The reprobate mind

John 18:6-12 “When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. . . So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him.”

Isn’t it interesting how Jesus, with a few words, revealed His power over those who came to arrest Him, and yet this same group had the foolishness to continue with their wicked scheme?  Didn’t they realize who they were dealing with?  Had they no fear?  Did they actually think that in the end they would be better off? 

Here we have a clear example of what the Bible calls a “reprobate” mind (Romans 1:28). The word “reprobate” means “debased,” or “worthless.”  In other words, their minds weren’t working as they were intended to work. They were so affected by sin that they didn’t function properly.  They went on ahead doing things that made no sense to anyone in their right mind. What a terrible and horrifying condition this is.  It’s a description of what God allows for one who continually chooses to reject Him and go on in their unwavering pursuit of sin. 

God has built many things into society as His gracious restraints against the self-destructiveness of sin, things like parental discipline, civil government, and conscience.  There are other things, like disease, that can be the consequences of sinful behavior.  These are all things God has ordained so that people might sit up and take notice and perhaps turn away from the self-destructive consequences of sin. He has given us these constraints because He loves us. 

However, there comes a point at which God will remove these constraints and let us have our own way.  Laws that are meant to curb evil behavior may be removed.  Consciences can become seared so they no longer work correctly, and things that once caused internal conflict and guilt no longer affect us in the same way and we go on into increasingly destructive behaviors.  Romans 1:24 speaks of this when it says, “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts.”  That’s where the Roman and Jewish mob found themselves as they came to arrest the God of Creation in the Garden of Gethsemane in John 18 above. And it’s where anyone who foolishly and blindly pursues their own sin can find themselves, as well.  What they see as “freedom” is nothing more than freedom to destroy themselves in their own sin.  That should terrify anyone who finds himself or herself in that condition. 

May God help anyone who finds themselves in that condition to come to their senses and like those who finally realized what they’d done after they had crucified Christ say with them “What shall we do?!” (Acts 2:37).  The answer now is as it was then, i.e., “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). 

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