No Excuse

Sermon Study Sheets

Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

February 3, 2002


No Excuse


Romans 1:19,20

Introduction and Review

A question that non-Christians have often posed, and that even many Christians are sometime uncomfortable
with, is the nature of the character of God in His relationship to the non-believer. The Bible is very clear that
God will judge the non-believer, but the question is one of whether that is fair or not. Can God be good and
righteous if He judges the non-Christian for His sin, especially in light of the doctrine of election as expressed in
such verses as John 6:44 ( "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him) and Ephesians
1:4 (He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him).
If man cannot be saved unless God elects or chooses that individual, then is it fair for Him to judge those whom
He has not so chosen? Paul will address this specific question in Romans 9, but he actually lays the foundation
for answering that question and others right here in the beginning of his presentation of the Gospel message in
Romans 1.

Paul is writing to a mixture of Jewish and Gentile believers in Rome expressing his desire to come and bring
to them his apostolic ministry in proclaiming the gospel of God. He expects there will be great benefit to them
and to himself if he could do so. They all would be strengthened in their faith as well as new people brought to
faith in Christ. Paul then begins his explanation of the gospel and its ramifications to them. The book of Romans
Paul’s is often called his gospel tract, for it is the clearest and most detailed presentation of the gospel in
Scripture. Those who write tracts would do well to follow its pattern.

Paul begins his presentation of the gospel in 1:16 with his personal statement that he was not ashamed of the
gospel because of what it is and what it presents. It is the power of God unto the salvation of everyone who is
believing regardless of ethnic heritage. What it presents is the righteousness of God in both His relationship and
actions towards those who are believing (1:17) and those who are not (1:18). In other words, the benefit of the
gospel message is man’s salvation, but the message itself is really about God’s righteousness in how He deals
with man. God is righteous in granting men salvation from their sins and sins’ consequences on the basis of
their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. God is also righteous in His wrath against those who are not believing, for in
their ungodliness and unrighteousness they suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

This was the point of last week’s message. God’s wrath is revealed from heaven by His various decrees
issued from Him on His throne resulting in actions taken against all the ungodly and unrighteous. God has in the
past and in the present demonstrated His wrath in all sorts of natural phenomena such as storms, fire, famine,
earthquakes and such as well as the actions of men and angels. However, it’s most common demonstration is in
the consequences of sin as God removes His restraining hand from those who refuse to worship Him properly or
follow the commands He has given. The rest of Romans 1 will describe the working of this aspect of His wrath.

Remember that "ungodly" means to be without the proper reverence for God. It is the opposite of "godly"
which comes from a root meaning "good worship." Ungodliness invariably results in false worship of either the

true God or a false god, for man will worship something even if it is only himself and his own thoughts.
Unrighteous is that which does not conform to what is right. It is the opposite of loving and obeying the truth
(Rom. 2:8; 1 Cor. 13:6), and so it is the opposite of the character of God. It includes deeds of violating the law
and standards of justice.

Ungodliness and unrighteousness are closely related in that neither will follow God’s commands, but
ungodly is more directed against the person of God and unrighteous against the standards of character and
conduct which flow from God’s character. The ungodly reject the true God for one they define for themselves,
and the unrighteous reject God’s standards in order live by standards of their own making. Ungodliness always
leads to unrighteousness because a person who is not following God will not follow His commands.

Paul further defines the ungodly and unrighteous as those who are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.
To suppress is to hold down or restrain. All the ungodly and unrighteous stand against the truth to keep it from
progressing. This suppression may range from blatant open denial to a subtle mixing the truth with error, but in
any case, it is a holding back of the truth. In verses 19- 21 Paul explains God’s revelation of truth which they
suppress and thus leave themselves without excuse when facing God’s righteous wrath.

Romans 1:18-21 (NASB) "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and
unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God
is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible
attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has
been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God,
or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened."

God’s Manifestation

To manifest (fanerovn/phaneron) or to reveal comes from a root meaning to shine or bring to light and thus
to make visible, evident or known. There is a certain amount of knowledge of God that all men have been given.
This is not knowledge that God has given passively, as in a book that is available, but the knowledge of which is
only gained by those who read it. This is knowledge of Himself that God has actively given to all people. It is
given as something both innate and as something He has actively manifested, revealed, made evident, to all.

