Paul begins this lengthy list with “unrighteousness,” a broad term which can cover almost any transgression against the law of God.  Tracing all the way back to verse 18 where this section began, we find that God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against the unrighteousness of men.  Men manifest their contempt for God by disregarding His law, caring nothing about what He says is right or wrong.  They invent their own rules of right and wrong, calling good evil and evil good, cursing the righteous and blessing the wicked.  Because God has given them over to do those things which are not convenient, they are filled up with unrighteousness, like a glutton at the feasting table.  To borrow a phrase from the next chapter, these reprobates who despised God and thus were despised by Him, grow worse and worse, treasuring up for themselves wrath against the day of wrath. 

As is common with these lists of sin that we find scattered throughout the New Testament, we find “fornication” near the top.  Why is this, except that sexual uncleanness is one of the forms of depravity to which men are so thoroughly given?  Ungodly lusts and acts tell the story of the lives of most of the men of the world, whether they be bond or free, rich or poor.  It is only the law of God and the Gospel of Christ which encourage, promotes, and actually fosters purity among men and women.  But those who have been reprobated by God, given over to follow the lusts of their own evil hearts, could care less that the law of God pronounces in no uncertain terms, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”  In Paul’s day, fornication was a part of the religious devotions to the many idols of the Greco-Roman world, and was so prevalent even in Judea, where God’s people resided, that Jesus accused His own people of being an “adulterous generation.”  We well know what dominion the spirit and practice of fornication in its many varieties has in our own culture.  Young men and women are looked upon as oddities to be mocked if they are virgins by the age of 18.  Dating, with all its attendant evils, is the rule of the day, and even the parents in most cases seem to care less about the chastity of their sons and daughters.  Now that women occupy close to half the spaces in the workplace, adulterous affairs are common, and an untoward friendliness between the sexes is accepted even where no physical contact takes place.  As the apostle has already pointed out, viler forms of sexual perversion soon become common in the society which God has given over to a reprobate mind.  Our nation which once, like all the rest of the world, despised and denounced the practicers of sodomy, now embraces them with both arms, and reviles every person who would speak against them.  Incest, rape, child molestation, the billion-dollar industry of pornography, and many other grotesque forms of sexual deviancy are eating the vitals out of American culture.  One has to have blinders on his eyes to avoid viewing the scantily clad women on the magazine covers at the grocery stores.  Immodesty is a plague that is embraced by America, including its preachers, most of whom consider having a thread of clothing on the body as being enough to meet the biblical standard.  Many of them go so far as to deny what Hollywood and the magazine corporations well know, that tight and revealing clothing are fuel for the fires of sexual lust.  It drives one to soberly consider that, not only has the world around us been given over to a reprobate mind, but very likely many of the preachers and churches have as well.

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