Yesterday morning, I had the privilege to preach Romans 1:24-32 in our series through Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. In our previous study, we covered Paul’s warning regarding God’s wrath and how it’s poured out upon those who continue to suppress the truth and ignore the reality of God’s existence and God’s grace. Many people in our present culture like to talk about God’s judgment as if it’s an eschatological judgment reserved for the future. Could it be that the judgment articulated in Romans 1 is already present in our culture today? If so, what is the evidence of such judgment?
Three different times in this section of verses the apostle Paul used the word “παραδίδωμι” which means handed over, given over, delivered over – in this case – abandoned. The text reads, “God gave them up.” In Paul’s culture, he could see the evidence of God’s judgment on specific people and he pointed to that reality. He spoke about three different evidences. First, he pointed to the lustful idolatry of the people. They had exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature (creation) rather than the Creator. That has been taking place for centuries (see Ps. 135:15-18). However, in this text Paul links the idolatry to sexual misconduct—similar to what was prevalent in temple prostitution in Corinth and Ephesus (with the temple Artemis). This was one proof of God’s judgment.
Secondly, Paul pointed to the realty that God had given the people up to dishonorable passions that manifest themselves in the outward acts of homosexuality. Paul speaks about the fact that men and women had exchanged the natural affection for unnatural affection and engaged in acts of dishonorable passion resulting in sinful rebellion. Not only was this troublesome, but so was the due penalty they received in themselves. Paul speaks of the fact that such people often received the “due penalty” for their error. In our day, we can see this same type of rebellion that has become commonplace. Since the Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that legalized same sex marriages, the drumbeat has continued to march onward in open rebellion. Andreas Köstenberger explains:
For the first time in its history, Western civilization is confronted with the need to define the meaning of the terms marriage and family. What until now has been considered a “normal” family, made up of a father, a mother, and a number of children, has in recent years increasingly begun to be viewed as one among several options, which can no longer claim to be the only or even superior form of ordering human relationships. The Judeo-Christian view of marriage and the family with its roots in the Hebrew Scriptures has to a significant extent been replaced with a set of values that prizes human rights, self-fulfillment, and pragmatic utility on an individual or societal level. It can rightly be said that marriage and the family are institutions under siege in our world today, and that with marriage and the family, our very civilization is in crisis. 
In 2016, California became the first state to add the LGBT agenda into the public school curriculum. After the new law passed and the new framework was adopted into the school system, it was highly praised by the California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson who called it “a big win.” He stated the following:
This document will improve the teaching and learning of history and social science. It will give our students access to the latest historical research and help them learn about the diversity of our state and the contributions of people and groups who may not have received the appropriate recognition in the past. 
In the new framework of the California public schools, Chapter 5, “People Who Make a Difference,” states:
In Standard 2.1, students develop a beginning sense of history through the study of the family, a topic that is understandable and interesting to them…Through studying the stories of a very diverse collection of families, such as immigrant families, families with lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender parents and their children, families of color, step- and blended families, families headed by single parents, extended families…families with disabled members, families from different religious traditions, and adoptive families, students can both locate themselves and their own families in history and learn about the lives and historical struggles of their peers. In developing these activities, teachers should not assume any particular family structure and ask questions in a way that will easily include children from diverse family backgrounds. They need be sensitive to family diversity and privacy, and to protect the wishes of students and parents who prefer not to participate. 
All of this open rebellion against God’s design for marriage is proof of the judgment of God upon our nation. God has given America up to the sins of the flesh and to receive the due penalty for such sinful practices. According to the CDC, “STDs are a substantial health challenge facing the United States. CDC estimates that nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year, accounting for almost $16 billion in health care costs annually.” The same report went on to say, “If you are a sexually active MSM, you should request tests for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV at least once a year. More frequent STD testing , such as every 3-6 months, is recommended for men at high risk, including men who have multiple sex partners.” 
God doesn’t need to judge the nation with fire and brimstone from heaven or bombs and tanks from enemy nations—he can deliver a people over to depraved sins of the flesh to be prisoners in their own bodies. That is exactly what we see happening in America today. So what is the answer? Is it political policy? Is it psychology? Is it better self-esteem? Could it be wealth and greater privilege? What would solve the problems of such sin? The answer is rooted in Jesus Christ. While there is still hope, people must turn to Christ Jesus in repentance and believe that he took their sin on himself on the cross and suffered for the penalty and satisfied the righteous demand of God’s law.
There is still hope today. The door of salvation is not shut. One day, God will abandon such people to hell forever where there will be no hope. Run to Christ today. He loves to save sinners. Cast yourself upon his mercy and grace.
- David W. Jones and Andreas J. Köstenberger, God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 15.
- “California’s students will soon learn more LGBT history in schools” of the Los Angles Times, published on July 14th, 2016.
- See the 2016 History-Social Science Framework of the State Board of Education of California adopted on July 14, 2016—Chapter 5, “People Who Make a Difference.” – http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/hs/cf/sbedrafthssfw.asp [accessed 4-13-17].
- See the CDC report here (https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/factsheets/std-trends-508.pdf)