“Without Excuse”
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“Without Excuse”

Romans 1:19–23  (ID: 3569)

The apostle Paul urgently warned others about the Lord’s wrath and preached the Gospel of salvation. In his letter to the Romans, in particular, he was clear that all are sinners, with no exceptions, no excuses, and no escape from judgment except through faith in Jesus. Noting that Paul’s explanation of our predicament remains relevant today, Alistair Begg explains that the sobering reality of God’s wrath is matched by the wonder of His provision. Our Creator doesn’t hide from us, nor does He change. Rather, He seeks us and offers peace in a chaotic world.

Series Containing This Sermon

God’s Power for Salvation

Gospel Hope for a Romans 1 World Romans 1:16–32 Series ID: 28801

Sermon Transcript: Print

We’re going to read again from the Bible, in the New Testament, in Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 1 and reading from verse 16 through to verse 23. Romans 1:16.

And Paul writes,

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”


Father, what we know not, teach us. What we have not, give us. What we are not, make us. For your Son’s sake. Amen.

Well, we’re continuing this brief series of studies here in the second half of Romans chapter 1. We began a couple of weeks ago, on what we refer to as Reformation Sunday, by looking at these verses which fit so clearly in the whole story of the Reformation—the rediscovery of the gospel by grace and through faith, solely Scripture, solely Christ, and so on. And what we’re doing is simply working our way through this text. We have been aware of the fact that Paul is writing to these people because he is eager, he says, to be able to tell this great story to them in Rome—a privilege that he hasn’t yet had. His eagerness to preach the gospel, he tells us in verse 16, is because he has a clear understanding that it is “the power of God for salvation.” At the beginning of the letter, he explains to the readers that he has been commissioned to the work of the gospel. Now, here, he says he’s not ashamed of the gospel, and he explains why he is not ashamed: because it is the power that saves “everyone who believes.” He’s making it very clear, something that he discovered for himself.

The testimony of Paul is an amazing testimony, isn’t it? Because he hated Jesus, hated the followers of Jesus, was a religious zealot, was able to tick many of the boxes of his Judaistic orthodoxy, and yet he suddenly realized that it was all to no avail. And when he writes to Timothy, he says to him, “You know, Timothy, the amazing thing is that formerly, I was a blasphemer; I was a persecutor; I was an insolent person,”[1] he says. So he’s got a pretty clear grasp of what he was: a persecutor, insolent, a blasphemer. “But I decided to change.” No. No. (Good. That was a very good “No.”) “But I received mercy.”[2] “But I received mercy.” Now, you see, that is the testimony of every genuine believer.

He then goes on in verse 18, as we saw, to make clear to anybody who says, “Well, I don’t need the gospel. I think it’s a nice idea for you. I’m glad that it’s helpful to you. It’s just not something that is in my space.” “Well,” he says in verse 18, “what we need to know is this: that the wrath of God is revealed…” One day, it will be revealed in its fullness. He comes to that later on in the letter. But he’s pointing out to these people who are living in first-century Rome, remember—he’s saying, “The wrath of God is revealed. It is presently there to be encountered. And the way in which it is revealed,” he says, “is according to the fact that heaven reacts to all the ungodliness and all the unrighteousness of men who by their unrighteousness or by their wickedness suppress the truth.”

God’s anger is not simply a principle, as we said last time, built in, if you like, to the moral order of the universe. Or as somebody I read this week put it, it “is not an automatic judgment by an anonymous cosmic computer.”[3] So much happens in a day in the realm of banking, in the realm of stocks, and so on; it’s happening not as a result of somebody personally engaged, but it is happening as a result of these vast computers making determinations. “Well,” he says, “you need to know that God is personally and intensely involved in the expression of his wrath.” Not in a human manner. Not in the way that we would get angry: petulant, fitful, bad-tempered. But the wrath of God is the inevitable reaction of divinity to sin. It is the right reaction. It is the only reaction. It is the settled reaction. It is the inevitable reaction. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven.”

