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  • Chad Werkhoven

Romans 1:18-21 - Here's Your Problem!

Humanity can't think straight. The first step in salvation is changing that.

Romans 1:18–21 

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that all men are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Listen to passage & devotional:


Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 2: The Means by Which We Know God

We know him by two means:

First, by the creation, preservation, and government

of the universe,

since that universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book

in which all creatures,

great and small,

are as letters to make us ponder

the invisible things of God:

his eternal power

and his divinity,

as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20.

All these things are enough to convict men

and to leave them without excuse.

Second, he makes himself known to us more openly

by his holy and divine Word,

as much as we need in this life,

for his glory

and for the salvation of his own.



If you were to survey all of the people you know and ask them what their favorite Bible passage is, it's not likely that any of them would choose this passage. As we've surveyed who and what God is over these last few weeks, we've seen we can take great comfort in our Father, who, as our Confession put it, is the overflowing source of everything good.

But although it's probably not anyone's favorite, this warning of God's wrath is one of the Bible's most important and relevant passages. It accurately and succinctly diagnoses mankind's greatest problem. Our problem isn't psychological, sociological, economic or political, it's theological: although God has made Himself plain to us, we suppress that truth by either ignoring it altogether or morphing it into ideas that better fit our sinful agenda.

As we've read Psalm 19 and Psalm 8 these last couple of days, we've seen just how clearly God has revealed Himself, in that everything He created has one overarching purpose: to communicate His "invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - [which] have been clearly seen from what has been made, so that all men are without excuse (v20)."

In other words, nobody will be able to stand before God in judgment and accuse God of not giving enough evidence of His existence or expectations.

Dig Deeper

This harsh passage leads to very good news. Nobody ever wants to hear the doctor say the word 'cancer,' but yet knowing exactly where the cancer is enables it to be treated. So it is with being told that "God's wrath is being revealed." It's good news to know that now rather than when you're standing before Him and it's too late to do anything about it.

These words help us understand that our problem is not that God hasn't given us sufficient data, but that we have a problem in how we handle and process that data. Since our sinful nature causes us to suppress the truth, our thinking has become futile and our foolish hearts darkened (v21). Left to ourselves, our flawed thinking will always lead us to the wrong conclusions. In theology, we call this the noetic effect of sin.

The very first word that Jesus spoke in beginning His earthly ministry reveals the solution to our primary problem. He said, "Repent (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15)." The word He used is metanoeō, which literally means 'to change your thinking.'

Know that the unrepentant world will only keep compounding it's problems as it continues to suppress the truth in unrighteousness, and praise God that His Holy Spirit has regenerated your heart so that you can change your thinking, as you come to truly know Him through His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who has made Himself known to us in His creation;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Repent! Pray that you will change your thinking so that you clearly understand who God is and what His will is;



Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Mark 13


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