you will find interpretations which condemn gay marriage to be worthless homophobic rubbish.

        God be with you.

      • Rising Window says:

        Sadly, your fanciful but utterly deceived interpretation of Lewis’ The Great Divorce leaves you in a bad place. You, of course, know then that each decision you make either moves you towards good or towards evil. As you head in the direction of evil you become ever smaller.

        It appears that you continue to listen to the lizards on your shoulders – Carl Rogers and other Darwinian humanists – and have yet to wrench them from your neck. If you did then something good may come out of evil you toss to the ground – like a steed to ride into the heavenly realm.

        And you know this as well:

        “Hell is a state of mind – ye never said a truer word. And every state of mind left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind-is, in the end, Hell. But Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakable remains.”

        “There are only two kinds of people in the end. Those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that enter hell choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.” The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis

        Martin Buber once noted that the malignantly narcissistic insist upon “affirmation independent of all findings.” You ascribe your homosexual bent to a witche’s brew concoction of Carl Rogers, Matthew Vine and others. But even if this drink didn’t work your willfulness would keep you in your homosexuality.

        And one more thing I see, something that characterizes some of the homosexual community that I have been involved with (I have been involved in a para-church ministry to which hundreds of people have come seeking to rid themselves of homosexuality):

        “The essential component of evil is not the absence of a sense of sin or imperfection but the unwillingness to tolerate that sense.” Dr. M. Scott peck, People of the Lie

      • Thank God, the false, homophobic view that Christianity or the Bible in any way condemns gay marriage is being shaken now, and it will fall. God’s heavenly truth, that we are not wrong, will not be shaken.

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