“Futhermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to what ought not to be done. Although they know God’s righteousness 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.” Romans 1:28, 32 New International Version
When Israel returned to Jerusalem after the seventy years of captivity in Babylon, they returned with a determination to never again enter into idolatry. Over the years in captivity and after they returned to their homeland, the Jews had determined the Gentiles were to blame for the rebellion of Israel against God.
If not for the idols of the Gentiles, the Jews would not have fallen into idolatry. Therefore the answer had to be isolation from the bacteria causing the infection of idolatry. The bacteria was obvious to anyone willing to pay attention. It was the Gentiles always causing them to fall away from God. If they could just isolate themselves, finally all would be well with them and for them. The Chosen People of God exchanged their Gentile idolatry for the idolatry of God’s Law.
When there is an unwillingness to accept responsibility for the actions of the individual, or even the corporate body, nothing will be altered. The only way change is accomplished in an individual is when they accept their need for change. As long as it remains an issue of blaming someone else without being accountable for ones own actions, nothing can be made different.
When someone makes a conscious choice to remove the knowledge of God from their lives, God honors their right to choose. There is plenty of evidence in scripture to support the understanding that God does everything short of forcing us to accept Him.
Jesus told the disciples that because they had seen Him they had seen the Father. Jesus journeyed around Israel experiencing in Himself the suffering of man against man. In each face He recognized the destruction of sin and it was breaking His Heart. So it is with the heavenly Father. With each individual choice to believe the lies of God’s enemy, the enemy of humanity, God’s heart once more feels the pain and sorrow Jesus experienced on the Cross.
Jesus informs us there is rejoicing in heaven when one more soul is saved. So it makes sense to me there must be an equal amount of sorrow when one rejects God for the lie of the enemy. God isn’t only about eternity, He is just as concerned about your life today, this moment. When our hearts cry out, “What is going to happen next,” or “I just can’t take one more disaster in my life!” or “God, I’m so tired, I see nothing in my present or my future, and if they resemble my past, I think I’ll just pass it all together,” God cares.
When we are in the circumstances which accompany the reality of God, Jesus, and the Comforter in our lives, the enemy will attack! Guaranteed every time, you will be slammed in your most vulnerable, painful spot.
Each time this takes place there is a choice to be made. Either to choose continued trusting in God’s love and grace in faith, (believing in what is not visible), or making the choice that pains your Creator, causing the enemy to rejoice. But here is the significant question, who has all the power? God does. Who loves you so much He chose to die rather than live without you? God did! The only reason God will pull back is when you send Him packing. Even then He isn’t very far from you, from me, from everyone.
The enemy has been defeated; this is a crucial fact! The only power he is able to exercise is when we allow him in our lives, or when God has a purpose, an opportunity for lessons to be learned, reminders to be reinforced in accepting the promises of God.
I know how hard it is when the carefully constructed walls of your life, or of someone you love come crashing down on your head. Nearly all of us have experienced times when the attacks feel like they are never going to cease, and when one more thing will be one more thing too much!
Jesus knows the depth of feelings created in those moments of extreme pain, when all is hopeless, and we fear there is no tomorrow. It can become difficult to continue to believe in God as the very definition of love and grace. I have been there, and even now with all that has occurred in the last few years sometimes it’s been touch and go!
The difference for me is and has been God never let go. Not once. I think it is the same for all of us. God tells us nothing and no one can snatch anyone from His hand. However, we have the freedom to walk away from the One who loves us with an everlasting love and grace.
In writing to the Roman church, Paul sends the following warnings: 1. Retain a knowledge of God or be released to a depraved mind. 2. Know God’s righteous decree that any who go over to a depraved mind deserve death. 3. Do not condone the practices of those with the depraved minds or do them yourselves.
I would suggest anything which is contrary to the kingdom of God is included in a “depraved mind,” as are gossip, false accusations, speaking unkind words about others, refusing to offer help to those in need, and sitting in judgement over others. Most often when thinking about the depraved mind we leap to thoughts of the ugly, horrendous, evil, wicked actions committed against humanity. Yet in the first sentence of this paragraph is a list of some of the most abominable and destructive practices witnessed in the Christian Church today.
When someone’s reputation is falsely destroyed, when they are accused of actions never committed, when someone commits murder by killing a person’s name, it is no different from physically murdering them. Of course we would never gossip, it’s wrong to gossip. Except we find ways to transmit all the news worth knowing to those who desire to know it! Besides, we may need bring up the situation to others for prayer…
The bottom line is this, remember God! Remember how He has met your needs, how He has walked you through each valley filled with shadows of death. God in His passion for all His creation promises He will never leave us alone. No matter how a life appears, God is always involved!
We are blessed to know God does not act impulsively nor does He rush to judgement. He gives every possible opportunity for humanity to receive the gift so graciously provided to all mankind.
10 So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you;
don’t be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, help you.
I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up.
11 Look, everyone who hated you and sought to do you wrong
will be embarrassed and confused.
Whoever challenged you with hot-headed bluster
will become as if they never were, and nevermore will be.
12 You may go looking for them, but you won’t find them;
because those who tried to fight with you will become as if they never were.
13 After all, it is I, the Eternal One your God,
who has hold of your right hand,
Who whispers in your ear, “Don’t be afraid. I will help you.” Isaiah 41:10-13 The Voice