8/4/19 Romans 12:1-21 Looking now at Romans 1:16-32 as as the initial context for the Romans 12 response…
It turns out there is enough known about God within each person that they are each… that we are each without excuse. It is evident within all of us that there is a God. For God made it so. His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and His divine nature have all been clearly seen since the creation of the world, through the very creation made by God. The problem comes when we suppress that knowledge, that truth.
All those who say God hasn’t made Himself known enough to them are without excuse.
So even when people knew intuitively there was a God, when the evidence was all right in front of them, (and the appropriate response was due), they still did not honor Him as God or give Him thanks for the things that one would rightly give to the God who created everything.
The results are sad and progressively self-defeating. Their speculations become futile. And with each progressive denial of His goodness in creation their hearts grew darker, and more and more dim and distant from the Light. They create a world in which they are a light unto themselves. And God gives them over to their desires and the grow ever darker, all the while believing themselves to be on the right track…
Romans 1:22 > Professing to be wise, they become fools. This has nothing to do with intelligence. The smartest of people, with the greatest of intellect and capacity for brilliant thought, become foolish in the simplest of truths as the progressively live in denial of the existence of God… to their own demise. When someone becomes foolish (having known truth but now denying it), they begin glorifying the very things that are meant to point people to God but that they now make the object of praise. Created things meant to reflect God’s glory are now given glory by God-deniers. This is the very definition of idol worship. I can’t help but think this is part of creation’s groaning until Christ returns. (Romans 8:22)
So because of what has been described in the last eight verses or so, and God, not wanting to, in a sense, force Himself on anyone, God acquiesced - and gave those who deny His existence and goodness, over to the compulsions they had been cultivating in His absence. They are therefore without excuse having brought the progression of sin on themselves. (I say, ‘in His absence’ but it is probably more correct to say, while not admitting God’s presence’ but the results are the same)
So since the ultimate creation of God is man, who is made in the image of God, it makes ironic sense that the ultimate way to defile God becomes defiling His most beloved creation… and to willfully defile it in a way that is against nature or the created order.
We never seem content to love and live within the bounds given us or with the gifts given us for our health, safety and joy. As independent contractors of life we demand to do things our own way, while somehow thinking we still deserve the blessings of obeying the prescribed route. Then, after experiment after experiment leads further down roads of destruction and anguish to darker and darker places where there are no U Turn signs, it is too late.
This doesn’t happen all at once mind you, it never does. But one act after another breeds more and more acts of contempt for the Creator, deserving the due penalty of their error, and with each defiant act there is also comes a hearty approval to all who do the same. But approval isn’t even enough, there are the demands that everyone else approve of the self-indulgent behavior as well. The goal of being able to do whatever is desired, with no restraints or consequences, and with absolutely everyone’s approval, becomes the ultimate prize.
Well, even if every person alive would approve of any one thing or everything listed in verses 29-31, the Creator would not approve. A 100% approval rating would not change His approval of such behavior. As Paul is soon to say in this same letter, “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.” (Romans 3:4)
Believing that God would somehow change His approval of things is NOT grace, as some would have you believe. It is trusting in a false god people are making in their own image.
When we are given the power to willingly change our sinful behavior to conform to His image and His standards, and not to the world’s image - now that is God’s grace!
The gospel is a sign. It is a warning sign for those driving down the dark roads toward destruction. It is a warning to turn around before it is too late. Let us be living warning signs as we need to be.
“…let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.” Philippians 1:27,28 ESV