How does God deal with us when we choose to live as though he doesn’t exist? It might surprise you to discover that God simply turns us over to our evil appetites (Romans 1:24-32). Maybe that doesn’t sound so bad. But it is. An episode of The Twilight Zone shows just how harmful it can be.
The story centers around a self-serving restaurant critic who dies without realizing it. After entering a smoke-filled restaurant, he orders his favorite meal. A moment later the waiter places several plates of food on the table. The critic devours the food and begs for more. Never has he tasted such delicious food! He consumes plateful after plateful until the table is stacked high with empty plates.
As the show closes, the camera backs away from the table and shows a room filled to the ceiling with stacks of plates. Even though he had eaten enough food to feed an army, his hunger wasn’t satisfied. It suddenly dawned on him that, no matter how much he ate, his craving for food would never be satisfied. In despair, he cries out. But it’s too late.
While that story doesn’t describe hell, it does describe how God judges us when we turn our back on him. Paul makes it clear that God has revealed himself to all men through creation. While there isn’t enough information about God in creation for a person to believe in Christ, there is enough to convince him God exists. If men respond to that revelation by turning away from God–then God will judge them. But his judgment won’t come in the way expected. God seldom strikes people with a bolt of lightning. Or, has the earth swallow us. His wrath, or judgment, normally comes in three ways.
First, he will hand us over to our base desires (vv. 24-25). Without God’s Spirit and Law to restrain us, we’ll be swept away by our impure appetites into a lifestyle of immorality. In order to justify our behavior, we’ll have to find a religious system that permits immorality. If we can’t find one, we’ll create it.
Second, God will give us over to “shameful lusts.” We’ll do those things we once considered abnormal and degrading. We’ll indulge in activities, which in the past, we would have hidden from others. Rather than choosing healthy sexual relationships, men and women alike will indulge themselves in “indecent acts” with one another. Ultimately, our own unbridled passions will destroy us.
Finally, God will hand us over to a “depraved mind.” Once that happens, we won’t be able to tell right from wrong! Paul lists twenty-one examples of such thinking. He climaxes his discussion with a shocking statement. Those with a depraved mind know their behavior displeases God. They know God’s judgment will fall upon them. Yet, not only do they continue in their lifestyle, they applaud others who live the same way.
Paul’s words are sobering. If we choose to turn our back on God, he won’t stand in the way. Instead, he’ll hand us over to our base appetites. Like the man who found himself in the twilight zone, we’ll discover appetites which can’t be satisfied, no matter how much we feed them.
In the context of Paul’s letter to the Romans, the apostle wants us to know that sin is serious. It’s progressive. It’s deadly. But as the rest of the letter points out, there is forgiveness and freedom in Christ. Thank God!
Nice read Bill,
Your analogy is right on. Time after time I am confronted with the desire to excel, to do better, to be the best and yes some of this desire is healthy but can cause one to be consumed. Only Jesus Christ can fully satisfy the heart, mind, body, and soul. This is why it is the first command from God and Christ…Love Him. Fully desire to love and be obedient to Christ for only He can satisfy the most intense desire. Only He knows our hearts and can give us what it desires the most…..Him.
Your brother in Christ
your article reminded me of a very dear to my heart individual that years ago I subscribed to your site for. His name is Mike and he has a terrible meth problem. I went with him for years and didn’t know he was an addict. With the addiction he had a problem with porn. When things didn’t move forward for us with his addiction he got involved with a very ungodly woman. So much so that she puts herself on the internet on many sites. I have put my feelings aside and got him to Teen Challenge 2 times and he left after 2 weeks the first time and 6 weeks the second time to be with her. He did well in the program and was well liked. When he came back this time he came to me after being with her the week and told me he didn’t know what he saw in her and realized the truth about her and he loved me ect.He also seemed to have wisdom and understanding and enlightment to the truths of Gods word this time. He knew that the Lord would not be with him if he lived immorally. I told him unless he went back for the year to TC I couldn’t have anything to do with him personally.He said he would go back if they would take him. Then he went to work at a place very close to the drug dealers work place and I knew he was not strong and warned him . He is a very talented mechanic. I didn’t hear anything after going to see him at his work a couple of times. After a month of his mom and I not hereing from him I called his work and found out he was back with her and i am sure back on meth. The guy said that about every other day she throws his cloths all over the parking lot. The guy said he hadn’t seen him since saturday and it was wednesday and that he was constantly borrowing money. He has no self control and I am sure headed for disaster. Should I if he gets in touch with me not be there this time. I am very close to his mom in california and she saved my home from foreclosure a couple of years ago and I will do anything for her . I am 58 and have 4 grown children and 2 grandchildren and am divorced for about 10 yrs. My husband was an alcohlic. Mike has never been married and is 46yrs old. I pray for him daily. He has so much potential and would be a wonderful guy if he would be obedient. Please pray for Mike. Thankyou. Jane
Bil, thank you for this wakeup call. I fear I am between 1 & 2, headed for 3. Please pray that I will increase my awareness of where i am and the danger i’m in. I know i must change before things crash around me. Thanks for your prayers and guidance on this.