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June 26, 2016
“Ignoring God’s Clear Truth”
Romans 1:18-23, 28-32
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Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2010 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original tounless properly quoted/cited. As always you are encouraged to do your own studies as well. Blessings!)
Paul’s first chapter to the Romans begins as a basic introduction starting right from verse 1 where he declares he is, “a servant of Jesus Christ.” Through that opening he not only introduces Jesus to them, but declares more of His deity, mission, power, and grace. He writes:
- He was “promised by the prophets in the holy scripture,” (vs. 2), making Him the fulfiller of the role of the Messiah (ex. Isa. 9:6; 11:1; Jer. 31:31 compare to (ex. John 1:14; Luk. 3:23, 32; Mat. 26:28).
- He was “made of the seed of David according to the flesh” (vs. 3); and I might add, according to the promise as well (see Gen. 22:18; 2 Sam. 7:12; Mat. 1:4; Joh. 7:34).
- He is “the Son of God with power . . . holiness . . . resurrection from the dead” (vs. 4), all of which speaks of His deity, righteous character, and authority over everything including death.
- It is through this same Jesus whom we have received “grace;” that unmerited favor which invites us into the family of God despite our underserving state because we have accepted Him as Savior.
Following this, he spoke of his prayer for them and his deepest desire to minister to them in person, to “preach the gospel” (vs. 15) to them, of which he was not ashamed to do (vs. 16). Paul knows within the message of the gospel he desires to share, men and woman through faith, can find “salvation to every one that beleiveth,” (vss. 16-17).
But what of those who refuse to accept God’s clear truth about this world, His revealed character, and salvation; those who choose ignorance over belief? Paul explains in our lesson that they are without excuse (see verse 20).
Let’s get into it to find out why he declared this bold statement.
Romans 1:18-20 “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 shewed it 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.”
The last clause of verse 17 declares, “The just shall live by faith.” This is something we see written three other times in God’s holy Word (see Hab. 2:4; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38). It is through faith one believes and accepts Christ, as described above, as the only way to obtain salvation. That is the bold truth to behold. All who oppose that truth live against the plan of God, rejecting His salvation and exposing them to receive the punishment thereof expressed in His “wrath.”
To say that God is against sin and unrighteousness doesn’t really seem to explain it well. God absolutely HATES sin and everything regarding it. He is angry with sin!
The entrance of sin into the world has ripped away at the core of all the good God originally created and has stolen from men (through their own choosing) a genuine relationship with Him. Due to that justice must be answered and sin will feel His wrath.
When discussing the wrath of God one must be careful not to identify the actions of humans with the righteous God. God does not react with a quick temper or a lack of self-control. As a matter of fact the very Word of God tells us, “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy,” (Psalm 145:8; see also Ps. 103:8; emphasis mine). Yet, even knowing this some still choose to turn away from that proffered mercy and relish in a life filled with “ungodliness” and “unrighteousness.”
Ungodliness and unrighteousness speaks of the marred relationship with God and man. Jesus taught, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets,” (Matthew 22:37-40). Both center around love, but those who are operating in sin with the promotion of ungodliness and unrighteousness have turned their hearts away in neglect of this holy truth to follow selfish, evil pursuits.
These individuals are accused of holding the “truth in unrighteousness,” which means they suppress or hinder the truth by unrighteous means. Truth brings about freedom of the soul to worship God and to love Him and His people as He has designed for us. Those who embrace the known truth of who He is and what He wants for us and from us finds that untainted freedom (see John 8:32).
But he who refuses to yield to God’s truth despite the fact that God has made it “known;” regardless of the fact “God hath shewed it unto them;” these have chosen to deliberately operate in ignorance and rebellion of what is clearly before their faces.
Put it like this; say for instance one goes to court to present a case. The strongest thing that will acquit or convict is the evidence that is presented. Paul taught in verse 19 of our lesson that God has showed man enough evidence of Himself for him [man] to accept Him [God]. Therefore, the one who turns away from fellowship with God and chooses a life of sin instead does so willingly without respect of what he/she already knows and has seen.
To better explain his point, Paul expounds on some of those revealed evidences God has given. He begins by stating, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen.” In other words, creation itself tells the story of God (of what He wants revealed) and gives one enough grounds to believe.
From the beginning of time people have tried and are still trying to explain away the creation story. With everything from theories to man-made “fictitious facts” they point many on a lost road of unbelief, erasing God from the picture altogether.
