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We’re All Looking In

Rom 1.16-27

“The righteous will live by faith.” (Rom 1.17)

Paul begins his discussion with that statement. Why faith? Why is faith necessary?

Paul tells us a lot about the problem of unbelief. And the results aren’t pretty.

If you are in unbelief, the problem is not the intellect. It is the will.

This is the starting place for Christian knowledge. Unbelief isn’t a problem of the intellect. You see, I know brilliant Christians and dumb Christians. I know brilliant atheists and dumb atheists. I’m sure anyone reading this can think of people in all four of those groups.

Because those four groups exist, it’s obvious Paul is right about something. It is not intellect that separates a believer from an unbeliever. If it were, there would either be a bunch of smart believers and dumb atheists, or a bunch of smart atheists and dumb believers. You wouldn’t have both groups on both sides of the discussion.

Paul knows that it isn’t intellect that separates them. What is it then?

Paul says that people who don’t believe suppress the truth by their unrighteousness (Rom 1.18). He says God made Himself obvious by creating everything, but that we suppress what’s obvious by worshipping the things God has made rather than God Himself.

Now, that may seem like a power play: “If you don’t believe like I do, it is because you’re unrighteous.”

I know it may seem that way, but there is no way around it. You see, Christians believe that something glorious was lost at the fall. Everything about us was meant to turn upward and look at God, but in the garden we learned to turn inward and look at ourselves and the creation rather than God.

We do this in all sorts of ways.

We believe that everything we want to do with our bodies is okay.

We believe all of our appetites are good.

We believe we shouldn’t say no to ourselves.

And, here’s the kicker, we believe everything we think should be proven to us.

We worship our intellect.

Here’s the problem, though. Christians believe that our intellect got broken at the fall as well. Our way of putting together information is flawed. It needs fixed. We have to be taught to look upward rather than inward. We have to learn to look to God rather than creation.

Christians start here. All of us are flawed. We can’t have the gospel unless we learn to look upward rather than inward.

 

This is a hard truth for both the believer and the unbeliever. Whichever side of that equation you are on, will you consider that even your ability to put together information might be flawed and in need of redemption?

 

The starting place for Christian thought: You are looking inward, and you can’t be fixed until you look up.

 

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