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BE AS A LIGHT HOUSE BY MERRILL PHILLIPS
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THE LAST PHRASE sets up how ungodilness and unrighteousness is developed - "who suppress the truth in unrighteousness."

The word SUPPRESS can mean to hold onto in a good sense or as it is used here, to hold down, to cover up, to suppress.

Man can cover up the truth of God, hold it down, but man cannot destroy it.

In order to suppress something, you must be aware of it, you must know it exists. This is not an ignoring but a suppressing of the truth of God.

The PAGANS of the ancient world had come, as we will see, to God consciousness. But they suppressed the idea of there being a creator and worshipped the created things of this world.

This suppression first come at the point of God consciousness.

The word UNRIGHTOUSNESS describes the manner in which the truth is suppressed. It is done influencing others through sin. The pagans would abuse others, child sacrifices, forced prostitution, molesting children, inflicting pain upon others. All part of the pagan rituals that suppressed the truth of God.

The next five verses (vv 19-23) describe man's journey from reality to religion. Here God the creator providing for man in grace, and man ended up worshipping animals and images. Man goes from the grandeur of God and ends up on the garbage heap of his own devices.

Romans 1:19

"Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them."

This tells us why it is suppression and not ignorance.

This also answers the question regarding the heathen or those who have never heard about Christ. Are they responsible, why do they receive the wrath of God?

Because there is an evidence within them:

When we speak of revelation from God we normally think only in terms of the written word, the Bible. But there are other categories of revelation:

Here we have man's inner consciousness. Man, in any culture, in any society, at any time in history, can examine himself. He is created being. And as a created being to some extent he establishes norms and standards, right and wrong.

This tells us a number of things. If I am a created being there must be a creator. If I can establish what I think is right and wrong then there must be an absolute right and wrong. There must be a standard that is higher, greater, grander than myself.

The standard of morality in some cultures may not be very high, but it is still there. Certain thing are evident, murder, violence, abuse. Man can quickly figure out that these things are wrong. And if there is a wrong there must be a right and then there must be a standard higher than man.

In the next verse (v 20) God revealing himself through nature.

Now with these two we must recognize that they can make man aware that God exists, this type of revelation can even make man aware of the power and therefore, the judgment of God...but they cannot lead man to the love of God.

That can only be revealed through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1:1-2, God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

Jesus Christ incarnate is the revelation of God. He revealed to man the glory and the love of God. He is the living Word of God.

Now that Jesus is risen and has ascended to the right hand of the Father, the written word contains the mind of the living word.

The Bible is the mind of Christ.

Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood ROMANS, Lesson 1

through what

ROMANS, Lesson 1  through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Pretty straight forward isn't it. Nature reveals God. This is not even hidden, but is clearly seen.

First, we have in this verse the consistency of this revelation:

For since the creation of the world.

This shows us that every man who has ever lived has witnessed this revelation. Also that in nature, man's major opportunity is to gain a knowledge of God.

Second, we see the message of this revelation.

His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature.

Creation, nature, is a reflection of its creator. God's fingerprints are all over creation.

Psalm 19:1, The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

The message is first general: God's invisible absolute attributes. Second it is specific: His attribute of power. Third it is tells of God Himself: His divine nature.

Third, we see the clarity of the message.

"They have been clearly seen ..."

This is an oxymoron. We have something that is invisible and yet at the same time it is clearly seen.

The unseen is God - The Seen is what He has created - The clearly seen is what creation reveals.

Not only are they SEEN they are also UNDERSTOOD.

Therefore, man is without an excuse.

This revelation cannot lead to salvation nor to a personal relationship. But it can lead man to a longing that comes from an unmet need to know the one who has created him and all around him.

At this point, man is conscious of God, and that consciousness of God demands a volitional decision.

Do I seek God my creator or degrees to creation itself?

Do I seek the one who made the tree or do I worship the tree?

Romans 1:21

"For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

"They knew God": That is from the revelation of consciousness and nature.

This refers to the knowledge of a fact apart from allowing the fact to become personal.

Instead: They did not honor Him as God or give thanks.

Two things here, they refuse to believe that the creator whose fingerprints are seen in nature is God. Therefore they did not have an attitude of thankfulness towards Him for how He made them or Creation.

David saw it, he knew it, and he gave thanks:

Psalm 139:14, I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well.

Consider the one who is behind all this - Satan.

Satan's objective with an unbeliever is to obscure the knowledge of God. To hide that which is revealed by creation. So he removes God from creation and makes all this just a product of evolution.

Or, as we will see in the next verses, he gets man to hug the tree and worship what is created.

So rejecting what is evident result in the rejector become futile in his speculations.

FUTILE is a word that means "to render foolish". It can also be translated "vain" or "empty". So they become foolish or fools, vain and empty, in their thinking.

SPECULATION is a word that is used for imagination, what one thinks, but also for discussion and debate.

So this picture those who have rejected any idea of God as an all powerful creator sitting around discussing what is all around them in creation and trying to come up with some explanation, any explanation, other than the fact that God is the Creator and sustainer of all things. ROMANS,

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