“God gave them over…” (Romans 1:24).
As we continue to consider the devastating moral regression promised in Romans 1 when men suppress the truth they have about God, there is a troubling phrase mentioned 3 times in verses 24, 26 and 28; “God gave them over.” Each time this is said it is followed by a more devastating moral regression in behavior and attitude. What is meant when it declares that when men suppress the truth they have God gives them over to increasingly devastating moral regression?
Since God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone, according to James 1:13, it is clear He is not forcing the consequences described. He restrains evil and evil consequences. This is stated in 2 Thessalonians 2:7. But if we freely choose to turn from God to our own devices He will give us space, back away some and withdraw His restraining power.
He will not fully withdraw at first. His desire is for you to see the folly of your rebellion and repent. If you arrogantly continue to go your own way He will withdraw His restraint some more. The intensifying degradation should convince us to repent and plead for His grace. But if we persist in our rebellion God honors our freedom by giving us over to what we want.
It’s not what He wants for us, but He will not force Himself on us. His judgment is to allow us to experience the devastating consequences of our own rebellious attitude and acts.
Though there is hope offered while we are alive there is coming a day when God will seal our choice and destiny. As Whittier once wrote, “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, it might have been.”
Is what you are pursuing more important to you than God?