In Romans 1, the Holy Spirit reveals the three phases a dying culture goes through when God removes His hand of grace and allows a people to experience the consequences of their own sin. We have seen this unfold in our own country over the last 60 years. And unfortunately, once a culture reaches the third phase, the debased mind, there is no return. The dye is cast, and the day of grace has passed.
These three phases are introduced by the phrase, “God gave them over” or “God gave them up” (Rom: 1:24, 26, 28). Literally, it describes a people who have rejected His Word, demanded their independence, and received just that. God removes His hand of protection and allows those in active rebellion to experience, first-hand, the consequences of their sin as they strive, by their actions, to look less and less like Jesus and become more and more like Satan.
And we can see the downward trajectory our own culture is following. The first phase, or the first curse of God on a culture under judgment, is sexual sin. We experienced the beginning of this in the 60s. And now, on every level, we are living in a sex saturated society.
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature (flesh, their bodies) rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen – Romans 1:24-25.
No longer satisfied with sexual sin, the next curse, phase two, is homosexuality. Our collective “coming out” as a culture began in the late 80s and homosexuality is now an accepted part of the fabric of who we are as a people, regardless of what the Word of God says.
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due – Romans 1:26-27.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, the third and final phase is what the Scripture calls a “debased mind.” No longer do we even think logically as a people. Now, men can choose to become women and have children, or so we affirm, regardless of what history, science, and logic tell us. We teach our children they can choose their gender while in kindergarten before they are old enough to read without help or have mastered their multiplication tables. And then we encourage them to undergo medical mutilations in order for them to feel better about being who God did not create them to be. This is a debased mind.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting – Romans 1:28.
But there is more. If you look around, you will see the plague of what we call narcissism infecting the psyche of our society. Everywhere we turn, someone is talking about the pain and suffering they have experienced by a loved one who is a narcissist.
Is there a connection between the “debased mind” in Romans 1:28 and the growing epidemic of narcissism we see today? In a word, absolutely.
Narcissism is not a mental disorder. It is a spiritual curse that has infected the members of our society and has caused untold misery to those who have fallen prey to the deceit and manipulation of a narcissist. And narcissism is the perfect description of what God calls a “debased mind.” In fact, narcissism is the literal personification of the personality and characteristics of Satan himself, clearly manifested in a human being.
Let me give you a brief description of a narcissist.
• Obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence.
• Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by other special or unique people of high status.
• Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation.
• Feels entitled. Expects unreasonable or special and favorable priority treatment.
• Uses others to achieve his or her own ends.
• Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of others.
• Constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about him or her.
• Arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted.
And this is only scratching the surface. Go Google narcissism yourself and you will see the depth of this spiritual disorder. Yet compare the characteristics of a narcissist with what Scripture describes as a “debased mind” and you’ll see this is all part of the final curse of God, phase three, before He brings a culture down to destruction. And we are well on our way.
The following, from Romans 1:18-32, is the description of both a narcissist and one who has a “debased mind.”
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased (morally reprehensible, worthless, deceitful, corrupted) mind (that which is responsible for one’s thoughts and feelings, the seat of reason), to do those things which are not fitting; being filled (to contain as much as possible, to fill completely, to overflow) with all (pás)
unrighteousness (failure to adhere to moral principles, commands, or laws, doing what is wrong),
wickedness (evil nature, depravity, malice, the perverting of virtue and moral principles),
covetousness (greed, desire, lust, envy for wealth),
maliciousness (mental wickedness); full (filled up, stuffed, to the brim) of
envy (jealousy, resentment felt at the sight of excellence or happiness),
strife (bitter conflict, contention, discord),
deceit (to bait, fraud, guile, treachery),
evil-mindedness (character trait that feels a need to see others suffer); they are
whisperers (gossiper, secret slanderer),
backbiters (one who attacks the reputation of another by slander),
haters of God,
violent (an insolent persecutor of others who mistreats them for pleasure, which the affliction of the wrong brings him),
proud (arrogant, haughty, contemptuous, one characterized by feelings of unwarranted importance),
boasters (braggart, arrogant, one who is self-exalting, having self-absorbed conceit in their own superiority),
inventors of evil things (one who comes up with new ways to exhibit wicked, evil, and morally objectionable behavior),
disobedient (unwilling to be persuaded, unbelieving, rejecting authority) to parents,
undiscerning (without insight or understanding, lacking the ability to understand the meaning or importance of something),
untrustworthy (without faithfulness, a breaker of a covenant),
unloving (without family love or the natural affection between family members),
unforgiving (incapable of reconciliation, being in a state of war perpetually),
unmerciful (having or showing no mercy);
who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice (one who does repeatedly, continually, habitually) such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve (to agree, think well of, take pleasure in) of those who practice (one who does repeatedly, continually, habitually) them – Romans 1:28-32.
Frightening, isn’t it? Join us as we discover the depth of the narcissistic, “debased mind” described in Romans 1, and how it prophetically points to the soon return of Jesus Christ.