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CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Author: Bob Flynn

Bob Flynn was born and raised in Los Angeles County, California.  He is the son of a watchmaker and jeweler.  He spent 23 years in the Navy where he enjoyed flying on the P-3 Orion as a flight engineer and serving as a manager in aircraft maintenance.  He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Nancy, for 49 years and they have two grown sons.  Bob came to the day of salvation as an adult while caring for his mother as she was dying of cancer.  Bob joined the Christian Military Fellowship in 1981 and served as Local Representative and then later as President of the governing Counsel.  Upon retirement from the Navy, Bob was called to serve on the staff of CMF as the Coordinator of Ministries, later Chief Operating Officer, and now President and Chief Executive Officer.  His undergraduate and graduate university studies include business management, human resource management, church ministries, Biblical studies, and information technology management.


Romans 1:28 - Tested and Found to be No Good

Romans 1:28

"And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper," (NASB)

"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;" (KJV)

"Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, He abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done." (NLT)

The third occurrence of the key repeated phrase "God gave them up/over."

Reprobate mind:

Reprobate (Noah Webster)
REPROBATE, a. [L. reprobatus, reprobo, to disallow; re and probo, to prove.]

1. Not enduring proof or trial; not of standard purity or fineness; disallowed; rejected.

Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them. Jer 6.

2. Abandoned in sin; lost to virtue or grace.

They profess that they know God, but in works deny him, being abominable and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate. Titus 1.

3. Abandoned to error, or in apostasy. 2 Tim 3. 

Reprobate: Dr. Alva J. McClain

"A depraved heart, a depraved body, a depraved mind.  The word reprobate means "tested and found to be no good" - like a piece of tested steel in a machine shop.  God tested man and gave him up.  Men vied with one another to invent new forms of vice in the days of Paul….Some people have asked, "What is the wrath of God like?"  The wrath of God inflicted, whatever else it includes, includes one thing: abandonment.  If you can look at the world when God removes all His restraining forces and His love, and lets sinners wander in their sins-that is hell; that is the wrath of God!"

 

One of the most amazing observations one could make about Grace is that reprobate minds do not make right choices.  Salvation could not be possible at all if it weren't for "(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)" (2 Corinthians 6:2 KJV)

How wondrous is thy Grace, Lord Jesus! For there is nothing in me worthy of your mere attention.  Yet while I was your enemy, you died for my sins.  Not only this but protected me against that day that I would believe.  How amazing is your love and how pitiful my response.

Romans 1:27 - Abandoned

Romans 1:27

"and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error." (NASB)

"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 recompense of their error which was meet." (KJV)

"And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved." (NLT)

Without the light of God's holiness to guide us there is no end to the depth of our fall, the final deception becoming self-deception wherein that which is reprehensible becomes the worldwide norm. The second of three times the key repeated phrase appears (v.26) "God gave them up." God abandons the sinner to the sin and its full recompense.  Can you imagine an eternity in this state?  How amazing is the Grace that came to save me from the eternal abyss!  If we had also eaten from the tree of life would not our fate have been sealed in time?  I believe we were not meant to experience time as we now know it.  We were destined to know time as God knows it with only an eternal present.  How wonderful is the love that stoops to save us from this time.

REC'OMPENSE, n.

1. An equivalent returned for any thing given, done or suffered; compensation; reward; amends; as a recompense for services, for damages, for loss, &c.

2. Requital; return of evil or suffering or other equivalent; as a punishment.

To me belongeth vengeance and recompense. Deu 32.

And every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward. Heb 2.

Burned (εξεκαυ?θησαν)
The terms are terrible in their intensity. Lit., burned out. The preposition indicates the rage of the lust.
Lust (ορε?ξει)
Only here in the New Testament. It is a reaching out after something with the purpose of appropriating it. In later classical Greek it is the most general term for every kind of desire, as the appetite for food. The peculiar expressiveness of the word here is sufficiently evident from the context.
That which is unseemly (τη?ν ασχημοσυ?νην)
Primarily, want of form, disfigurement. Plato contrasts it with ευσχημοσυ?νη gracefulness (“Symposium,” 196).
Which was meet (εδει)
Rev., was due, which is better, though the word expresses a necessity in the nature of the case - that which must needs be as the consequence of violating the divine law.
The prevalence of this horrible vice is abundantly illustrated in the classics. See Aristophanes, “Lysistrata,” 110; Plato, “Symposium,” 191; Lucian, “Amores,” 18; “Dialogi Meretricii,” v., 2; Juvenal, vi., 311; Martial, i., 91; vii., 67. See also Becker's “Charicles;” Forsyth's “Life of Cicero,” pp. 289, 336; and Dollinger's “Heathen and Jew,” ii., 273 sqq. Dollinger remarks that in the whole of the literature of the ante-Christian period, hardly a writer has decisively condemned it. In the Doric states, Crete and Sparta, the practice was favored as a means of education, and was acknowledged by law. Even Socrates could not forbear feeling like a Greek on this point (see Plato's “Charmides”). In Rome, in the earlier centuries of the republic, it was of rare occurrence; but at the close of the sixth century it had become general. Even the best of the emperors, Antoninus and Trajan, were guilty.
On the Apostle's description Bengel remarks that “in stigmatizing we must often call a spade a spade. The unchaste usually demand from others an absurd modesty.” Yet Paul's reserve is in strong contrast with the freedom of pagan writers (see Eph_5:12). Meyer notes that Paul delineates the female dishonor in less concrete traits than the male. Marvin R. Vincent, D.D.

