Musings 80

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them…22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts & receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 and just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Men prefer a God who is under their control, whether they confess His sovereignty or not. Men like having a God who is sovereign over the things around them as long as they can pray in a way which controls Him. Men strongly desire a God to control things outside of them, but they strongly rebel and fight against a God who is sovereign in them. Men, despite the theology that they hold to, do not want God to be sovereign over their hearts. They do not want a God who can do with them as He pleases in accordance with His sovereign pleasure. However, that is the biblical God and there is none other. Ro 9:18 is clear on this matter and in reality it takes a lot of effort to misunderstand it: “So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”

Men, regardless of creed and profession, love the word or some idea of grace, but unless a person is truly converted a person will not love true grace which is sovereign grace. This brings us to the next and corresponding idea and that is that God hardens hearts as He pleases as well. For grace to be true grace it must also be sovereign. For grace to be grace God has no obligation on His part to show grace, which also means that He is just in hardening the soul He shows grace to. “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious” is a powerful verse and we should humble bow before the living God as we seek grace based on Him rather than ourselves.

Since no one deserves grace and all deserve judicial punishment for sin, no one has a real basis for complaining when God judges them with a hardened heart. In a sense He is turning them over to what they desire, though they are deceived about what they desire and what it will bring. When Romans 1:24 tells us that “God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity,” we are also told why He does this. He does it “so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.” Now those committing the sin have no desire to be dishonored, but instead they are just seeking the fulfillment of their bodily lusts. This shows us that God punishes sinners in giving them what their heart desires, though their heart does not desire what the sin will bring with it.

Romans 1:25 teaches us what is at the heart of every sin: “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.” Sinners may not have the theology of what they are doing, yet their hearts desire the sin and in seeking the fulfillment of the desires of their hearts they are suppressing the truth of God in unrighteousness. When sinners exchange the truth of who God is and His moral character by suppressing that truth and instead settling for a lie, they worship themselves and serve themselves (the creature) rather than God.

This is precisely what we see in parades and large parties in support of the recent Supreme Court decision. We see people who have exchanged the truth of God for a lie and they now worship themselves and serve themselves rather than God. It is a just punishment for God to harden their hearts in their sin and give them over to more sin as punishment. The sin itself is the wrath of God as sin is the worst thing that a soul can do. It leads to misery in this life and eternal misery in the next life. It is a terrible and awful judgment to be turned over to a reprobate heart, to a hard heart, and to be turned over to sin and then more sin. It is to be turned over in such a way that the person lives in accordance with the wisdom of an absolute fool. That fool is self without the wisdom of Christ.

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