“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:”

         Literally:  “therefore; because of this”–Because they were unwilling to retain God in their knowledge, and chose to worship idols. 

Here is traced the practical tendency of heathenism (paganism); not as an innocent and harmless system, but as resulting in the most gross and shameless acts of depravity. 

“God also gave them up”–This might also be stated, “God handed them over,” to the consequences of their folly, and there followed an awful moral degradation which is now being described.  Their false religion was no check upon their lusts.

         They engaged in the lowest and most disgusting lusts. As a punishment for their sins in thus dishonoring Him, God abandoned them to the dominion of corrupt desires, appetites, and passions; and suffered them to commit the vilest abominations to their ruin.The human language cannot describe the pollution of the Gentile world, when Paul wrote, as revealed by the pagan writers of that period.  In his book, The A Problem of Pain,   C.S.Lewis says the lost, ”enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded, and are therefore self-enslaved.” 
         Simply speaking: sin begets sin, and darkness of mindhis is the wrath of God.  The more a man sins, the easier it is to sin until he does not even   know that he is sinning any more. Because they had so blatantly departed from God, He then departed from them.  This is what is now happening to the United States of America, a nation that was founded on His holiness as taught in the Judaic-Christian teaching; a nation that once knew and honored Him, but now has turned against Him and is persecuting those who still believe in Him. 
         God does not stay where He is not wanted; He does not force Himself on anyone, so He has given America up to its desires.  He has simply left this country, like He did with Samson after he allowed himself to be barbered by Delilah.  He has simply taken His protective hand off this country.  In effect, He has said, “You don’t want Me, then try to get along without Me.”

“to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts,”
Literally:  “to license in the lust of {their} hearts”– They had filled up the measure of their iniquities, and God, by permitting them to plunge into all manner of irregularities, thus, by one species of sin, inflicted punishment on another.

In consequence of their own evil and depraved passions and desires. God left them to act out their depraved affections and inclinations. Notice that when man is delivered from Divine restraint, the lusts of his heart plunge him ever deeper into bodily uncleanness. 

           LUSTS:  (Grk.–epithumia)–Literally:  “desires”  This is really the key word in this passage.  Aristotle desfined epithumia as, “a reaching out after pleasure;” while the Stoics defined it as, ‘a reaching after pleasure which defies all reason.”

        Simply speaking, epithumia is the passionate desire for forbidden pleasure.  It is the desire which makes people do nameless and shameless things to satisfiy their desires.  Donald Grey Barnhouse defined it as the way of life of those who have become so completely immersed in the world that they have ceased to be aware of God.
        There are men today who are on their way to skid row, even though they are still living in nice homes.  They are on their way; it is just a matter of time.  Your soul can get so accustomed  to smut that it no longer bothers you the same as your body can get used to dirt. 
         That is the wrath of God in operation.  God does all in His power to love and lead men, but He will not coerce because love is not coercive.  If a man insists on having his own way–“all we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way…” (Isa. 53:6), God will finally step aside to that man’s anarchy and insubordination.  He will do so reluctantly.  God’s wrath may simply be defined as man left to himself; no restraints, no inhibitions.

       UNCLEANNESS: (Grk.–akatharsian)–Impurity, or moral defilement; particularly to those impurities which Paul proceeds to specify, (v. 26 and on). 

Ungodliness and uncleanness are frequently joined; as are the knowledge of God and purity.  Man’s degeneration is measured by his perversion of sex. While many churches in our day are espousing, or defending, sexual perversion instead of condemning it, God says He has given them up to such.  Idolatry and gross immorality are the bitter fruits of rejecting God’s revelation.

         “to dishonor”
         Literally: “to be dishonored”–To disgrace. Paul goes into this more in vv. 26-     27.

between themselves”
Literally: “Among themselves;” or mutually. They did it by un-lawful and impure connections with one another. Of themselves, of their own free accord; none inciting, no one compelling.  They did it by unlawful and impure connections with one another.

“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever.  Amen.”

“Who changed the truth of God”
Literally: “Who exchanged the truth of God into the lie”–Those who first became idolaters literally changed the truth of God into a lie: they knew the true God, but they put idols in His place.  By giving up the worship of the great unseen God to worship an idol; a creature,  rather than the Creator. 

There is but One real or true God, and all others are false. In the place of the true worship of God, they established idolatry. In various places of Scripture idols are termed lies (Isa. 44:20; Jer. 10:14; 13:25).

