Paul desires to stress that this act of reprobation by God is no mere arbitrary act of heavenly cruelty, but is a just judgment against those who have made war with the King of heaven.  Sound preachers have often wisely said that the worst thing God can do to us is give us what we deserve.  In the case of the heathens, God did precisely this, at least until such time as He sent the Gospel among them when the hour of His mercy arrived.  But still, His general method of dealing with His enemies who cast Him aside to worship idols and devote themselves to satiating the lusts of the flesh is to abandon those who have abandoned Him.  Surely this should teach us to seek God early while He may be found, before our hearts become hardened against His grace, and impervious to the threats of impending judgment.

This judicial decree, which consigned men and women to run wild in their lusts, to the point of devoting themselves to the pursuit of homosexual lifestyles, was God’s just retribution against the heathen, because they did not like to retain Him in their knowledge.  We have shown already how that the world which came off the ark knew God, and knew His laws of right and wrong, of good and evil.  Knowing all these things, the sons of Ham, and then soon the vast majority of the descendants of Shem and Japheth as well, decided it was not in their best interests to retain the knowledge of God, because it hampered them in their plans for personal pleasure and self-aggrandizement.  Plans for empire, desires for pleasure, pride of person, place, or accomplishment, could not exist peacefully with the knowledge of the God of heaven.  Therefore, they turned from the true God to the service of idols, idols devised by the minds of men, which better suited their corrupt inclinations.

We see a similar turning away from God in the history of European and American culture.  Since the time of the Reformation, the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ filled Europe from one end to the other, and was carried across the sea by those coming to colonize the new land.  For years the scriptures were in large reverenced in these societies, a biblical morality was upheld as the standard, guiding our legal codes and public standards.  But gradually, it became the fashion among intellectuals to be skeptics about the Word of God, questioning the authenticity of this passage, casting doubt upon the authorship of that book, publicly debating whether science or archaeology did not disprove the Bible.  Atheism and deism became rampant in the late 18th century, but God largely held back the tide of infidelity for a season by raising up such powerful preachers as George Whitefield and John Wesley, through whom thousands were converted to the true faith of Christ, and confidence in the sacred scriptures was upheld.  But then in the 18th century, through scientists like Charles Darwin, poets like Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and a public education system designed to turn the minds of the youth away from the God of their fathers, a much larger apostasy began.  Germany, which God had once favored with the light of Gospel liberty through Martin Luther, became the center of relentless attacks upon the authority and infallibility of scripture through the higher critics.  Soon even conservative denominations were expressing a general skepticism towards the scriptures, so that great men of God like Charles Spurgeon were ultimately driven from the Baptist Union.  As men ran farther and farther from the Word of God, embracing instead the philosophies and ideas of men like Darwin, Freud, Dewey, Nietzsche, Marx, and Kinsey, God passed His decree of reprobation against them, just as He had against the Gentile world so long ago.

We are now witnessing precisely what happens when God delivers men over to reprobate minds.  Paul will now begin to list the many abominable crimes to which men individually, and societies in general, become enslaved, when once they have abandoned God, and He in just retribution abandons them.  Certainly, the general acceptance of sodomy is a major evidence of societal reprobation.  It, almost above any other, is a thing “not convenient,” for it not only is destructive of the reproductive process, it is destructive of the public health, and all public morality and order.  When once this sin, and the others which the apostle will quickly name, come to characterize a given society, we may be sure that the wrath of God has gone forth against them.