And he is justifiably angry on two counts. One: on account of “ungodliness.” “Ungodliness” is simply this: men and women attempting to reject God’s right to rule and living as if God did not exist. Rejecting the rule, the rightful rule, of God and living life as if God does not exist: “ungodliness.” And “unrighteousness.” That is, the wickedness… If you like, “ungodliness,” you could think in terms of the vertical plane, where that relationship with the living God is broken by sin. Then, on the horizontal plane, in relationships with one another, “unrighteousness,” then, takes hold. So impiety always precedes, if you like, idolatry. The disengagement from a true understanding of God and the worship of God then reveals itself in the unrighteousness of men and women—the misery and the heartache of life lived turning your back on God. So God says, “If you turn your back on me, then there are inevitable consequences. And it’s not just cause and effect in the universe. It is that I, out of my righteousness, respond in this way.”

The wrath of God is the inevitable reaction of divinity to sin. It is the right reaction. It is the only reaction.

And that’s what we find from the very beginning of the Bible. That’s why it is relevant, pre–Romans 1, and it is relevant post–Romans 1. Because the message is a timeless message. The gospel remains the gospel: all who know God savingly know him through the work of Jesus—Romans 16 and 17—and all in need of God on account of the fact of unrighteousness.

I’ve been reading a lot, actually, in Genesis 1–11 because we’ve been doing this. And I’ve been struck again by the clarity of what is stated there: that Adam and Eve are made to trust, to love, and to obey God. But what happens is they believe a lie. They believe a lie. Someone comes and tells them, “This is not what you want. You want the very thing that God tells you not to do.” And the reason he tells them not to do it is because he wants them to trust him. He wants them to obey him, for no other reason than he is God: “Don’t do that. Trust me in this.” And they believe a lie. And as a result of the lie, they discover that to go on through life without God is to discover pain and guilt and disappointment and shame.

What a picture it is—a pathetic, comic picture, almost, in Genesis 3:7—when all of a sudden, Adam and Eve, the lights go on for them, and they realize that they are naked. They realize what has happened to them. And you have the picture there of man in the original state, trying to sew fig leaves together—sewing fig leaves together to cover up their nakedness. Men and women will try all kinds of things to cover up the fact that we are now naked and exposed before the wrath of God.

Paul goes on through Romans, and he’ll explain the implications of this by the time you get to chapter 5. And you can read ahead; we’re not going there right now. Adam and Eve hid because they knew they had sinned. And we hide because we know the same. Despite what you find in the media, men and women in Cleveland are not seeking for God. They’re not seeking God. We’re actually hiding from God, seeking to suppress the truth about God, seeking to stifle in our conscience any notion that we are by nature accountable.

And that’s what he’s going on to say, isn’t it? “For what”—verse 19—“can be known about God is plain.” God is not the one who is hiding. “What can be known about God is plain.” It’s plain to see because—verse 19—God has put it on display. Now, I don’t have a structure for this this morning with three notes or three points. I’m just going to try and make my way through these verses, hoping that you can track with me. And that’s why it’s good to have your Bible open.

Look there: “What can be known about God is plain to them, because [he] has shown it to them.” And then he goes on in verse 20: “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly [seen].” What an oxymoron that is, that the invisible has been “clearly perceived”! Don’t you like that? Well, of course. God’s invisible attributes are “clearly perceived.” How are they clearly perceived? Where are they clearly perceived?

They’re clearly perceived in creation. In creation—his power and his divinity. So creation is not just an announcement of itself. Creation is the work of God, and in the work of the creation, God’s power and his divinity, his eternity, his otherness, is now perceived. If you would like a sentence, any of you who take notes, I have a wonderful sentence for you. Here it comes. This is from the late Professor John Murray: “Phenomena disclose the noumena of God’s transcendent perfection and specific divinity.”[4] “Phenomena disclose the noumena.” The noumena, or the noumenon, is that which is only experienced by intuition, by a perception that is not tied to the physicality of things. But the phenomena discloses the noumena. That’s what he’s saying here. He didn’t say it like Professor Murray, who has some amazing sentences. I usually have to read them about three times, and you can go home and think about them if you want.

But let’s just reduce it to the Sunday school song: “In the stars his handiwork I see,” and “on the wind he speaks with majesty,” and “he rules over land and sea.”[5] That’s what we’re singing. That’s what we were singing earlier, wasn’t it? The thunder that shakes the sky. I mean, my parents used to say when I was afraid of the thunder, “Don’t worry, that’s just the clouds. God is banging their heads together,” they used to tell me. He’s banging their heads. My, they must have big heads, to make that kind of noise!

