[July 19]—The Scariest Words In The Bible

Romans 1:24-32

            What would you say are the scariest words in the Bible? The ones about Hell? The ones about how much God hates sin? R. C. Sproul nominates for that title the words of Jesus, a warning which should cut to the heart of every believer in America: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Considering how easy it is for us to get and read a Bible and hear good teaching/preaching, these should be scary words indeed.
            But I personally nominate a simple phrase which is repeated in today’s passage. I’ll get to that in a moment.
            Before I do, I have to again point out the root cause of all this: It’s not gross or blatant sins like murder or sexual immorality that caused all this, and it wasn’t ignorance. No, the root of the problem was rebelling against God by not giving him the worship and thanksgiving he’s due. That led to ignorance, further darkness, and a downward spiral of corruption, both in individual lives and in society in general. That’s the picture you get from Moses’ description of the world right before the Flood: "The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled."
            So humanity turned away from the Lord. What was the result? Well, if you don’t worship the real God, you’re going to worship something else, and by definition in doing so you're going to turn from God to something less than God They turned to worshiping created things instead of the Creator: the sun, the moon, animals, trees, rivers, stones, other men, sex, anything except the Creator. And as I’ve said before, if you don’t worship the true God, it really doesn’t matter that much what you do worship.
            Now here’s where we get to what I consider some of the scariest words of the Bible. It’s a simple phrase, but there’s a lot of meaning packed into it, and it deserves a thorough examination. The phrase is “God gave them over.”
            Humanity, by their thoughts and actions, told God “No, we don’t want you. No, we don’t want you. No, we don’t want you. No, we don’t want you.” And after a certain point, the Lord finally told them “Well, OK then.” As C. S. Lewis put it, in the end there are only two types of people in the world: Those who say to God “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says “Thy will be done.”
            What did he give them over to? They started out with (imperfect) knowledge of God and rejected it. They turned from worshiping the Creator to worshiping the creation. So eventually he gave them over to sexual immorality, and then to a whole host of other sins: wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, hating God, insolence, arrogance, boastfulness, disobedience to parents, lack of love, lack of mercy. We were created in his image, and part of that image is creativity. And how did we use that creativity? We used it to create new ways of doing evil. This is not just giving into animal instincts. This is much worse.
            And on top of all this? It’s bad enough when people do sins in private. In a real sense, there’s no such thing as “private” sin. But it got so bad that not only did they practice sin themselves, they celebrated it publicly and encouraged others to join in.
            But it all started when they finally told God enough times “Leave me alone” and he finally said “OK, I’ll leave you alone.”
            Is this talking about the Final Judgment, when they’re tossed into the Lake of Fire? Um, no. Paul is talking about something that happened to people in this world.
            My friend, there's a possible point of no return in this world. I don’t know what that point is for any particular person. I’d never presume to know. And Jesus promised he will never turn away anyone who comes to him and receives him as Savior and Lord. But when he’s calling to you, you need to listen to him. When he’s reaching out to you, you need to respond now. Not tomorrow. Not when it’s convenient. Now.
            Because there will come a day—either in this world or in the next—when the pleading will cease and the offer will be rescinded. If you haven’t dealt with this issue, please read this. Please.

Father God, I fully admit the only reason I haven’t personally committed every sin on that list is because of your preventative grace. And your mercy has forgiven me of what I have done. Thank you. I’m yours. 

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