This last weekend I spoke at Journey Church in Strasburg. It has been almost 30 years (I thought 40 – glad I’m not that old yet) since we left this community. It was good to connect with a few folks who still remembered our days as young parents and rookie pastors. This Friday I have an MRI on my back and an injection into my hip. These tests are intended to see if there are other issues contributing to my pain that has been hindering my mobility.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY.… “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.” Romans 1:18,19 NLT
The last part of Romans 1 reads like a description of our modern culture. It is easy to focus on the description of the moral decline and blatant acts of sin. But this time as I came to this chapter my attention was directed toward the root of the issue. Suppressing the truth. Just as suppressed emotions manifest in unrelated and unexpected ways, so does suppressing the truth.
We see it in many ways in scripture and in our day. There is a denial of truth. “Truth” is viewed as relative. Like art, it is in the “eye of the beholder.” You have your “truth” – I have mine, goes the modern thought. It is all subjective.
When we attempt to deny what we know is real it has a direct impact on our lives. We ignore the obvious. Paul puts it this way, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20 NLT)
People then create their own “god” – their own “truth” instead of accepting the truth about the Creator. “…instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Romans 1:23 NLT)
It has been said, “he who believes in nothing will fall for anything.” Paul puts it this way, “They traded the truth about God for a lie.” (Romans 1:2 NLT) That “lie” resulted in living life according to the dictates of human nature, lusts, and desires. That downward path leads to moral decline, perversion and more and more evil behavior. This list is descriptive and exhaustive:
“Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.” (Romans 1:29-31 NLT)
The hardness of their hearts is reflected in actions that spurn remorse or conviction. “They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.” (Romans 1:32 NLT)
The last part of this verse reminds me of a woman I met during my political campaign for the State Senate. She openly admitted to having several abortions and said, “I just can’t seem to keep from getting pregnant.” She went on and told me how she tried to encourage and help teen girls who got pregnant to get an abortion.
To me, there was an obvious denial of the truth about her own actions that she was attempting to cover up by helping other women have abortions. We see this same type of thing in other areas of modern culture. If others are doing what I am doing, it makes me feel better about my actions. Actions that deep down, I know are wrong.
All of this shows the importance of recognizing God’s truth and allowing God’s truth to guard and direct our lives. It is God’s truth (His Word) that brings freedom, life, and light.