Those Who Suppress the Truth End Up Serving Their Own Desires
Thinking about Romans 1:24–25.
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:24–25)
When the Gentile world rejected the incorruptible God and served corruptible idols, they also began to live however they wanted.
When you make your own god, you also get to decide what your god approves and condemns.
God gave them up to uncleanness.
Once they had their own gods, it’s no surprise their idol gods would “allow” them to practice whatever their hearts desired.
Sexual immorality was common in pagan worship. Sacred temple prostitutes, both men and women, were regular participants in the fertility rites. In the dining halls of the temples, banquets were held; and, after a night of feasting and heavy drinking, young boys and girls were brought out for the pleasure of the guests. — Pollard, Truth for Today Commentary, 61
They had decided to pursue such immoral things — so God “gave them up” to the moral impurity they wanted. While God did not want them to pursue such evil, and He certainly had not been the cause of their decision (James 1:13–14), He allowed them to make their own choices.
When men are not held in restraint by a feeling of personal responsibility to God nor by associating with those who do honor God, their passions become the controlling force in their lives; they plunge into all sorts of immoralities, and they dishonor their bodies among themselves. — Whiteside, Romans, 35
The Gentile world exchanged the truth for a lie.
This was not an accidental exchange. They had the truth and suppressed it. They knew the truth and intentionally exchanged what was true for a lie.
They preferred worshipping and exalting the creature and the created rather than the Creator.
It was Santayana who urged people to love truth as a concept before they sought for truth on specific issues. A good piece of advice for if we don’t embrace truth as sacred before we make a search on specific issues we’re liable to reject some specific truths because we don’t like when we find them. — McGuiggan, Romans, 82
Are we only concerned about the truth when the truth supports our point of view? Or is the truth the entire goal of our pursuit?
Paul pointed out that the Gentile world set aside truth when the truth no longer supported what they wanted to do. They preferred to accept a lie that allowed them to do whatever they pleased than listen to the truth.
The Lord God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked but desires that the wicked person turns from their evil ways (Ezekiel 33:11).
Paul is not describing how evil the Gentile world had become to make the Christians in Rome feel superior to the Gentile world. He wasn’t saying, “See how awful they are and how noble we are!”
Paul demonstrates the depths to which sin will drag a person. As he will show later in Romans, the gospel of Christ is for such a one as he has been describing in Romans 1.
He is showing the need that everyone has for the gospel of Jesus Christ.