Before You Can Get Home

Remember the days before GPS?  When you were lost you had to discover where you were on a paper map (gasp!) before you could get where you needed to be.  You had to define your lostness before you could get home.  This is Paul’s goal in the first three chapters of Romans.

In Roman's 1:18-32, Paul’s topic is sin.  And while that may sound unpleasant, it’s actually the single most loving topic Paul could address.  Good doctors accurately diagnose your problem before prescribing the solution.  Paul knows we cannot receive the saving grace of God if we do not understand the problem we need to be saved from.  So he defines that from which we must be saved.  But, somewhat unexpectedly, Paul defines sin as a three-part exchange.

After explaining that God has revealed much of his attributes and power in nature Paul says that humans, therefore, stand condemned without excuse before God.  “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him” (vs. 21).  Rather, all sinners knowingly make three trades, or exchanges, in one way or another: 1) “They...exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images” (vs. 23), 2) “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie” (vs. 25), and 3) they “exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature” (vs. 26).

Since God created us in His image to worship and glorify Him, we sin every time we cherish or prioritize anything more than Him - even if that thing is a gift from God’s hand!  This is the first exchange.  Even further, as soon as we love or pursue anything more than God and His glory our understanding becomes skewed and we tend to justify ourselves and may even hold certain portions of Scripture at arm’s length.  We begin to exchange the objective truth of God’s Word for subjective distortions of that truth.  This is the second exchange.  Finally, if we continue down this path, we find ourselves at odds even with God’s world.  Paul uses one sexual sin as an example, but this is equally true of all sin.  This is the third exchange.

Sin, then, is turning away from God’s glory, truth, and creational design, and we have all fallen short of God’s glory and ignored His truth in our own ways!  We need to be rescued from our sinful state, led out of our lostness, forgiven, and restored to a right relationship with God.  This is why Paul began his letter by talking about the gospel, even before diagnosing our disease in detail!    Because the gospel is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). Do you know Jesus personally?  If not, you need to realize your lostness before you can get home.  Before you can be saved by Jesus, you must understand that you need His saving.  If you do know Jesus personally, who in your life needs to come to grips with their sinful state before God?  Will you tell them of this reality?  They need to know they are lost before they can say, "But now I'm found".

Ben Forbes




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