No one is born an atheist. It takes hard work to train a person to be an atheist. You have to convince them to
think contrary to what is natural to them and opposite of what even a cursory understanding of the world around
them causes them to conclude. Every child naturally acknowledges that there is something much bigger and
more powerful than themselves. Even after the hard work which is done in our public school systems to try to
convince students that there is no God, the vast majority still believe that there is. The quick resurgence of
religion in the former USSR after 70 years of atheistic communism is further evidence of this truth. And of the
relatively few that do claim to be atheists, most of these will call out to God when they find themselves in
serious trouble. There is a lot of truth to the old adage that there are no atheists in a foxhole. The knowledge that
God exists is inherent to the human soul.

Children also quickly figure out that everything around them had to have been made by someone. You can
amaze a child by a slight of hand trick and pull a rabbit out of a hat, but the curiosity of the child is going to
cause them to try and figure out how the rabbit got in there. Even if they conclude that it was "magic," they
understand that somebody or something had to make the rabbit and put it in the hat. It did not happen by
accident. There must be a creator.

Paul points out that very fact in verse 19. It is what God has made in the creation that manifests knowledge
of God to all people. God is a spirit (John 4:24) and so is not visible to man, but some of His attributes are
being understood (noouvmena/noomena) through what God has made in creation. Please note that this does
not mean that a complete knowledge of God can be known through creation, but certain things are revealed
about Him in all that He made in creation. Paul specifically points out God’s eternal power and nature are
"clearly perceived" (kaqora’tai/kathoratai) so that men are without excuse.

God’s Power

God’s power is clearly manifested in creation. Many scriptures point to things that happen in nature as
evidence of God’s power. Quite a few of these were pointed out last week when we looked as example of God’s
wrath being demonstrated. We can also add to these things what we have learned from our own investigations
into nature. Let’s look at a few examples.

Psalm 19:1-6 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His
hands. 2 Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are
there words; Their voice is not heard. 4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to
the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, 5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his
chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. 6 Its rising is from one end of the heavens, And its
circuit to the other end of them; And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The "heavens" in verse 1 refers to the celestial heavens – space – and to the throne of God while "expanse"
refers to the atmospheric heavens. Both space and the atmosphere declare the power of God.

Out of the atmospheric heavens come demonstrations of God’s power in weather. The most extreme
example of rain is Gen. 7:11, 8:2. When during Noah’s flood the "windows of heaven opened" bringing
judgement and then after forty days the "rain from heaven was restrained" in God’s mercy. All of us have
experienced or at least seen pictures of strong rain storms. Here were it is colder, we have also seen this it is
frozen form of snow. Another frozen form of rain, hail, is also an example. Severe hail was one of the plagues
on Egypt (Exod. 9 & 10) and in Joshua 10 God sent large hailstones that destroyed much of the army Joshua
was fighting against. Thunder and lightning are often mentioned in scripture as signs of God’s power. The
thunder and lightning on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19) made the people tremble in fear of God. Job cried out "But His
mighty thunder, who can understand?"
(Job 26:14). We have all experienced strong thunder storms. God uses
wind in all sorts of ways. He used wind to part the Red Sea for Moses and the children of Israel (Exod. 14:21)
and bring quail for food while they were in the wilderness (Numb. 11:31). God also used wind as a means of
judgement in bringing the plague of locusts (Exod. 10:13) and famine (Hosea 13:15). Strong winds are used to
break rocks into pieces (1 King 19:11). Psalm 104:4 speaks of God making the "winds His messengers."
Snow, hail, frost, ice, stormy wind, fire, thunder, and clouds all fulfill God’s word (Psalm 147). God’s power is
seen in the various weather phenomena that exist in the atmospheric heavens.

Modern research into these things measure and quantify the power displayed. For example, At any time,
2,000 thunderstorms are occurring around the world, producing lightning that strikes the earth up to 100 times
every second. There are some 20 million cloud to ground lightning strikes in the continental U.S. every year
with another estimated 100 – 200 million cloud to cloud strikes. Within the lightning bolt the air is superheated
to temperatures exceeding 50,000°F, many times hotter than the surface of Sun. Typically, lightning travels 10
miles or less. However, lightning has been observed to travel 20 miles or more, often extending up to 10 miles
away from the cloud that formed the lightning. Tornadoes can be spawned by severe thunderstorms with wind
speed estimates ranging from 75 to over 300 miles an hour. The funnels may range from only a few yards to a
mile at its base.