"It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret." Eph 5:12 NLT

Romans 1:26 - The Women Became Men

Romans 1:26

"For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural," (NASB)

"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:" (KJV)

"That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other." (NLT)

Vile affections (πα?θη ατιμι?ας)
Lit., passions of dishonor. Rev., passions. As distinguished from επιθυμι?αι lusts, in Rom 1:24, πα?θη passions, is the narrower and intenser word. Επιθυμι?α is the larger word, including the whole world of active lusts and desires, while the meaning of πα?θος is passive, being the diseased condition out of which the lusts spring. Επιθυμι?αι are evil longings; πα?θη ungovernable affections. Thus it appears that the divine punishment was the more severe, in that they were given over to a condition, and not merely to an evil desire. The two words occur together, 1Th 4:5. "not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and His ways." (NLT)

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire--Edward Gibbon (1737-1794)
The book is famous not only because it is extraordinarily well written, but also because Gibbon offers an explanation for why the Roman Empire fell. This is one of the great historical questions, and, because of the relative lack of written records from the time, one of the most difficult to undertake. Gibbon was not the first to theorize about this. In fact most of his ideas are directly taken from Roman moralists of the 4th and 5th centuries who wrote about it at the time; nor would he be the last; see for example Henri Pirenne's Thesis of the early 20th century.

According to Gibbon, the Roman Empire succumbed to barbarian invasions because of a loss of civic virtue among its citizens.[3] They had become lazy and soft, outsourcing their duties to defend their Empire to barbarian mercenaries, who then became so numerous and ingrained that they were able to take over the Empire. Romans, he believed, had become effeminate, unwilling to live a tougher, "manly" military lifestyle.

In addition Gibbon pointed to Christianity. Christianity, he says, created a belief that a better life existed after death. This fostered indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for the Empire. He also believed its comparative pacifism tended to sap the traditional Roman martial spirit.

Finally, like other Enlightenment thinkers, Gibbon held in contempt the Middle Ages as a priest-ridden, superstitious, dark age. It was not until his own age of reason and rational thought, it was believed, that human history could resume its progress. (Wikipedia)

 

"Hallet observes that women are so masculinized that they are said to become men.  She cites telling words to describe their manly practices indicating a negative judgment.  She cites Seneca the Younger (Moral Epistles) who claims that such women, their lusts equal to that of men, "having devised so perverted a type of shamelessness, enter men (penetrate as men) (adeo perversum commentae genus impudicitiae viros ineunt)."" Hallet, Female Homoeroticism, as quoted in Among Women: From Homosocial to the Homoerotic in the Ancient World--Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz, Lisa Auanger

OR Invented a kind of perverted lust that women have slept with women as if they were men.

 

For even the women did change the natural use into that which is against nature; either by prostituting themselves to, and complying with the "sodomitical" embraces of men, in a way that is against nature (h); or by making use of such ways and methods with themselves, or other women, to gratify their lusts, which were never designed by nature for such an use: of these vicious women, and their practices, Seneca (i) speaks, when he says, "libidine veto nec maribus quidem cedunt, pati natae; Dii illas Deoeque, male perdant; adeo perversum commentae, genus impudicitiae, viros ineunt:'' John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, Dr. John Gill (1690-1771)

 

Romans 1:25 - The Day Trader

Romans 1:25

"For they exchanged3337 the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." (NASB)

"Who changed3337 the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen." (KJV)

"They traded3337 the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen." (NLT)

Exchanged (mete?llaxan). First aorist active indicative of metallasso?, old word for exchanging trade, used only here and Romans 1:26 in N.T. What a bargain they made, “the truth of God for (en) the (to?i) lie.” “The price of mythology” (Bengel). A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament

"We shall the less wonder at the inefficacy of these natural discoveries to prevent the idolatry of the Gentiles if we remember how prone even the Jews, who had scripture light to guide them, were to idolatry; so miserably are the degenerate sons of men plunged in the mire of sense." Matthew Henry (1662 - 1714)

"The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He trusts something that can't help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, "Is this idol that I'm holding in my hand a lie?" Isaiah 44:20 NLT

