“God Has Shown it Unto Them”
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: (Romans 1:18-20)
It is not possible to explore this theme in one or two short articles on Morning Minute. We will take a few mornings to look at Paul’s making such a statement in his classic book: The Book of Romans. The source of revealing will come from heaven. It will be overseen and directed by heaven. The power of God from heaven will see that it is done in a visible way.
God is saying, “I have shown you things you need to know and you have paid no attention. You continue to live as though I have shown you nothing. And now, my feeling toward you is righteous wrath. (Not to be confused with depraved human wrath.) You have no excuse for ignoring the truth I have shown you.” This is a paraphrase of the above verses. It is one of the most important truths in the Bible.
When I was a high school senior, I worked on my last two credits (2 of 16) at Stevenson, AL High School and these credits were transferred to the Homestead High School where I graduated. I went to school a half-day and worked in my daddy’s hickory sawmill a half-day. My Social Studies teacher was a nice fellow, not long out of college. I began dropping little one-liners to him about the Lord, trying to be a Christian witness to him. One day as I came into class a few minutes early, he said to me: “What about the heathen in foreign lands who have never heard of Jesus Christ? Can they be saved before you get there and preach to them?” I was sure he had learned that in college as a reason not to believe the Christian faith.
In those days, I knew more than I know now and I handed it back to him: “A missionary will have to tell them about Christ because that’s God’s way of communicating with them.” My teacher was nice, but he knew I didn’t have it together. I never got over my blunder. It still bothers me. I wonder if he’s still living, where he lives and wish I could talk with him one more time.
Thirty years later I was a lobbyist in the NC Legislature on behalf of religious liberty and the life of the unborn. An old Senator closed his office door and raised the question while I was asking for his vote on our Bill. “Can the heathen who have never heard be saved?” Like lightning, my mind was back in that high school and I knew I had never truly answered the question. I said: “Sir, I can’t give you a Bible answer this moment, but I’ll research it and get back with you in a few days and we’ll discuss this again.”
I did and we discussed it. It was some of the most intense Bible study I had ever done. I was trying to overcome 30 years of laziness in not dealing with that important subject. I was amazed at how much there is in the Bible about God’s dealing with people who know nothing and how much He tells them and how He does it. The subject is hidden away in many places and you have to be looking for the subject or you will slide over it. In the articles, ahead, I plan to share some of those things I found.
Some “Christians” may decide they would like to know no more than the heathen who have never heard. We may fail to realize the implications involved when the world’s population is approaching seven billion. In 1830, there was one billion. In 1930, there were two billion. In 1960 there were three billion. And now there are almost seven billion.
Our verses today talk about people who had truth about God without a Bible. We are used to the Bible being the truth book and it is. Indeed, the Bible is the fountainhead of truth, the gold standard of truth, ultimate truth, authoritative truth, and the encyclopedia of truth. There’s no other book in the world like the Bible. It is God’s special book of revelation.
Jesus commented on truth. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (Joh 8:31-32)
When Jesus was standing trial before Pilate, the Roman ruler, Jesus talked about truth. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, bear What is truth?... (Joh 18:37-38) Pilate didn’t know as much as he wanted to know.
Pilate was familiar with the system of Greek philosophers who constantly debated among themselves for knowing truth. But without God’s assistance, without God’s revelation of truth, men are limited in what they can know. I studied philosophy in college and reviewed some of the stuff these men were debating. It was amazing how generation after generation was trying to know truth but could not decide. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2Ti 3:7)
Prior to His trial, Jesus had said to His disciple, Phillip: I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (Joh 14:6) Jesus was co-creator with the Father and the Holy Spirit: All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1:3). We should not be surprised that Jesus not only spoke the truth but was also, Himself, the truth.
How did God reveal truth to men without a Bible? In today’s text, God communicates a limited but awesome amount of knowledge without a Bible. He is setting forth His eternal power and Godhead. By “eternal” is meant that it is unchanging. It has never been anything else and will always be the same. The power means of an authoritative nature.
“Paul’s conclusion to this description of natural revelation is important — men are without excuse. The witness to God in nature is so clear and so constant that ignoring it is indefensible. Their condemnation is based not on their rejecting Christ of whom they have not heard, but on their sinning against the light they have.” (Bible Knowledge Commentary)
The phrase: “God has shewed it unto them” is the key to understanding much in God’s dealing with humanity. This principle is deeply embedded in the founding documents of the United States. Our Declaration of Independence, that serves as a preamble to the Constitution of the United States, includes the following terms in the first paragraph: “laws of nature” and “nature’s God.” The same document includes: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…”
This was the conclusion of all these men who were committing the thirteen colonies to go to war with England. They believed it was common knowledge that God communicates certain values into the conscience of men and women, directly. The principles were in the Bible and the Spirit of God endowed the hearts of men with the conviction of those principles.
God was communicating with people hundreds of years before Moses wrote the five books of law and history known as the Jewish Torah, which is part of the Christian Bible.
Barbara and I have almost finished reading the Book of Job again. We’ve read it several times in the last thirty years. It is said to be the oldest book in the Bible. Job said: Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. (Job 23:12) Job had words from God before the words of Moses were written.
Abraham knew God well, talked with Him and God talked to Abraham. But, Abraham didn’t have a Bible. He knew enough about God to be responsible to Him, to appreciate Him, to love Him, to believe Him, and to obey Him.
Enoch was the oldest man that ever lived and the Bible says He walked with God. God took him to Heaven and he is there right now, living and talking with God. But, Enoch never had a Bible. Abraham knew God before God told him to leave his land and kindred and God would show him a land He would give him and would make of him a great nation. But, Moses never had a Bible until God told him to write the first five books of the Bible.
Most of the people of the world have never held a Bible in their hands, today or at any time in history. Very few people in the world have ever sat in a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church. And yet, according to the Apostle Paul, God has shown people enough truth for them to respond to Him, that is, to obey what God has shown them. This principle is true in measuring our knowledge and measuring our money: For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. (2Co 8:12)
Man, in his fallen state, will not have God to rule over him. Isaiah says: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isa 53:6) The foundation and core of all sin is that the sinner has put himself in the place of God. That’s what our verses are about today. God’s wrath is against those who take what God has shown them by any means and hold it while living contrary to what God has shown them. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MARCH 13, 2017 – MONDAY
A.M. Deut 20-22 P.M. Mark 14:26-50
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Memory Verse This Month:
Let the words of my mouth, and meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psa 19:14)
Song for Today:
An Old Time Christian (2:30) – (Gaither Group)
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