Romans 1:21-23, “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. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”
We looked at Romans 1:19 and how Paul spoke about those who “knew” God by Creation, and how this alone leaves the relationship with Him at the level of what we may refer to as an acquaintance. This level of knowing God is sufficient to make man responsible, but is not by itself sufficient to accomplish His salvation.
Paul continues in Romans 1, about knowing God where he spoke about those that “knew God.” If these people knew God, why did they display a lack of thanks to Him, and why foolish, darkened hearts that worshipped idols? The Greek word used here for “know” is “Ginosko” which means to allow, be aware of, feel, or perceive, etc… If these people knew God they certainly had a “funny” way of showing it. When looking into the history of humanity a willful rejection of God’s revelation of Himself can be traced. Even though these knew God via Creation, humanity failed to act upon it, and thus God was not worshipped by those whom Paul is addressing here. Humanity was created to worship, and if humanity fails to worship the One True God, they will worship someone or something else certainly, and in this case their choice idol was images made to look like man, as well an the animal species.
Recall in Exodus when Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving God’s Law. While Moses was on the mountain where were the rest of the Israelites? They were at the bottom of the mountain creating an idol, the Golden Calf. Now this strikes me with great humor on the part of the High Priest Aaron. Aaron tries to explain away the Golden Calf, even though he clearly submitted to the will of the people in their darkened imagination and desire to create a god for them to worship. After collecting gold earrings and trinkets, he melted them down and out of the pliable gold, fashioned a Golden calf. When Moses comes back form Sinai, Aaron tells him “They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” This excuse makes me laugh that Aaron threw some gold in the fire and like a “genie” a calf popped out!
Many people gather the darkened imaginations of others and fashion those ideas together and create a god to suit their sins, one they are comfortable with. Then they worship the god by their foolish darkened hearts. For this reason God commands us to love not the world, and if anyone loves the world the love of God is not in him. The world is a system of thinking that is opposed to the God of truth, justice, love, and holiness. Adam tried to hide on God in the trees when he sinned because his heart became darkened. It would be easier to try and cover the brilliance of sun with a blanket than to try hiding from God. David wrote, “Where can I flee from Your presence….” Filled with “intellectual pride” many “claim to be wise,” and try and justify their idol worship, just to reveal “their foolish hearts are truly darkened.” We need to be in God’s Word daily so that the light of His truth can flood our hearts daily, and leave no room for the darkness to enter in and thus worship Him! To continue, Until the nets are filled…Blessings, Pastor Phil <><