Therefore refers back to the reasons Paul has just set forth in verses 18--23. Although God revealed himself to man (vv. 19--20), man rejected God (v. 21) and then rationalized his rejection (v. 22; cf. v. 18b) and created substitute gods of his own making (v. 23). And because man abandoned God, God abandoned men-He gave them over. It is that divine abandonment and its consequences that Paul develops in verses 24--32, the most sobering and fearful passage in the entire epistle.
Paradidomi (gave ... over) is an intense verb. In the New Testament it is used of giving one's body to be burned (1 Cor. 13:3) and three times of Christ's giving Himself up to death (Gal. 2:20; Eph. 5:2, 25). It is used in a judicial sense of men's being committed to prison (Mark 1:14; Acts 8:3) or to judgment (Matt. 5:25; 10:17, 19, 21; 18:34) and of rebellious angels being delivered to pits of darkness (2 Pet. 2:4). It is also used of Christ's committing Himself to His Father's care (1 Pet. 2:23) and of the Father's delivering His own Son to propitiatory death (Rom. 4:25; 8:32)
God's giving over sinful mankind has a dual sense. First, in an indirect sense God gave them over simply by withdrawing His restraining and protective hand, allowing the consequences of sin to take their inevitable, destructive courseú Sin degrades man, debases the image of God in which he is made, and strips him of dignity, peace of mind, and a clear conscience. Sin destroys personal relationships, marriages, families, cities, and nations It also destroys churches. Thomas Watson said, "Sin ... puts gravel in our bread [and] wormwood in our cup" (A Body of Divinity [Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth, 1983 reprint], p. 136)...