But in actual fact, Calvin in his Institutes, he begins in that way. And he works his way right down this very list. He said he gives us the thunder to shake the sky, the lightning to set the air ablaze, a variety of storms to bring terror to the earth.[6] This is very, very different from the Weather Channel, isn’t it? Why is the Weather Channel so predominant? Because men and women suppress the truth. It’s much easier for us to deal with Mother Nature, an invention, than to deal with the living God, who is the one who sets the seas in motion, who controls the tides, who is ultimately in charge of everything! People say, “No, I don’t go for that at all.”

There is no one to whom God has not made himself known. Atheism is a choice. Humanism is a reaction. It is a stifling, it is a suppressing of a truth that man knows.

He not only surrounds us with the evidences of his power and his divinity and his might and his majesty, but we’re aware of the fact that we have been made by him and made for him—that we are actually, as his creation, stamped, stamped, with a divine imprint; that into our very psyche, into the very core of our being, we are stamped with an awareness of God. Our restlessness, the restlessness of the human heart, as Augustine finally figured it out, is due to the fact that our restlessness is due to our suppressing the truth about God, and we can’t find rest anywhere, says Augustine, “until we find our rest in thee—because we were made by you; we were made for you, to trust you, to love you, to obey you; and we don’t want to. We are ungodly. We live as if you do not exist on a day-to-day basis.”[7] We seldom give thanks for our food. We act as if somehow or another, Heinen’s is in control of things. They have nothing in there apart from the God who makes things grow, apart from the cows that produce the milk. What an amazing fact that is! My father would always tell me, he’d say, “Isn’t it amazing that a black cow eating green grass produces white milk that makes orange cheese?” You can tell he was a great scientist, can’t you? That’s another thing I inherited from him. But, you know, the simplicity of things.

Here’s the point that Paul is making: there is no one to whom God has not made himself known. There is no one to whom God has not made himself known. Atheism is a choice. Humanism is a reaction. It is a stifling, it is a suppressing of a truth that man knows. Have you ever figured out why it is that people who deny the existence of God are so angry about God? They’re so angry. If they talk to you, they get mad that you would raise this. Raise what? Because inside, there is a divine imprint. There’s not a person in the world that has never had God disclosed to them. See, we all know—and we need to say this to people—we all know, regardless of what we say to ourselves or what we tell ourselves, that there is a Creator upon whom we are utterly dependent and to whom we are entirely or completely accountable.

Now, Paul is writing this as a letter. But when he goes on the road, he takes the message on the road. Let me just illustrate it from two places—one in Acts chapter 14. Paul and Barnabas are in Lystra. They are involved with the healing of somebody, and the people there start to bow down to them and worship them as if they were gods. And so Paul has to deal with this.

“The priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance,” he got so excited about it that he “brought oxen and garlands … and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments,” they “rushed out into the crowd, crying out, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things.’” They’re all coming out of the Temple of Zeus. He doesn’t say to them, “You know, it’s good that you have Zeus to give your worship to. We just do something different. You know, we’re the Jesus group, and you’re the Zeus group.” No, no, no. He says, “We [are bringing] you good news, that you should turn from these [empty] things to a living God,” a living God “who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good”—and now look at this; he’s teaching them of the providence of God—“by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”[8]

He does the exact same when he has the opportunity in Acts 17, where the religious people are there in Athens, with all of their statues and all of their monuments in a kind of first-century depiction of what is present in the twenty-first century in a very different way, but equally real. And how does he begin? “Well, I can see you are very religious, and I want you to know that the God who made the world does not live in temples made by hands, nor is he dependent on any one of you. He is the God who made the world. You know that,” he says. “You know that because you are stamped with his divine imprint.”[9] None of us are self-made; all created by God.

Now, Paul is able then to say, “Therefore”—therefore—“so they are without excuse.” “Without excuse”—for our ungodliness, for trying to live without him; for our unrighteousness, by all our misery that we cause to people around us, whether to our wives or work colleagues, or whoever it might be.

