“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” (Reference: Romans 1:16-18 )
I almost feel like these verses could be a continued theme from yesterday. I ended yesterday’s posting with a declaration of faith for all of us, that we believe in God and want our lives to be filled with God. Historic Anabaptist Balthasar Hubmaier wrote a scathing indictment of those he and his fellow believers labeled as “godless” and wicked. But it was not just (or was not at all) their own opinion, but one that they felt God had established. Hubmaier wrote, “This is a judgment of the righteous God on account of their own wilfull [sic.], wanton, and unrepentant evil, because they fight against the known and recognized truth. Yes, they turn their backs on God and say that he will not let himself be seen. They stop up their ears so that they do not have to hear his voice. If they were to hear his voice they think they would have to die, even though it is in that way that one must and should become alive. They turn their eyes away from God and blame him for not wanting to know them. They close off their hearts and hide themselves and yet complain that he does not knock at their heart’s door nor seek them. . . . the time is coming when they will seek God, but will not be able to find him.”
I had posed the question yesterday as to whether the “godless” are those who do not believe in God, or simply those who do not do God’s will but their own will and wicked agenda. Hubmaier adds another layer to this when he says they refuse to believe in God even when the evidence is presented to them and is before them. I guess there are many ways to be “godless.”
But what comes through very clearly in this verse, aside from not being ashamed by the gospel and spreading true faith in God, is that it is God’s task to judge who is godless and who is not. We can, as Hubmaier has, describe the type of people who we think are godless and what sort of godlessness we think they practice. But it is for God to judge them and release God’s wrath on them. And that is an important word to be heard in our current world. And if we claim and cling to being Godly, then we should not exact any punishment on one another, leaving that to God.
As the final days of this year close out beloved, may you invite God into your life (again) for the coming year, filling yourself with God. Selah!