Romans 1:19 “Because that which be made known about God is manifest [plain] in them, for God hath shewed it unto them (KJV).”
Friends come on various levels. So of us have friends that we refer to as acquaintances, other friends are casual friends, then we have our lose friends, and lastly our intimate friends. Just as we have different levels of friendships with others, so too are there various relationship levels when it comes to knowing God. In Romans 1:19-32, knowing God is a key word that is repeated in the passage and its interesting to see that each of the “knows” refers to one of those relationship levels with God.
The Greek word for “know” in verse 19, is the word Gnostos which means to be an acquaintance, literally “the knowable God.” Men see the attributes of God in His Creation. I find it amazing that people can look at a building and know that a builder was responsible. Someone can look at a painting and know there was painter, and realize that everything made has a maker, but when it comes to Creation not all use that same logic to acknowledge that Creation shows us that there is a Creator! Nevertheless God gives everyone, the whole world an unmistakable witness of Himself.
In America 95% – 97% of people believe in a “higher power” and therefore “know God” or have knowledge of God at an acquaintance level. Creation gives natural revelation of God that is knowledge of Him based on nature. This is what the Psalmist knew when he wrote, “The Heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork.”
The Expositors Bible Commentary points out “Natural revelation is sufficient to make man responsible, but is not by itself sufficient to accomplish his salvation”. Four characteristics are noted. First, it is a clear testimony set before the eyes of men, as the word “plain” implies. Second, from the use of “understood,” the revelation does not stop with perception, but is expected to include reflection, the drawing of a conclusion about the Creator. Third, it is a constant testimony, maintained “since the creation of the world” (cf. Acts 14:17). Fourth, it is a limited testimony in that it reflects God in certain aspects only—namely, “his eternal power and divine nature.” One has to look elsewhere for the disclosure of his love and grace—i.e., to Scripture and especially to the revelation of God in His Son John 1:14.
All created beings are accountable before God whether one believes in Him or not, or follows Him obediently or not. There are so many that have this kind of acquaintance relationship with God, and that is where everyone starts, “knowing God” as Creator only, but not as Father. It is the difference of a boy that has seen a picture, and lives in the home provided for by his biological father, but the boy has never developed a relationship with his biological father. With no relationship, that father is just the sperm donor, and all the boy knows about his father is what he can see when he looks in the mirror and knows that there are similar attributes to his father, but void of relationship.
Do you feel that God is a distant Creator and not your Father? God desires that we call out to the One that has made the skies, the trees, the sun, moon stars, and you that you see daily. God doesn’t want us to know Him merely as an acquaintance, as Creator, but as Father. This is level 1 To be continued…
Until the nets are filled…Blessings, Pastor Phil