Sermon: Vile Affections (Romans 1:26-32)

Romans 1:26-32: Vile Affections
Douglas Wilson
Christ Church – Moscow, ID
A.D. December 14, 2008

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Recall that we have learned that the wrath of God is revealed in the world, and it is revealed as God “lets go”of a culture, allowing them to run headlong into various suicidal and fruitless practices. In this text, we find a deepening expansion of the point Paul has already made.

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Rom. 1:26-32).

The wrath of God, considered in this light, is certainly not limited to homosexual practices. But Paul certainly
places that particular perversion at the center of his argument. Notice that men do not embrace vile affections, despite everything that God could do. No, it says that God “gave them up unto” these vile affections (v. 26). The reason we have gay pride parades is that God is doing something to us. As a result, Paul argues, even the women gave up the natural use of man (v. 26). And the men did the same, turning in unseemly desire toward one another (v. 27). Just as they did not want to retain God in their knowledge, so God let them not retain Him in their knowledge (v. 28). As a result, they then filled up with all kinds of spiritual sludge (vv. 29-31). Sins are like grapes; they come in bunches. This happened despite the fact that they knew it to be the judgment of God (v. 32). This means their suppression of the knowledge of God did not really work. They did not want to retain the knowledge of God, but they still knew the judgment of God (v. 32). That judgment is that sin warrants death, as they well know, but they insist on becoming cheerleaders for that way of death (v. 32).

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