IN WRATH HE EXTENDS MERCY

We are living in a day when the truth is being suppressed that there is a holy God that has created the universe, has created humanity, and holds each of us accountable for our lives. Paul writes in Romans that men are without excuse when it comes to having sufficient evidence that a Supreme Being exists who has established moral order in His creation and holds us responsible for our actions. The Apostle points out that man knows there is a Creator behind all of life as evidenced through (1) creation, (2) man’s own conscience, (3) reason, (4) the moral law, and (5) by way of revelation as unfolded to us by God in the Bible and Jesus Christ (Romans 1: 20, 21, 28, 32, 2:15).

Yet in spite of sufficient evidence of a transcendent, holy Creator, men seek to distort, suppress and deny the truth of His existence, that He requires conformity to His moral order and that He holds us accountable for our lives. What happens when the truth is suppressed, what is the outcome of such suppression? There is a downward spiral that has dire consequences. Paul tells us in Romans that there are three downward steps when men suppress the truth.

First, when men reject the truth, they inevitably create their own god to replace our holy Creator. They replace His glory with a god of their own image (Rom 1:23), a god that is corruptible like unto himself that has affinity with “animals and creeping things” (1:23). Why does man gravitate toward constructing a god that has affinity with the animal kingdom? Because men seek to create a god that will allow them to live out their basest desires and passions of their lower nature like animals without restraint.

Humanity was created to worship their Creator and since man can’t live in a vacuumless existence without some kind of god; therefore, sinful men, not wanting a God who is holy and moral, creates a god in his own image that allows him to live according to his lower animal nature without moral restraint and accountability. Man creates his own moral compass that is different from the holy, moral North of His Creator. Interestingly, when men move the compass needle from God’s holy and moral North, the spiral downward in moral behavior finds humanity lost in a wilderness of confusion and decadent behavior. This is evidenced today by the culture of death that pervades society which is manifested in abortion, mayhem in the streets, lying, stealing, adultery, living together without benefit of marriage, loss of the sanctity of life, incivility, and the list goes on.

We have grown comfortable with the gods we have created. Our man-made gods don’t require us to conform to God’s holy and moral order. Our Creator is holy, which holiness is the source of all morality, yet we embrace tightly our gods that permits us to live as we please without accountability or consequences.

Second, when men reject the truth, the progressive downward spiral results in men focusing upon the creation instead of the Creator. If we can create our own god, then we can just as easily dismiss the truth that there is a God. Paul speaks of those who suppress the truth by exchanging the truth of God for a lie, and worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator (Rom 1:25). Rejecting clear evidence that an Intelligent Designer created the universe and requires conformity to His moral order, men dismiss that creation needs a Creator. That is the underlying premise of evolution, that the universe just happened and needs no Creator. Worshipping at the altar of Darwinism, those who hold this position insist creation doesn’t need a Creator, creation just came into existence on its own. Since something can’t come from nothing, no matter one’s theory of how the universe began there must be at some point a First Cause (Thomas Aquinas) or an Unmoved Mover (Aristotle) or a Designer, who like the intricate design of a watch, designed all things (William Paley).

In the skewed logic of man, if there is no Creator, then there is no moral order and man is free to determine for himself what is right and wrong. Philosophy labels such a belief as Existentialism. I am my own boss; therefore, objective truth doesn’t exist and is subjective and determined by each individual.

Then there are those who embrace pantheism and similar philosophies, contending that nature is “God” and “God” is nature and we will all one day be absorbed into energy of nature and the universe, all becoming one. But whether it be evolution, existentialism, pantheism or any other philosophy, the purpose is to hold a belief that denies there is a Divine moral order that exists and one day we must all give an account of our lives before a holy God. Reasoning that if there is a transcendent, holy God who demands we conform with His moral order, men go to great lengths to dismiss that such a God exists. If He doesn’t exist then I am off the hook and can live as I please without fear of future accountability. I have learned through the years, that the fact men don’t believe in God is not because of a problem of insufficient proof. It is a not a head problem, but a heart problem. Men don’t want to believe, because of their rebellious and sinful nature.

Third, when men reject the truth, the spiral downward finally leads to the blurring and removing of barriers in regard to sexuality. When men create their own God, then dismiss that there is no God, then there is nothing left but to declare that our identity of who we are sexually doesn’t exist and any roles that existed in regard to matters of sexuality can be removed.

Paul speaks of those who give themselves over “to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves”…who are engaged in “vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly (unnatural), and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet” (Romans 1:24-27).

We see Paul’s words are prophetic, as that is where we find ourselves today in our society, as we see the agenda to make sexual perversion normal behavior, the destruction of traditional marriage between a man and a woman, to embrace same sex unions as natural, and even declaring one’s gender is fluid, one can just be whatever gender one decides they want to be discarding their sexual identity as created by God. We have arrived at such a decadent state, as Paul says, because we did not like to retain God in our knowledge (Romans 1:28).

Sadly, when society spirals downward to a place of such moral decadence and depraved self-indulgence, Paul warns when men continue to fail to listen and abandon the truth, there comes a time when the Lord “gives them over” (Rom 1: 24, 26, 28) to the consequences of their own destructive behavior. Have we not reached that place in our culture today? Have we been given over to choke on the consequences of our own moral collapse? The worst place a society or an individual can find themselves is that God leaves them alone to experience the consequences of their machinations. One of the saddest verses in the Bible concerns the deliberate choices of Samson, “And he knew not the Lord had departed from Him” (Judges 16:20).

Because God is holy and righteous, sin must be dealt with and judged. There is a price to pay when we violate the holy and moral order which God has established. Judgement is simply holiness’ righteous reaction to sin.

But as Paul Harvey used to say, “Now the rest of the story.” The Good News is that if men and women will turn from their sin, our God of holy-love, because of the work of Christ on the cross, will forgive, restore, and put us on a path of restoration and reconciliation. In wrath he remembers mercy (Habakkuk 3:2). Peter tells us, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

It behooves every Christian not to compromise with the downward spiral of society, to stand unapologetically for the truth, and pray for the eyes to be opened of those who have been blinded by sin. There is hope in the Christ of the Cross. There is change that can be found in the resurrected Savior. Christ is the only answer to the reversal of the downward spiral that has and is taking place around us. He is the only answer…and again I say, “Christ is the only answer.”

Let us cry out with Habakkuk, “In wrath remember mercy.”

Blessings,
Dr. Dan

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s