Read — Romans 1:18-20
Message Alan Burke
This coming Lord’s Day Hiram is coming to lead worship in Lissara, as he does he will be preaching the next passage in our study of Romans which is 1:18-20. I do not know at this stage what he is going to say, I’m no mind reader even though like most ministers I’m expected to know when someone is in hospital even though the family wouldn’t think of telling me but I can safely guess what Hiram is going to say and it is this; every single part of creation testifies that there is a God, so that no one can complain that God has left insufficient evidence of his existence and character. This is known as general revelation and through general revelation to all men, God communicates His existence, His power, and His glory, so that we are left without excuse. “For the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (Ps 19:1-2).
Creation reveals that there is a God, it has been made plain, so that all are “without excuse”. We tend to forget this truth and therefore the culpability that rests on all, yet the teaching of scripture is clear that every man, women, child that has ever lived has been confronted with the truth of God in creation. The perverseness of the sinful human heart is that we try to make excuses, “I’d believe in God, if” there could be of course a myriad of different responses to that but for many they give excuses like “if they could see” or “if hear God”, “if they could prove the reality of God”, but the reality for all is that there is not one who has an excuse. Instead the problem is that we by our sinful nature reject God’s general revelation, we reject the truth of God that is made plain. Our unsaved neighbours, friends, family members are without excuse, they suppress the truth of God and if it was not for the merciful work of God within us by the Holy Spirit then we likewise would do the same.
There is one other thing I want to draw out for us and that is in verse 18, I’m sure Hiram will give a much better explanation but here we are told how ”..the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth”. In scripture it speaks of the final and great day of wrath that is coming when the Lord will judge the living and the dead and we will either face the lake of fire or the new heavens and the new earth, but how is God’s wrath being revealed from heaven right now? Well it is an anticipatory wrath, as the Lord turns people over to their sin and this is something we will think of in a few weeks time in more detail but ultimately it is this, God gives people over to what their sinful heart desires and they face the consequences of that.
A couple of things; General revelation in creation is not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation. General revelation does not reveal Jesus Christ or His work of redemption for sinners. We are dependant on the grace of God to work in us and our neighbours, friends and family through God’s special revelation, His word. It is the Word of God that is His Special revelation, through it the way of salvation has been made known, in His Special revelation that is the word of God, we have been given everything we need to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him, for from Genesis to Revelation, from “In the beginning” (Gen 1:1), to “Amen” (Rev 22:21) it is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16).
Q58 What is required in the fourth commandment?
The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his Word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy Sabbath to himself. (Deut. 5:12–14)