“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also.” (John 15:22-23)
Scripture Reading – Romans 1:18-32
The world doesn’t know God even though they have been told about Him. God has been actively revealing Himself through creation, the conscience, and Christ. Creation declares God’s glory (Ps. 19:1). Our consciences were created to know God’s Law since it is written on our hearts (Rom. 2:15). Enough evidence has been provided, so that we can recognize the one true God. Even though we have enough evidence that the Father sent the Son into the world, Jesus’ coming was a grace of God given to us so that we might know the truth and worship God. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). Jesus fully revealed God so that the world would be given every possible means to know God.
Unfortunately, the world has not turned from its sin. Instead, it has rejected God’s revelation, the Lord Jesus Christ, and so are without excuse any longer for their guilt. No one can stand before God and defend themselves saying that they didn’t know. Christ’s words have eliminated that excuse once and for all. Ever since the Fall, people have used a myriad of excuses to justify themselves. However, these excuses are only offered up as cover for the root problem: They love their sins more than Christ and have rejected the light. Christ’s coming exposed sin, and His words cut through to the heart. The world is now even more guilty before God, because they have rejected His final revelation; they have rejected the one and only way of salvation for there is none other that can forgive sins.
When a witness to the truth is given, the hearer of that truth now bears personal responsibility for how they respond to that truth. Jesus has already referred to branches that are cut off and destroyed in the fire, because they are dead. Judas was a dead branch, for example, because He heard Jesus’ teachings. Judas should have known that the kingdom that Jesus was establishing was a spiritual kingdom that was to come into the hearts of those who repent. But Judas rejected Jesus’ words and was condemned by God. The Jewish religious and political leaders are another type of dead branches. When they heard the words of Christ, they didn’t repent either. Instead, they twisted His words and used them as proof that Jesus should be put to death (Mark 14:56-57). Their rejection of Christ’s words resulted in God’s judgment against them. Sin is not just breaking the Law of God, because it only partially reveals the true God. The complete revelation of God is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. To reject Him is the ultimate sin; dead branches were cut off and burned in the fire, permanently destroyed.
The rejection of the Lord Jesus by the Jewish religious and political leaders was not a surprise to God. In fact, it was part of the Father’s plan so that the gospel would be proclaimed to the whole world. “Through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous” (Rom. 11:11). God’s plan was to save the Gentiles through the Jewish leaders’ rejection of Christ. This in turn would cause the Jewish people to be jealous so that they, too, would receive the gospel and worship Christ. The Jews hated Jesus and they hated God, but Jesus gave His life for them. Remember, God loves those who hated Him. Therefore, we should love and bless those who persecute us. There is no better blessing is there than to tell even our persecutors about the Good News of Jesus Christ. Who do you need to bless with the Good News today?