28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 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.
As I write this, I am currently feeling physically sick to my stomach. It is not due to my own illness but an illness that exists in our world. I use an app on my phone that gathers news stories that might be of interest to me. Sometimes it is accurate to my tastes, and sometimes it is not. A couple of days ago, it randomly pulled up an article that I immediately moved past because I could not believe what I saw and was not about to read it. It was an article about a new Japanese television game show that’s premise is contestants who try to sing while sex acts are performed on them. I am both appalled and sickened by the depravity behind the production of such a show and the fact that it must have a market or they would not have created it.
You might ask, “Why are we talking about this? It makes me uncomfortable.” I agree, but unfortunately this is our world, and we need to view it properly. I had a conversation recently with some students struggling with God’s judgement on the world and whether it was just. The answer from Romans 1 is a resounding, “Yes!” This is precisely the point Paul is trying to make. Not only has our world as a whole condemned itself by our own actions, but we are always inventing new ways of rejecting the will of our Creator and King and indulging in our own desires. To make matters worse, we don’t just participate in these deeds, but we applaud the inventors of evil and shower them with awards and recognition.
As much as we may enjoy spending time with our neighbors and friends, we must not be lulled into believing that there is real goodness there. Because of the nasty effects of sin, we live in a world of depravity and immorality. The only things that are holding most back from unfettered immorality are laws and social pressure, both of which are deteriorating. The answer is not for us to join in the applause but instead to demonstrate the truth of a life transformed (this is the message of Romans 2-8). That is the only hope for us. That is the only hope for our neighbors, friends, nation, and world.
May we “hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Rom. 12:9) and be “alert and sober” (1 Thess. 5:6) in a world spiraling downward.
* All quotes from www.commonsensemedia.org.