God Gave Them Over
By Chuck Bartlett
In conjunction with our first article, we need to understand that God will not make mankind follow Him. Our Father has given us more than enough evidence to prove His He does exist, meaning we are without excuse (Rom. 1:20). Still, our Creator leaves the choice in our hands via freewill. If people want to reject Him, so be it.
Having said that, consider Romans 1:28: “even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” This explains why so many think the gospel message is foolish. Those who reject His word are professing to be wise, but they are fools (Rom. 1:22). The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (I Cor. 1:27).
So what happens when someone develops a debased mind? The most dangerous result is that they become convinced that certain falsehoods are truth. For example, some are convinced that demon possession exists today. As Paul mentioned to the Roman brethren, people convinced themselves that sexual immorality was okay (Rom. 1:26-27). This is the result of a natural progression that starts when someone changes the true and living God into idols made by the hands of men (Rom. 1:23).
If someone develops a debased mind, can they break free of this and come back to the Lord? Yes! This is why we are redeemed by the blood of Christ (Eph. 1:7). It means we are brought back. The fact that we all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) means we all chose to reject God and instead do what we wanted. Those who choose to obey the gospel change their minds – that is what repentance means. We then put off that old man and put on the new man in baptism (Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-7). The debased mind has been put aside for a pure one.
Knowing all of this help encourage us to spread the good news. Let us never think that certain people are “made evil” or that the devil has taken away their free will to the degree that they cannot come back to the Lord. Those who do not obey are those who do not want to – it is as simple as that.
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