But notice—and this is in keeping with the way we finished last time, talking about general revelation—creation does not provide sufficient knowledge of God to save us; it provides sufficient knowledge to make us accountable for our ungodliness and for our unrighteousness. You know, Paul later, when he writes to Timothy again in 2 Timothy, he says to him, you know, “I want you to continue in the things you have become convinced of, Timothy, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.”[10] So Paul is not suggesting for a moment that you can discover all that is to be discovered of God by a walk in the woods, and that if you just walk in the woods and feel a little bit better about yourself, you could call that your conversion. No. You go walk in the woods with a humble heart, and you realize, you’re saying, “Man, who could ever come up with this? Who could ever create such variety? How could there be all these leaves? How could there be such intricacy? Oh, your divine power and your majesty is revealed!”

Calvin says we are justly deprived of every excuse, seeing that we stumble around like lost souls while everything around us points to the path we should take. Is that not a picture of contemporary society? Stumbling around like lost souls, suppressing the truth, living as if God does not exist, denying the things that are before us in order that we might please ourselves. We need to remember this, as believers, when we’re sharing the gospel with our non-Christian friends. Remember! Remember that we know something about our unbelieving friends that they may not be prepared to acknowledge themselves—that is, that they were made in the image of God, that they know that God exists. And therefore, we don’t have to try and convince them that God exists. The Bible doesn’t do that. It just starts, “In the beginning, God…”[11] It’s good to remember, isn’t it?

You say, “Are you going to stop soon?” No, a little more. Here we go: verse 21. Verse 21. They’re without excuse, and he goes on to explain, “[because] although they knew God”—they knew God, he says—they refused to acknowledge him as such. They refused to give him his due. They refused to honor him, so that the thoughts of a man turn in on ourselves and our own proud achievements—our affections, our devotion. Any response to the revelation of his power and divinity ought to be to give him honor—to say, “You are amazing, God!” That’s what we were singing: “You’re amazing. Amazing.”

But instead, God is met by silence. Silence. By an absence of gratitude. “They did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.” When Paul writes in 2 Timothy, and he goes into chapter 3, and he goes into that run where he says, you know, “In the last days, people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money,” lovers of this, lovers of that and the next thing[12]—it’s a horrible catalog; it’s so up to date it’s scary. And right in the middle of that, you just find one of the words is “ungrateful.”[13] “Ungrateful.” Gratitude is a mark of grace, actually.

Now, he says, “For although they knew God, they did[n’t] honor him as God or give thanks to him.” And the result of their arrogant defiance is two things: one, “they became futile in their thinking,” and two, “their foolish hearts were darkened.” Peterson paraphrases it, “Refusing to worship [God], they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives.”[14]

It’s a dreadful thought, isn’t it? In essence, it’s straightforward: rejecting what is true, they have to make way for what is false. With no desire to thank God or to honor God, the heart of man then says, “Well, what I need to do here is I need to reinterpret the evidence and give it a meaning that fits in with the fact that I deny the existence of God. I’m going to have to… Because there’s no doubt there’s evidence. And I’m going to have to reinterpret the evidence.” And so that’s exactly what happens. Every true scientist knows that there could be no science without the intricacy of the work of a creator God. All of that research is posited on the fact—the discovery of the anomaly because of the routine reality of a, b, and c. Mathematics itself. All of these things. But now, you see…

You say to yourself, “Why are so many clever people so foolish?” Why do clever people not get this? You remember when Paul writes to the Corinthians, he says, “You know, I’m writing to you, and I recognize the fact that not many among you are particularly bright. Not many of you are particularly noble.”[15] I mean, this is not… The gospel is not something for certain people that got really high scores on their SAT—that the threshold of entry has to do with our capacity to analyze and frame things and understand it. No, it has to do with our willingness to bow down and admit that we’re a royal mess, left to ourselves; that we are wandering from hill and dale. We cannot make sense of the universe. Take the one-woman play by—it was done by the crazy lady on Laugh-In, Lily Tomlin. And what was it called? The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. Why are we looking for signs of intelligent life in the universe? Well, because we’ve decided that there aren’t any. So we seek to unravel the mystery of the universe without the key. We refuse the light, and we descend into darkness.