According to the NOAA/AMOL, estimate of the energy released in a hurricane are tremendous. For an
average hurricane of sustained winds of 90 mph and a width of 46 miles, the kinetic energy to generate the
winds is about 1.5 X 1012 Watts, or about half of the total world wide electrical energy generating capacity. But
this is small in comparison to the amount of energy released in cloud and rain formation. The estimate for this
for the same storm is 6.0 X 1014 Watts or 200 times the total world wide electrical energy generating capacity.
The kinetic energy goes up with the windspeed cubed, so a Category 5 hurricane with wind speed three times as
fast would be 9 times as much not counting the greater diameter of the storm.

Do the atmospheric heavens reveal something of God’s power?

Then there is also the celestial heavens – space. The power of God displayed in it is mind boggling. David
exclaimed in Psalm 8, "When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, The moon and the stars, which
Thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him? And the son of man, that Thou dost
care for him?"

Our Sun is a fairly typical star. It has a diameter of about 1.4 million km The Sun’s surface temperature is
about 10,000ºF and its Corona (its "atmosphere") is about 1.8 million ºF with its core temperature estimated at
27 million ºF. A single solar flare can release as much energy as a billion megatons of TNT in just a few
minutes. There are billions of stars, and many of them are much larger than our Sun. The celestial heavens also
declare God’s power.

This does not even get into other aspects of creation that show God’s power such as earthquakes and

God’s Divine Nature

But creation also shows us something of God’s divine nature. For example, God’s goodness is seen in His
provision for all life. Psalm 136:24 tells us that God gives food to all flesh because His lovingkindness is
everlasting. Psalm 147 says that God gives food to the animals both great and small in due season and they are
satisfied with good. The same Psalm says He also gives rain to the earth and causes the grass to grow. In Matt. 6
Jesus pointed out God’s provision for the birds of the air as proof of God’s care for His creation and for man.

Jesus also pointed out in the same passage God’s beautiful array of the lilies of the field which are so short
lived. All the beautiful things in the world, flowers, plants, animals, minerals, jewels, and dazzling vistas all
show that God loves beauty.

God is also immense and eternal. To go back to some of the evidence from the celestial heavens, we quickly
are overwhelmed with the size of creation. When we start measuring distances between plants and suns, we
quickly come up with numbers which we cannot really comprehend. Consider the following pin head scale.

1mm = 8,000 miles (~ diameter of the Earth)

10.8 cm = Sun’s diameter (Slightly bigger than a girl’s softball)

Distance from Earth to Moon is 221,463 miles. Scale = 1 inch

Distance from Sun to planet (Measurements are to mean distance)

Travel time = 34,000 mph 2X speed of Space Shuttle

Planet Scale Actual miles Travel Time

Mercury 17.7in 36 million miles 44 days

Venus 33.1 in 67.2 million miles 82.3 days

Earth 45.76 in 93 million miles 114 days

Mars 6 ft, 4 in 155 million miles 190 days

Jupiter 19 ft, 10 in 483.3 million miles 1 yr, 227 days

Saturn 36 ft, 5 in 887.4 million miles ~ 3 years

Uranus 73 ft, 1 in 1,783 million miles ~ 6 years

Neptune 114 ft, 7 in 2,795 million miles 9 yrs, 140 dy

Pluto 152 ft, 10 in 3,726 million miles 12 ½ years

Distance Sun to stars & time travel @ speed of light (186,000mps)

Planet Scale Actual miles Travel Time

Earth 45.76 in 93 million miles 8 min, 20 sec

Proxima Centari 1,972 miles 25.4 Trillion miles 4 1/3 years

Altair 7,281 miles 93 Trillion miles 16 years

Vega 11,832 miles 152.4 Trillion miles 26 years

Deneb 682,615 miles 8.8 X 1015 miles 1,500 years

Andromena 910 million 1.17 X 1019 miles 2 million yrs

Galaxy (closest one)

God is also precise, because in this vastness of the solar system, man can calculate the precise movements of
the heavenly bodies so that he can land a space craft within 10 feet of a pre-designated spot. He can thread the
solar system with space probes like Jupiter I and II and pass through the rings of Saturn with out hitting the
planet. This is vastness and precision of God’s divine nature. We could also spend much time looking at the
microscopic world or the biological world and we would find the same precision and complexity. This mighty
creator is worthy of our worship.

There is one other attribute of God that is exhibited in creation. God is also a God who will judge. This is
not so much in the things that were created, but in how they were rearranged by the global flood of Noah’s time.
Even without the book of Genesis, the cataclysmic events that have scarred the earth demonstrate that there is an
all powerful being who judges and whose wrath is to be feared.