          CHANGED:  (Grk.–metêllassō)–Literally: “exchanging trade; to exchange one thing for another.”  Used in the N.T. only here and verse 26.

“truth of God”This is a Hebrew phrase meaning, “the true God.”  The idea is that they turned from God to Satan, the author of the lie and the father of lies Matt. 8:48).  This is idolatry which led to the lowest depths of moral degradation.

“into a lie”
Literally:  “for the lie.” The expression used in II Thess, 2:11, which is speaking of what takes place to men left here after the Rapture  (taking out; translation) of all true believers takes place– “For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a (better:  the) lie”–II Thess. 2:11. 

         In II Thess. 2:11 we see that God sends to those who have refused the love of the truth a working of error, a delusion, so they believe, “the lie” of Satan and antichrist.  This verse totally debunks that heresy that is being taught in a series of popular books and movies that after the Rapture men will realize their mistake and then turned to Christ. There is not a shred of truth to such an idea. THERE WILL BE NO SECOND CHANCE for those who have rejected Christ and are left behind after the Rapture takes place.  God will give them this delusion so that they believe the “big lie” of Satan, and will follow antichrist.
         In the place of the true worship of God, truth rejecting men established idolatry.  In various places of Scripture idols are termed as lies (Isa. 44:20; Jer. 10:14; 13:25) because they are not true representations of God.  

        WORSHIPED: (Grk.–sebasomai)–Literally: “to honor religiously; reverenced”–Worship is inward; generally. In the place of the true worship of God, they established idolatry.  In various places of Scripture idols are termed lies. Isaiah 44:20; Jeremiah 10:14;   13:25.

“served the creature more than the Creator”–This is the second reference to men rejecting     God as the Creator.  The first reference, or allusion, is in v. 21.  Professing merely to worship the Creator by means of the creature, they soon came to lose sight of the Creator in the creature.

          SERVED:  (Grk.–latreuō)–Literally: “to render religious service or homage”–Served  is outward, where worship is inward.  Refers to worship through special rites or sacrifices. 

          CREATURE:  (Grk.–ktis)–Literally: “creation; created things.”  Men began to worship what was created instead of The One who did the creating.  They reject the creating God; they denied His creating.  This is the sin what is taking place in America now, replacing the study of a creating God, and instead worshiping evil-lution.

        MORE:  (Grk.–para)–Literally:  “alongside; beside;” hence: “rather than.”          Placed side by side God, they preferred the creatures that He had made. “More than the Creator” indicates passing by the Creator altogether; not merely giving preference to the creature.  The terrible thing about sin is its power to give rise to further sin.

“Who is blessed to the ages.” 
 Literally:  “Who is blessed forever”–The true God was known among the primitive inhabitants of the earth, those who first became idolaters literally changed the truth of God into a lie.  They did know the true God, but they put idols in His place.  “the creature”—    created things. 

         Professing merely to worship the Creator by means of the creature, they soon came to lose sight of the Creator in the creature. At first, idols may have been designed to be only representations, but they ultimately became objects of worship. Just so, the images in Roman Catholic churches were intended at first as helps in worship, but have become to great multitudes that are really nothing more than idols.  It was not uncommon to add a doxology, or ascription of praise to God, when His Name was mentioned (see 9:5; II Cor. 11:31; Gal. 1:6).
         The Jews also usually did it. In this way they preserved veneration for the name of God, and accustomed themselves to speak of him with reverence. 

            BLESSED:  (Grk.–ēlogētos)–From two Greek words:  ēu–meaning, “well” and   legō–  meaning, “to speak.”  Thus we see that this really means “to speak well of” of a person, “to eulogize.”   Our English word, “eulogy” is derived from this word.    

         “Amen”–This is a Hebrew word denoting strong affirmation;  “so let it be; let it be so.”  

It implies here the solemn assent of the writer to what was just said; or his strong wish that what he had said might be–that the name of God might be esteemed and be blessed forever. The mention of the degrading idolatry of the heathens was strongly calculated to impress on his mind the superior excellency and glory of the one living God.


“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.”

