Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vile Passions, Natural Uses, and Receiving the Penalty

Romans 1:26-27 NKJV
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

This is a fairly controversial verse. The main arguments against it that Google told me were:
1. anti-homosexuality
2. promoting women as sexual objects

When we're looking at this verse, let's not forget to put it into context. Paul is talking about idolatry. He's saying that because people were idolaters, God let them go to do these kinds of things. But because so many people see this verse and think that God is not a loving God (FALSE!!!! He's a very loving God), we're going to look at it.

God 'gave them up to vile passions'. The NLT says "He abandoned them to their shameful desires". This is all apart of the free will thing. They were in 'vile passions' (homosexuality), but this was under the bigger heading of worshipping idols. God loved them, so He let them do what they wanted. They knew God's warnings about these things. But they ignored them and bent to their passions and desires. He didn't force them to be gay, He didn't force them away from Him. He just let them go. It was their choice to follow or not to follow God, just as we have a choice every day.

So the argument against the argument that this verse is for the oppression of women:
1. There are more uses for women than just sex, obviously. Paul specified 'natural use'. Thus, there must be other uses.
2. It could really be just the wording of the verse (I'm not sure about the Greek wording in this verse). The NIV states 'the men also abandoned the natural relations with women'. The NLT states 'instead of having normal sexual relations with women' .

So what do we have to learn from this verse today?

1. Consider a verse in context, and it's purpose in the passage. (for example, the purpose of this verse was to give an example of what God allowed these people to do when they left Him)
2. God didn't force these people away from Him, He just let them go.
3. Different verses reword things, so look at a few before you make a big life-changing decision on your own.

In His Service,

P.S. Let me know alternative opinions/things I left out in the comments.

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