You know, the way in which university education has gone in the last hundred years is just right down this line, isn’t it? I mean, if you take all that genius wisdom that came from Scotland here to America, to get you started, at Dartmouth and Princeton and Harvard, these were by and large men who were at least theists. The educational system started from “In the beginning, God…” You trace the line from there. What happened? Did God change? No. We’ve now decided that we don’t like the evidence because it holds us accountable. Therefore, we must now reinterpret the evidence so that the evidence will fit with our denial of the existence of God—error for truth, darkness for light. And people find themselves saying, “I don’t know what’s going on.”

The great need is not philosophical enlightenment. The great need is spiritual illumination.

I don’t know how many times in the course of a month somebody says to me, “Does anyone have any idea what the world is happening?” I always keep this piece from the Wall Street from years ago, because Henry Allen, the commentator, wrote the piece, just exactly that. It begins,

For the first time in my 72 years, I have no idea what’s going on. …

… The 19th century was [the] age of production, the 20th [century] the age of consumption. Now, the line is: If you get things for free on the Internet, you aren’t the consumer, you’re the product. You[’re] a statistic, a demographic entity that can be sold to advertisers.

We have individualism but we have no privacy. We[’re] all outsiders with no inside to be outside of. …

[There is] no arc, [there is] no through-line, [there is] no destiny.[16]

It’s not surprising that the thing eventually descends not simply to the deconstruction of language, not to the deconstruction of history, but to the deconstruction of personhood. Language means what I want it to mean. History may be redefined according to my particular persuasion. And as we will see before we end—not today, before we end—it applies right to the very core of human existence. Why is this? It’s all in the Bible, loved ones. Look: “Claiming to be wise”—verse 22—“they became fools.” “The Enlightenment—that’s the key to it all.” The key to all what? The great need is not philosophical enlightenment. The great need is spiritual illumination.

Phillips paraphrases 22 into 23, “Behind a facade of ‘wisdom’ they became just fools, fools who would exchange the glory of the [immortal] God for an imitation image of a mortal man, or of creatures that run or fly or crawl.”[17] It’s interesting, isn’t it? Why don’t they just not worship at all? “Claiming to be wise, they became fools”; they “exchanged the glory of the immortal God…” Why not just stop worshipping? But sociologists, anthropologists tell us there’s nowhere anyone has ever gone in the entire history of humanity where they haven’t found people worshipping some kind of big thing or other thing that is worthy of their adoration. They don’t stop worshipping. People don’t stop worshipping. They just change what they worship. “They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands,” writes Peterson, “for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.”[18]

It’s wonderful, the way this happens, but this is 11/9/22, an article in The Times: “By the gods! Ancient bronze statues rise from mud in Italy.” I said, “How good of you to give me such an illustration!” This is this week, in Tuscany. “A trove of more than 20 bronze statues discovered buried in thermal mud at a Tuscan spa town is the biggest find of its kind in Italy and will rewrite ancient Roman and Etruscan history, experts claimed.” And it’s got wonderful pictures of these statues, most of them about three meters.

The statues, which include Apollo and Igea, the ancient Greek god and goddess of health, were offerings to the deities by wealthy families at the site where thermal water gushed from the earth.

One states, “This statue and six others were given for the health of my wife” ….

As well as the statues, bronze likenesses of body parts including feet, arms and even lungs were offered to ask divine assistance for specific ailments.[19]

Who are you going to go to if God is not real? You’ve got to go somewhere. “This statue is offered for my wife.” Offered to whom?

“Oh,” you say, “well, we don’t have that. We don’t do these things. That’s Italy. No wonder. Look at those people! That’s a long time ago.” But listen: Paul now writes to Rome. He’s writing to people. They know about this stuff. That’s what their grandma and grandpa were doing. And he says, “You need to realize you’re fools! You’re exchanging the glory of an immortal God for things that creep and crawl and fly.” But again, we’re the twentieth century. We don’t do that. We don’t do Etruscan things. We don’t do golden calves. No. But we’re surrounded by idols. Whatever captures your allegiance is your idol—and mine too. The person, or the substance, or the income, or the adulation—that thing that I cannot live without—is the focus of my worship.

And that’s why—the rampant materialism and self-sufficiency of the world in which we have grown, because we have baptized it into part and parcel of our story—we’re in grave danger of staring our idols on the face and denying their existence. An idol is when I turn something good into God himself—when I deify something. And it’s folly. It’s folly. That’s why Psalm 14:1 begins, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” That’s not a statement of intellectual incapacity. It’s an illustration of the misguided defiance of the heart of man. It’s essentially intellectual and moral suicide. That’s what it is.

