Refreshment in Refuge
by Gina Burgess
Paul explains in Romans 1 that those who choose their own desires and worship idols instead of the Lord God are allowed that pursuit. God gives them up and releases them.
The Gospel is God's power working toward salvation and this is to “everyone who believes with a personal trust and confident surrender and firm reliance.” This is the foundation Paul lays before he tackles the evilness that man is capable of.
But God's wrath and indignation are revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who, in their wickedness repress and hinder the righteousness and make it inoperative. How can righteousness be made inoperative? When self become more important than God, righteousness is dropped by the wayside, and pride, self-preservation, and injustice become customary companions. Wickedness becomes a way of life, and it is insidious how it creeps upon a person to the exclusion of all else.
Paul tells us that there is no way any person can not know God. That which is known about God is made evident to them by God (19). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification].
God made it perfectly clear who He was to Pharaoh way before He used Moses and the plagues. Pharaoh rejected God as God and set himself up in the most vain way as god.
The religious leaders of Jesus' day took exception to John the Baptist. But let it slide because they recognized the verses that John quoted to them about being the voice in the wilderness. King Herod took great exception that John was extremely vocal about his sin with Herodias, his brothers wife. John recognized what was in their hearts and called the religious leaders a “brood of vipers” and asked them bluntly “who warned you to flee the wrath to come?”
Jesus explained it before Paul wrote to the Romans when He says in Matthew 12:35 “and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”
The Pharisees and the Sadducees had ample time to change their minds and to recognized Jesus for who He was as the disciples recognized Him from the very beginning. They were Scripture scholars yet they turned a blind eye to the fulfillment of the Scriptures in Jesus. They had Moses and the Prophets to tell them who He was, yet they didn't believe even when He rose from the dead. Which is exactly what Abraham told the Rich Man in Luke 16, “They have Moses and the prophets. Let them believe them. Yet, even if one should rise from the dead, still they would not believe.”
Is it in God's character to create an evil heart? Of course not, but He did create man with the capability of being evil. In light of Matthew 12, I think what Paul is teaching in Romans 1 is that it is most likely what ever the human does with the inbred knowledge of God (accepts or rejects) determines what will come forth from the heart. The plain fact is, God created all of us with a built in knowledge of Himself because He is the creator and we are the created. After Adam sinned, the legacy he left for his heirs was this God-sized hole that we try to fill with everything possible. It is why people without Jesus are so hungry and thirsty and never satisfied spiritually. The search is on by the rich and the poor alike until they finally meet the One who can satisfy.
Matthew 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
I look at this as God rejecting the wicked after they rejected God's Son.
If they had accepted Jesus for Who He is, then they never would have brought Him to be crucified...would never have shouted for Barabbas... and there would never have been severe persecution which only made the Gospel seed be planted deeper with stronger roots and less infighting because all Christians had a common enemy: first the Jews but ultimately, Rome.
Yes, God blinded them. Yes, God blocked their understanding because
1. They exchanged truth for a lie
2. Worshipped and served the creation
3. They did not acknowledge God or approve Him even though they had full knowledge of Him
4. 31" target="_blank">Romans 1:31[They were] without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless [and] merciless.
5. Being fully aware of God's consequences of such acts that being death, they not only practice those things but approve others that do them.
Since God is this way with the Gentiles, how much more and worse are the consequences for those Jews who were Scripture scholars and refused to believe Jesus is the Son of God.
Two more points that are crucial. Recall Blind Bartimaeus who sat by the road begging. He kept shouting for Jesus and when Jesus heard him, He called for him and then asked, “What do you want Me to do?” Bartimaeus said, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” And Jesus healed him. He was blind and then he could see. He recognized his problem and he recognized the One who could fix the problem.
The Spirit of the Lord was upon Jesus
All they had to do was recognize that they were blind in order for Jesus to give them their sight and their understanding. They were too proud to do so. They succumbed to pride, self-righteousness, and preferred injustice over justice because in doing so they thought they could keep their power over the people.
(Luke 4) Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted. To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed...” It comes out of the heart. What is so sad is when they (the wicked) recognized Him as God, they rejected Him as God.
There are many in the church who are blind. They accept what is given to them as truth without understanding the difference between Truth and Falsehood, without testing or searching the Scriptures. As the Day of the LORD draws closer, let the Believer beware for many are those who will abuse the children of God in cunning and secretive ways. Make no mistake, nothing happens in secret that God won’t shine the Light of Truth upon it. Many things are done in the darkness, even in the name of God, but those things are not of God and those things will be burnt to ashes at the Bema Seat. Believer beware in Jesus Name, AMEN.
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She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.
If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection
Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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