One hundred forty years ago, a brother named Moses Lard finished his commentary on the book of Romans. His comments on the first chapter of that epistle are particularly interesting in light of what is happening in our society today.
In regard to Romans 1:26-27, which says homosexuality is a sin which is “against nature,” Lard had to refer to practices in Paris, France to conclude, “there is little doubt of its existence in other modern cities.” He then referred to the writings of history and mentioned the disgraceful practices that were common in Greece and Rome during the time of Paul’s writing, adding, “Nor were these vices rare, and viewed as we view them” (p. 61). How different this nation was back when Lard wrote! He had to mention foreign cities and ancient practices to even give examples of homosexuality. Then he mentioned how “we,” that is the general public in this nation, view this vice. In Lard’s time, even though there were religious differences, there was a public, united front against sexual sin.
A few pages later, in reference to the sin of murder, Lard says:
This crime, according to the Bible should always be punished with death. But in our day, especially in our country, it generally brings with it only a good deal of notoriety, and not death. But we may rest assured of this, that God will one day visit on the people of this country a fearful retribution for the indulgence which they show to the crime. Take the life of him who willfully and with malice takes the life of his fellow man- do this surely, do it in all cases, and murder will cease. Fail to do this, and you breed mobs” (p. 64).
God ordered such retribution for murderers early in the Bible (Genesis 9:6). Old Testament Israel was told that murder defiled the land with blood, and only the blood of the murderer could cleanse the land (Numbers 35:33). Governmental authorities are given by God as a terror to evil works (Romans 13:1-4). Christians are to respect those that keep the peace in our society, even though they sometimes abuse their power (1 Peter 2:13-17). If Lard thought murderers had notoriety in his day, then what would he say about them today? For years, certain popular music artists have made millions while boasting about killing police officers in their lyrics. Is there any wonder that we now see so many fatal attacks on police officers? Lard’s comments on Romans were finished just a few years removed from the Civil War, an event so horrific that many Bible-believing government officials even up to the President viewed it as God’s punishment on the United States for our sins. What punishment awaits this nation today for its atrocities, especially when we consider that the Supreme Court of this nation has authorized the murder of over 57 million unborn children since 1973?
To be sure “we” have changed in this nation, but God does not change (Malachi 3:6). May God’s holy nation, the church, ever cling to His eternal truths laid out in the Bible (1 Peter 2:9; 2 Timothy 3:15-17).