Romans 1:19-20 Seeing the Obvious

Posted by Matt Postiff November 21, 2009 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Bible Texts 
Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

The apostle affirms that the gospel not only reveals the righteous standing available from God (1:17), but also the wrath of God (1:18). This wrath is directed toward mankind, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. The truth that is rejected is nothing other than the truth about who God is. Our text then tells us three things about this truth of God.

First, God has shown Himself clearly to mankind. The things that may be known about God are obvious (manifest).

Second, God's invisible attributes have been clearly evident since the very beginning. They are understood by viewing the creation. Two characteristics of God are seen: His omnipotence and deity. Looking at the vast heavens and the minuscule details of creation demonstrate both (see also Ps. 19:1-6).

Not only has God shown Himself clearly to mankind, and has done so since the beginning through the creation, but third, these things make man without excuse. To be sure, not everything that there is to be known about God is revealed in nature. To say it another way, natural revelation does not show all of God's attributes, or God's plan, or God's love, or the gospel. Without the Bible (special revelation), it is impossible to know these things and be saved. But even though creation does not show enough for salvation, it does show enough for condemnation. There is no man who will have a legitimate defense (excuse) for himself in the face of the incredible magnitude of God's self-revelation in creation.

Rejecting the truth of God amounts to denying the obvious. This leads to an inability to see the obvious due to the effect of sin. But believers can thank God for the abundant evidence of his power and deity obvious in all of creation. MAP

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