Romans 1:24 NASB
“Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.”
“Therefore” brings us back to the wrath of God earlier discussed in verse 18. All of the above issues of unrighteousness, suppression of truth, abandoning the worship of the One true God and worshipping the created and not the Creator brings God’s wrath upon mankind. This wrath is demonstrated by giving the Gentile over to their lusts. It’s like a total hands off approach by God, He sovereignly chooses to let them dig their heels in deeper and deeper in their depravity. Specifically, Paul addresses the impurity of the body with temple prostitution. This is in direct correlation to the last verse addressed where man was exchanging the worship of the Creator for things and animals. This continued thought brings about the impure acts that man engaged in with religious purposes. Later in verses 26-27 Paul will address the more common sexual impurity in the private life. This impurity is dealing with worship, which Paul was all to knowledgeable about, having visited many Gentile city’s where temple prostitution was all too common. It would be very similar to today’s worship of self and pleasure and engagement of porn. The method might look different, but mankind has a way of pushing God to the side and worshipping impure things.
Because God is just and He has limits to the grace he extends to people, He gives them up to their sin and they reap the consequences of it. Not just temporary consequences but eternal ones as well. We must understand, God is not unjust or unmerciful. He is withstanding of so much evil and sin in the world but there are times where it is so great, that He simply allows them to burn in their sin and reap the devastating consequences of it. It is also an act of mercy and love. As God allows sinful people to go further and further in their sin, not only do they receive everything they want and are justly accountable, but it can also be an opportunity for someone to hit rock bottom and see their need for a savior. Sometimes it takes living on the street, sticking needles in your arm to get that wake up call, that you need help from the sickness of sin inside you! We must not be angry with God in how He deals with people and sin. God doesn’t align Himself to our worldview. He doesn’t adopt new perspectives on culture and understanding of our feelings. He is holy and just, and in that holiness He extends mercy and also extends wrath upon those who are unwilling to come into covenant with Him. Maybe this seems harsh, but as we look throughout the Bible, this is how God deals with humanity. He is ever loving and forgiving and gives us more chances and grace then we deserve. But at some point, unbelief and unrighteousness are met with God’s holy wrath either in this life or the next, but surely and completely in the next.