Yesterday I had the privilege to preaching Romans 1:19-23 in our series through Romans. The text itself provided a clear and valid argument for the existence of God and the foolishness of rejecting God—which leads to greater and greater depravity. As Christians, we should delight in our God and every aspect of his creation points to the beauty and power of our Triune God. Paul had an agenda in writing to the church in Rome and he described the depraved heart of humanity that is under the wrath of God. As we read this letter, we should make clear application to our culture and it appears to look much like a Romans 1 culture—one that loves sin and should be warned of God’s wrath and pointed to the beauty and satisfaction of God.

The Revelation of God

Earlier in Romans 1:16-17, Paul spoke about special revelation. He pointed out that through the gospel, the good news of God’s saving mission had been made known (unveiled). This has been communicated in words about God with specific precision known as special revelation. We don’t worship a distant veiled deity – “The Unknown god” like Paul experienced at Mars Hill. We know who God is and he has made himself known clearly in the Word of God—but not only in words, God has made himself known in his work. In general revelation, God has made himself known to the world through creation. J.I. Packer, in his excellent book, Knowing God, gave the following warning:

Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul. [1]

When we consider the vastness of God’s creation, it’s truly mind-blowing. The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. If you were to mount a beam of light and ride across the Milky Way galaxy, it would take you 100,000 years to cross the galaxy. We are aware that there are multitudes of galaxies in the universe—with stars the size of Betelgeuse—a massive star 1,180 times the radius of our sun—able to contain over 2 quadrillion Earths (2.15 × 1015) or more than 1.6 billion (1.65 × 109) suns.

Beneath the water there are 30,000 different fish species in the ocean. The smallest fish lives in the west Pacific ocean and is 1 cm in length. The largest fish is a whale shark and can grow to 50 ft. in length and weigh several tons. Scientists discover new species of fish often—proving the vastness of God’s creation. All of this demonstrates the complexity and genius of God as the divine designer of all creation.

Did you know that there are 10,000 different species of birds on planet earth? The smallest bird is the Bee Hummingbird. It’s approximately 2.24 in. in length. The Ostrich is the largest bird. It can be 10 ft. tall and weigh 440 lbs. All of the variations in size, color, and detail point to the majesty of our Creator. This is why the Psalmist declared, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens” (Ps. 8:1). Only a fool would dare say—”There is no God” (Ps. 14:1). As Paul said, this proof leaves everyone without excuse.

The Rejection of God

While we are born with a depraved heart, the more a person continues to suppress the truth and reject the light of God—the farther they sink into the depths of depravity. A depraved world refuses to honor God. He deserves to be praised. A mark of a depraved world is the love of self and the dishonoring of God. All actions, decisions, and deeds performed by an unconverted sinner are depraved acts of the flesh and therefore considered sin. This includes humanitarian service (clothing the homeless, digging wells, performing surgery, building hospitals, feeding the poor, etc.). Consider the words of the writer to the Hebrews:

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Heb. 11:6).

Francis Schaeffer in his book, He Is There and He Is Not Silent, explains that everything that exists fits into the Christian teaching without excluding anything and that is precisely why he rejected his agnostic beliefs and turned to Christ. He writes, “The Christian can see everything fitting into place beneath the Christian apex of the existence of the infinite-personal God who is there.” To reject God’s light and the subsequent light of the gospel is to plunge into the pool of depravity where God will eventually abandon a person—who will be forever lost under his eternal wrath.

Such depravity leads people to worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator. This idolatry was seen in the nation of Israel as they formed and fashioned a Golden calf and worshipped it. Moses was so angry he dashed it into dust and sprinkled it on their water and made them drink it. This dark depravity was seen in the city of Ephesus as they gathered to worship the false multi-breasted goddess Diana in her temple. Craftsmen would earn their living by forming idols and selling them to the public. Yet, Paul entered Ephesus and pointed to Jesus Christ and it turned the city upside down. Our God is an awesome God who is beautiful and all satisfying. The unbelieving needs to know how wonderful God is and how satisfying he is in comparison to the false gods of this world that have no joy-giving abilities since they are lifeless idols.

Psalm 135:15–18

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
they have eyes, but do not see;
they have ears, but do not hear,
nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them become like them,
so do all who trust in them.


  1. J.I. Packer, Knowing God, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 19.
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