We stay away from Jesus either because we do not believe we need him or because we are unwilling to admit that we need him.

Now, we’ll pick it up in verse 24. But, let me just finish in this way. (See how I did that? You thought we were done, and I got you again. So… They teach you that at school.)

Let’s be really clear about something: the condition of man as a sinner before God—number one, there are no exceptions. No exceptions. All of us have sinned. All of us by nature want to run our lives without God. Also, none of us has an excuse that can be offered. No excuses. Verse 20: we “are without excuse.” Thirdly, there is no way to escape from this predicament save through the door that is opened up for us in Jesus. “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and [he] will go in and out and [he will] find pasture.”[20] Only when we are prepared to face up to verse 18 and to admit our predicament will we ever then rejoice in the story of verses 16 and 17. I think we would probably agree that men and women—we—stay away from Jesus either because we do not believe we need him or because we are unwilling to admit that we need him. First of all, we think we don’t need him. The Bible says, “Yes you do.” “Well, I don’t want to admit that.”

The reason we’re confronted by the predicament is because of the wonder of the provision. The essential cure is directly related to a sufficient diagnosis. You don’t want to go to a doctor who tells you you’re fine if you’re not. You don’t want to go to a doctor who treats you for things that don’t need treated. You want a doctor to kindly, purposefully, graciously tell you the truth—and, on the basis of that, then explain what can be done.

I speak to a diverse group. Now, I don’t know where you are in these things. Maybe you’re actually searching for signs of life in the universe. Maybe you’re here, and you’ve been longing for peace, longing for freedom, believing the lie that it’s outside this framework, that it’s over there, that it’s that tree, that it’s up that street, that it’s in him, that it’s in her: “It’s there, if only I can get it.” Are you there? Are you hungry for love? For the reality of what it means to be brought into a family? Well, I say to you: come to the Shepherd. Come to the Shepherd. He’s the one seeking you. You’re not seeking him. How gracious of him to come and tap you on the shoulder, say, “Come to me. I’ll give you rest. I’ll give you peace.”

Father, we realize when Jesus turned to his followers, and many people were leaving—the numbers were dwindling dramatically—and he said to them, “Do you fellows want to go away as well?” and they said, “Lord, to whom could we go? For you alone have the words of eternal life.”[21] Father, grant that our ongoing consideration of these things, our study of the Bible, may show us who we are in light of who you are. And grant that we may be uncovered by the wonder of your love that pursues us despite our ungodliness and our unrighteousness. Come to us, Lord, in our chaos, and save us. For Jesus’ sake we pray. Amen.

[1] 1 Timothy 1:13 (paraphrased).

[2] 1 Timothy 1:13 (ESV).

[3] John MacArthur, “The Wrath of God,” sermon, June 7, 1981, https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/45-09/the-wrath-of-god.

[4] John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (Glenside, PA: Westminster Seminary Press, 2022), 55.

[5] Ralph Carmichael, “He’s Everything to Me” (1964). Lyrics lightly altered.

[6]John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion 1.5.6.

[7] Augustine, Confessions 1.1.1. Paraphrased.

[8] Acts 14:13–17 (ESV).

[9] Acts 17:22–28 (paraphrased).

[10] 2 Timothy 3:14–15 (paraphrased).

[11] Genesis 1:1 (ESV).

[12] 2 Timothy 3:1–5 (paraphrased).

[13] 2 Timothy 3:2 (ESV).

[14] Romans 1:21–22 (MSG).

[15] 1 Corinthians 1:26 (paraphrased).

[16] Henry Allen, “The Disquiet of Ziggy Zeitgeist,’, August 1, 2013, https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324110404578626314130514522.

[17] Romans 1:22–23 (Phillips).

[18] Romans 1:23 (MSG).

[19] Tim Kington, “By the Gods! Ancient Bronze Statues Rise from Mud in Italy,” The Times, November 9, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/by-the-gods-ancient-statues-rise-from-tuscan-mud-c5gz0jsn5.

[20] John 10:9 (ESV).

[21] John 6:67–68 (paraphrased).

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.