Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Everyone, everywhere are born with a deep sense of God in their being. Everywhere we go the people we find already have an idea of God. This idea is explained in the Bible. Yet, there are many people who have rejected the idea of God. The apostle Paul talks about them in the book of Romans chapter 1, verse 21: “although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” He goes on to say that they became fools. More than 1000 years before Paul the psalmist said, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’”. (Psalm 14:1)
Children are willing to accept the concept of God without question when they are born. As they confront the world’s philosophies, taught in school and society in general, their concept of God is eroded and, in many cases, is abandoned. The world is opposed to God for the simple reason that it is ruled over by Satan. He is, according to the Bible, the God of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). As such, at every level of society he leads the charge in opposition to God. He does this by undermining faith and encouraging wickedness. And…
The wicked person chooses against God. Let’s see what the psalmist had to say Psalm 10:3-4. For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord. 4 In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
We can see from this passage that some people deny the inner sense of God. They’re caught up in self-centered desires. They are greedy for gain. They curse and renounce God! They go beyond even that. Not only do they not seek God but in their mind they reflect the concept, “There is no God”. There’s a very simple reason for this and it’s often overlooked. Living the kind of self-centered life of those who oppose God the absence of God is needed. You see? If there is a God then there must also be a sense of “right” and “wrong”! And if there is “right” and “wrong” they are in danger of the judgment. I can assure you that is true! There is without question a real right and wrong based on the word of God and His abiding character.
I remember once being confronted by a man who boldly stated, “I don’t believe there’s a God”. My simple answer was, “If I lived the way you do I would want there to be no God”! If God exists, and is the God revealed in the Bible, then all those who reject him are in serious trouble. All have sinned and the wages of sin is death. For those unbelievers there is no hope of life beyond the grave. The Bible tells us in many places…
They suppress the truth that they were born with. Let’s turn to Romans 1:18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Here, God has defined for us the problem of unrighteous mankind. In their unrighteousness they suppress the truth. The consequence, for them, is crushing! When they turn against the truth that they were born with then they enter into a condition where they face the wrath of God.
We should not be surprised at the term “wrath of God”. God loves all that is right and good. All that is right and good conforms to His moral character. If anything does not conform to His moral character then it is subject to His wrath. God’s wrath means that he intensely hates all sin! And when the truth about Him is suppressed by man there should be an expectation of God releasing His wrath against the ungodliness and wickedness of men. Repeatedly, in the Bible, sin is seen as the target of God’s wrath. As man chooses to deny God there are very negative consequences.
Because of this choice “God gave them up”. Let’s look ahead to Romans 1:24-32. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
For the fools who deny God and make themselves subjects of His wrath there is a process that should be very frightening.
Three times in this first chapter of Romans the words appear “God gave them up”. First, in the lusts of their heart they are given over to impurity. They have denied God and traded the truth for a lie. They have worshiped the creature rather than the Creator.
Second, they are given over to dishonorable passions! What today is called an alternate lifestyle is known in the Bible as sin! Women becoming homosexual as well as men following that lifestyle. I am not “homophobic” I am simply relating what the Bible says. God says that they receive the due penalty for their error. I will not attempt to define that further.
Third, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to done. And then we see a list of unrighteous acts: envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. All of these things are characteristic of the lifestyle of the average person today. One has only to turn on the evening news or watch the popular programs on TV to see that these unrighteous acts have not changed through the centuries. What needs to be done about this?
When Jesus began His preaching ministry he used the same message as his cousin, John the Baptist. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17) We desperately need today to acknowledge that same message. There needs to be wholesale repentance! As a society, America has become corrupted in every possible way.
There can come a change…
When we believe we begin to know God. Let’s turn to Romans 8:15-17. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
In the life of a Christian an inner awareness of God becomes stronger as we initiate our belief. Salvation is found when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ! In the world of Christianity today people are called upon to “accept Christ” when they should be called upon to “believe in Christ”. The Bible tells us that if we believe in Him we will be saved along with our family (Acts 16:31).
As a result of our belief we come to know God. We enter into his family by adoption. Then we see God with a new attitude. We are able to call Him “Abba! Father!” A term of familiarity and family relationship. The Holy Spirit reveals to us that we are children of God. We are joint heirs with Christ.
When we know God we began to grow spiritually. Let’s turn to Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian Christians should often be prayed for us and our brothers and sisters in Christ! We desperately need to be strengthened with the power of Holy Spirit. We need to be internally changed resulting in an eternal change! As we believe we begin to grow spiritually. We are no longer driven about by the winds of the world’s philosophies because we are rooted and grounded in love. We are able to understand the vast love of God shown to us in Christ. According to the Bible nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39). We have come to believe that God exists and more than that “whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
It is impossible to believe in the goodness of God without first believing that He exists. Our belief in Jesus Christ gives us the ability to see that…
Everything around us acknowledges God. Let’s turn to Psalm 19:1-3. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
It is difficult for me to imagine looking at the sky above and after that not believing in a Creator. Even Richard Dawkins, one of the leading atheists in the world, had to admit that he cannot prove that God does not exist. He even changed his position to that of an agnostic. The idea he prefers is life having been brought to earth by intelligent beings — aliens. It would seem that he would say that those aliens had been planted on their world by other aliens. If that is true, where did they come from? Remember, the FOOL says in his heart “there is no God”!
Without question, the Bible teaches that God created the universe. The scenario in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 shows God speaking everything into being. At the end of each day God observed his creation and said it was good.
God created mankind, male and female, in His own image and after His likeness. Therefore every person on earth is valuable and should be treated with respect. No matter how twisted their character might be they are still in the image of God. When God created the earth, the universe and mankind He created everything good. In fact, after God had created everything, including mankind, he said that it was “very good”. There was no evil in the world. Only after Adam and Eve rebelled in the Garden of Eden did evil come into the world.
The very creation itself speaks to us about the existence of God. The universe does not tell us everything we need to know about God but it does point us in His direction. The reason every society on earth began with an idea of God is they are surrounded by the evidence of the creation.
As a result, everyone is without excuse! Let’s turn back to Romans 1:20-23. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Clearly, the power of God and the nature of God are seen in the creation. God has made it plain to everyone that he exists and that he rewards those who believe in him. Even though all societies and cultures began with the knowledge of God they soon turned away from God. Even unbelievers who have no written record of God’s laws still have, in their consciences, some understanding of God’s moral demands. All people groups everywhere have some sense of right and wrong. The knowledge of God’s laws when seen through nature is incomplete. At the same time it is sufficient to give an awareness of a God who gives the rain and the seasons to everyone and is therefore a loving Creator. There is a general revelation of God that comes from nature and from observation throughout history as well as through the inner sense of God’s existence. Everyone comes into this world with an emptiness that can only be filled by God.
All over the earth in every culture and every people group the existence of God is obvious. Every leaf on a tree and every star in the sky — everything in creation cries out the existence of God. Everything in Scripture and everywhere in nature God’s existence is not just assumed but also is proven. Our belief in the existence of God is not some kind of blind faith. It is a decision based on overwhelming reliable evidence from God’s words and God’s on work! Have you believed on the Lord Jesus Christ? That is the way to salvation.
All scriptures quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.