By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the church of Christ in Rome, he discussed several important issues.
In chapters 1-3, he showed how mankind is justly condemned by God.
The basic reason for this is simple: God has revealed Himself and His moral law through the Creation, so that those who deny Him are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20′).
Later, in chapter 2, he discusses how both Jews and Gentiles are under condemnation. The Jews were given the special revelation of God through the Old Testament (cf. Romans 2:12; 3:2; Psalm 147:19-20).
In much the same way, the Law of God has also been revealed in a general way through God’s law “written on the heart.”
Notice what he says:
Romans 2:12-15-12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)
Paul talks about a law “written on the heart.”
Isn’t it amazing that throughout time, every culture of humanity has manifested the same basic moral teachings and standards?
Writing about this, one author has documented:
“NDErs commonly experience two things in the presence of this Being of Light: an overwhelming love and compassion, and a life review where this God of light emphasizes the impact of their actions on others….People commonly say, “All religions basically teach the same things.” There’s some truth to this. It’s actually uncanny how similar the moral laws are across cultures— in ancient China, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, and Rome; across Anglo- Saxon and American Indian culture; through Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, and Muslim sacred writings— all basically agree in this area. Former Oxford scholar C. S. Lewis gives evidence of this common moral law summarized below: Don’t do harm to another human by what you do or say (the Golden Rule). Honor your father and mother. Be kind toward brothers and sisters, children, and the elderly. Do not have sex with another person’s spouse. Be honest in all your dealings (don’t steal). Do not lie. Care for those weaker or less fortunate. Dying to self is the path to life. 10 In just about every culture and world religion since the beginning of recorded history, we see this common moral law. “They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts” (Romans 2:15 NLT).” (John Burke, Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God’s Promises, And The Exhilarating Future That Awaits You, 160-161 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books).
Notice several lessons with me from these facts.
First, the fact of objective morality demonstrates clearly that there is a God.
Simply stated, laws only come from lawgivers.
Atheism cannot explain the existence of universal moral codes. The things which presuppose the existence of moral law automatically exclude materialism as a sufficient cause of objective morality.
For example, before there can be morality, there must be life: yet atheism cannot account for the rise of life.
Before morality, there must be consciousness: yet atheism clearly cannot account for consciousness any more than it can account for life.
Prior to morality, there must be intelligence; yet atheism cannot account for the rise of intelligence any more than it can for the rise of consciousness.
Before there can be moral law, there must be freewill: but atheism knows nothing of freewill.
In fact, atheism asserts that there is no freewill since we are all just responding to materialistic impulses!
Prior to morality, there must be relationship: for morality itself governs relationship between persons.
Yet materialism cannot for relationship, since it cannot account for life and for consciousness.
For all of these reasons (and more), objective morality is a strong and powerful evidence that there is a God.
Second, this objective morality shows us that all sinners are under just condemnation of God.
There was a time when Paul was alive spiritually (when he did not have understanding of personally violating God’s law-see Romans 7:9).
However, once we break God’s law, we come under the condemnation of a perfectly holy and just Creator-which is one of the things which Paul is wanting us to understand in Romans.
Sin against a perfectly holy God brings His wrath (Romans 3:23). Indeed, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
Third, this passage teaches us the primary function of God’s law: to make mankind aware of God’s perfect Nature and of the inability of law itself to save us from sin.
As Paul writes:
Romans 3:19-20 (CEV)-19 We know that everything in the Law was written for those who are under its power. The Law says these things to stop anyone from making excuses and to let God show that the whole world is guilty. 20 God doesn’t accept people simply because they obey the Law. No, indeed! All the Law does is to point out our sin.
Law cannot save: it can only bring condemnation.
But doesn’t Paul write that there is a “law” which makes us free from sin?
Yes he does!
Notice that it is written:
Romans 8:2-For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Someone says, “Mark, if law doesn’t save, then how does the law of the Spirit save us?”
The answer lies in the fact that it is the law of the Spirit “in Christ Jesus.”
My friends, it is the atoning work of Jesus Christ that gives the New Testament Law the power to set us free.
Indeed, the Old Testament Law had prophesied to us about this atoning work:
Romans 3:21-27-21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.
Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and arose again on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
Why not today allow God’s amazing grace to save you from your sin? You can never earn His forgiveness (as this text teaches); but you can today “obey that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Romans 6:17-18).
Why not as a believer repent of your sins and be baptized into Christ to have your sins forgiven (cf. Acts 2:37-38)?
The same Apostle Paul reminded the Christians at Rome when they had been set free from sin:
Romans 6:3-4-3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.