Key Verse: “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”
Romans 1:18-23, 28-32
THE SOVEREIGNTY AND unlimited power of Almighty God concerning all his creation are “clearly seen,” as our Key Verse states, in the visible things of nature. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.” (Ps. 19:1; 147:4,5) God’s character attributes of wisdom, lovingkindness, mercy, justice, and power, are also seen by those who understand his plans and purposes. We are told, “God is love,” and he “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”—I John 4:8; John 3:16
To fully reveal his character, the Heavenly Father, in his wisdom, has allowed the permission of evil so that mankind might learn that “sin” is “exceeding sinful.” (Rom. 7:13) Part of the great lesson man is learning with regard to sin is that nothing is hidden from the eyes of our Creator. All things are open to his vision, and will ultimately be revealed for what they truly are. Jesus said, “Whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.” (Mark 4:22, New International Version) These sobering words are in harmony with other Scriptures which point out that there will be judgment rendered upon nations as well as individuals, with all evil and sin manifest in God’s sight.
In the verses of our lesson, Paul says, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all 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.” (Rom. 1:18,19, NIV) In verse 18, Paul speaks of those who “hold” or “suppress” the truth. This practice has been followed throughout the history of the world, beginning with Satan, who suppressed the truth by telling Eve the great lie, “Ye shall not surely die.” (Gen. 3:4) Under the evil influence of the Adversary, mankind in general has followed a similar course, putting “darkness for light, and light for darkness.”—Isa. 5:20
The Bible assures us, however, that the reign of sin and death will soon come to an end. This will be accomplished through God’s plan of salvation, centered in “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) The psalmist speaks of the time when the Heavenly Father will say, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10) At the end of the present “time of trouble” upon the earth, the Lord will command the nations to cease from their futile attempts to save themselves—“be still”—and recognize him as their leader. God will show all of mankind that the only true basis for peace is righteousness, and he will give them the opportunity to gradually learn of his ways. We are assured that his promised kingdom will be glorious, and though “weeping may endure for a night, … joy cometh in the morning.”—Ps. 30:5