Romans 1:18-23 Commentary and applicaiton
Romans 1:18-23- For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
For the rest of chapter 1 and also chapter 2 Paul sets out to show that the whole world is guilty before God. In chapter 1 he will address the Gentile, or those without the law and oracles of God (the Old Testament), and in chapter 2 he will address the Jew. In this way he sets out to show that all men, whether Jew or Gentile, are in need of the salvation that the gospel offers.
Paul starts this section in contrasting the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel with the wrath of God that we see revealed in the world around us against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. What wrath is Paul speaking of here? If we look at the world around us do we see the wrath of God being revealed? I believe the answer is yes. In modern day we seem to think because we have “science” we can explain away earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters as being caused by “nature”. Even we as Christians are often blinded to the fact that these things are revealing the wrath of God against sinful man. We can also see the wrath of God revealed in disease, pestilence, famine, war, or any other calamity in the world around us. God reveals His wrath against sin to men everyday yet sinful man desires to put the blinders on and ignore the signs of God’s anger all around him. They will even ostracize those who tell them that these things are God’s anger being revealed.
At this point we may ask ourselves why God has anger and wrath towards those people who do not have his law and oracles. Isn’t that unfair? Paul follows it up with the point that God has made it plain to people that He exist by the very creation man sees all around him every day; from the air we breathe, to the sun that shines on us, to the mountains, to the sea, to the animals, to the birds, to the fish, to the moon, to the stars, and to the fact that we even exist shows that there is an all wise creator! Creation itself leaves man without an excuse for their unbelief in God. It is like walking by a beautiful piece of art in a museum and thinking that no one painted it, it just happened by itself. It is utter non-sense and foolishness. The bible does not mince words when it says,
“ The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, There is none that doeth good.” Psalm 14:1 (and 53:1)
The fact that there is a God is made plain to us by the order, the beauty, the complexity, and all the other amazing attributes of everything we see around us. Even though fallen man knows this deep inside himself he suppresses it, he buries it, he fights to keep it from affecting the way he thinks and acts. Instead of following the God that has made Himself plain to them through creation (Rom 1:19-20) and convicts them of sin through their conscience (Rom 1:15) and His Holy Spirit (Joh 16:8-11), they choose to suppress the knowledge of God, of right and wrong, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and follow their darkened and vain imaginations. It is ironic that they declare themselves to be wise in taking the most foolish path there is; denying the true creator and His moral truths. In doing this they only darken their own heart.
The last two verses are very interesting to think about with what we see taught by so called “science” in most of the world. Paul says they exchanged the worship of God for the worship of creation. This can be manifest in many different ways, idolatry, self-worship, the worship of nature, the worship of the host of heavens, the list could go on and on (when you do not worship God you will always replace that worship with something or someone else). The one I would like to address is “evolution”. Many in the church today have taken a weak stance on evolution. They have basically said that evolution can co-exist with a belief in the God of the bible. This could not be further from the truth. Genesis is very clear that God created everything in the beginning. He created each animal, tree, fish, and bird after their kind. He created man in His image. To profess that you believe in the God of the bible, and believe His word, yet say you think that men evolved from a type of ape is foolishness. Evolution is ultimately the worship of nature as the creator of all we see around us. It is easily disproved by many Christian scientists that have studied the facts and know God’s word. Satan has used our education system to make us think that nature proves there is no God and that man was not created in His image. He has made us feel like we need “blind faith” to believe the bible when the truth is that God gave nature as PROOF of who He is, and when properly studied it PROVES BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that God exists and His word is true. If you need resources on this there are many great videos on Northwest creation network on YouTube (I do not agree with all the theology of all the men that are on there but I do agree with the science.)
1. Do you recognize the wrath of God being revealed all around us in the world?
Are we willing to tell people that when they are not in Christ, when they walk by the vain imagination of their own heart God is angry with them? The gospel is that we are under the wrath of God but in Christ we can be saved, is this what we share? Reflect on Psalm 7 and think how this could change the way we present the gospel. Can we properly share what Christ has done for us if people do not understand the wrath of God and the coming judgement?
2. Do you take time to look at the world around you and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation? We live in such a fast paced world today that we often do not take time to reflect on the amazing creation around us that declares the glory of our God!
3. Have you allowed modern day science to make you think that God requires His people to reject the facts presented in the world around them and accept a blind faith? God has created the world to testify to His glory and to testify to His eternal power and Godhead! I would encourage you to watch some of the videos at Northwest Creation Ministries about the world around us, the age of the earth, the flood, and creation.