By Norman Midgette
“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools . . .” (Rom.1:22). It may not be the cool thing today to call someone a fool, but if God calls one a fool he is a fool. Fool, in this verse, is a translation of moraino, and you can probably tell what English word comes from that.
Three groups of people are called fools by God in Romans 1. They all became that way when they “refused to have God in their knowledge” (1:28). People who do this do not glorify God, or give him credit or thanks for anything (1:21). In the process of replacing God with their wisdom, “they exchange the truth of God for a lie” (1:25) and “hinder the truth” in every conceivable way through their unrighteousness (1:18). If God was to write a description of the Secular Humanist, as he exists in our day, he could not do a better job than he did 2000 years ago when he revealed Romans 1.
The first group of fools is those who worship and serve the creature, rather than the Creator (1:25). Paul wrote, “they changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man …” (1:23). The god of the humanist is man. The gods of ancient idolaters were the images of birds and four-footed beasts, creeping things and some-times a man-like creature. The secular idolaters of today sweep away the stone images and enthrone themselves with their wisdom as the only god there is. They have a controlling grip on the world of education, entertainment, science, and many liberal and secular oriented religions and churches. Evolution is their sugar stick and social revisionism is their aim. Guard yourselves and your children against these fools. They parade in a veneer of wisdom and authority while their life’s work is a crumbling structure of unfounded theories and unprovable assumptions and as empty of truth as the rotting wooden statues of the ancient gods. Let ring in your ears this truth concerning the modern and ancient idolaters, “God gave them up” (1:24). See that you avoid their pride and arrogance also.
The second group identified as fools by God is the morally reprehensible male and female homosexual. They gave themselves up to “vile passions” or “passions of dishonor” and according to 1:26, 27 they had control of and wilfully directed their life in that path. It is a hollow and baseless claim to try to justify this conduct with, “This is just the way I was born.” God says, “their women changed the natural use unto that which is against nature” (1:26). If you have no control over it you are not responsible for changing it. They had control and chose to change their role which was their’s by the design of their creation.
If one is called a fool by God because of his immoral homosexual conduct, what would one be who tries to justify that conduct as accept able and just an alternate normal lifestyle? Such thinking now permeates our society and our schools. Will your child be told by some teacher this year or next that a homosexual lifestyle is acceptable? Already the media defends it; the theater, television, and stage plays portray it as good and strongly ridicule any criticism of it. Such immorality of fools is self destructive in many ways but greater destruction will be inflicted by God. Look at the conclusion of verse 27. “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error that was due.” God says they are fools and he “gave them up” (1:26). Be careful you do not fall victim to this conduct of thinking.
The Reprobate Mind
These are the fools whose general lifestyle is consistent with refusing “to have God in their knowledge” (1:28). When you look at the catalogue of activities engaged in by these people you have a clear picture of reprobate minds and of many in our generation. Isaiah warned, “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight!” (Isa. 5:20, 21). Just as a field, left on its own, becomes filled with weeds so does the mind of one who accepts no direction from God. Justice flounders, morality vanishes, righteousness is mocked and integrity and truthfulness become a bur-den. The criminal becomes the victim and the victim is forgotten. The covenant of marriage becomes a target for puns and frivolity, and the practice of children disobeying and trashing their parents becomes the plot of prime time sit-coms on television. In the reprobate mind the right of abortion on demand becomes law and a public prayer in our schools becomes criminal.
Here is more of the conduct of the fool with the repro-bate mind who refuses to have God in his knowledge. He is “. . . filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, with-out natural affection, unmerciful” (Rom. 1:29-31). Many in high and low places consider much of this conduct acceptable. Surely this is no surprise, because when God is erased from the picture who is left to set the standards of morality in society? The answer is, man, of course, and he is going to figure out as many ways as possible to give approval to what he wants to do. Those who are so foolish as to become entangled in this web of secular thinking should remember, “God gave them up.” One with a repro-bate mind is the enemy of God, then and now.
To escape this depraved lifestyle God gives his twofold plan for you in Romans 1:16, 17. The gospel must be believed and obeyed to save you from your past sins (1:16; 2 Thess. 1:7, 8). Then accept this gospel as the standard of righteousness for the rest of your life (1:17; Phil. 1:27).
Before you are two paths: the path of the fool and the path of the gospel. Only you can choose which you will take.
Guardian of Truth XL: No. 16, p. 3-4
August 15, 1996