Taking God Out of the Picture
Thank You, Father, for the gift of Your Holy Word and all that it gives me. Teach me more of it now.
Read ROMANS 1:18-32
 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men 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 men 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 mortal man 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 of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen.  Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.  Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,  slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;  they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy are these people "without excuse"?
As Paul unpacks the implications of the Gospel being for all people, for Jews and Gentiles alike, he speaks of common ground shared by all humanity. He says there are things that can be known about God by all people and there is no excuse for thinking he does not exist. Even without the Bible and the Church we have evidence of God’s fingerprints all over nature and relationships—if we are willing to see them!
But of course people are reluctant to admit God exists and to acknowledge him as God. Paul talks of people deliberately denying the truth of God’s existence. Can you see evidence of that in people you know?
Consider how Paul describes life without God (24-32). When people choose to ignore God, there are dire consequences which display themselves in our relationships with others, letting selfishness, greed and lack of restraint run rife. Another consequence is that we put ourselves in the way of God’s wrath (18). The most sobering thing in this passage is that there are times when God lets us live with the consequences of our rebellion against him (24,26,28).
Confess any stubbornness toward God in your heart. Pray for mercy for yourself and for those around you.
Merciful Lord, forgive and soften any hardness in my heart toward You. Help me live more faithfully for You each day.
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