Romans 1:18-20 - Has God Revealed Himself Plainly?
Romans 1:18-20: Has God Revealed Himself Plainly?
Rom 1:18 (NLT) But God shows his anger from heaven against all
sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves.
Rom 1:19 (NLT) For the truth about God is known to them
instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts.
Rom 1:20 (NLT) From the time the world was created, people have
seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see
his invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature. So
they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.
I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting system,
through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.
[George Washington Carver]
God had given them a twofold revelation of Himself "in them"
(conscience) and "unto them" (creation), v. 19. Man did not begin with
ignorance and gradually work his way up to intelligence; he began with a
blazing revelation of the power and wisdom of God and turned his back on
it. God had revealed Himself from the very time of creation, so that
people who have never heard the Gospel are still without excuse.
[Wiersbe Expository Outlines]
God has revealed himself plainly in the creation to all people.
And yet people reject even this basic knowledge of God. Also,
everyone has an inner sense of what God requires, but they choose not to
live up to it. Put another way, people's moral standards are always
better than their behavior. If people suppress God's truth in order to
live their own way, they have no excuse. They know the truth, and
they will have to endure the consequences of ignoring it. [Life
Nature shows us a God of might, intelligence, and intricate
detail; a God of order and beauty; a God who controls powerful forces.
That is general revelation. Through special revelation (the Bible and
the incarnation of Jesus), we learn about God's love and
forgiveness, and the promise of eternal life. God has graciously given us
both sources that we might fully believe in him. [Life Application
God reveals Himself to man in three ways: by an internal
revelation to the reason and conscience of each man (Rom. 2:15; cf. John
1:9), by an external revelation in the works of creation (Rom. 1:20),
and by special revelation in the Scriptures and in the person and
work of Christ, which confirms and completes the other revelations.
Paul is here referring to the first two. God has endowed men with
reason and conscience. He had made them capable of seeing and
investigating His works. He has spread before them the evidence of His
goodness, wisdom, and power. Thus God has made it possible for Gentiles as
well as Jews to learn of Him. [SDA Commentary]
Sin is possible in God's creation because God chose to make
people with free wills capable of choosing to obey or rebel. Creation
shows an orderly God of infinite power. Humans choose to make their
own gods and follow foolish moral choices. God allows them to follow
their evil desires and face the ultimate result. The Creator's wrath
against the evil that has contaminated His work is not His anger
bursting forth to destroy. Rather, it is the love of God functioning in
the world He made to assure the righteous that they will be
vindicated. God's wrath operates continually but will be climaxed at the
final judgment. A moral order exists in this world. The person who
violates it will suffer the consequences of his or her actions. [Disciple
God made this world in such a way that we break his laws at our
peril. Now if we were left solely at the mercy of that inexorable moral
order, there could be nothing for us but death and destruction. The
world is made in such a way that the soul that sins must die--if the
moral order is to act alone. But into this dilemma of man there comes
the love of God, and that love of God, by an act of unbelievable
free grace, lifts man out of the consequences of sin and saves him
from the wrath he should have incurred. [Barclay Commentary]
If we look at the world we see that suffering follows sin. Break
the laws of agriculture--your harvest fails. Break the laws of
architecture--your building collapses. Break the laws of
health--your body suffers.
Paul was saying "Look at the world! See how it is constructed! From
a world like that you know what God is like." The sinner is left
without excuse. [Barclay Commentary]
He was a fool because he made his ideas, his opinions, his
speculations the standard and the law of life, instead of the will of God.
The sinner's folly consisted in making "man the master of things."
He found his standards in his own opinions and not in the laws of
God. He lived in a self-centred instead of a God-centred universe.
Instead of walking looking out to God he walked looking into himself. .
. In this passage we are face to face with the fact that the
essence of sin is to put self in the place of God. [Barclay
Man's rejection of a loving and righteous God is unmistakable
proof that human beings are lost and in sin. If they felt any affinity
with God, they would respond to Him with warmth. Only the power of
God flowing through the Gospel can change man's heart, and enable us
to respond to God's great love.
The wrath of the infinite God must not be compared to human
passion. God is love (1 John 4:8), and though He hates sin, He loves the
sinner (SC 54). However, God does not force His love upon those who are
unwilling to receive His mercy (see DA 22, 466, 759). Thus, God's wrath
against sin is exercised in the withdrawal of His presence and
life-giving power from those who choose to remain in sin and thus share in
its inevitable consequences. . . God reveals His wrath by turning
impenitent men over to the inevitable results of their rebellion. . . "God
is the fountain of life; and when one chooses the service of sin,
he separates from God, and thus cuts himself off from life" (DA
764). God gives men existence for a time so that they may develop
their characters. When this has been accomplished, they receive the
results of their own choice. "By a life of rebellion, Satan and all who
unite with him place themselves so out of harmony with God that His
very presence is to them a consuming fire" (ibid.; cf. GC 543). [SDA
We can see that God is all-powerful by looking at creation and
this is a good beginning. But we must not stop there. We need to
discover that He is the all-loving God of Righteousness and Justice; and
that we need a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ,
as He has ordained. To do less is to forfeit eternal life. It is
that simple. There are millions of precious people in the world
today who acknowledge the existence of God, but who have not gone on
to enter into that personal relationship with Jesus, either because
they have not heard that they need to, or they do not perceive the
necessity of it. In both cases, the result is the same: eternity without
God. Do you acknowledge God's mighty power as you observe the
universe? Do you perceive the great need of your heart for a personal
relationship with God's Son, Jesus Christ? [In His Time; Walk With Wisdom]