“For this cause”
Literally: “because of this”–Because of the apostasy just mentioned in verse 25.  On account of what had just been specified:

  1.   That they were unthankful,
  2.   That they became polytheists and idolaters.

In the previous verses Paul had stated their speculative belief; but here he now proceeds to show its practical influences on their conduct. Their system of idolatry necessarily produced all kinds of impurity.  How could it be otherwise, when the highest objects of their worship were adulterers, fornicators, and prostitutes of the most infamous kind, such as Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, Venus, etc.?  Of the abominable evils with which the apostle charges the Gentiles in this and the following verse.   We could produce a multitude of proofs from their own writings; but it is needless to make the subject plainer than the apostle has left it.

         “God gave them up”–He abandoned them to their own desires.  This is the second time this phrase has been used.  The first time being in v. 24.  Keep in mind that whenever the Word of God repeats something, it is for emphasis.

This shows to the depths that men will fall when they turn their backs on God. Their system of idolatry necessarily produced all kinds of impurity.  How could it be otherwise, when the highest objects of their worship were adulterers, fornicators, and prostitutes of the most infamous kind, such as Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, Venus, etc.? Of the abominable evils with which Paul charges the Gentiles in this and the following verse I could produce a multitude of proofs from their own writings; but it is not possible to make the subject any  plainer than Paul has left it.

“unto vile affections”
Literally: “To passions of dishonor.”  To such vile, shameless, sensual indulgence, that   cannot now be named.  The divine punishment was so severe that they were given over to a c
ondition, and not merely to an evil desire.

The sodomy referred to here was common in the first century among the Greeks and Romans, and is often spoken of without a sense of shame by their writers. It was prohibited neither by religion nor law, and was acknowledged without shame.  Such things to which the heathen Romans were then abandoned to the last degree; and none worse than the emperors themselves.

            VILE:  (Grk.–atimia)–Literally:  “disgraceful; dishonor; shame; humiliation.”

           AFFECTIONS: (Grk.–pathēma)–Literally: “passions; affection that is     ungovernable.”–Passions of dishonor.  The root word pathos is an old word from the Greek verb paschô, meaning “to experience.” This word originally meant any feeling, whether good    or bad, but in the N.T. it is always in bad sense as it is here, (see 1Thess. 4:5; Col. 3:5–only other N.T. examples). 

         This seems to indicate that they were given over by God to a condition, and not just to an evil desire. The great object of Paul here is to show the state of the heathen world, and to prove that they had need of some other way of justification than the law of nature.  For this purpose, it was necessary for Paul to enter into a detail of their sins. The sins which he proceeds to specify are the most indelicate, vile, and degrading which can be charged on man. Because they existed, it was necessary for Paul to charge them on the pagan world. His argument would not be complete without him doing so.
         The shame is not in naming them, but in their very existence; not in Paul for naming them, but in those who practiced them, and imposed on him the necessity of accusing them of these enormous offences. The mere fact of his charging them with these sins is strong presumptive proof of their being practiced.

“for even their women”
Literally:  “For even their females.”  Evidence of the shameful and disgraceful fact here charged on the women is abundant in the Greek and Roman writers such as Seneca, Martial, Lucian and Tertullian.  Paul does not even use the word for “women, ” instead, he just     refers to them as, “females.”

         Woman, those whom God had meant to be the purer, the more modest, of the sexes, may have desires less ardent; but it is significant that as a woman took the lead in sin, so we find here women taking the lead over men in depravity.  Even these heathen spoke out against such actions.  The degradation of sex is one of the results of heathenism (the loss of God in the life of man). Today, as America becomes more pagan and anti-Christian, lesbianism has become prevalent and openly practiced, as well as sodomy.
       What a fearful account is here!  A lost race plunging ever deeper into depravity, by their own desire!  Left in shameful, horrid bondage, unashamed—not merely immoral, but un-moral; hideous depravity.  Few realize what is going on right here in America, in these last days.

“did change the natural use into that which is against nature.”
Literally: “changed the natural use to that contrary to nature”–The beginning of lesbianism.

       CHANGED: (Grk.–metêllassō)–Literally: “exchanging trade; to exchange one thing for another.”  We saw this word also used in  verse 25.

“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one towards another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

“likewise also the men”
Literally:  “And likewise, the males.”  The sin which is here specified is homosexuality;  that which was the shameful sin of Sodom, and which from there has been called sodomy.

