For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions.
When people abandon God, God abandons them to follow the desires of their heart, and the first stop on that downward path is immorality. But it does not stop there.
God also abandons unbelievers to abnormality. “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” (Romans 1:26-27). In these verses, Paul was clearly talking about homosexuality. This is one of many instances in the New Testament where God says homosexuality is a sin. Engaging in homosexual activity is not only the cause of God’s judgment, but it is also the result of God’s judgment. The homosexual does what he does because he has rejected the knowledge of the true God, and he has replaced the true God with a god of his own making.
I want you to notice three statements the Bible makes about homosexual behavior in this passage. First, homosexuality is degenerative. Verse 26 says it is “unnatural,” meaning it is against nature. Now, do not misunderstand: adultery and premarital sex are just as much sins as homosexuality. But adultery and premarital sex are natural sins. Our desire for members of the opposite sex is a natural desire, but homosexuality is unnatural. It goes against nature itself. God says it is a downward path. The Bible says homosexuality is degenerative.
Second, homosexuality is degrading. In verse 26, Paul said it is a degrading passion. What did Paul mean by that? Without going into detail, let me just say this: some of the perverseness in homosexual practices and what they do to “express their love for one another” is degrading.
Third, homosexuality is destructive. Paul said that homosexuals receive “in their own persons the due penalty of their error” (1:27). Some people believe the “due penalty” they receive in their bodies is the coming judgment of God, and that may be true. Others believe the “due penalty” they receive in their bodies is the physiological consequences of engaging in unnatural sexual practices. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that homosexual men are much more likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases than heterosexual men. Why is that? It is because what they do goes against nature. It is unnatural. The Bible says homosexuality is a destructive behavior. What they are doing is abnormal. It is degrading, and it leads to destruction.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “When God Lets Go” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs),” https://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/stdfact-syphilis-detailed.htm.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.