We are not at all shocked or surprised in this day and age by anything we see or hear anymore there are always things happening in this world all around us. We see the depravity of man being made manifest right before us. We are not alone on an island or do we live in a world of isolation. We are in a tremendously integrated kind of world, a cosmopolitan kind of world, and a media oriented kind of world that is shrunken to such a size that we pretty much know everything that’s going on everywhere, any time, all the time, and the sinfulness of man is on display, common knowledge for the world to see.
So, we have a world of sex perverts, a world of people who live in moral permissiveness. We have a world of liars and cheaters and thieves, robbers, gossipers and disobedience, loveless, brutal, proud boasters because God is letting them go. And there’s no way to restrain that. Many are constantly saying, “Oh God is going to judge.” NEWS FLASH! God is judging right now. Can’t you see it? Can’t you see a whole nation gone after perverted sinfulness and reaping the consequences of its own sin? God’s judgment is at work right now. If our culture reflects anything today, it reflects the utter meaninglessness, the utter despair the loneliness and the emptiness, the fragmentation and the absence of identity that results when man is cut off from God.
Not to worry as fallen men are not concerned about their sin but only about the pain from the unpleasant consequences their sin brings. It is said that an ermine the furry short-tailed weasel like animal would rather die than defile its beautiful coat of fur; the animal will go to incredible lengths to protect it. Unfortunately man does not have such an inclination concerning the defilement of sin. He cannot keep himself pure, clean, or just and has no natural desire to do so. Fallen men are not concerned about their sin their only concern is of the pain from the unpleasant consequences sin brings.
God is in the process of dealing with many in our society today and society at large, as many have, and continue to abandon Him. If you believe in the basic goodness of man, you’re mistakenly wrong. Man is basically rotten. Romans 3:10, “There’s none righteous, no not one.” How many? Not one, Paul may have put the extra emphasis on it, knowing somebody would have said “except me” so he said “no, not one.” “There’s none that understands, there’s none that seeks after God, they’re all gone out of the way, they’re all together unprofitable, gone sour there’s none that doeth good, there’s not one.
To see God’s response to all of the falling away going on in society today you need not travel far just look around, listen to the news, where you hear of death, destruction, and confusion of the mind. God is giving those who have openly left Him, over to themselves – Romans 1:24. First, in an indirect sense God has gave them over simply by withdrawing His restraining and protective hand, allowing the consequences of sin to take its inevitable, destructive course. Sin degrades man, debases the image of God in which he is made, and strips him of dignity, peace of mind, and a clear conscience. Sin destroys personal relationships, marriages, families, cities, and nations.
Men today worship cars, houses, clothes, they worship their bodies, women, success, they worship money, and they worship false gods in a religious environment. They have idols ad infinitum, ad nauseum, but not God and that’s why God gave them up. He gave them up to the essence of their own evil hearts. However, He’s not totally lifted the restraints on man, that’s yet in the future as in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, when the one who hinders stops hindering, that is when the restrainer, the Holy Spirit, doesn’t restrain anything anymore, when He does that, we will surely have a chaos that is unimaginable.
You may disagree thinking to yourself how could this ever happen? How could God ever get to the point where He would simply give people up, where He just turned them over, let them go? What is it that brings God to such a place where He gets so angry, so full of wrath that He lets people go, that He just takes off the restraint? After all that’s not the God I know.
Today our culture depicts the Holy God as a “loving God” which by extension means “He would never turn His back, allow anyone to be lost, to go to hell. He will accept all people into heaven. He doesn’t discriminate…all paths lead to Him.” There is one word for that philosophy. WRONG! God is loving, but He is also Holy and Just. That means He is pure and untainted by sin. Because people refuse to accept His offer of forgiveness through the sacrifice of His son Jesus on the cross, God is, will, and has no choice but to judge them for their sins. People these days like to think that they can live free and unfettered by moral constraints, that whatever they do will have no consequence on earth or in heaven. There is one word for that philosophy. WRONG!
The words “God gave them over” are among the most frightening in all of scripture. When Paul uses them, he means that God eventually allows men to pursue their own desires with no interference from Him. The rebellious heart becomes so seared by sin that God’s kindness and mercy can no longer be felt. The Niagara River is somewhat placid upstream. But as the river moves toward the falls, there is fast, rough waters, then white water, then the deadly rush toward the brink.
Imagine for a moment if you will yourself in a small boat drifting along upstream on Niagara, and the boat is held by a strong rope. Holding the other end of that rope is God. As you continue drifting along downstream, God lets out a little more rope so you can continue to float with the rush of the current, continue having fun.” Suddenly, you reach faster waters, but God tightens His hold on the rope and gives you a little warning: “The waters are getting dangerous and deep.” You hear Him but you’re having too much fun and want to continue on your fun journey. Loosen up a bit God, I’m just having fun. You reach the white water, with God still holding on to His end. He knows the danger. “As long as I hold this rope,” He says, “there’s hope for you. I can pull you to safety before it’s too late.” But you refuse, and curse God, insisting that He let go and get out of your way. This is a very fun and thrilling ride! I don’t need your kind of help. Then God slowly lets the rope out little by little, more and more, until through His hands it goes following you over the falls. “God gave you over. God gave you over. When you repeatedly turn away from God, you can reach a point of no return, not because God won’t forgive you, but because your heart has grown so cold it has hardened because of sin. What a terrifying proposition, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2) would you not agree?