Romans 1:32 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.
In a way, this first chapter of Romans should be an encouragement to believers today, because it shows us very clearly that now isn’t the first time such conditions have been rampant. The only distinction I see between today and 1st Century Roman society is that today the idols aren’t in the shape of birds and animals and reptiles (verse 23) but are more likely to be electronic, or even intangible, as came up a couple of days ago. The moral and sexual elements read like current news reports. The thing to remember is that things didn’t stay this way, even in Rome. Depravity is endemic in human society because sin is endemic in the human soul, but it always leads to its own destruction. The problem is that such collapse generally injures innocent bystanders as well. There’s a line from Jude’s letter that is seldom quoted, but seems very appropriate in this context. “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” (Jude 1:22-23) Believers are on a rescue mission in the middle of an intense battle. We aren’t to close our eyes to all the evil, trying to retreat into some place of safety, because frankly, they won’t leave us alone! Rather, we are to go on the offense, declaring the truth of God in love and being unwavering in our defense of Biblical standards. America is far from the only place all this is going on. A former member of the Finnish government is in danger of a significant prison sentence for simply stating that homosexuality is unnatural and wrong! Even if your position is very libertarian, saying that we should let people destroy themselves if they are intent on doing that, you need to realize that such people aren’t satisfied with anything less than enthusiastic support of their activities, just as this verse says. Backing down never solves anything.
Like many in the Church I have been only peripherally aware of all of this until fairly recently, but it’s certainly unavoidable now. Just last night I watched a very powerful message by Bishop E. W. Jackson on the political and racial implications of the current assault on the kingdom of God, and he didn’t even touch on the sexual issues. The thing is, as nasty and as powerful as all the rot is, it’s no match for the power of God. I, and all those who seek to follow God, have got to remember John’s very comforting words: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) I’m not to back away from the fight, but as Jude said, “snatch people from the fire.” At the same time, again as Jude said, I’ve got to be careful the corruption doesn’t spread to me. I am to walk in the purity and love of Jesus Christ my Lord, because nothing else is up to the task.
Father, thank You for this strong reminder. Thank You for the video of Bishop Jackson, and for the friend who sent me the link. Help me indeed not back away from the fight, but fully clothed in Your armor be fully useful to You, to destroy the works of the devil and bring people from darkness to light, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!