Yet, when we raise our windows and experience that fresh air He produces there is no man-made scent in the world that can mimic it and give you the same sense of peace and well-being as what He created. All of creation is put together by His intelligent design and there is not one area that lacks the touch of His wisdom.
Everything from the intricacies of the human body, all of its systems and how it works right down to the food chain of the world and how every species created is covered. Taking into account if one link of that chain is missing, the system around it begins to suffer and crumble.
Looking out into our vast universe and even just in the realm of our own planet, we see everything aligned perfectly in place to give us what we need to be nurtured and not harmed. For example, the earth is in the perfect place for us. Close enough to the sun that we are cared for in warmth and food and all those other good benefits, but not too close to damage us.
That’s all because God perfectly called these things forth and placed everything in its optimal place of functionality by His divine power, wisdom, and holiness; “Being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead,” (see Genesis 1). God gave man free will to believe in Him, and His power, and His Godhead as proved in His creation, or not. That free will means the choice lies in the heart of man (compare Joshua 24:15; John 7:17; Revelation 3:20).
People may try to chalk up what they feel or experience as “being one with the universe” or “mother nature,” or some other false belief, but all evidence of creation points to God and God only. The world we live in tries to contradict not only the beauty He originally designed in the creation, but they come against the idea of God as the author of it all.
The interruption of evil in this world and in the hearts of man may have caused a separation from the divine truth, but because of the evidence that Paul states is “clearly seen,” it leaves all mankind “without excuse.” God has always been “before all things, and by him all things consist,” (Col. 1:17), and it is up to each human heart to accept that truth or not. No exceptions. No excuses.
There is NO REASON, according to God’s holy Word, for one not to believe. His truth is clear and evident.
Romans 1:21-23 “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”
“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God.” Based off the premise already stated that God has revealed Himself to man since the time of creation; that “they knew God,” it’s what they chose, or in this case chose not to do, which subjects them to His wrath. The failing in them is “they glorified him not as God.”
Refusing to act on the evidence of who He is, is refusing to accept Him and give Him the glory He deserves. God is to be praised, revered, and worshipped for who He is. This covers not just mouth service, but life service (for more information view my article, “Glorify God!” (wordforlifesays.com).
“Neither were thankful.” The heart that refuses the truth of God is not only a heart that neglects worship, but it is remiss in giving thanks. Not realizing that it is He that has been moving in their lives; it is He that has brought them through another day – they have given themselves over to false “imaginations” and “foolish heart” that declines to recognize and appreciate Him, thus attributing life, success, and the like to others.
The Bible declares in Acts 17:28, “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being . . .” We don’t find who we are or content ourselves with anything outside of Him! When I awake in the morning it’s not because of anything that I have done. The reason; the truth is because “in Him” I live, move, and have my very being. You and me were not designed to feel the need to be fulfilled anywhere other than in Him! Therefore, I give Him thanks!
Everything outside of Him is empty, useless, and “vain.” Proverbs tells us, “The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit,” (12:5). One’s thoughts will lead them to a full life in Christ or empty and vain imaginations that believe lies that oppose Him. The enemy’s biggest goal is to distract the mind with anything other than God. For where the mind leads the people will follow.
Previously I wrote that we have to have, “a fly trap mentality. There is a barrier that every individual is to put up to guard their precious mind. That barrier is the Word of God. Whatever does not fall in line with Him and His Word is to be trapped and discarded as refuse like that old, dirty fly trap,” (for more see “Stop the Madness!”/wordforlifesays.com). But, the neglecters of the truth lean toward their imaginations and stay stuck with a heart that was “darkened;” and not opened to the Light.
“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” The Bible says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent . . . hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Cor. 1:19-20). The knowledge of man can lead him on many paths that are erroneously displayed as being right, but God’s wisdom will make them as “fools.” It doesn’t matter how many degrees, scientific papers published or discoveries one has made, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God,” (Psalm 141:1; 53:1). A “fool” is anyone, regardless of education or so-called high levels of intelligence, who denies the truth of God, point blank.
“And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God” into man-made propaganda that worships everything else but God. False ideologies and gods change people from worshipping the “uncorruptible God,” meaning He is without flaws and failure; He never changes nor fades away. Revelation 1:8 declares He, “is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Isaiah 41:4 says, “Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.”
Yet, the wicked imagination of man has suppressed that truth and they have set up for themselves idols of things that are “corruptible” and perish. Thus, they have changed the “glory” of the truth of who He is in their life. There are many things in a human’s point of view that may seem to profit, but end in ruin. And, this is definitely one of them.
