Summary: What is the eternal destiny of a person born, raised and dying in a place where they never once had access to a Bible or heard about God? Is God going to excuse them? Is God going to excuse those people who never had access to the Bible?
Open your Bibles, please to Romans 1:18. We have come to the part I call, “No Excuse!” We all know people who are not too bright. I’ve decided I don’t pick on Aggies and I don’t pick on Longhorns or even Baylor Bears, so today I guess I’ll make all the Razorback fans mad so I’ll just say there were these two Razorbacks who had heard about a $50 all-inclusive cruise just for Razorback fans. So, one of them said, “I’m going to check it out.” He went down there and saw the sign, “Cruise, $50 for Razorback fans.” He walked in, laid down his $50 and the guy hit him over the head with a stick and knocked him out. The next thing he knew, he woke up floating on an inner tube in a farm pond. That was the cruise. Beside him was another Razorback fan. He turns to him and he asked, “Do they serve food on this cruise?” and the guy said, “They didn’t last year.” We all know folks who are not too bright, but let me just say today you really need to be somewhat bright to catch what I’m talking about, because it is a rather deep subject. I know sometimes preachers like to be profound or maybe a little obscure because sometimes people think, “Wow, they must be deep because I didn’t understand what he said.” We have a saying in Alabama, “Just because the river is muddy doesn’t mean it is deep.” Sometimes people are just obscure instead of deep, but this is a deep topic today.
Have you ever wondered what the eternal destiny is of a person who is born and raised and lives and dies in a place where they never once have access to a Bible, they never hear about God, they never hear the Christian message? What’s going to be their eternal destiny? What about a person who is faithful to another religion, say Buddhism or Islam all their lives? Is God going to excuse them? Is God going to excuse those people who never had access to the Bible? This is what this text is all about.
For that reason I am going to have to ask you to pay very close attention. There are some of you who are “thinkers” Sometimes, you come to church and you check your mind at the door and you are never intellectually challenged or stimulated. This message is for those of you who think you never have to think in a message. For those of you who want to hear the pleasant platitudes of the Christian faith, this is a hard message. Some of you aren’t going to like it because it is a little over your head. To you, I say, “Raise your head.” Others of you aren’t going to like it because you are just not going to agree with my conclusions.
I want to start by giving you my conclusions so you won’t have to wonder where I am going. The conclusion of the message is, “There is one and only one way to God and that is Jesus Christ” He said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man goes to the father but through me.” Now, I’ve said it before, but either Jesus was telling the truth there or he was a liar, or a lunatic. You cannot say he was just a good man. You have to say he was who he claimed to be, the only access to God, or he was some fool, a farce on the human race. There is no middle ground there. Some of you are going to disagree with that conclusion because some of you think that there are a lot of different ways to God. What is your basis of authority? The basis of authority for what I believe is the Bible. What is your basis of authority if you disagree? Is it your own intellect? That’s your prerogative, your choice. You can choose to believe that which is only logical and only rational. The Christian faith is not illogical, it transcends logic. The Christian faith is not rational, nor is it irrational. It is supra-rational. Today I hope every one of you is challenged to think “What do I believe about this, and why do I believe it?”
After introducing the letter in the first 17 verses, Paul jumps in with verse 18 and he dives deep:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.