24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
This passage is the first of the three “God gave them up” passages (vv. 24, 26, 28).
24 Therefore [inference]
Because of the previous verses (vv. 18-23), God took the action of verses 24 and 25—abandoning these people in three successive stages. God left them to their own self-determination. Romans one asserts four times that humanity exchanged the authentic for the counterfeit.
There is a connection between losing a proper view of God (v. 23) and sexual immorality (this verse).
God also gave them up to [released them to their own preferences for] uncleanness,
First, because man went into spiritual regression (a dark soul, v.23), God gave mankind up to sexual profligacy and license—to free sex, group sex, bestiality, wife-swapping, and such. People abandoned God so God deserted them. This is not eternal abandonment here. The idea is that God handed them the control or responsibility of their own actions. Man wants freedom from God’s restraints.
“Uncleanness” is degenerate craving, sexual aberration. This Greek word was used for decaying matter such as dead bodies in the grave. There is a chemical process that results in corruption.
in the lusts of their hearts,
People wanted to live around a hedonistic philosophy. They wanted to live at the level of animal appetite. Non-Christians do not have divine norms in their beings (hearts). They do not understand true principles of freedom and discipline because they are devoid of the Word of God. They think only in terms of gratifying themselves. Therefore, they think only in terms of corruption. These are people that God has given up.
to dishonor [degrading] their bodies among themselves,
God created the body for honor, but these people wanted to disregard that honor by sexual perversion. Degenerate craving dishonored God’s purpose of sex. These people sin against their own bodies.
“Among themselves” alludes to homosexuality. Homosexuality is a dishonor to the body. God never designed the male body for another male body. This is a sign of “corruption.” Homosexuality is a cancer on society; it destroys society once it is accepted as a norm in society. The reason people are homosexual is that there is something wrong with their souls, not their bodies.
Ultimately sin produces its own penalty, and apostasy will run its own course. This is a concurrent wrath of God. AIDS is one result of man going on his own—sin producing physical sickness (in this case) because of spiritual twistedness. People suffering for their choices will also face the future wrath of God. Their character reduces to the level of animals.
God gives people the control over their sinful desires.
God does not violate man’s will. God will allow free rein when it comes to our wills. The natural result will be uncontrolled immorality. The outcome is not only permission on the part of God but judicial consequence.