Friday, March 24, 2017

God Revealed

In his epistle to the Romans Paul writes the wonderful, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Rom 1:16) Good stuff. He says, "For in it (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith.'" (Rom 1:17) Powerful. But it begs the question, doesn't it? "Salvation ... from what? Why do we need salvation?" And Paul answers that in the very next verse.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Rom 1:18-20)
"Saved from what?" The wrath of God. "Why is God angry?" Because of the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. We violate God (ungodliness) and we violate each other (unrighteousness). "How do we do this?" We suppress the truth. "Oh, really? What truth?" The truth about God. Paul says that we are without excuse in this because God's power and nature have been "clearly perceived". "How?" In the things that have been made.

Now, most of us get that. I mean, David wrote, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork." (Psa 19:1) We get that. I love watching nature shows because they scream design. "Wow," they make me say, "God designed our world like that." You just have to look at nature, the skies, the heavens, and you can see the power of God. But ... what about His "divine nature"? How does the natural world tell us about God's "invisible attributes"? We might be able to come up with some answers there -- good ones -- but I think we're missing some really big ones. And I think that the reason we're missing them is because of the suppression of truth that has been practiced for so long.

Consider. It says that we can know about God "in the things that have been made." So there is nature ... sure. But besides nature, what has been made? One of the earliest things God made was work. "The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." (Gen 2:15) We know this is significant in terms of the character of God because the principle of the Sabbath is based on it (Exo 20:8-11). So, God works and God designed Adam to work.

What else? How about one of the first things God made after the classic Creation? "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Gen 2:24) (Side question: Who said this? Many think it was Adam. Jesus says it was God (Matt 19:4-6).) God made marriage. Remember, we can know God "in the things that have been made." So in marriage we can see God's invisible attributes. We can see love (Eph 5:25-26; 1 John 4:7-8). We can see authority (1 Cor 11:3; Matt 28:18) and submission (Eph 5:22-24; John 6:38; 1 Cor 15:28). We can see the Mystical Union (Eph 5:31-32). Complex and invisible attributes clearly indicated in marriage.

It's interesting. In many of the spheres of life -- work, marriage, family, society, government, etc. -- I think you can find many of the invisible attributes of God. I think, if you look at it, you'll also find that the areas that most clearly reflect the nature of God are also the areas under attack from Satan. So areas like work, marriage, submission, authority, and the like are popular targets of the father of lies. Conversely, I think if we're to view these areas from a biblical worldview, we'd need to do so as reflections of the character of God (Rom 11:36; Col 1:16-17). And if this is true, our failure to do so is part of the suppression of the truth that angers God.And we're back to the need for the gospel.

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