The Letter to the Romans
COLLEEN MOORE TINKER
4. He gave them over
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. they are gossips, slanderers,, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and gboastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (NIV)
Unchecked Sin an Act of Judgment
1. "Therefore" at the beginning of verse 24 means "because of people's refusal to acknowledge God" as described in the preceeding verses. "Therefore God gave them over," Paul writes three times in this passage. What does it mean that God "gave them over", and why did he do it? (see v. 26, 28; Psalm 81:11-13; Ezekiel 20:23-25; Acts 7:39-42; Ephesians 4:17-19)
2. What exactly is sexual impurity, and why is it degrading to the body even if people consent to participate in it? (see 1 Peter 4:2-5; Romans 13:12-14; 1 Corinthians 6:13-20; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Romans 12:1)
3. The "truth of God" is outlined in verses 18-20. What is the lie for which people exchanged the truth about God? (see Isaiah 44:19-20; 59:2-4, 13; Jeremiah 9:2-3; 10:14-16; 51:17-19)
4. The second "gave them over" refers to "shameful lusts" in verses 26-27. These texts refer to homosexuality and other unnatural sexual acts in both men and women. Society says homosexuality is not a choice but a genetic fact. How does this view compare with the Biblical view? (see Leviticus 18:22-23; 1 Corinthians 6:9)
5. Why are homosexuality and other types of sexual impurity so strongly denounced? (see 1 Corinthians 6:15-20; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:26-27; Isaiah 62:5; Hosea 2:19-20; Revelation 21:2, 9)
6. What is a depraved mind? (see verse 21; Mark 7:20-23; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; Ephesians 2:1-3)
7. What is connection between the behaviors listed in v. 29-31 and a depraved mind? (see Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 2 Corinthians 12:20-21; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:14-16)
8. Paul makes a distinction between continuing to practice evil behaviors and approving of others who practice them. How are these two things different in their effects? (see Psalm 50:18; Luke 11:47-51; Acts 8:1; 22:20)
8. In what ways has God handed you over to depravity in your lifetime?
9. Who in your life struggles with habitual or repetitive sins?
10. How has God released you from chronic sin?
11. What area of you life will you turn over to Jesus and commit to his cleansing and healing?
12. What in your life is annoying you or making you feel angry or unsettled or nervous?
13. Ask Jesus to reveal to you the vulnerable places in your life. Ask him to help you to be willing to know the truth about yourself and your circumstances. Ask him to remove your blindness and to strengthen you with his Spirit of truth and courage. Let Jesus make you aware of your unconscious weaknesses and make you whole by shining the light of His love on the dark places of your heart and mind that lead you to responses you cannot control.
Copyright (c) 2003 Graphics Studio, Redlands,
CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted April 8, 2003.