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Word from Scotland

    by Sandy Shaw

Man Has No Excuse For Being An Atheist or Agnostic
Date Posted: July 12, 2021

Romans Chapter 1 - we are in this second section from verse 18 onwards.

Reading the Word of God in a modern translation can remind us of how direct and down to earth it is - and also of how it speaks to the hearts of men today.

These verses refer to the condition people's hearts were in and are in - and they reveal the actual situation and what God thinks of it.

Paul used everyday Greek - not sophisticated classical Greek - but the language of the people and the market place - while on mission - and that becomes the Word of God.

We have been looking at this phrase - the wrath of God. The wrath of God is a reaction to something on earth - and his wrath is revealed. Just as righteousness is revealed - God reveals His Wrath - His Righteous Anger. God sees what is going on and He does something about it. God is angry because men have given God up for idolatry. And the revelation of God from heaven is that God has given men up to immorality. It is not the immorality that makes God angry - it is the idolatry.

Men gave God up suppressing the truth - men are not ignorant of the truth of God. They may be ignorant about the Bible or about Jesus Christ and what he actually said and what he came to earth to do - but no-one has an excuse and so can say - There isn't a God.

Man has no excuse for not worshipping Him - and man has no excuse for not thanking Him. There is a truth about God which man can know. People ask - What about those who have never heard the Gospel?

There is no-one in the world who has not had the truth of God in some way - in some form! The world knows the truth and has turned it down.

How have they had the truth and how have they turned it down?

Verse 18 - by their wickedness they suppress the truth. Men have had the truth and men have suppressed the truth - not suppressed the Bible - or the Gospel - but the truth of God.

A man can hear about Jesus Christ but refuse to believe that it is true!

And - God has shown clearly and plainly all man needs to know through the things He has made - to draw him to the living Creator God - in a way that makes him want to find out more.

When you look at what God has made - what God has created - you can know -

1 - The Power of God - the Creator of this Universe must be very powerful - the atom - the wind - the waves - the sun - our bodies - and everything around us.

2 - His Deity - that He is GOD - from what has been made and created - the Maker is obviously not a man. It is all so much more wonderful than a man could make - so much higher - so much better - so very different.

Interestingly, no-one has ever said that man made the universe. But the Universe points to God. In nature - in creation - God has revealed Himself as the Creator.

Man has no excuse for being an atheist or an agnostic. God reveals in nature His Power and His Deity.

Therefore - verse 21 - men should glorify and honour Him and thank Him.

We are living in a guilty fallen sinful ungrateful society, where men will not acknowledge God.

To suppress the truth means - to hold down in chains - confine - suffocate - stifle.

Man has turned away from God quite deliberately and has shut his mind to Him!

Verse 21 - they knew God - but they turned away from the one true living God.

No man can plead ignorance - and no man can plead innocence. It is possible to follow the light and truth revealed through nature.

Acts Chapter 10 and Cornelius - he had something of the truth, and he followed it - and he was so blessed and enriched by the risen living Jesus - and as he experienced the power of the Holy Spirit.

The things God has made have given us a revelation of His Power and Deity.

But men's minds have rejected this as they have turned away - so they began to lead a godless life - living as if God did not exist. There appeared a hole - a vacuum - and nature does not like a vacuum. It must be filled by something and with something.

With what have they filled it? When man pushes God out of his life what does he put into it? They exchanged the truth for a lie. And they began to give their life to something God had made - rather than to the God Who made it.

Man has to worship something.

1 - Man starts to imagine his own god - has his own ideas - makes up his own religion - and begins to say - "I'll tell you what I think. I'll tell you what god I believe in. Let me tell you how I look at things." - and everybody's individual god is just like themselves.

If they let people off easily - then in their mind God will. If they won't hurt a fly - then god won't hurt a fly and will not hurt them either.

They make up what god is like - and so they exchange the truth for a lie.

2 - Then - man is not satisfied with what he cannot see - man likes to see and touch - he finds he needs helps. The idols were initially only to help - but soon they are worshipped. We crave for physical representation - for something physical. And God says - "No graven image"! But man has turned down the truth.

Flags and crests soon display the nations idols - the American eagle - the Russian bear - the Egyptian bull - and the Scots lion rampant. The human race has turned away from the truth of God - to form its own ideas - and all this makes God angry.

Every other religion is a man-made invention - a lie which is the substitute for the truth of God.

Men used to worship one true God - they knew the truth.

Archaeology shows this - men once worshipped one true God - they knew there was one true God.

Verse 24 - He is rejected - and it begins in the heart.

Verse 26 - it then begins to reveal itself in the body - and moral corruption arises.

Verse 28 - it ends up in the mind.

Verse 30 - until not only is God ignored - but HE is hated.

Verse 32 - and on it goes until people are so twisted and depraved that they become capable of believing wrong is right.

They can no longer tell evil from good.

Sin progresses and grows and spreads it tentacles - until society not only enjoys sin - but - verse 32 - finds sin pleasurable - and approves of sinful pleasures - even when they might know something of what God says and does regarding sin - but they reject that.

When God gives people up – verses 24,26,28 - they go rushing off into immorality.

Like that car on the hill - the brake is released - and off it goes downhill faster and faster until it crashes.

We need to know what is in God's Word in these days - to inform and enlighten - as well as feed and guide and protect us.

We so need bread and wine - to focus our attention on what it central and to nourish us in a way that only bread and wine can.

The brakes have been released - and that is another reason why we must not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ - for it is the power of God to save us.

“Lord God Almighty – we bow in worship and praise, with thanksgiving. Give us an understanding of this passage in Scripture. Enable us to see these verses as clearly as those passages which deal with mercy and grace and forgiveness and love – it is all part of Your revelation. Show us that we cannot pick and choose. Have mercy up us – have mercy upon the Church of Jesus Christ - fill us with the power of the Holy Spirit, anew and afresh. Amen.”

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Biography Information:

Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!

Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.

Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.

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