Musings 84

One of the most obvious ways (from Romans 1:18-32) that God hardens hearts and turns men over to sin is when He hardens their hearts toward Himself and turns them over to various forms of humanism. The core aspect of sin is always in relation to God.

1. Men suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them.
2. Men exchange the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man
3. Men exchange the truth of God for a lie, and worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator
4. Men do not see fit to acknowledge God any longer
5. Men are haters of God
6. Men approve the sinful practices of others even though God hates those practices

While the list just above sets out the major issues of God turning men over to sin in Romans 1, the most used aspect of this is regarding homosexuality. Now without denying that is clearly part of the text, I am beginning to wonder if it should apply to those in the ministry and those who are preaching as well. It seems that those who are to be preaching the Word of God are suppressing the truth of God as much as anyone else. It is hard to find a pulpit where the wonders and glories of God are set forth with energy and as if the man believes it and means it. We can ask the question, “where is God in the preaching of today” and we would have to answer that He is virtually absent. The god that is preached today is simply one who is here to meet the needs of men if they will but ask.

It appears to me that modern preaching has been for a long time (and is certainly doing it now) suppressing the truth of God in unrighteousness. It is true that a form of morality is being taught and in a few places the old doctrines are being taught, but where is God in this? Theology can be studied as an academic discipline instead of as a God-centered approach. True theology will always have God at the center and God as the subject, but it is possible to study theology as virtually a philosophy rather than as worship. True preaching has to do with God first and foremost. It has to do with the living God at all points and in all ways. True preaching is when a man of God that has been set apart by God, has been taught of God, is possessed of God and stands and declares the truths of God and His present reality. God is not just some historical fact; He is the most real of all reality.

While it is a terrible thing for men and women to suppress the truth of God in their daily lives and in their pursuits of sin, it is even more terrible for ministers in the pulpits and denominational leaders to suppress the truth of God in their ministries (so-called). Ministers are to preach about the glory of the Gospel of God and they can do nothing but suppress that truth when they do not teach and preach the true Gospel. The Gospel is all about the glory of God in the face of Christ and when men are suppressing the truth of God in the pulpits and in the teaching ministries of the churches; they are not preaching and teaching the true Gospel of the glory of God. How can one preach the Gospel of God when one is suppressing the truth of God?

It appears to be a rather common practice for men to skip over chapter 9 of Romans when they preach through that book. Why is that a common practice? True enough it may be a hard chapter. True enough it may be one that offends people. I would argue, however, that it is primarily because they want to suppress the truth of God found in that chapter. One could also argue that the God of Romans 9 makes them highly uncomfortable as well. Nevertheless, when one refuses to preach Romans 9 and the truth of God that is there one is suppressing the truth of God in unrighteousness.

There are many other places in Scripture that men suppress as well. There are many other truths that men suppress in the Bible and not just the ones about the sovereignty of God. The teaching of the nature of free-grace is also suppressed and the freeness of the Gospel of grace alone is suppressed. Men want to be in control of their own salvation and ministers want to be in control of the morality and the money of other men. In order to do those things, the truth of God must be suppressed. It is not just ministers; however, this has to do with all men. The average attendee of a local church wants to “share” his or her faith, but that seems to entail a lot of hiding and a lot of painting a rosy picture. We must not suppress the truth of God whether from the pulpit or in the average discussion about Him. It is nothing but self and self-love that keeps us from telling the truth of God. What an arrogant and proud thing it is for us to love ourselves more than the true God and the true good of others.

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