Summary: We may deny God’s existence ... but it is hard to escape the reality of a fixed moral law ... we prove this when we judge others by a standard that we ourselves break.
Can We Have Moral Values Without God?
Romans 1:16-20, 28-32; 2:1-4
INTO: People claim that they don’t care about sexual morality, or cheating on exams, or lying to keep from getting in further trouble.
This is part of being RELATIVIST: What is right for you is right
And what is right for me ... is my business and no one else’s
They reject ABSOLUTISM ... the belief that “certain actions are absolutely right or wrong.”
However ... people holding to RELATIVIST ideals, soon become absolute when their rights are violated
DISCUSSION: When someone cuts you off in traffic, how do you react?
How is your mood affected? What about when you cut someone off in traffic?
ILLUSTATION: Driving in San Antonio
Intro to book of Romans:
God’s story of salvation (rescue)
Opening chps affirm that each of us perceives God’s voice through splendour of his creation
... and ... through our conscience the moral law is written on our hearts
We may deny God’s existence ... but it is hard to escape the reality of a fixed moral law ... we prove this when we judge others by a standard that we ourselves break
READ: Romans 1:16-20, 28-32; 2:1-4
Three qualities associated with the gospel (vv. 16-17). What do these communicate?
1. Power of God
Paul is not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God to save. Note four significant facts.
The word "power" (dunamis ) means the might, energy, force, and strength that is within God. The power is "of God," of His very nature. As God, He is the embodiment of power; He possesses all power, he is, all powerful. He can do and act as He chooses. God has chosen to use His power in a loving way by sending human beings the “good news,” the gospel of salvation. Being all powerful, God could wipe human beings off the face of the earth, but instead He has chosen to give them the good news of salvation. This tells us a critical truth: God's nature is love. He is full of compassion and grace. He is the God of salvation; therefore, He sent the "gospel of Christ" to the world that all people might be saved.
2. Righteousness from God
Paul is not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the revelation of God's righteousness. Note two points.
Humans have a serious problem—that of thinking they is righteous. The problem is easily seen by picturing the following:
Humans think that that they are good enough and that that they do enough good to be acceptable to God.
Humans think that they are righteous and that they walk righteously enough to be acceptable to God.
However, there is one problem with human thinking: people are not perfect. But God is perfect, and He is perfectly righteous. The bible tells us that He cannot allow an unrighteous and imperfect being to live in His presence, not even human beings.
The only way people can live with God is to be made righteous, perfectly righteous. How can humans be made perfectly righteous? The gospel gives the answer. The gospel is the revelation of God's righteousness and reveals how people can be made righteous and reconciled to God.
3. Faith in the gospel
Paul was not ashamed of the gospel, because it was the good news from God Himself; that is, the gospel is the news that God has given to the world and wants proclaimed to the world. The fact that the gospel had been given by God Himself made Paul unashamed of the gospel. No man should ever be ashamed of anything concerning the Sovereign Majesty of the universe. Paul had every reason to be ashamed.
a. Paul's day was a day of moral degeneracy
b. Paul was by nationality a Jew, a race that was thought by many of that day to be a despicable sub-human race, worthy only to be cursed, ill-used, and enslaved. Naturally, Paul would be apprehensive among non-Jews. It would be easy to shy away from them.
c. The gospel Paul preached was almost unbelievable. Jesus a Jew Saviour of the world death in our place as a substitute rose from the grave to prove he was God
d. Paul was often rejected, not by just a few persons, but by whole communities.
According to v. 18 what are we prone to do with the truth? Why do you think this is so?
We suppress the truth!
Wilful denial of God’s existence
By suppressing the truth the non-believer attempts to resist God, even though as Paul points out, “[God’s] eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived ever since the foundation of the world” (Rom 1:20). The consequence of this is as Paul concludes, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the creator” (v. 25).