We have quite the celestial show today! We just got done with the Blood Moon, the lunar eclipse that was visible for a time in central Minnesota. We have the Super Moon, which means the moon is closest to the earth in its elliptical orbit. Then we have the Blue Moon, which is a second full moon in a calendar month. Pretty cool stuff, Maynard. My prayer is that many people will say, “Oh, my God!” in worship rather than as merely a figure of speech.
Worship. That’s what we are supposed to do. Let’s look at a little bit of scripture.
Romans 1:19-20 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Psalm 147:4 He determines the number of stars; he gives to all of them their names.
Isaiah 40:26 Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.
Psalm 19:1-6 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their measuring line goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
How can we possibly be mistaken whether or not God is our Creator? Indeed, it is clear through scripture that we cannot. Certainly, we will be held accountable for our unbelief. Not only that, but we also are expected to honor him. My Puritan devo had an interesting take on this:
“He that denies God is an atheist to [God’s] essence; he that denies God’s worship is an atheist to his honour. It is a bad mark for an ungodly man that God is not in all his thoughts, but what comfort can we have without thinking of him in reverence and delight? A God forgotten is as good as no God at all to us.” Voices of the Past, Volume 1, p. 31
Let’s take a look at a bit of Romans for a moment. Most of us have heard this passage:
Romans 10:14-17 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news?” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Now, I’m going to take this a bit further. Most of the time, we hear this passage quoted in regard to the need to spread the gospel. Indeed, we see this call throughout scripture. And, we’ve established here that scripture indeed requires knowledge and saving faith of Jesus Christ in order for one to be granted repentance and become born again. So far, so good. I’ve even witnessed people, including a preacher or two, who has taken credit for someone’s salvation because they presented the gospel. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, they may have presented the gospel, but God alone saves people. It’s a Triune thing, not a human thing.
In fact, we see from what follows in Romans 10 that our role is not essential in order for God to hold people accountable for their rejection of the gospel – whether or not someone actually preached it to them.
v. 18-21 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.” Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
While Paul is talking about salvation being available for all people and Israel’s disobedience, this also addresses and reinforces God’s judgment for all. In verse 18, Paul quotes Psalm 19:4, above. God is evident to all humans in that which he has made. As Paul says in Romans 1:6, we are all, therefore, without excuse. So, yes, salvation is through knowledge and saving faith in Jesus. One cannot be saved unless Jesus has been presented and accepted. Still, God holds all of us accountable for rejecting him based on the evidence he has provided in nature. Indeed, the entirety of humanity has heard the gospel message from God himself.
All of us are guilty. None of us pass the test. Can’t get around that fact. We willfully reject God and seek gods of our own making. Some of us are called specifically through the name of Jesus. Only some of those respond positively.
Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
This business of salvation makes me scratch my head. All I know is this, I have no idea why God plucked me out of my mess. I am grateful that he did. Therefore, I worship him. Sometimes I don’t and life doesn’t go well. When I worship, life is good – despite what goes on in the world around me.
Food for thought.
Father, I thank you for the reminders in the sky that you are my Creator, the one who is in charge. I honor you and worship you, forever. Amen!
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers