Musings 86

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

It would appear to some that it is an obvious sin when preachers preach for their own honor rather than the glory of God, they will still not think that their pastors do that. Even more, it is perhaps even harder to see and believe that a pastor has exchanged the truth of who God is and the truth that God has revealed for a lie. In the context this passage teaches us that God has make it known to each man who God is. The text tells us that “because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them” (Romans 1:19). Men are not ignorant of God in reality, the problem is that they hate God and suppress the truth. In suppressing the truth of God in unrighteousness these men grab hold of lies. In doing that, then, they turn from God and worship and serve the creature rather than God.

What we must understand is that man is inherently religious and men love to work for their righteousness and a standing before God based on themselves. Men do not like a sovereign God and instead want the sovereignty of their own “free-will.” Men do not like the idea that God must save them for the sake of His own name and instead want to be saved because of their own value and worth. Men don’t like the idea that they must be saved by a free-grace which is always and must always be apart from anything they can merit or work up. This glorious teaching of God saving by grace alone destroys any hope that a sinner has in self and leaves him as a vile and wretched sinner in great need of a Savior who saves sinners for the sake of God.

When man is religious and yet is involved in suppressing the truth of God, that man is turning from God and serves and worships the creature rather than God. When religious men turn from proclaiming the truth of the living God and begin to focus on man and his earthly feelings and needs, those men have turned from Christianity and are now guilty of humanism which does not worship the true God but serves the creature. What we must see is that man was created for the glory of God and to be the image of the true God in the world and was not created for himself and his own purposes. When men turn religion into something where they think that by serving men they are serving God, they have become vile idolaters. When men turn religion into something where they teach that God serves men and does what He does to benefit men, they have become vile idolaters.

Not only do men become vile idolaters, but they teach an entirely wrong view of God and the Gospel as well. God has no need of men or the service of men. God glorifies Himself through men as He pleases and has no need of men to glorify Himself. He uses men to glorify Himself by grace, but He has no need of men to do so. For some reason men think that God is focused on them and longs to do what they want in order that other men will notice Him. That is simply a horrible blasphemy despite how popular that opinion is. God lives in perfect love within Himself as triune and does not need anything or anyone other than Himself. When men try to bring this great God down in their preaching, then the men who are preaching are themselves serving the creatures and even worship the creature rather than God. Unless preaching is done out of love for God and proclaims the truth of God, it is exchanging the truth of God for a lie. Preaching can be a great, great evil rather than an expression and proclamation of the true God.

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