24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:24–25, NKJV)
Mankind is under the wrath of God, and for good reason (Rom. 1:18-21). The refusal to honor and thank God plunged humanity into the darkness of pride and the foolishness of elevating human wisdom above God and His truth (Rom. 1:21-22). This led to idolatry – the corruption of true worship (Rom. 1:23). Idolatry (false worship) feeds on fleshly lusts. Impure worship opens the door to immoral living. When God is ignored and His truth is devalued, the boundaries of moral restraint (that are set by divine truth) are increasingly ignored. Just as false worship abandons truth for lies, immorality abandons the moral restraints of truth. Instead of honoring God with the body, it is used to fulfill the sinful lusts of the heart (1 Cor. 6:13, 15, 19). One must not think he is honoring God while using his body to fulfill the dishonorable lusts of immorality. When the truth of God is exchanged for the lie of idolatry, immorality follows. God allows it to happen, but His wrath is revealed against it. You cannot serve the god of self, and expect to be blessed by God our Creator.
1 Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! 2 For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 117:1–2, NKJV)
This brief psalm drives to the heart of why all people should triumphantly praise Jehovah. The stated reasons are, (1) Because of His mercy, and (2) Because of His truth. God’s mercy protected the nation of Israel over and over throughout their history. God’s truth denotes the integrity of His promises (especially those made to Abraham and David), as well as the revelation of His truth. God offers all sinners (whether Gentiles or Jews) His mercy and His truth in Jesus Christ (Rom. 15:8-9). Of all the reasons to praise God, His mercy toward sinners and His unwavering truth are at the heart of why we do so. Without God’s mercy, we would all perish in sin (Titus 3:4-5; Eph. 2:4-5). Without God’s truth, we would not know God’s purposes for us, nor could we be freed from our sins (John 8:31-32). Notably, mercy and truth go together; they are fully present and fully obtained in Jesus Christ (John 1:14-18).
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:8–10, NKJV)
Christians know that what pleases the Lord also brings joy and fulfillment in life. They “walk as children of light,” choosing the joy and confidence faithful living brings. You see, you do not have to sin in order to enjoy life. That is the devil’s lie. The path of sin may bring you momentary pleasure, but it always leads to spiritual darkness and eternal death. On the other hand, a life lived in goodness, righteousness and truth has God’s approval, and shows God’s light to the world. You get to choose whether to enjoy life in the joyful fulfillment of God’s approval, or to live in the darkness of sin and death. You must change your way of thinking in order to change from living in darkness to light. Faithful living results from transforming the way you think. Instead of thinking that sin is the way to happiness, think the way God thinks. Live in the light of truth, and show “what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2). Nothing is more fulfilling and joyful than knowing God accepts you. That assurance is real to all who “walk as children of light.”
5 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. 6 Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5–6, NKJV)
As an assayer tests the purity of silver and gold, God’s word stands the test of purity. It has been tried in the crucible of conflict, rebellion, rejection, and alienation by men. With the word of God, His people have weathered every storm of attack from faithless foes. His word continues to stand, while its adversaries lie in the ash heap of history. Undaunted, men and women of faith trust in the word of God, and are delivered. That is why they dare not add to it or take away from it. It does its work as it stands, undefiled and incorruptible. We shall never be persuaded that God’s word is out of date – far from it. It is living and active, powerful and pure. God’s word is able to save the lost and protect the saved. It is indeed “a shield to those who put their trust in Him.” Respect it, believe it, obey it. To do less will bring God’s rebuke upon those who simply pretend to trust Him.
And it happened, when Jehudi had read three or four columns, that the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. (Jeremiah 36:23, NKJV)
The United States Senate changed a filibuster rule today, thereby allowing a vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch. This rule change was called the “nuclear” option, since it was the course of last resort. This reminds us that men unsuccessfully try to change God’s rules. King Jehoiakim tried to ignore God’s rules by destroying the scroll of God’s word (which condemned his sins and called on him and his nation to repent). He refused to be ruled by God’s word, because he had already refused God as His ruler. His effort failed (Jer. 36:27-32). Even so, we are tempted to try to change God’s word to fit our own desires (cf. 2 Tim. 4:3-4). The Senate can change their rules because they made them. We cannot change God’s rule (word), though, because it is not our word (Heb. 1:2). We didn’t make the rules, He did. Respect for God demands that we honor Him by submissively obeying His word. Do not try to change His word (His rules) to fit what you want. That will never end well for you.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Romans 1:26–27, NKJV)
When God’s word speaks, we either believe it and conform our thinking and our lives to it, or we reject it, raising ourselves above and against God. As an example, take the subject of homosexuality. The Bible is crystal clear on the matter. Homosexual uses of the body are not normal and natural, but express “vile passions” that are “against nature.” God’s truth clarifies LGBT issues for us, just like soap and water cleans a dirty window. Such conduct is described as “vile passions;” “Against nature;” “Leaving the natural use of the woman;” Burning “in their lust for one another;” “Men with men committing what is shameful;” Producing a just penalty for “their error” that is due and received. Until one will believe God’s truth on the subject, he or she will exchange the truth for the lie that gay love is just the same as straight love (Rom. 1:24-25). It is not. But you see, when people worship themselves and serve the lusts of their hearts instead of God, every lie is preferred over the “word of the truth of the gospel” (Col. 1:5). God’s word is truth (Jno. 17:17). God’s truth frees us from our sins when we believe it and obey it (Jno. 8:31-32). Do you believe the truth, or have you exchanged it for the lie?
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:22–25, NKJV)
It is truly sad to watch human beings in the death spiral of sin. Pride blinds the unbelieving heart, producing all manner of false gods and therefore, false hopes. While God desires all men to be saved, that choice must be freely made; He will not force us to follow Him. When lust reigns in one’s heart, the shame of moral defilement results. As the body is used to serve lustful impulses instead of honoring God, divine truth is exchanged for foolish lies. The moral defilement of unbelief amounts to worshiping and serving ourselves instead of our Creator. Do not be defiant against God; that will always end poorly. Instead of sin’s death spiral, be lifted up from its darkness by following the Jesus, the light of the world. Hear His word and follow it, and move out of darkness into light (Eph. 4:17-24).