Paul begins the book of Romans showing how both Jew and Gentile were in need of salvation. Gentiles were no less under God’s wrath, even though they knew less about Him. Though they didn’t have the Scriptures, He had revealed Himself through creation and through His law written on their hearts.
But rather than worship Him, they created things to worship. They exchanged the truth for a lie. So God gave them over to their sin. They engaged in sexual immorality, including homosexuality. They were filled with all sorts of evil, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice. And then Paul writes,
Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. – Romans 1:32
The law was written on their hearts (2:15), so they knew that all of this was wrong. They knew that it was deserving of Divine punishment. But they did it anyway. Not only did they do them, but they did something else that was wicked: they gave approval to those who practice them.
Juxtaposed with actually doing evil, approving evil is shown to be just as bad, if not worse. But why is it so bad? It’s one thing to throw yourself off a cliff. It’s a worse thing to encourage others to jump off with you. It’s bad enough to shake your fist against God, but to applaud someone else who does it and spur them on is horrendous.
If you understand what is the punishment due to sin, if you understand that sinners are in the hands of a holy and wrathful God, then it would be deplorable for you to approve of someone else’s sin. That’s the most unloving thing you could do to that person.
Yesterday, Facebook was filled with people giving approval to those who practice sin. Brothers and sisters, if that’s you, repent. You know that the Lord is merciful, and if you have given approval to another’s sin, confess it to Him, and He is faithful and just to forgive you and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. And now stop approving of sin, because those whom you are “supporting” are in the way of God’s wrath, and if you really love them, you’ll instead plead with them to make peace with God through Jesus Christ.
Here’s another example. What about you who struggles with an addiction to pornography? Brother, (or sister,) whenever you give in to that temptation, you are for all intents and purposes not only sinning, but giving approval to what you’re watching. Shouldn’t your heart rather be crushed that those on the screen could spend eternity in hell? Shouldn’t you instead be praying for such people, begging for their salvation?
Somber as this subject is and how closely it hits to home, we must cling to the cross for grace and mercy. We have all, at one point or another, given approval to those who sin. But if you have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, that sin has already been paid for on the cross. Praise God for His love that spites our folly.