Dear Friends in Christ,
“How could he do that? How could he unleash such fury on his own people? Look at those poor people…and the babies and children…burned and in such agony from the effects of the lethal gas? How could he be so cold and uncaring? How could he flaunt international law? Is he willing to do anything to remain in power? If this kind of thing will stand what other atrocities might the world experience next?”
The scenes on television yesterday were horrific – infants being held in arms by desperate and grieving parents; children being washed down with hoses in an attempt to remove the sarin from the tender skin before it burned the flesh away. And, again, how could he do such a thing?
This isn’t the first time the question has been asked, just the most recent. It was asked of Saddam Hussein, of Pol Pot, of Hitler and others. Where does this evil come from? How is it possible?
For those who have been studying the Epistle to the Romans at Beverly Heights on Wednesday evenings the answer is as simple as it is clear. The Apostle Paul, in preparation for a discussion of the wonder and glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ lays a foundation of bad news in divine response to which the Gospel is truly good news.
It is valuable for the believer to understand Paul’s argument in Romans 1. 18-31 because it is God’s revealed answer to the question “How could he/she do that?” And not just in the face of atrocity but in the face of wickedness and sin of all types by all people in all places in all times. Here, in bullet form, is the Bible’s answer to the question “How could he do that?”:
The created order confirms the existence of God and declares His deity and power (Romans 1. 20).
- Further, the creation suggests that the Creator-God should, therefore, be worshiped and given thanks (1.21).
- The creation that is made by God is sufficient to declare His deity and His power which are clearly seen in what He has made. The created order does not tell us everything there is to know about God but it does clearly and sufficiently tell us these things (1. 20).
- Men and women have suppressed the truth about God that is revealed in creation. They have preferred to set God aside and, alternatively, put something else in God’s central place – an idol of some sort, a false God – usually one’s self (1. 18,23).
- Essentially, men and women want a world where God does not exist (until trouble strikes, that is!). But that world is a fantasy world. Wanting God to go away doesn’t make God go away! However, God has given men and women part of what they want. He has backed off and “given them over” to what they want, which is “life” without God’s intrusion. So, He gave them over, in part, to a godless world lived within the context of the world He has made and over which He is Lord, whether or not we embrace Him as God and Lord (1. 24,26,28).
- The result is a 3-step descent into moral degradation which leads, inexorably, to futile thinking, senselessness, evil, ruthlessness, heartlessness and the invention of all sorts of evil (1. 29-31).
- A world where the truth about God is suppressed by men and women who want no God but themselves, is a world where moral insanity reigns (1.32).
Truly, the world’s cry on this Palm Sunday and on every other day of the year must be “Hosanna, Lord save us.” And that Gospel, that good news of which Paul speaks in Romans is that He has! If you are able join us in that cry on this coming Lord’s Day – Palm Sunday.
Faithfully in Him,
Posted on Fri, April 7, 2017
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