According to Romans 1:18-21 everyone born into this world, including you the reader, knows that there is a God. But many people attempt to suppress these thoughts about God. Here Romans says:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Psalm 19: 1-4a says:
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
This natural revelation in nature about God renders a person without excuse if one does not honor God as the Creator. If you do not acknowledge God as the Creator of all of nature then you are suppressing this truth in your mind. However, your conscience will keep bringing this Creator/ creature relationship back to your thoughts because this is built into every person. This is true because we were made in the image of God.
Another characteristic of every person born into this world, because of being made in the image of God, is that everyone has a sense of right and wrong. This is because the laws of their Creator are written in their hearts and consciences causing these feelings of righteousness and wickedness. As Romans 2:14-15 says:
Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.
Thus, the following is universally true about every person to one degree or another:
1. You know that God exists.
2. You know that God is the Creator and you are a creature.
3. You have a built in sense of right and wrong.
4. You do not live up to this sense of right and wrong but miserably fail in disobedience to your own conscience.
5. You deserve the wrath and punishment of God for this disobedience and for not seeking to please your Creator.
The information this far, even if acknowledged, is not enough to save a person from the wrath of God which is coming.
The revelation of nature only serves to render a person without excuse or guilty before God for not seeking Him further. But there is the written revelation from God which is a sure guide concerning God’s will toward us. This written revelation, called the Holy Bible or Scripture, is the Word of God, and is the only authority we have for information, faith and practice concerning our relationship to God. No human teacher, preacher, priest or pope has any authority above the Scriptures. Individuals have the responsibility to read, understand and obey God’s Word because Scripture interprets Scripture.
The Ten Commandments, in Exodus, chapter 20, serve to show us our shortcomings or sinfulness. They are a good test of our obedience.
The first four show us our duty to God:
– You shall have no other gods before me.
– You shall not make for yourself idols to worship.
– You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
– Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
The last six show us our duty to our fellow man:
– Honour your father and mother.
– You shall not commit murder.
– You shall not commit adultery.
– You shall not steal
– You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour. (Do not lie.)
– You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife or possessions.
No one can truthfully say he or she has kept these Ten Commandments perfectly in word, thought and deed. James 2:10 says, ‘For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.’ This is a universal problem. Even the best of people fall short of God’s perfect standard. The world is full of trouble because it is full of sinful people. Every individual has a sinful nature. Thus we have a natural tendency to sin against God and men. As Romans 3:10, 11 says, ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who seeks God.’ And Romans 6:23 says, ‘The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.’
The law of God exposes our sinfulness which shows us our need of a Savior. If we don’t see our need, then all this talk of a Savior from sin and its penalty would seem quite foolish.
In 1 Corinthians 15:3b it says, ‘Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.’ Why did Christ have to die for sinners? And why couldn’t God have forgiven us without Christ dying on the cross? Because in order for God to be just, the penalty for sin must be paid, which is the death of a sinner or law breaker. Only a sinless Substitute qualifies to die in the place of sinners. 1 Peter 3:18 says, ‘For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.’
And John 3:16-18 says:
For God so loved the world that he have his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
According to 1 Corinthians 1:18, is the message of the cross foolishness to you or does it display the power of God? If salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ seems foolish to you, then you are perishing. You are on your way to, what the Bible calls, eternal destruction, to total misery, to hell. However, if you see the message of the cross as displaying the power and wisdom of God, this is evidence that you have been redeemed by Christ’s work on the cross.
Romans 10:9, 10 says:
That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it’s with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
In other words, if you are not afraid to call Jesus Christ your Lord or Master in front of others and if you really believe that Jesus was raised from the dead and is now living in heaven, this too is evidence that you are one of God’s redeemed ones.
But as Mark 8:38 shows, if you are ashamed to mention Christ as your Savior, then maybe He is not your Savior. If you are ashamed to admit knowing and loving Jesus now, then He will not admit knowing you at the judgement. Do you claim to know God, but your actions say otherwise? By one’s fruits or actions a Christian is proved to be what he claims. Jesus said, ‘If you love me keep my commandments’ and ‘Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?’
If you say that cannot believe these things, then you are right. You have no capacity to believe these truths on your own without the intervention of God. 1 Corinthians 2:14 indicates that the man without the Holy Spirit of God does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Also John 6:44 says, ‘No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.’
If you are concerned about your relationship with God, then thank God for already working on your behalf to desire Him. If not, then your only hope is to beg God to give you a new heart to desire the things of God, salvation, and righteousness. 1 Peter 5:5b says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ You are shut up to God’s mercy for eternal life. Do not assume that you will have another day to turn to God in repentance. You don’t know for sure if you will have another day to live. Also, you may not always be given the feeling or desire to seek after God. Romans 9:15, 16 indicates that God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden. Therefore, it does not depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.
Proverbs 28:13 says, ‘He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.’ Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’ (Luke 5:31, 32). Repentance includes a change of mind toward God as your Creator and Lord. It also includes a change of mind toward yourself as a sinner deserving God’s wrath and judgement. True repentance results in a hatred of sin and a love for holiness. Your life becomes less centered around yourself and more centered around God. In Acts 2:38, 39 Peter replied:
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.
It is the goodness of God which leads you to repentance and faith in Him.
Also consider the following Scriptures:
Proverbs 8:17– I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.
Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Isaiah 55:6,7 – Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his ways and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
Acts 2:21 – And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Pray now and ask God to save your soul through the merit of Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for sins on the cross. John 6:37b says, ‘And whoever comes to me I will never drive away.’
Dennis R. Fry is a deacon in Grace Baptist Church in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.