where we are & where we're headed

Where We Are & Where We’re Headed

Romans 1:18-31

First the good news: we can be saved and spend eternity in Heaven by receiving Jesus Christ’s free gift of salvation. The bad news? Our world is hopelessly lost, on a collision course with judgment. We’ve not just reached the bottom of the garbage pail—we’ve eaten right through it. First, let’s look at the bad news that makes the good news good.

The book of Romans has been rightly called the “Constitution of Christianity.” In this incredible book, God tells us where we are, how we got here, and where we’re headed. Where we are is a sick place, laughing our way to Hell. Crime soars. Families are destroyed. Millions of babies are killed in their mothers’ wombs. Suicide and violent crime are the leading causes of death for young people. But we’re labeled intolerant if we call anyone a sinner.

We’re overdue for judgment. Romans chapter one is like a great courtroom. Almighty God is the Chief Justice. The Apostle Paul presents the evidence that our world has no excuse. Our punishment? The wrath of God.

God is infinite, measureless, fathomless love, but He is also righteous and holy, a God of judgment and wrath. (See Romans 1:18.) Paul shows three reasons why the wrath of God is falling, and we’re hurtling toward judgment. These are the steps in mankind’s three-fold descent to Hell.

Our willful self-determination

People who’ve never heard the Word of God won’t be excused, because God’s existence “is clearly seen” (Romans 1:19-20).

His truth is revealed.

Everyone has an inner witness called “conscience.” If people say they can’t believe in God, they’re lying. How can we say that? Because John 1:9 says, “Christ is the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” It’s absolutely clear that God exists. Those who say they don’t believe it are lying. They have:

the inner, subjective witness of conscience
and the outward, objective witness of creation

An atheist has to believe that nothing times no one equals everything, but God has set His witness in the sky. (See Psalm 19:1-4.) Your inner witness responds, “That didn’t just happen.”

But His truth is resisted.

Unrighteous man opposes God’s revelation and actually suppresses (literally, “smothers”) truth. It’s not that atheists cannot believe; they will not believe. The problem isn’t the head—it’s the heart.

Our wicked self-deception

Choosing to disbelieve, you fall into self-deception.

You become selfishly indifferent.

You can see His eternal power, but you deny it. (See Romans 1:20-21). You don’t glorify Him. You lose what little truth you have.

You become sophisticatedly ignorant.

“Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). When you don’t believe in the true God, you’ll believe anything.

You embrace shameful idolatry:

…making idols out of “corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:23) rather than worshipping a righteous God. One way America got into this mess was through the horrific sin of child murder. (See Psalm 106:37-38.) Now we worship the creation and kill our unborn.

Our woeful self-destruction

How does God view our lost world? You don’t have to wonder. Romans 1:26-27 gives God’s assessment of our sin, including the perverted sins of Sodom: “Vile passions, against nature, shameful.” God’s judgment smolders against this abomination. (See Leviticus 18:22.)

This is how a nation self-destructs:

We become sexually perverted.

Sexual perversion always appears when a culture disintegrates. Jesus specifically referred to homosexuality when he described the days before His return in judgment. (See Luke 17:22-29.)

We reek with pride and sexual sin. (See Ezekiel 16:48-50 and Isaiah 3:8-9.) God left Sodom in smoking ruins “as an example to those that should after live ungodly” (2 Peter 2:6).

Many in this world will never know what God intended: one man for one woman, a wonderful, monogamous marriage.

We become socially perverted.

God gives us over to a list of soul-crushing behaviors: “envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness…undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful” (Romans 1:28-31).

We become spiritually perverted.

Knowing the judgment of God, the lost proudly strut into Hell. (See Romans 1:32). Three times in Romans 1 Paul says, “And God gave them up” or “God gave them over.”

God blessed America and put a firewall around us. How long before He leaves us alone in our sin? (See Hosea 4:17.)

You ask, “That’s so dark. Is there any hope?”

Yes. Bad news makes the good news good. The good news is the Gospel. “…for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

If you want salvation, it’s yours. (See Isaiah 1:18.) Every sin can be forgiven. You can know that when you die or when Jesus comes, you’re going straight to Heaven. Peace, power and purpose can fill you. I invite you to come to Him.

Known for his evangelistic zeal and uncompromising commitment to the Word of God, Adrian Rogers was one of the greatest preachers, respected Bible teachers, and Christian...

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