"The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge! The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make, for their carefully shaped works are a fraud. These idols have no breath or power." Jeremiah 10:14 NLT

"This is your allotment, the portion I have assigned to you," says the LORD, "for you have forgotten Me, putting your trust in false gods." Jeremiah 13:25

We live in a day where technology has transformed the way we live in ways that we could not imagine.  My father was born in 1899 and lived to see the Wright Brothers fly and watch man land on the moon while sitting in front of his own television set.  I am sure that even then he could not have foreseen a time when people would be walking down the street talking on cell phones and sending electronic messages from their personal digital assistants.  Yet we have an admonition from Matthew Henry to help us keep on track.  It is not hard to see how the gentiles (that's us) could so easily turn from the "One True God" and worship things created when the Jews, who had the light of God's Word to guide them turned away as well.  What about us in this twenty-first century?  Do our lives reflect the object of our worship?  Do our leaders manifest the integrity resident in our forefathers?  Or are we, like the gentiles and Jews of then, "plunged in the mire of sense?"

Thank you God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for your longsuffering toward me and the sinful heart that beats within my chest.  Thanks for the salvation that is in Christ Jesus to everyone who believes (even me!).  Thanks that I am somehow inexplicably yoked with the Son of God in everyday life that I might grow in Him.  Help me today to see the world through the eyes of your Son.

Romans 1:24 - Abandonment

Romans 1:24

"Therefore God gave them overG3860 in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them." (NASB)

"Wherefore God also gave them upG3860 to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:" (KJV)

"So God abandoned themG3960 to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired.  As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies." (NLT)

παραδι?δωμι
paradido?mi

Thayer Definition:
1) to give into the hands (of another)
2) to give over into (one’s) power or use
2a) to deliver to one something to keep, use, take care of, manage
2b) to deliver up one to custody, to be judged, condemned, punished, scourged, tormented, put to death
2c) to deliver up treacherously
2c1) by betrayal to cause one to be taken
2c2) to deliver one to be taught, moulded
3) to commit, to commend
4) to deliver verbally
4a) commands, rites
4b) to deliver by narrating, to report
5) to permit allow
5a) when the fruit will allow that is when its ripeness permits
5b) gives itself up, presents itself

Gave them up — This divine abandonment of men is here strikingly traced in three successive stages, at each of which the same word is used (Rom 1:24, Rom 1:26; and Rom 1:28, where the word is rendered “gave over”).  “As they deserted God, God in turn deserted them; not giving them divine (that is, supernatural) laws, and suffering them to corrupt those which were human; not sending them prophets, and allowing the philosophers to run into absurdities.  He let them do what they pleased, even what was in the last degree vile, that those who had not honored God, might dishonor themselves” [Grotius] as cited in A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown.

We are all familiar with the law of gravity and who created it.  He begins the revelation of another law herein called "divine abandonment."  We often forget that our sin brings with it a certain reward.  This becomes then the gravity of our own sin.  We are abandoned by God to swim in a pool full of our own sin that permeates every fiber of our being and leads us ever onward toward total perversity.  The key repeated phrase then becomes, "God gave them up."  First here abandoned to our own hearts.  He begins the battle between the "law of my mind," "the law of God," "the law of sin and death," and the "law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus."  In the former there is no hope. In the last there is every hope!  This multiple chapter indictment used to be taught in law school.  In fact in times past a Biblical education was required to enter law school.  It was thought that if you could not rightfully divide God's law, you had no business writing law.

Thanks you dear heavenly Father for your presence in the daily battles of life.  Thank you that because of your love that stooped for me that I am held safe in your hands.  Thank you for your word that reveals who I really am and also reveals the hope of salvation in Christ Jesus.  May your word touch the hearts of a lost and dying world today.

Romans 1:23 - American Idol Rewind

Romans 1:23

"and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures." (NASB)

"And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things." (KJV)

"And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles." (NLT)

Here is a place in Holy Scripture that gives exacting refutation to the idea that man climbed out of the tree and began worshiping a stick and then worked his way up to worshiping God.  We did not evolve but rather declined or degenerated.  What kind of "Sonlight" do we seek?  Do we wish to bask in the glorious glow of the incorruptible God or would we rather recline in the tanning booth?  According to this writ we are prone to the latter.  Is this really our "free will" choice or rather the choice of the depraved?

Father in Heaven thank you for the Amazing Grace that transforms slave traders into pastors.  Thanks that you found me in the midst of depravity where I chose not to worship the only true God but rather the things of this world.

Romans 1:22 - A Fool Full of Wisdom

Romans 1:22

"Professing to be wise, they became fools," (NASB)

"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools," (KJV)

"Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools." (NLT)

Professing themselves to be wise - This was the common boast of the philosophers of antiquity.  The very word by which they chose to be called, “philosophers,” means literally “lovers of wisdom.” (Barnes)  This is also our boast of today.  How many of us think that we know? A short walk through the halls of our institutions of national government reveal 565 opposing opinions. The reality is that as humankind we don't care much about right, we just want to win the argument.  This boasting about our wisdom is not a new thing!

