In light of the supreme court's decision today to legalize gay marriage in the United States, here is Romans 1: 18-32:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged
the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of
corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
The most frightening dynamic in this passage of scripture is that there comes a point where people can be so enamored of their sins that God "gives us over" to depravity, ie: we no longer see right and wrong. We simply see things the way we want to see them. Welcome to America, circa 2015.
Abortion, pot, gender identification, race identification, polygamy, gay marriage...the list goes on. For the Christian, it's daunting to see such erosion in our time. It feels like something has slipped. Maybe, it has. But, remember, Romans 1 was written 2000+ years ago. Moral decline was happening back then too. In fact, wherever there is society, there will be societal breakdown…entropy. Why? Because society is made of human beings. And we have been, are, and will be…broken. We are sinful. We are frightened. We are at war with ourselves and others. We beg for blessings, and when we get them, we abuse them. This is what broken people do.
If Romans 1 was the end of the book of Romans, I'd probably want to jump off a bridge. But it doesn't end there. Romans 2 tells us that it's not just these crazy people who've lost their sense of right and wrong. There are religious fanatics who blew it too. In fact, we are ALL alike under sin. Romans 3 continues that thread showing that there's no one who can claim innate goodness. We're all messed up. BUT then, then, we get to it:
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
And there it is: Jesus. Justification. Redemption.
He and only He can mend the broken. And we are all broken and in need of mending.
So the court's decision today is disturbing. So. There have been disturbing things going on in America since its birth and in every society since the dawn of time. So, what is the Christian response? That hasn't changed either. Love God; love your neighbor.
What did Jesus do with sinners? He befriended them. He dined with them. He spoke to them. He listened to them. He loved them. He also told them the truth.