24. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:
24. Propterea tradidit illos Deus in cupiditates cordium suorum in immunditiem, ut ignominia afficerent corpora sua in seipsis:
25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
25. Qui transmutarunt veritatem ejus in mendacium et coluerunt ac venerati sunt creaturam supra, Creatorem, qui est benedictus in secula: Amen.
26. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
26. Propterea, inquam, tradidit illos Deus in passiones ignominiosas: ac enim feminæ ipsorum transmutarunt natura- lem usum in eum qui est præter naturam:
27. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another: men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
27. Similiter et viri quoque, amisso naturali usu feminæ, exarserunt mutua libidine, alii in alios; masculi in masculis fœditatem per petrantes et quam decebat erroris sui mercedem in seipsis recipientes.
28. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
28. Et quemadmodum non probaverunt Deum habere in notitia, tradidit illos Deus in reprobam mentem, ad facienda quæ non decerent;
29. Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
29. Ut essent pleni omni injustitia, nequitia, libidine, avaritia, malitia; referti invidia, homicidio, contentione, dolo, perversitate; susurrones,
30. Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
30. Obtrectatores, osores Dei, malefici, contumeliosi, fastuosi, repertores malorum, parentibus immorigeri,
31. Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
31. Intelligentiæ expertes, insociabiles, affectu humanitatis carentes, fœdifragi, sine misericordiæ sensu;
32 Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
32. Qui, quum Dei judicium cognoverint, quod qui talia agunt, digni sunt morte, non tantum ea faciunt, sed assentiuntur facientibus.
What then, in short, he proves to us is this, -- that the ingratitude of men to God is incapable of being excused; for it is manifest, by unequivocal evidences, that the wrath of God rages against them: they would have never rolled themselves in lusts so filthy, after the manner of beasts, had not the majesty of God been provoked and incensed against them. Since, then, the worst abominations abounded everywhere, he concludes that there existed among them evidences of divine vengeance. Now, as this never rages without reason, or unjustly, but ever keeps within the limits of what is right, he intimates that it hence appears that perdition, not less certain than just, impended over all.
As to the manner in which God gives up or delivers men to wickedness, it is by no means necessary in this place to discuss a question so intricate, (longam -- tedious.) It is indeed certain, that he not only permits men to fall into sin, by allowing them to do so, and by conniving at them; but that he also, by his equitable judgment, so arranges things, that they are led and carried into such madness by their own lusts, as well as by the devil. He therefore adopts the word, give up, according to the constant usage of Scripture; which word they forcibly wrest, who think that we are led into sin only by the permission of God: for as Satan is the minister of God's wrath, and as it were the executioner, so he is armed against us, not through the connivance, but by the command of his judge. God, however, is not on this account cruel, nor are we innocent, inasmuch as Paul plainly shows, that we are not delivered up into his power, except when we deserve such a punishment. Only we must make this exception, that the cause of sin is not from God, the roots of which ever abide in the sinner himself; for this must be true,
"Thine is perdition, O Israel; in me only is thy help."
(Hosea 13:9) 1
By connecting the desires or lusts of man's heart with uncleanness, he indirectly intimates what sort of progeny our heart generates, when left to itself. The expression,
It is not to the purpose to say, that every one was not laden with so great a mass of vices; for in arraigning the common baseness of men, it is proof enough if all to a man are constrained to acknowledge some faults. So then we must consider, that Paul here records those abominations which had been common in all ages, and were at that time especially prevalent everywhere; for it is marvelous how common then was that filthiness which even brute beasts abhor; and some of these vices were even popular. And he recites a catalogue of vices, in some of which the whole race of man were involved; for though all were not murderers, or thieves, or adulterers, yet there were none who were not found polluted by some vice or another. He calls those disgraceful passions, which are shameful even in the estimation of men, and redound to the dishonoring of God.
But it is labor in vain so to connect these vices, as to make them dependent one on another, since this was not Paul's design; but he set them down as they occurred to his mind. What each of them signifies, we shall very briefly explain.
29. Understand by
30. The word
"They boast when they do evil," (Proverbs 2:14.)
"She has spread out her feet,
and gloried in her wickedness," (Ezekiel 16:25.)
For he who is ashamed is as yet healable; but when such an impudence is contracted through a sinful habit, that vices, and not virtues, please us, and are approved, there is no more any hope of reformation. Such, then, is the interpretation I give; for I see that the Apostle meant here to condemn something more grievous and more wicked than the very doing of vices: what that is I know not, except we refer to that which is the summit of all wickedness, -- that is, when wretched men, having cast away all shame, undertake the patronage of vices in opposition to the righteousness of God.
1 On this subject Augustine, as quoted by Poole, uses a stronger language than which we find here: -- Tradidit non solum per patientiam et permissionem, sed per potentiam et quasi actionem; non faciendo voluntates malas, sed eis jam malis utendo ut voluerit; multa et intra ipsos et exrtra ipsos operando, a quibus illi occasionem capiunt gravius peccandi; largiendo illis admonitiones, flagella, beneficia, etc., quibus quoque eos scivit Deus ad suam perniciem abusuros -- "He delivered them up, not only by sufferance and permission, but by power, and as it were by an efficient operation; not by making evil their wills, but by using them, being already evil, as he pleased; by working many things both within and without them, from which they take occasion to sin more grievously, by giving them warnings, scourges, benefits, etc., which God knew they would abuse to their own destruction." -- This is an awful view of God's proceedings towards those who willfully resist the truth, but no doubt a true one. Let all who have the opportunity of knowing the truth tremble at the thought of making light of it.
God also on this account delivered them up to the lusts of their own hearts to work uncleanness, that they might dishonor their bodies among themselves.
The import of
2 The words, "the truth of God," and "falsehood," or, a lie, are Hebraistic in their meaning, signifying "the true God," and "an idol." The word, which means a lie, is often in Hebrew applied to any thing made to be worshipped. See Isaiah 44:17, compared with 20; Jeremiah 13:25. Stuart renders the sentence, "Who exchanged the true God for a false one." Wolfius objects to this view, and says, "I prefer to take
3 There is a correspondence between the words
"To acknowledge God" is literally "to have God in recognition
4 The two words are
6 Improperly rendered "debate" in our version --
7 In our versions "malignity;" by Macknight, "bad disposition;" and by Doddridge, "inveteracy of evil habits." Schleusner thinks that it means here "malevolence." -- Ed.
9 The three words,
10 Unsociabiles --
To preserve the same negative according to what is done in Greek, we may render Romans 1:31 as follows: --
31. Unintelligent, unfaithful, unnatural, unappeasable, unmerciful. -- Ed.
11 Calvin has "justitiam" here, though "judicium" is given in the text. -- Ed.