July 9th 2017: Ian Middlemist

ian-dec-2016Romans 1:18-20

What has been done?
What is expected?
No excuses!

What has been done?
What has God done to render no excuses from man? ‘For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.’ (Romans 1:19). Some people are glad to hide at the back of a room because of their shyness, others are glad to be conspicuous and wear their heart on their sleeve. God has been pleased to allow Himself to be known to all. He has revealed Himself to mankind and through creation. He is a powerful God. He knows how much men and women need Him. He reveals Himself through creation. We all experience this. ‘The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.’ (Psalm 19:1).

Romans 1-20

This is enough for men, women and children to know Him. When you think about your relationship with unbelieving friends, you have a connection with them, you have all seen creation. The external testimony of creation. God has given man a conscience in which he can understand creation. Children play on beaches, holding the sand in their hands – creation is in their hands. It’s for all. We are His creatures, we must worship Him. Some refuse to act on this knowledge, they do not want to turn to God, they hate Him.

What is expected of us, having been given this knowledge?
God has given creation, knowledge and conscience. We are all under the same judgement. We see the big sin, ‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.’ (Romans 1:18). Ungodliness is a religious sin. Unrighteousness is a moral sin. The two go hand in hand. Some may have more of one than the other; some attempt to live good lives but with no repentance to God. Others claim to worship God but live immoral lives. Unrighteousness and godliness is seen in one thing – suppressing the truth. ‘Suppress’ means to put in detention, to lock up. Whilst men and women force the truth of Jesus into the subconscious, all awhile it is there. People push it aside. No-one can destroy what God has done. We need to allow the truth of God to dominate – sing to God new songs of worship. Repent of sins, acknowledge the truth. There is not enough knowledge in creation to save. We need the Holy Spirit, it is God’s work alone. As He comes to us we can repent of our sins.

No excuses!
When we become a Christian all our excuses are nothing but an embarrassment. It’s an embarrassing thing to see someone pleading their innocence when everyone knows they’re guilty. Our desire is everyone comes to humble repentance. There are no excuses we can bring on that last day. The gospel begins with the wrath of God but ends with the mercy of God. You cannot have a gospel without the wrath. Many people are not interested in the gospel, they don’t realise the wrath of God. ‘Wrath’ has to do with a passion. God isn’t simply annoyed with sin, it’s a personal matter. God is passionate in His wrath, it means something to Him. He is passionately filled with holy indignation.

The wrath of God is a fearful thing. A judge sums up a case, sometimes using very emotive language in response to evil. It’s a pointed anger against sin. Everyone is condemned – but there is wonderful news! Jesus Christ was sent to die for us, He gave His life for us. How can we begin to thank God, to thank Jesus, when we have so not deserved His love? Praise Him!

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