20For 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. 21For 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. Romans 1:20-21
I’ve been spending a lot of time in Romans 1 lately. In these particular verses, Paul is answering the objection, “But what about people who don’t know about God?” Paul’s answer? They do! He says that God makes Himself known, to a certain extent, through His creation. The phrase “what has been made” is a special one. It is the Greek word “poema,” from which we get the word “poem.” It is God’s creation, His workmanship, that tells the story of who He is. People can see from His creation that God is eternally powerful (how He relates to the world) and is divine in nature (how He is in Himself). Because they can see this from creation, and they do not honor or thank Him, people have no objection.
So what went wrong? Verse 21 says that even though they knew God, they chose not to honor Him, and their foolish heart was darkened. This is huge! Knowledge of God is more than a head issue; it is a heart issue. People do not know God because they have darkened hearts. They have darkened hearts because they rejected God. Therefore, they will not know God until their hearts are enlightened.
So what do we do? First, we thank God that He enlightened our hearts. We could not have done this on our own. Second, we constantly ask God to enlighten our hearts and our minds as we study His Word. We need the Spirit’s help to know God. Finally, if we desire for people to know Jesus, we acknowledge that they have a heart problem. We pray for God to enlighten their hearts as we preach the gospel.
For His glory and our joy,