As we continue to study the devastating moral regression predicted in Romans 1 when men suppress the truth they have about God, there is a troubling phrase found in verses 24, 26 and 28; “God gave them over.”
Each time this is said it’s followed by more devastating moral regression in behavior and attitude. What does this mean? Since God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone, as stated in James 1:13, it’s clear He is not forcing the consequences described. He restrains evil and evil consequences. This is stated in 2 Thessalonians 2:7. But if we freely choose to turn from God to our own devices, He will give us space, back away some and withdraw His restraining power.
He will not fully withdraw at first. His desire is for us to see the folly of our rebellion and repent. But if we arrogantly continue to go our own way He will withdraw His restraint some more. The intensifying degradation should convince us to repent and plead for His grace. But if we persist in our rebellion God honors our freedom by giving us over to what we want.
It’s not what He wants for us, but He doesn’t force Himself on us. His judgment is to let us experience the devastating consequences of our own rebellious attitude and acts. Though there is hope offered while we are alive, there is coming a day when God will seal our choice and destiny.
As the poet Whittier once wrote, “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, it might have been.” So ask yourself, Is what I’m pursuing more important to me than God