Living in a Romans 1 World

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.  Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.  Romans 1:18-25

For some, that scripture paints a pretty dim picture.  For some, it’s clearer than events that you see on the news at night.  For the church, it should be a wake-up call, a call to repentance, and a battle cry.  Nowhere in Scripture are you called to hide in a hole until the return of Christ! As the days turn darker, you are called to shine all the brighter.  If you are of the opinion that “the ship is sinking,” shouldn’t you try to save all you can?

In the US, it’s an election year.  Both sides will try to paint the other as the ultimate end of civilization should they win.  Here’s a newsflash for you:  neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump can change the spiritual direction of our nation.  They both can do things that help/hurt it, but the general direction, neither can do much.  You see, that’s not their job.  Their job is to manage the direction of the country.  Seeing the state that America is currently in economically and politically, whoever wins is going to have their hands full for the next several years.

The spiritual heart of the nation was never theirs to change.  The power to change the life of an individual, and indeed the heart of the nation lies in the testimony of those who have been changed by the Gospel.  

Before I continue pontificating, I should throw out a word of caution to anyone who thinks the above Scripture doesn’t pertain to them.  In fact, it does.  The only thing that separates the saved from the unsaved is the acceptance of the work of Jesus.  That is why Spurgeon wrote: ““If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”  

Who better to tell a sinner of the saving grace of Jesus Christ than a sinner themselves, who had accepted the sacrifice of Christ?  That’s what Christendom is.  One beggar telling another beggar where they found bread.  Nothing more, nothing less.  

Finding Christ is easy.  He looks for you far before you look for Him. Living for Him after your point of conversion is much harder.  You will have to choose from the start if being popular matters to you.  If it does, Christianity is not for you.  Far too many people, especially in America, like the socially acceptable Christianity that is based more on the #blessed life than one based on Scripture.  If you stand on the foundations of Scripture, you will quickly find yourself on an island.  Even in your own church, many will find your sola scriptura approach to be too extreme.  Personally, that makes me laugh, as those usually think that the programs, music, and lights have more to do with the message than the Scripture does.  I’m fine with bringing any accompaniment in that enhances the message, but the Word of God still holds the power to save, despite man trying to change, tweak, and twist it.

In my view, we are living in a Romans 1 world.  The world is getting darker, and at some point, God will turn us over to our own desires.  It has happened before, and will happen again.  The remnant of the Church, though, is called to stand firm for God even as the world begins to burn down around us.  Our job was never to be liked or celebrated.  Our job was to preach the Gospel to the world, to expose the darkness to light so that all who would come out of the darkness could.  Our job was never to change the Gospel so that it is “more appealing.”  Can you make the light any less bright to the darkness?  

It is because the light separates from the darkness that is worth going towards.  It’s worth fighting for.  It’s worth giving everything in pursuit of.  If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, then Christianity is not for you.  

For the Christian, the Word is what gives us hope, even in a world that is so lost.  It’s also a clear indication for all as to where we stand before God.   A.W. Tozer may have said it best:  “God never negotiates with men.  Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross put an end to any kind of negotiations.  It is now Christ or nothing.  It is now God’s Word in its entirety or nothing.”  

Jim Shempert

Editor, One Million Dads
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