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Saturday, 14 June 2014

Romans 1:16-25 Obey God, or Accept the Consequences

Have you ever had a difficult time accepting God’s word? That’s only natural. Sometimes it’s hard for us to accept God’s word because of our self-centered nature. Man has always believed that everything revolves around him, and to be told that this is not true causes problems. Not all members of the human race share this belief. There is evidence that man has an inner sense that truth is connected to God. For example, recent polls suggest that even though most of the people surveyed had no deeply felt spiritual commitment, almost all of them still insisted that they believed that God exists.

We can know about God and still reject him. Some people reject him on the grounds that not everyone is capable of observing creation and coming to an accurate view of God so that they can be thankful. Anyone can reject God despite the testimony of creation and conscience, and many people do, especially if their hearts are not regenerated by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the inner witness to right and wrong. It is the greater power that believers are accountable to.

People who hear the word of God and reject it are called fools. People can reject God by not glorifying him, not being thankful, being futile in their thoughts and changing the glory of God into an image.  Worshipping creation instead of the Creator is an example of rejecting God by worshipping an idol. That idol can be anything-money, power or social status, for example. This goes back to man’s preoccupation with himself. Man has been more influenced by the world than by God’s commands. It is the start of a downward spiral. People know God but fail to glorify him. They change the truth of God into a lie and reject any knowledge of him. Then they worship anything that they want to worship. Dishonourable acts detract from the Creator, who is blessed forever.

Humans want to worship something that makes sense to them. The world wants to see, do and feel what feels good. That’s not God’s way. God is pleased when we walk with him by faith. The righteous live by faith no matter how it feels, how weak they are, or how confusing their circumstances are.  

Those who reject God will face his wrath. God’s wrath is part of his righteousness. It is a holy response to the unholy, a just reaction to the unjust, and pure rejection of the impure. God will not tolerate those who deliberately reject him. Man often thinks of God’s wrath as a future event when in reality it is being dispensed right now in many hidden ways. He dispenses his wrath by giving man the right to choose what to do and to live with the consequences. In other words, if you choose the behaviour you choose the consequences. For example, sexually transmitted diseases are often the result of sinful sexual behaviour. This is what happens when humans choose the pleasure of the world instead of the pleasure of God. Man becomes separate from truth and reality.

God reveals his wrath indirectly through the natural consequences of breaking his laws and directly through his intervention, as he did when he sent the Great Flood. In any case, man is held responsible for refusing to obey God, even if he has never heard the Gospel. When we justify any act of sin, we harm the person involved because it gives the person involved an excuse not to face their issues and solve their problems. We as Christians are to love the sinner and not judge him, but we are not to accept or approve of their sinful behaviour. For example, a mother in the state of Washington said recently that she was ‘shocked’ and ‘in tears’ after attending a profanity-laced and sexually-charged awards ceremony at her daughter’s local high school.

The unidentified mother told a local television station that she eventually walked out of the event.  She was outraged that the program was filled with profanity, filthy jokes and inappropriate awards during the ceremony, which was overseen by a teacher.

“I sat there with my mouth open in shock, and the final straw was when a joke was told on stage about a teacher, a lawyer and a priest on a plane,” the mother wrote in an email, and because of the obscene nature of the joke I will not repeat it in this sermon. She also stated that some of the awards were inappropriate, and again I will not repeat what these awards were because of their obscene nature. One prize was a box of condoms.

“We need to get the word out there that this is the kind of trash that is being taught in our schools,” said the mother, who wishes to keep her identity secret. She added, “I am so shocked right now I am in tears.”

The teacher, who is retiring after this year, is now under investigation by the school district and along with her drama students attended a meeting with the school principal. The principal said in a statement, “This has generated media coverage and has been a learning opportunity for our teens regarding the harm that can come from offensive comments and jokes.”
In his Letter to the Romans, Paul expressed his concern for eternal life. It was a “black and white” issue for him then, and it is a “black and white” issue for us today. Those who reject God are doomed to perish under his wrath. Those who believe in Jesus are saved. Although the message of the Gospel might be foolish in the eyes of a sinful world, it is effective because it offers salvation. Salvation is an ongoing process, and it is the only means by which we can become righteous in the eyes of God. Righteousness is the state of perfectly obeying God’s law and holy character. We can’t let fear or ignorance keep us from giving the lost people a message that can change their eternal destiny. The apostle Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel because through it God’s power is released to save humanity. By trusting in Christ, people gain a new life in Christ.

1.      “Mother ‘Shocked’ and ‘in Tears’ Over Sexually-Charged School Awards Ceremony”. Retrieved from

2.      Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013)

3.      Briscoe, D.S. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 29: Romans (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982)

4.       MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, NASV (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 2006)

5.      ESV Study Bible. Part of Wordsearch 10 Bible software package.

6.      Dick Inness, “Hot Potato.” Retrieved from

7.      Os Hillman, “Are You Becoming Secularized?” Retrieved from


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