A reflection on Romans 1:18-21
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes– his eternal power and divine nature– have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened.”
I find this passage of Scripture so helpful in a world that constantly says “there is no God” – words spoken by the fool the Psalmist tells us (Psalm 14).
Here we are reminded that God has not left us without evidence of Himself. His invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature are in fact ‘clearly seen’ in what He has made.
But something that I have especially found helpful from this passage is one of the many pictures it gives us on what sin is. When you ask a High School Scripture class what sin is or ask a group of people, a lot of time people will give a list of things that are sin: lying, murder, stealing, adultery etc.
These are sins yes – but there is a picture here that we don’t often think about in our world as a concrete example of sin and that is the sin of unthankfulness. The lack of thanksgiving to God seen not just in the denial of His existence but by the worship of everything else in His place and by the giving of thanks to everything else other than Him.
If you are wondering what God’s will for your life is: ‘what does God want me to do?’, ‘How does He want me to live?’
Well, His Word tells us: “Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Under the category of ungodliness and unrighteousness are lives that do not stop to thank God, people who do not acknowledge the place that God’s Son King Jesus is to have in our lives. This is the great sin of unthankfulness.
The truth is, when we see the mercy and love of God for us in Jesus – when we stop and really take that in – we cannot grasp that truth and not be filled with thankfulness to God.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (Psalm 118).