COMMENTARY ON ROMANS 1:17-21

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness, because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath showed it to unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse because that when they knew God they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their FOOLISH HEARTS WERE DARKENED.”

FIRST: Paul makes clear that all men know God. Creation itself is revelational of God, Who sovereignly planted evidence of His existence in the very nature of man by reason and moral law (1:21, 28, 32 2:15). Think of the awe that you experience on a crisp, dewy spring morning, as you take in the smells and sounds of birds and insects. Think of the wonder of beholding the crystal clear, starry night sky, the glinting and glimmering of an infinite number of worlds….

SECOND: “They are without excuse.” God holds all men responsible for their refusal to acknowledge what He has shown them of Himself in creation.

THIRD: Men “hold the truth in unrighteousness.” They deliberately suppress the truth or misapply it because they are determined not to acknowledged or know God.

FOURTH: The problem is not unbelief in the sense of an inability to believe intellectually, but rather unbelief is a moral resistance to an obvious and overwhelming fact. “Even the devils believe and tremble” (Ja. 2:19). The unregenerate, however, resist God and deliberately suppress the knowledge about Him, because they are determined to be themselves gods (Gen. 3:5).

* FIFTH: “…but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish hearts were darkened.” This is the most poignant point. The more that man resists God, the easier it becomes. The scientific process is called desensitization. Look back into your lives to when you were young. When you broke the rules, committed sin. You felt guilty, right? The more you broke the rules, the easier it became, the less guilty you felt, and the farther you strayed from the path because you became desensitized to the feeling of Godly conviction weighing upon your heart. Man’s search for meaning and purpose outside of God will only produce vain and meaningless conclusions. The more man rejects the truth, the more darkness from spiritual falsehood will creep in to replace it.

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