Continuing in Romans 1 this morning. Yesterday I was reminded of the good news–the gospel, the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. The good news which reveals the righteousness which is of God, a righteousness that comes by faith, a righteousness that bears the fruit of obedience. This morning I’m reminded of why we need such good news . . . ’cause there’s such bad news:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
(Romans 1:18 ESV)
The wrath of God is revealed. Not “is going to be revealed.” Not future tense. But “is revealed”, as in present tense. And you read the latter part of Romans 1 and you see that God’s wrath is revealed as He “gives them up.” Those who refuse to acknowledge and honor Him, those who determinedly choose the creation over the Creator, God gives them up to their own wisdom, to their own lusts, to their own impure hearts. He hands them over to their own “dishonorable passions.” His wrath is revealed as He allows men and women to do whatever men and women want to do as they choose a path apart from God.
And at the core of their waywardness, while it may not be the unforgivable sin, is something which, if left too long, could very well become the irreversible sin, suppressing the truth.
It would seem that suppressing the truth . . . putting a shroud over it (MSG) . . . holding it down . . . refusing it’s knock at the door of your heart and conscience . . . that suppressing the truth has the very real potential of putting someone on a slippery slope which, apart from divine intervention, can’t easily be gotten off of. If what is known by creation of the Creator is denied . . . if what is revealed through the Scriptures about salvation is refused . . . if what is evident of the kingdom through the church is mocked . . . if the truth is suppressed then all that’s left is people being left to their own wisdom to find their own way. And that way is the way to destruction.
And though I am benefactor of the gospel this morning, . . .though I have known the power of God for salvation, . . . though I rest in a righteousness not my own but of Another who loved me and gave Himself for me . . . there’s a warning here for me about suppressing the truth and venturing onto that slippery slope.
If, after having been brought into light, I refuse to seek the light, . . . if after having been purchased by the blood of Living Word, I’m careless about spending time in His written word, then am I not in danger of at least passively suppressing the truth? Or, having read God’s word, if I cover up what it reveals of His desire for my life but exchange it for my own plan for my life, is their not a risk that while being a child of God I end up looking more like a product of this world? If I persistently and consistently hold down God’s revealed will, what happens to my heart?
And it’s not a warning that causes me to fear for the security of my redemption, but rather a warning about the state of my resemblance. If I am seeking the truth, receiving the truth, and by grace obeying the truth, then I will be conformed by that truth into the image of God’s blessed Son. But if I suppress the truth, what do I look like then? And how does that reflect on the God who saved me for His glory.
At the Son’s request, the Father has given us the Spirit of truth (John 14:16-17). We have, in a sense, an inside track to truth. Might God’s people be marked as seekers of truth, receivers of truth, and responders to truth.
By His grace . . . for His glory.