This week I started reading the book of Romans and I think this is the one book of the bible which is like a manual for understanding Christianity. Paul was explaining the gospel message to the Romans, gentiles who would not necessarily have grown up with the same sensibilities of God as the Jews would have. So essentially, the book of Romans is Christianity 101. It teaches the foundations of the Christian faith and so it is with the posture of strengthening my foundational beliefs that I approach the book of Romans.
Growing up, I had so many questions about God and how God “worked” and one of my biggest questions was how God will judge someone who never hears about Him, particularly if someone was born into a household, family, culture, or country where Jesus is not an everyday experience as He is for me? A few years ago, I encountered a scripture that shed some light on some fundamental truths about God and that question:
…since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:19-20 NIV
So here is one big truth about God:
God desires a relationship with each and every one and creates countless opportunities for this relationship to develop and hopefully blossom. His omniscience and omnipotence are manifest in creation itself and so one does not even have to look beyond himself or herself or immediate surroundings to see God. David so eloquently described this when he said:
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19:1-4 NIV
Everyday you are alive is an opportunity to get to know God a little bit more because God is revealed in everything around us. Even if it difficult to see beyond one’s immediate environs to behold the majesty of God, God still creates opportunities for an encounter and a relationship with Him; case in point, Moses. Moses grew up in ancient Egypt where almost all of creation was attributed to some god. For example, a gorgeous sunrise would be attributed to Ra the sun god and yet God made a way for Moses to experience him through a unique and unexplainable phenomenon of the burning bush that did not burn. All God needed from Moses was for him to be curious enough to draw close.
There are many things about God that are mysterious. After all, “the LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us…” (Deuteronomy 29:29 NLT). The things God wants us to know about Him, he has made plain to us even if it is merely in the admiration of a sunset (Romans 1:19) and this is why no one will have an excuse. (I know this does not answer the question of how God will judge a person who never gets to know him, we will explore that concept another day… baby steps)
As we embark upon this journey of Romans together, I pray that your faith be strengthened as God provides you with countless opportunities to encounter Him in His word.