         Again we see the special word that Paul uses to describe them.  He uses the word for “males,” (arsenes), instead of the word for “men” (anthrōpos).  Paul did not even consider those who practiced those who practiced such habits worthy to be called “men;” just simply, “males.”
         It would scarcely be credible that man had been guilty of a crime so base and so degrading, unless there was ample and full testimony to it. Perhaps there is no sin which so deeply shows the depravity of man as this; none which would so much induce one “to hang his head, and blush to think himself a man.” And yet the evidence that Paul did not bring a railing accusation against the heathen world, that he did not advance a charge which was unfounded, is too painfully clear. It has been indeed a matter of controversy whether pæderasty, (the love of boys), among the ancients, was not a pure and harmless love, but the evidence is against it. It seems that sodomy and pedafilia have always run together.

            LIKEWISE:  (Grk.–omoiōs)–Literally:  “in the same way, so, too.”–This indicates that the men fell into this depravity after the women had done so.  They were following the   lead of their women, just as Adam following the lead of Eve into sin.

         The crime with which Paul charges the Gentiles here was by no means confined to the lower classes of the people. It doubtless pervaded all classes, and we have distinct specifications of its existence in a great number of cases.  Maximus Tyrius (Diss. 10) says, that in the time of Socrates this vice was common among the Greeks; and is at pains to vindicate Socrates from it as almost a solitary exception.   Xenophon wrote, that “the unnatural love of boys is so common, that in many places it is established by the public laws.”
         Aristotle said that among the Cretians there was even a law encouraging that sort of unnatural love. (Arist. Politic. b. ii. ch. 10.) Among the Romans, to whom Paul was writing, this vice was just as common. It appears from what Seneca says, (epis. 95,) that in his time it was practiced openly at Rome, and without shame. He speaks of flocks and troops of boys, distinguished by their colors and nations; and says that great care was taken to train them up for this detestable employment. The Roman Emperor Nero was known for keeping a covey of small boys for his own pleasure. 

         “burned in their lust one toward another”
         Literally:  “burned in their lust toward one another”–

            BURNED:  (Grk.–ekkaiō)–Literally meaning, “to burn out.”  This indicates a rage of lust.  A.T. Robertson describes this as, “to inflame with lust.”  This points to an all out campaign to satisfy their lusts.

           LUST:  (Grk.–orechis)–Here Paul does not use the usual Greek word for lust  (epithumia),  which means, “a passionate craving.”  Instead  he uses the word that means, “an eager desire; extreme appetite.   

         “working that which is unseemly.”
         Literally: “The shamefulness.”  That which is shameful, or disgraceful.

           WORKING:  (Grk.–katergazomai)–Meaning: “to perform, accomplish, achieve, to do that from which something results, to carry to its ultimate conclusion.”

            UNSEEMLY:  (Grk.–aschēmosunē)–Meaning: “disfigurement, want of form,   shame, nakedness, deformed.”

“receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”
Literally:  “receiving back within themselves the reward which was fitting”–The effect of such base and unnatural passions was to weaken the body, to produce premature old age,    disease, decay, and early death.

         That this is the effect of the indulgence of licentious passions, may be  proved by the history of man. The despots who practice polygamy, and keep harems in the east, are commonly dissipated at forty years of age; and it is well known, even in Christian countries, that the effect of licentious indulgence is to break down and destroy the constitution. How much more might this be expected to follow the practice of the vice specified in the verse under examination!
         Both the women and men, by their unnatural actions, drained their bodies so that barrenness prevailed, and those disorders which are necessarily attendant on prostitution and sodomy practices.  Our medical profession is even now seeing all sorts of medical problems that are associated with this practice of sodomy and other homosexual  practices.

            RECEIVING: (Grk.–aschêmosunê)–Since the time of the Romans and the Greeks, as if  there had not been sufficient restraints before, God has originated a new   disease; diseases such   as syphilis and other various forms of venereal diseases; and now we have “Aids” infecting mankind for such practices.

            RECOMPENCE:  (Grk.–antimisthian)–A reward given in compensation, requital. This word refers to the natural result of their sin which pays them back for what they have  done, as a person  says who contemplates doing something wrong:  “I suppose going to pay for  this.”

            ERROR:  (Grk.–aplanê)–Meaning, “a wandering, roving,” thus, “a deviation.”

           MEET:  (Grk.–edei)–Meaning, “a necessity in the nature of the case.”  The evil consequences were necessary as ordained by divine law.  When you violate nature, you must pay the price.