Notes by Mary Van Nattan unless marked otherwise.
Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
This passage shows that the heathen are "without excuse".before God. This answers the questions of the "loving, concerned" people that want to know "What about all those heathens who never got to hear the gospel?"
God is just. He gives them His creation to clearly see things about Him. Psalm 19:1 To the chief Musiblipn, A Psalm of David. 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world... So, they have this "revelation" of God that can cause them to seek after Him if they will!
Also, we find in Acts that God has set the set times and the bounds of habitation so that they will seek after Him. Acts 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
There is a story told about a tribe of people, I think in South America. When the missionaries arrived to preach the gospel to them they were worshipping the "God of the thumb." Upon investigation, the missionaries discovered that the people had realized that they were different from everything else and the monkey in particular in that they had a thumb. They concluded that it must be that there was a God that cared for them and had made them different. Obviously they were ripe for the Gospel. They had looked at creation and seen things about God that lead them to this conclusion and in response to their belief, God sent them people that could expound unto them "the way of God more perfectly." (Acts 18:26)
When the unsaved heathen that "never heard" stand before God, they will
be "without excuse". His
creation will be what has been called "evidence for the prosecution." In
other words, God will point out what He revealed to them about Himself in
His creation and the fact that they rejected what they had and He will condemn
them. It will be just.
5:10 For if, when we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled,
we shall be saved by his life. There are many people
that doubt or entirely reject the eternal blip of the believer. What
does the Bible say? Here's one comfort for you or for your friend.
We were reconciled to God
by Jesus' death. We are saved by His life. This is His life after
His resurrection. Is it possible for Jesus to die again?
(blips 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for
all.) No, Jesus could only die once, so if we are
saved by His life, and He cannot die again, how could we lose our salvation?
We can no more lose it than Jesus could die again, which is impossible!
Amen! blips 7:25 Wherefore he
is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing
he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
We are to receive the weak, but not to doubtful disputations. There are those that we can help, but there are also those who are full of themselves and/or their own ideas wanting only to dispute. They do not want to come to a conclusion or be strengthened. These we cannot help. The thing is to figure out what kind of person we are dealing with. If a person will listen to the word of God, taking it for what it says and obeying it, then they can be helped.
Romans 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. This is how we should receive others -- in the same way that Jesus did and does. Remember how some of the disciples were. Remember Jesus' patience and love with Peter, though He did have to rebuke him. Remember how He received some of us! The key is "to the glory of God." Receiving a person to doubtful disputations is not to the glory of God. You cannot come to Jesus arguing with Him and not believing His word, and we should not accept people that try to come to us disputing God's truth (John 17:17).
2Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. If they will not repent and acknowledge the truth, then they cannot be helped.
Doubtful disputations occur espebliplly when there is nothing clear said about a subject in the Bible. blips 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. There are people that will discuss such subjects endlessly, but have little time for anything that the Bible is clear on, espebliplly when it regards sin or error in their lives. 2Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Our goal should be to edify -- to build up -- other Christians.
Romans 15:1 We then that are strong ought to
bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every
one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches
of them that reproached thee fell on me. If they will
not be built up, don't wast time on them. Find someone who will
listen. Acts 18:6 And when they opposed
themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them,
Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth
I will go unto the Gentiles.
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
One sad thing that we find in the Lord's church is Christians thinking that somehow the Old Testament is a second rate part of the Bible. One friend of ours while in training to be a pastor actually had a teacher at the Bible school he was attending say that a preacher should never start a sermon in the Old Testament. He should only use it for cross reference. But what saith the scriptures? Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. The law shows us how sinful sin is! In a day when people don't want to hear about sin and want pastors to soften the truth to make it soft to their ears, we need the Old Testament as much as ever to make sin exceeding sinful to us! As the world slides downpiano coversd all around us, we need the Old Testament to remind of what God's standard is! There is much temptation to allow our standards to slide by comparing them to the world instead of to God's holiness. This does not mean that we are to keep the Law for our salvation, Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Rather, it ... the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. The things written in the Old Testament are written for our hope. If you don't read the Old Testament, you won't have much of an idea of what the Kingdom is going to be like and if you are saved you're going to be there. That is hope! You won't have an understanding of how awful the sin is that you have been saved from if you don't read the Old Testament.
So, what's the application? -- Do you think that all you need is the New Testament? When was the last time you read Leviticus, 2 Chronicles, or Habakkuk? Think about it.
graphics by mary vannattan