When They Knew God
By David J. Stewart
Romans 1:16-25, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 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 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: 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. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
Everyone at Some Point in Life Recognizes God
Romans chapter one gives us the “progression” of people who have decided to travel the highway of destruction (to ultimate misery and judgment) in hell. Surely, God doesn’t want anyone to perish. The Bible declares that we are responsible for ourselves—we must decide our own fate! Why would a person reject God? Why would any man or woman despise their Creator? It all begins in Romans one with the easily overlooked little phrase, “...WHEN THEY KNEW GOD...” (Romans 1:21). Every man and woman at some point in life “knew God.” The Greek word for “knew” here means “to be aware of” or “to perceive.” Thus, we have all perceived God’s presence at some point in our life. Everyone has had the chance to do what’s right and seek after God.
King Josiah in
the Old Testament grew up in the worst of sinful conditions with ungodly parents and yet he served the Lord and did what was right. Anyone can do right! ... “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to ALL men” (Titus 2:11). God’s “grace” is sufficient for ALL our needs. God is fair! “For the INVISIBLE THINGS of Him from the creation of the world are CLEARLY SEEN...” (Romans 1:20). Wow! The Scriptures teach that we can indeed see invisible things! How? “...being understood BY THE THINGS THAT ARE MADE...” (Romans 1:20). We read in Psalm 19:1-3 that “The heavens declare the glory (goodness) of God; and the firmament SHOWETH His handiwork. Day unto day UTTERETH speech, and night unto night SHOWETH knowledge. There is NO SPEECH NOR LANGUAGE, WHERE THEIR VOICE IS NOT HEARD.”
Just as with music, nature needs no interpreter. The Scriptures plainly teach that God has provided enough light (through the things that are made) for anyone to clearly see the things (which are invisible). “...even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are WITHOUT EXCUSE: Because that, WHEN THEY KNEW GOD, they glorified (to esteem glorious-honor, magnify) Him not as God, neither were thankful” (Romans 1:20,21). Christ-rejecters are without excuse! Those who will someday die and plunder into hell fire will be without excuse! Anyone can come to the knowledge of the truth if they so desire. We all perceive and become aware of God’s presence at some point in our life. We all must decide to go down one of two possible paths: God’s or our own.
Most People Turn Away from God, Refusing to Acknowledge Him
Romans chapter one gives us the step-by-step downfall of those who choose the wrong path by deciding they don’t need God. “...they did not like to RETAIN GOD in their knowledge...” (Romans 1:28). What a sad statement! They simply didn’t want God in their life, not even in their mind.
It all begins with being unthankful and not honoring God. The word “honor” means “to value.” How can anyone not value and want God? When the Scriptures speak of honoring your parents, it means to value them and treat them as such. Jesus, even while dying on the cross, expressed concern for His mother’s well being after He was gone (John 19:26). Do you value (honor) your parents and God? Can you live just as well without Jesus? No, you can’t! Many today are arrogant and self-righteous and don’t want a Savior. They don’t like God and don’t want to think about Him! They mistreat God.
They Become Unthankful Towards God
These people, being unthankful and reluctant to honor God Almighty—became vain and foolish. “...but became vain (empty, silly) in their imaginations, and their FOOLISH HEART WAS DARKENED. Professing themselves to be wise, THEY BECAME FOOLS,” (Romans 1:21,22). So many are foolish today! This lost and wicked world that we are living in today—worships sports and sex; glorifies sin and rebellion; thrives on greed and corruption; practices covetousness and maliciousness; diminishes the sacredness of the family, marriage and God; honors the immoral and heathen; Rejects Christ and has no place or purpose for the Word of God.
God says; “...they are WITHOUT EXCUSE” (Romans 1:20); “...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” (Romans 1:32). This sounds like TV doesn’t it? People have pleasure in watching others commit sin! Adulterers and homosexuals who would never be allowed into your home to commit their evil deeds are welcomed right into your home through the TV set to do the same. No wonder some have called the TV—Hellivision. Is the TV your idol? Don’t be too quick to say “no”! Read your Bible lately? How much time do you spend watching the box? Idolatry is anything that means more to you than God.
They Become Fools in Their Sinful Pride
By nature man is full of pride, arrogance and self-righteousness. For those who avoid God, live in sin and “do-their-own-thing”—they must redefine God and His truth to maintain self-respect. So they change, discredit and misquote God’s Word. They have a distorted view of God. “And CHANGED the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image...” (Romans 1:23). “Who CHANGED the truth of God into a lie...” (Romans 1:25). So they explain away God and His Holy Word with silly thinking and worldly philosophy. “PROFESSING THEMSELVES TO BE WISE, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). Are you a fool? Did you travel down the wrong path in life after the time “when you knew God?”
What a statement—“WHEN THEY KNEW GOD!” (Romans 1:21). Some people deny God’s Word. Scriptures say that the “invisible” things of God are “clearly seen.” The rich man in Hell begged Abraham to send Lazarus from the dead to warn his five brothers “lest they also come into this place of torment.” Abraham said, “If they will not hear Moses and the prophets, NEITHER WILL THEY BE PERSUADED, THOUGH ONE ROSE FROM THE DEAD” (Luke 16:27-31).
There are No Excuses Not to Get Saved!
No excuses! If you go to hell, it will be no one’s fault but YOUR OWN. People are great blame-shifters. Adam and Eve both sinned; Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent. This is typical of humans, to shift the blame elsewhere. If we cannot shift the blame, then we try to cover our sins as Cain did. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). Cain killed Able and then pretended he was ignorant concerning Abel's death. On and on we could go. Everyone wants to shift the blame.
No my friend, you CANNOT blame anyone else for your wrong doing and mistakes. Anytime you point your finger at someone else, there are three of your own fingers pointing back at you. We are all losers without God. Accept who you are and turn to God in faith for salvation. Let me also say, “there are no losers with God.” Admit to God you’re a sinner and ask Him to forgive your sins, realizing that Christ paid for them. Decide to rely upon Jesus Christ as your Savior because of all that He did to pay for your sins. Make that decision now!
Being saved is the easiest thing in the world but people make it difficult. It’s so simple to be saved. You are a sinner my friend. Because of your sins, you deserve to go to Hell. Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose again to pay for your sins. If you’ll simply trust in Christ as your Door into heaven, you can be saved... “I AM THE DOOR: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). You must simply go to the Lord and BELIEVE on Him. You may call on Jesus Christ in prayer and ask Him to forgive your sins and take you to Heaven when you die.
The important thing is that you trust upon the Lord in your heart. Decide that you are going to rely upon Christ and nothing else to save you. Not baptism, NOT the pope, NOT good works, NOT religion, NOT merit, NOT sacraments, NOT turning over a new leaf—But trusting Jesus alone for salvation. Becoming a Christian is a win-win situation. There are no losers in God’s family, only winners! Become a Child of God right now, Call on Jesus the best you know how to save you. His righteousness will save you. God bless.
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