I Know Who ‘They’ Is! – Romans 1

How many times have you heard someone mention ‘they’ as a source for great wisdom or reasoning? “They say that…” always makes me want to question, “Who’s ‘they’?”

Even Paul references these people in Romans chapter 1 (I’ve bolded references to ‘they’ and ‘them’):

19 For the truth about God is known to them instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. 20 From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people, or birds and animals and snakes.

Who are these people? Well, good news! Paul clears that up for us in verse 18:

18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people
who push the truth away from themselves.

Paul continues on listing things these sinful, wicked people do. It was easy for me to read the list and be tempted to compare myself as much more ‘righteous.’ However, Paul’s point here is that God shows His anger towards those who “push the truth away.” That means everyone from the most despicable, wicked person who engages on many things in the list here in Romans 1, to the Sunday School teacher and Preacher who have come to rely on themselves and who no longer depend upon God for life, for forgiveness, or for help.

Like Paul, I’m puzzled how people can see the majesty of God through nature – the clouds at sunset or sunrise, the majestic Redwood forests, snow-covered mountaintops, whitecaps on the ocean waves, intriquite flowers and flora, amazing animals and all living things – and not respond to Him. They must be crazy!

That’s why God depends upon us to reach ‘them.’ ‘They’ need to hear our story about what God has done for us. ‘They’ need to hear the Good News.


  1. #1 by Doug Wildman on March 18, 2009 - 12:07 am

    Romans 2 drives your point home. The “they” is anyone who suppresses the truth in unrighteousness. He goes on to say “And you are no better”! So today, if you hear God’s voice, do not harden your heart. He also said in Hebrews that the reason so many Jews died in the desert during the Exodus was because of unbelief. They complained because they did not believe that God would take care of them. What’s amazing is that it tells us that that story was recorded for our instruction as believers! The Jews had been called out of the world (Egypt) miraculously, and were heading to their final destination, the Promised Land (an image of Heaven). As Christians we must not assume that we will enter into God’s rest if we do not live by faith, remaining in God’s grace.

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