From my article, “Don’t Change Your Glory!” I wrote in referencing of changing of the worship of the one true God to follow after idols:
“From the beginning of time truth as been under attack and glory has been fought against. But Hebrews 10:35 tells us, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.” In the garden, Adam and Eve cast away their confidence and believed deception. The Israelites cast away their confidence and went after that which does not profit. The prodigal son cast his confidence away and broke the relationship between him and his father. The book of Hebrews was written to the saints – to the church – to them already in a relationship with God through Christ, and the yellow tape of “CAUTION” has been spread out! It is warning those who are thinking about following the footsteps of those I mentioned. Hebrews is encouraging them not to give up on their faith! Don’t break your relationship with God! Don’t exchange your glory!” (wordforlifesays.com)
Romans 1:28-32 “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventers of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 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.”
Because those of whom Paul writes choose to follow false pursuits and changed “the glory of the uncorruptible God;” “God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” God lets them follow their false pursuits of their depraved thinking and suffer the consequences thereof. “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD . . .” (Proverbs 15:26), but if they refuse God and trust more on those wicked thoughts, and “not retain God in their knowledge,” God simply steps back and lets them have it, leaving the responsibility of suffering it entails upon their own shoulders.
Every day every individual has the ability to choose a life of faithfulness or not. Joshua 24:15 sends out the charge, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve,” (emphasis mine). The choice is up to you!
“Being filled” with the many evils listed by the promotion of fleshly, carnal minded desires as opposed to those of the Spirit. With a list of twenty-two specifics sins it covers a broad range of every evil imaginable that leads man away from a whole relationship with God.
If we look in the book of Galatians we see many of these similar items listed appropriately as “works of the flesh” (5:19-21). These are things that war against God and His Spirit, (see Gal. 5:17). “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit,” (Romans 8:5).
The two CANNOT coexist. The two CANNOT dwell in the same house. The two CANNOT be friends. They are on opposite sides of the spiritual spectrum and those who are “filled” with those evil works move more toward fulfilling those things of the flesh and farther and farther away from God, putting themselves in a position to be recipients of His wrath. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God,” (Romans 8:6-8).
And, it all started with the rejection of God’s clear truth that has been revealed. It truly leads one on a spiraling, downward path.
“Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death.” Can I be real with you? We are all “worthy of death.” What I mean by that is as the Word says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23). But, those who accept the truth of God, and the Christ whom Paul introduced in the beginning of this chapter (see introduction); those who believe on Him as the Son of God and the promise of salvation will, in faith, follow and obey His holy truth. They bypass the spiritual death and find life anew in Him.
Those that deny the solid truth of God and Christ in His revealed Word, and continue following a life filled with evil, subject themselves to being “worthy of death,” (compare Revelation 20:14). While deliberately “knowing the judgment of God” they not only partook of the sins themselves, but “have pleasure in them that do them.”
Just because man may approve of sin, God doesn’t and never will. Sin will always keep man away from God and in the path of His wrath. God will judge all sin.
For those who ignore God’s clear truth there are NO EXCUSES. “For the wages of sin is death . . .” (Romans 6:23a). But, for those who will turn to Him can receive a better end because “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord,” (Romans 6:23b).
(Click here for PDF: Ignoring God’s Clear Truth Sunday School Lesson, or simply click the print button below. Enjoy!)
Below are activities that support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
“No Excuses Church Fan Craft”: No Excuses Church Fan Template (Use this PDF for accurate printing) Print out on cardstock or glue to construction paper, cut, color, decorate, tape or glue to a craft stick, and enjoy!
Draw the Scene: Ignoring God’s Clear Truth Draw the Scene (Use this PDF link for accurate printing)
Memory Verse: Ignoring God’s Clear Truth Memory Verse (Use this PDF link for accurate printing)
“Pass the Power Memory Verse Game” (Although presented here for Romans 1:16, this game is great fun for any memory verse)
“Sin is Gross” (An object lesson/talk that will really demonstrate the grossness of sin)
“10 Active Indoor Games That Help Kids Grow Their Faith” (Interesting activities of faith from “Protect Me” to “Snowball Fight” and more)
“Is Sin Bringing Me Down?” (Object lesson: The Juice Scam and other interesting ways to present the subject of sin being serious to God)
“God Made Our World” (Activities that point back to God as Creator, tying it into verses 19-20 of our lesson)
“A Free Gift” (Teaches children about becoming a Christian)
“What is Sin?” (With activities focused on Adam and Eve, kids gain an understanding of sin and the importance of knowing God for themselves. Enjoy!)
“What is Faith?” (Activities based around faith)