32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
1901 ASV Translation:
32 who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.
There are no textual variations between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26.
I. The translation might be more faithful to Paul if it read: "These who know the righteous determination by God -- 'Those who practice such things are worthy of death' -- not only do them, but also take pleasure together with those practicing [them]."
A. The "judgment/ordinance" is a "righteous determination" made by God.
B. The "that" in the phrase "that they which commit..." is a translation of a Greek word that can mean "that", but it can also stand for what we use quotation marks for -- to introduce a direct quote. In this text, it seems more likely that the "righteous determination" is more of a direct quote than a paraphrase. It is more emphatic than the indirect quote implies.
II. The use of different words by Paul for the performance of these great evils.
A. The KJV translation is inconsistent. The word for "commit" and the word in the phrase "in them that do them" is the same word. Consistency would have resulted in the ASV's double use of "practise".
B. Paul writes of those who "do the same" by using a general word for attempting to accomplish an act. It is a milder form of focus upon performance than the word translated "practise" in the ASV.
1. His point is that there are those who "do" these evils; and there are those who "practise" these evils ["practise" being an older spelling of "practice"]. Those who practice these evils do so as a matter of habitual lifestyle; those who merely do them may be "occasional" about it.
2. The point is, however, that even those who are "occasional" about their performance of these things are only "occasional" because of other issues than any form of qualm or conscience: they take pleasure in the fact that there are those who have incorporated them into their lifestyle.
III. Paul uses an emphatic word for "know": they are absolutely not "ignorant".
IV. Paul also puts the righteous determination of God into the "capital offense" arena.
A. In God's order, "a capital crime" is worthy of more than mere physical death.
B. In God's order, "a capital crime" is worthy of total death -- without extinction.
1. The warning of Scripture about "total death" is, in a word, a warning about Hell as an enduring, conscious, reality.
2. The hateful antagonism men have toward the "Life" of the Servant God is an antagonism that is worthy of being subjected to the absence of the "Life" of the Servant God.
a. "Being subjected" means a conscious experience: one cannot be subjected to the death of soul and spirit by means of extinction or annihilation.
b. The absence of the "Life" of the Servant God is the presence of the "Death" that includes deep humiliation; abject terror; and unceasing pain. These can not be experienced by those who are annihilated and cease to be. They can only be experienced by those whose conscious awareness is sustained by the power of the God Who judges them.
C. The doctrine of concious, unending, torment is the most difficult concept that men must address in their theology.
1. Because of the difficulties of the perceptions of a God Who would create such a reality, many have opted to erase the doctrine in favor of annihilation.
2. However, there are two many "attached" doctrines...
a. How is it "just" to repay those who have committed great evil with nothing more than "non-being"?
b. How is it "grace" to subject the Christ to the suffering involved in the penalty of sin when, in the final analysis, those who refuse to repent are simply relegated to non-being?
c. How is it "wise" to warn men of the dangers of impenitence when the only danger is non-being?
d. How is it "truthful" to tell men that the smoke of the torment of those relegated to Eternal Hell ascends up "forever" when, in fact, there is little smoke and no "rising"? Annihilation is a doctrine of myth.
e. How is it "loving" to subject the penitent to the wickedness of the wicked and then turn around and subject the wicked to mere non-being? How can it not be an insult to the Spirit of Grace to eliminate the wicked who have insulted Him? How can it not be a mockery of the Son at Calvary to simply deny "being" to those who reject His love?