Romans Chap 1:
Keyword: Without Excuse
Suggested Memory Verses:
Short version: Rom 1:20
Intermediate: Rom 1:1, Rom 1:8, Rom 1:16, Rom 1:20
Ambitious: add to the Intermediate Rom 1:17-19.
Completing our two-week run through Romans Chapter One (Rom 1:1-32) it is appropriate to recap truths discussed focusing especially around our Keyword for the Chapter, "Without Excuse."
KEY VERSE FOR THE WHOLE BOOK:
Rom 1:16-17 serve as an excellent Key Verse summing up the whole book of Romans.
-Never be ashamed of the gospel.
-The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
-To Everyone both Jew and Gentile
-In the Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed.
-From Faith to Faith -- that is by faith alone, beginning with faith and faith ever growing.
-And now in this book of Romans we will see how verses 16 and 17 head up the rest of Romans. How it is that one can be righteous before our thrice Holy God, perfectly righteous.
During our last class it was pointed out by Jim P., that beginning with verse Rom 1:18 we could call it the "Indictment Begins." For me this new term will serve as an additional handle on chapter 1 and will prove to be very true as we continue on especially through chapters two and three. The "Indictment Begins" and we are shown to be WITHOUT EXCUSE.
HOLDING/SUPPRESSING the Truth in Unrighteousness:
Rom 1:18 - showing that God's wrath revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men -- MEN THAT HOLD/SUPPRESS THE TRUTH IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.
Let us mark these words. Not that they know nothing at all but that they will not know. That, in sin, the truth is suppressed.
WHY? It is plainly made known IN THEM. It is Plainly Shown TO THEM:
Rom 1:19 Again bringing on that INDICTMENT, What may be known of GOD is manifest/evident/plainly known IN THEM. Let us mark especially that phrase, IN THEM, which is coupled with the Greek noun for "plainly known" and the Greek verb for "plainly made known." (Note: I always think of this idea "plainly made known" when I read in my bible, Manifest.)
INDICTMENT MOUNTS SHOWING ALL WITHOUT EXCUSE:
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world"
Ever since the world was made this is true -- since the creation.
"Are clearly seen"
That God who cannot be seen, yet somehow the invisible things of him, these invisible things are clearly seen every since the world was made.
"being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead"
Creation declares a creator. The heavens make known his glory, the design inherent in nature declares a creator. Every bird that flies, every blade of grass, the air we breath, the eyes with which they see, making understood that GOD IS.
Calvin said it is evident and obvious that everything that exists owes its origin to one who has no origin that is a self-existent one. " that from which all other things derive their origin must necessarily be self-existent and eternal . " -- from Instititues I.5.6
"so that they are without excuse:"
And if GOD IS, then we must WORSHIP HIM.
Everyone is without excuse, the invisible things of God BEING UNDERSTOOD BY THE THINGS THAT ARE MADE, plainly made known IN THEM, and plainly shown TO THEM, but the truth is SUPPRESSED, it is resisted. SIN has ruined us and in unrighteousness the truth is held back.
IN THEM/TO THEM/THE TRUTH HELD IN UNRIGHTOUSNESS all of these point to a guilt that lies deeper than simply ignoring evidence.
Jesus Christ is the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. John 1:9
And man made in the image of God, Gen 1:26-27.
Made upright, Ecc 7:29
In Righteousness and True Holiness, Eph 4:24
But fallen from our original state, we stand condemned with an indictment which is now unfolding beginning with Rom 1:18. Holding the truth in Unrighteousness, in the presence of the that which shows clearly and makes understood the invisible things of God --- we are WITHOUT EXCUSE. No Defense can be made, no excuse given.
Matthew Poole Comments on Rom 1:20
"Because it might be further objected in behalf of the Gentiles, that the notions of God imprinted in their nature are so weak, that they may be well excused; therefore the apostle adds, that the certainty of them is further confirmed by the book of the creatures, which was written before them in capital letters, so that he that runs may read. The invisible things of him: the apostle tells us afterwards himself what he means by the invisible things of God, viz. his being and his attributes, particularly his eternity and almighty power; to which we might add, his wisdom, goodness, &c. These, though invisible in themselves, yet are discernible by his works, and that ever since the creation of the world. By what they see created, they may easily collect or understand, that there is an eternal and almighty Creator; they may argue from the effects to the cause. So that they are without excuse: some render it, that they may be without excuse; but it is better rendered in our translation: the meaning is not, that God gave them that knowledge for this end and purpose, that they might be inexcusable, for they might catch even at that for an excuse; but the plain sense is this, that God hath given all men such means of knowledge as sufficeth to leave them without excuse, there can be no pretence of ignorance. "
Concluding I will leave you with some helpful quotes from John Calvin taken from Institutes Book I, Chapter five.
"...he has been pleased, in order that none might be excluded from the means of obtaining felicity, not only to deposit in our minds that seed of religion of which we have already spoken, but so to manifest his perfections in the whole structure of the universe, and daily place himself in our view, that we cannot open our eyes without being compelled to behold him." "Hence, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews elegantly describes the visible worlds as images of the invisible, (Heb. 11: 3,) the elegant structure of the world serving us as a kind of mirror, in which we may behold God, though otherwise invisible. For the same reason, the Psalmist attributes language to celestial objects, a language which all nations understand, (Psalm 19: 1,) the manifestation of the Godhead being too clear to escape the notice of any people, however obtuse. The apostle Paul, stating this still more clearly, says, "That which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has showed 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," (Rom. 1: 20.)
"We have no excuse
But though we are deficient in natural powers which might enable us to rise to a pure and clear knowledge of God, still, as the dullness which prevents us is within, there is no room for excuse. We cannot plead ignorance, without being at the same time convicted by our own consciences both of sloth and ingratitude. It were, indeed, a strange defence for man to pretend that he has no ears to hear the truth, while dumb creatures have voices loud enough to declare it; to allege that he is unable to see that which creatures without eyes demonstrate, to excuse himself on the ground of weakness of mind, while all creatures without reason are able to teach. Wherefore, when we wander and go astray, we are justly shut out from every species of excuse, because all things point to the right path. But while man must bear the guilt of corrupting the seed of divine knowledge so wondrously deposited in his mind, and preventing it from bearing good and genuine fruit, it is still most true that we are not sufficiently instructed by that bare and simple, but magnificent testimony which the creatures bear to the glory of their Creator. For no sooner do we, from a survey of the world, obtain some slight knowledge of Deity, than we pass by the true God, and set up in his stead the dream and phantom of our own brain, drawing away the praise of justice, wisdom, and goodness, from the fountain-head, and transferring it to some other quarter. Moreover, by the erroneous estimate we form, we either so obscure or pervert his daily works, as at once to rob them of their glory and the author of them of his just praise."For more on Rom 1:20, I encourage you to read the whole of Book 1 chapter five from The Institutes of the Christian Religion by clicking here.