Down here in Central Florida, where ICM is located, our summer afternoons always bring thunderstorms. Which is why Florida is the lightning capitol...Down here in Central Florida, where ICM is located, our summer afternoons always bring thunderstorms. Which is why Florida is the lightning capitol of the country, and Central Florida is in the middle of "Lightning Alley". And so it was last Friday afternoon, a lightning strike, and a power spike fried some circuits in my main development computer. Yes, the same computer used to manage, update, and maintain ICM's online campus. The damage requires a complete rebuild, and so some services may be delayed while repairs are done. Thank you for your patience. Show more
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Romans Chapter One - The Abandonment Judgement
A few years back, about the time the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages in...Romans Chapter One - The Abandonment Judgement
A few years back, about the time the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages in America, I posted a blog that examined Romans chapter one and God's abandonment judgement.
Five years later, I've yet to find another Book of Romans study that address the judgement, and yet, America's qualification is more profound today than it was five years ago when I first composed the post.
So, for today's Hot Topic discussion, we're going to revisit God's abandonment judgement found in Romans chapter one.
On June 26, 2015, in a 5-4 ruling by Justice Kennedy, the US Supreme Court ruled that the US constitution requires states to provide for same-sex marriage.
The topic of same-sex marriage is extremely polarizing with those holding to a biblical world view on one side and a secular world view on the other.
Of the commentary I’ve seen published from the biblical viewpoint, what I find the most disturbing is the dialog is focused on the acts of the individual because it misses the bigger picture.
It is true that the book of Romans addresses same-sex marriage and those subscribing to a biblical world view are quick to quote Romans 1:26-27 which says, "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error."
Alone, this verse is out of context with the bigger picture. It’s the bigger message that so many are apparently missing. Let me explain.
Note the plural pronouns in the above verses:
God gave them (PLURAL) over to degrading passions;
for their (PLURAL) women exchanged
also the men (PLURAL) abandoned
burned in their (PLURAL) desire
men (PLURAL) with men (PLURAL)
In fact, the only reference to the individual is “receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” meaning that each individual is accountable for their own choices, good or bad. I am not accountable for your bad choices and you are not accountable for mine.
So what is going on with all the plurality? Who are these verses speaking to?
The answer is the nation. God is speaking to a people also known as a nation. Throughout God’s Word, we see verses addressing the individual and other verses addressing a nation. In these verses, it is the nation God is addressing.
Now, let’s look at Roman 1:18-20 where we can see part of the bigger picture.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."
In these verses, God tells us that His divine nature is self-evident in creation. In other words, the proof of His divinity is so plain to see, literally staring you in the face, so-much-so that you have no excuse for not seeing it. All are without excuse.
The next ten verses, Romans 1:21-31, God’s word says that in spite of God’s self-evident nature, seen in creation, they (the nation) choose to indulge in their sinful passions anyway.
In the middle of listing all the sinful acts they (the nation) are engaged in, God says something very interesting. He says He will give them (the nation) over to their sin – but He doesn’t just say this once. God says this three times!
1 - Rom 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity,
2 - Rom 1:26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions;
3 - Rom 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind,
What does that mean – God gave them over? It means He’s leaving them to their sinful choice. He’s walking away, leaving them alone – He’s abandoning them.
This is a judgment – a penalty for willingly disregarding God’s word and choosing to act in rebellion. This is a judgment of abandonment.
Now remember all those verses with the plural pronouns? That is who this judgment applies to – not the individual, but the nation, a people.
At this point, you may be asking how an individual’s choice can bring a judgment on a nation? Clearly, verse 27 holds the individual responsible for their choices.
The answer is, it’s not the individual’s choice that qualifies a nation for the judgment of abandonment; it’s the nation’s condoning of sin – they’re giving their hearty approval of it. Look carefully at Romans 1:32: "and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."
Once again, we see the plural pronouns speaking to the nation. This verse says that despite the fact that God’s divine nature is self-evident in creation, and despite the fact that they (a nation) know and understand that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they (a nation) not only do it anyway, but they (a nation) give their hearty approval to those who practice them!
They (a nation) give their hearty approval to those who practice these sinful acts.
On June 26th, 2015 the United States of America, a nation, gave their hearty approval to same-sex marriage and celebrated their approval by flooding the White House in the colors of the Rainbow flag – the symbol of the gay and lesbian movement.
So, what does this mean for America? It means that as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold same-sex marriage, and subsequent celebration of that decision as seen in the White House photograph, America is now qualified for the abandonment judgment.
In my lifetime, America has always been a blessed nation. I believe this blessing manifests through abundance, provision, and favor. I believe America is realizing a birthright blessing that God promised many years ago, but that is a topic for a different post.
Now that America has undeniably qualified herself for the abandonment judgment, I think America is on a path that will gradually see less and less abundance, provision, and favor as God gives America over to her degrading passions.
While some celebrate the high court’s ruling, I am saddened by the path America’s leaders have chosen for this nation. Show more
Pay It Forward with ICM - Supporting ICM students has never been easier. With ICM's Pay-It-Forward program, you can pre-pay a course book, a...Pay It Forward with ICM - Supporting ICM students has never been easier. With ICM's Pay-It-Forward program, you can pre-pay a course book, a registration, or even a cup of coffee and a donut.
Pay it forward today by going to: www.icmcollege.org/payitforward Show more
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ICM Students, study notes and assignment questions for tomorrow's class are now available on this week's lesson page.
Dealing with Controlling People is ICM's hot video on YouTube with nearly 180,000 views.
In the video, Dr. Ray Self teaches on dealing with...Dealing with Controlling People is ICM's hot video on YouTube with nearly 180,000 views.
In the video, Dr. Ray Self teaches on dealing with controlling people in a Christian Counseling mini-lesson. Show more
Graduation is right around the corner. Watch this page for news and announcements as we celebrate the Class of 2019!