Rom 1:14 "I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish." (NASB)

1 Cor 1:19-22 "For it is written, 'I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.' Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;" (NASB)

1 Cor 3:19 "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, 'He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS;'" (NASB)

2 Cor 11:19 "For you, being so wise, tolerate the foolish gladly." (NASB)

G3471
μωραι?νω
mo?raino?

Thayer Definition:
1) to be foolish, to act foolishly
2a) to make foolish
2a1) to prove a person or a thing foolish
2b) to make flat and tasteless
2b1) of salt that has lost its strength and flavor
Part of Speech: verb

Mat 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become3471 tasteless3471, how, can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men."

To be called foolish by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is to be made nothing!  It is from this nothingness that I have been purchased by the precious blood of the Savior.  He sought me when I was not seeking Him.  He bought me when I was deep in sin.  He cleansed me and calls me His friend.

Romans 1:21 - Dark and Confused

Romans 1:21

"For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened." (NASB)

"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." (KJV)

"Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship Him as God or even give Him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused." (NLT)

G1097
γινω?σκω
gino?sko?

Thayer Definition:

1) to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel
1a) to become known
2) to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of
2a) to understand
2b) to know
3) Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman
4) to become acquainted with, to know
Part of Speech: verb

Even the words of “Marcus Tullius Cicero,” the Roman philosopher and politician in the waning years of the Roman Republic, (de Natura Deorum, lib. ii. c. 6) will show that they had the knowledge of one God.  “There is something in the nature of things, which the mind of man, which reason, which human power cannot effect; and certainly what produces this must be better than man.  What can this be called but “God?...What can be so plain and manifest, when we look at heaven, and contemplate heavenly things, as that there is some divinity of most excellent mind, by which these things are governed?”

The process outlined herein is this:
(1) That people had the knowledge of God.
(2) that they refused to honor him when they knew him, and were opposed to his character and government.
(3) that they were ungrateful.
(4) that they then began to doubt, to reason, to speculate, and wandered far into darkness.

Isn't this who we are today? We wander away from God. We have the knowledge of God, but we do not love him; and since we are dissatisfied with his character and government, we begin to speculate, fall into error, and then “find no end in wandering mazes lost1,” and sink into the depths of heresy and of sin.

1Milton, Paradise Lost, II. 560-1

"Jesus answered them, 'To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.'" (Mat 13:11 NASB)

"and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." (Eph 3:19 NASB)

Oh how thankful is my heart to know Christ and to see the vast pit from whence I was saved.  Elation of my inner being gushes forth into praise hallelujahs that cannot be restrained.  In the midst of my sin darkened heart burns a flame unquenchable the essence of a pure and holy love that stooped to save a "wretch like me!"  Maranatha!

Romans 1:20 - The Witness of Creation

Romans 1:20

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (NASB)

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" (KJV)

"For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God." (NLT)

The invisible things of God refer to that which cannot be perceived by the senses.  It is not an implication that His divine character can be seen by the eye but that there are things about Him that we may discover.

We all have our reasons in life for not knowing God.  We are raised in a society that considers science to have fully enlightened the world.  We are, after all, Americans and we put men on the Moon.  But from where did the Moon come?  I guess it must be the arrogance that lives in my heart that would allow me to think that the orderliness that exists in the universe is a matter of "natural selection" or the descendent of the primordial soup.  But I am without excuse because the handiwork of Almighty God is displayed for my eyes to see.  The more I look the more wondrous it becomes.  The bigger the telescope or the stronger the microscope the larger and more complex the questions to be answered.

Romans 1:19 - God has made himself known to all

Romans 1:19

"because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them." (NASB)

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them." (KJV)

"They know the truth about God because He has made it obvious to them." (NLT)

Luke 8:17 "For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light."

1Co 3:13 "each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work."

1Co 11:19 "For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you."

1Co 14:25 "the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you."

Gal 5:19 "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,"

Php 1:13 "so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,"

1Jn 3:10 "By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother."

G5318
φανερο?ς
phaneros
fan-er-os'

From G5316; shining, that is, apparent (literally or figuratively); neuter (as adverb) publicly, externally: - abroad, + appear, known, manifest, open [+ -ly], outward ([+ -ly]).

As medical science begins to understand the rudiments of the complexities of the human genome, we begin to see how the King of Glory has written his word upon our hearts and perhaps within every living cell in our being. Whether I look within or look without, I see the evidence of God written everywhere, not because I am observant, but because he has made it known. Thank you Heavenly Father that you are not hidden but apparent to all the world, and that you made yourself know to me a lowly sinner. How huge and magnificent is your Grace!


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