Exchanging the truth of God for a lie
Ever since the creation of the world,
(God’s) invisible attributes
of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived
in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse;
for although they knew God
they did not accord him glory as God
or give him thanks.
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
and revered and worshiped the creature
rather than the creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen.
As we listen to what Saint Paul says here, we dare not hold ourselves aloof. We may believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy undeservedly his grace, but we are sinners and strive by the grace of Christ for ever greater perfection. Thus we should let Saint Paul’s challenging words challenge us and help us check our own consciences.
Saint Paul does not relent in the rest of this chapter, following after the passage given in the Lectionary today. Indeed, Saint Paul becomes extremely frank.
As we read these words, it is critically important that none of us become distracted by any one thing that Saint Paul specifies here. Saint Paul may begin by addressing homosexual activity, but he speaks of many sins and we are all sinners, no matter what our particular temptations may or may not be. It is spiritually deadly to dismiss Saint Paul’s warnings and rationalize our own behavior, no matter what it may be. It is also foolish to think that Saint Paul’s words apply only to “those other people.”
Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.
Again, Saint Paul has begun by addressing homosexual activity, but he speaks of many sins in this passage and we are all sinners, no matter what our particular temptations may or may not be. It is spiritually deadly to dismiss Saint Paul’s warnings and rationalize our own behavior, no matter what it may be. It is also foolish to think that Saint Paul’s words apply only to “those other people.”
Saint Paul’s words here can apply to all of us.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper.
They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite.
They are gossips and scandalmongers and they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents.
They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
No matter who we are, no matter what we do or what we have done, no matter what our temptations or preferences, God loves us and calls us to strive, by the grace of Christ, to live according to the truth He gives us and to follow Him faithfully, charitably, and persistently in this world on paths that lead to the eternal life of the world to come.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, be merciful to me - a sinner.