God gave them up... Romans 1:26
The second half of the first chapter of Paul's letter to the Romans is one of the saddest portions in the whole of Scripture. Paul is about to expound the grand doctrine of justification by faith. But before he does so, he paints in black colours the devastating effects of sin and disobedience go God. If you are unfamiliar with the passage, please read Romans 1:18-32 before you read on.
As I write the first cases of AIDS have been reported in Australia. Much still needs to be known about this disease, but it seems evident that infection with HIV, with its horrific spread and devastating effects, is associated with the misuse of our sexuality by both men and women, as described in Romans 1:24-27. Further, promiscuity (both hetero- and homosexual) accounts for the involvement of both innocent and guilty. Together with the debasing of parenthood and the breakdown of family life so prevalent in our permissive society, it fills hospital beds and saps national resources. The God who made us - including our sexuality - is the God who inspired the Scriptures, and it should be no surprise to find that disobedience to his commands in this area leads to sad and terrible effects in our bodies and in society.
As we think of these matters, there are two great Biblical principles which we need to keep firmly in mind. The first is that stated by the apostle Paul in Galatians 6:7 (NEB): 'God is not to be fooled: a man reaps what he sows'. This principle is as true in human life as it is in agriculture. We need to be careful in all that we do, as we shall surely reap what we sow.
The second is the wonderful truth stated by the apostle John in 1 John 1:8 -- 'The blood of Jesus, his son, cleanses us from all sin'. 'All sin' includes the sins that Paul wrote about in Romans 1. When he wrote to the church in Corinth, Paul again listed some of those sins, which were so characteristic of the great pagan temple cities of the Middle East and Greece. Then he went on to say: 'And such were some of you: but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God' (1 Cor 6:11). There is salvation for every sinner who turns to God through faith in our Lord Jesus.
Lord, as I treat people with diseases which have been
acquired through actions which are contrary to your word,
whether done by the patients themselves or by others, let
me always remember that while you hate sin, you love the
sinner and help me to follow your example.
Further reading: Rom 1:18-32.