The Truth About God

“But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”
Romans‬ ‭1‬:‭18‬-‭20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

A common and potential excuse of ignorance, when it comes to the things of God, is nailed once and for all by Paul. He said that the natural world is evidence that God exists. And because of that sinful people have no excuse for their evil and wicked behaviour.

It is incredible how human beings have gone to extraordinary lengths to come up with an alternative theory to how the universe was made. The theory of evolution – and it is just a theory despite what the educationalists and scientists will say – appeared in the nineteenth century and has been peddled as fact ever since. In my simplistic view it relies on an assumption that there was a big bang that sent out huge quantities of matter forming the galaxies we can see, and more beside, followed by chance encounters between certain chemicals, a huge quantity of time, and, lo and behold, human beings appear on Planet Earth. But there is no attempt to explain where all the matter in the universe came from in the first place, and who lit the fuse that set off the necessary explosion. And why did all this we can see happen? Why was there not just nothing, a total empty void instead of a universe full of Heavenly lights? Someone once said that evolution is like putting all the individual component parts of a clock into a bag and then shaking it until a fully functional clock falls out. Really?

But Paul, in these verses today, is having none of it. Evolutional theories didn’t exist in his day, but God could see what was coming, so the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write what he did. Creation is not a theory. It’s a fact.

The problem for those people who deny the existence of God is that it doesn’t take away the consequences for sinful and wicked behaviour. To use an analogy, convincing ourselves that the moon doesn’t exist doesn’t make it go away. It’s still there whether we like it or not. Denying God doesn’t eliminate the sin and wickedness that blights our world.The act of “suppress[ing] the truth” compounds the problem because it provides a way for other people to also “suppress the truth”  and before they know it, a secular society has emerged from our Christian roots. And God’s anger with such people is being shown from Heaven. We don’t have to look far to find out what His anger looks like. Pandemics. Wars. Breakdown of families and society. And we know where things are heading, because the events are laid out in the Book of Revelation. 

The Bible has several stories of God’s anger with sin. Take for example Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis 18:20 we read, “So the Lord told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant.” The chain of events that followed are recorded in Genesis 19. But earlier in Genesis we read the poignant account of the run up to the Flood. We read in Genesis 6:5-6, “The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart”. 

Thankfully, we pilgrims are on earth for such this time. Our witness and stand for our faith in our increasingly wicked societies is holding back God’s anger. We are the “salt and light” that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 5. So we continue to make our voices heard with issues such as sexuality, same sex marriage, abortion, and social justice. And that’s just a start – there is much going on in society, in our government, that breaks God’s heart. Our prayers are heard in Heaven and God continues to have mercy on this generation, showing His love and grace with the human race, many of whom wave their fists in His face in defiant anger. God holds back most of the consequences of evil and wickedness – His grace knows no bounds. And we are so grateful for the Cross, where Jesus sacrificed His life so that we could live forever. He gave us more than an escape route out of this sinful and wicked world. He gave us Himself. 

Dear Father God. What can we say? We continue to pray for our governments, our political leaders, our educationists, our medics, and our friends and neighbours, that His mercy will continue unabated. They need time, Lord. Please help us to make use of this time of grace, as we season the communities around us with Your love and forgiveness through our faith and witness in You. Amen.

The Sins of our Ancestors

“O Lord, how long will You be angry with us? Forever?
How long will Your jealousy burn like fire? 
Do not hold us guilty for the sins of our ancestors! 
Let Your compassion quickly meet our needs, 
     for we are on the brink of despair.”
Psalms‬ ‭79:5, 8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

This is not a comfortable Psalm to read, with its references to blood shed and misery, death and destruction. The Psalmist equates the reason for the devastation to God’s extreme displeasure with the Jewish nation, accusing God of acting in anger and jealousy against His people. But in the middle of his lament, is an appeal to God, for His compassion to displace the judgement. Asaph, the Psalmist, obviously believes that God is acting now because of the misbehaviour, the rebellion, the unfaithfulness, of previous generations. And he perhaps questions the fairness of such action. But God was quite clear – in Exodus 34 God said through Moses, “I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected— even children in the third and fourth generations.” Eventually God will act in judgement against guilty people, people who stack up their individual and national sins until He can stand it no more. But nevertheless, Asaph pleads with God to have mercy, to show compassion, on his people in a time of a national disaster, a time of despair. Perhaps the chink of light in this verse of warning is the reference to the guilty. Thankfully God is a God of compassion and love, as well as One of judgement, of anger and jealousy. And Asaph appeals to Him to show compassion, in the process forgiving the people for the sins of their ancestors. And to quickly come and mitigate their guilt and despair, to provide what they need.

So the inevitable question. How relevant is this Psalm in 21st Century societies? It’s a warning to us all. God is “slow to anger, quick to bless”, thankfully. Otherwise the rebellion and sins of our nations would have led to our destruction long ago. I probably wouldn’t even be here, writing this blog. And that is the key – God allows mankind to exist, even when acting sinfully, because of His grace and mercy. He gives everyone an opportunity for repentance, for embracing Him while there is still time, during our lives here on earth.