Man Without Excuse

The result of all this is that man is without excuse. There is plenty of evidence to demonstrate to man that
there is an all powerful creator who needs to be sought out. God made the knowledge of Himself evident both
within man and without him in all that has been made. The problem is not in the evidence. It is in man. Man is
sinful by nature and simply refuses to seek out God. All men are ungodly and unrighteous and therefore
suppress the truth given to them. They reject God and His commands to one degree or another. Paul points this
out in Romans 3:10-12 in his quote from Psalm 14. "There is none righteous, not even one; 11 There is none
who understands, There is none who seeks for God; 12 All have turned aside, together they have become
useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one."

God is righteous in His wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteous of men who suppress the truth in
unrighteousness. He is just in His punishment of sin. He has made the truth evident, but man has rejected what
has been revealed in order to create for himself a god and standards of living according to his own liking.

2 Peter 3 comments about this suppression of truth that is so blatant and prevalent in our own society.
Starting in verse 3, "Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with [their] mocking,
following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For [ever] since the fathers
fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." 5 For when they maintain this, it
escapes their notice that by the word of God [the] heavens existed long ago and [the] earth was formed out of
water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But the
present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction
of ungodly men."
Verse 4 is a good statement of the premise of evolution which hold that everything continues
just as it always has. It is called the principle of uniformitarianism, and it purposely ignores and suppresses all
the evidence of God’s judgement on the world in Noah’s flood.

I could very easily spend many weeks showing all this evidence to you and the foolishness of even the idea
of evolution. I have done so in the past and there are plenty of books in the library for those who would like to
study this area in depth. Some of these evidences would include the massive amounts of sedimentary rock
covering the world which in places is thousands of feet deep; the large scale water deposited fossil grave yards;
geologic unconformities; recent examples and experiments that prove rapid fossilization, rapid catastrophic
erosion (Mt. St. Helens which explains the formation of the Grand Canyon), and rapid formation of oil; fossils,
especially trees, that transverse multiple layers of sedimentary rock; the evidence for the rapid formation of the
polar ice caps; the evidence of widespread volcanic activity during a single ice age. These don’t even begin to
get into all the evidence for a young earth that is measure in thousands of years and not billions or even
millions. The properties of physics limit the age of the earth drastically from the evolutionary model. These
would include degradation of the earth’s rotational speed; the rate of heat loss by the Earth; and the decay of the
Earth’s magnetic field.

Evolutionists claim that creationists cannot be true scientists, but the truth is exactly the opposite. We are
not afraid of looking at all the evidence including those that do not fit our current hypotheses. Neither are we
afraid of stating our premises and philosophical underpinnings and call them that. A serious look at evolution
from the hard sciences can only conclude that it is a fairy tale for grown-ups who refuse to believe the truth.

The problem men have is not with the evidence, for the evidence is present and shouting out the truth. The
problem is with the hearts of men. They do not want to be accountable to a God who has judged in the past for
fear He will judge again in the future just as He has said He would. Ungodly and unrighteous men suppresses
the truth. This is why so many insist on limiting what God can do and how He can do it. Do you really think it
would be any problem for God to create the world in six, twenty-four hour days just as Genesis 1 describes? Are
the miracles described in the Bible too difficult for God to do as described? Again, the problem is not in the
evidence, it is in man’s ungodliness and unrighteousness that refuses to believe.

Is it fair for God to choose and draw some men to belief and salvation while judging those who do not? In
actuality, it is not fair. It is merciful and gracious. If God was fair, all men would be condemned. Never ask God
to be fair because you would not like it if He was. Ask Him to be loving, merciful and gracious.

What is demonstrated in the gospel is the righteousness of God. He is righteous in justifying the sinner
based on faith in Jesus Christ. He is righteous for bringing His wrath to bear on the ungodly and unrighteous
who suppress the truth He has revealed. The evidence is there and it is active and compelling, but men refuse it
and turn away from it because that is their desire. Men are saved because of God’s actions, but they are judged
because of their own.

The evidence is in, what have you done with it. If you already are one of the ones believing in Jesus Christ,
then thank God for your salvation and tell others about Him. If you are not yet believing, then be warned you
are currently under God’s wrath, but you do not have to stay there. Humble yourself before Him, turn from your
sins to Him and ask Him for His mercy and grace. Be like the publican in 17 who would not even lift up his
eyes, but beat his breast and cried out, "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!" Jesus said this man went home
justified. So can you.