In Romans 1:17 and 1:18, Paul writes about two types of Revelation: General or Natural Revelation and Special Revelation. He doesn’t use those words – those are labels we use to describe how God has revealed himself to the world. General Revelation refers to creation – God’s power and divine nature are revealed for all to see through what has been created throughout the earth and the universe. Special Revelation refers to more specific ways in which God has made himself known through the Scripture, the Gospel, and ultimately through Jesus Christ, God with us. However, despite both kinds of revelation, there are those who refuse to acknowledge the One, True, Creator God. Instead, some create their own gods. Some fashion idols. Others construct their own philosophies and build their own religious systems based on their own ideas. When we see people creating their own gods and developing their own religious systems all over the world, that confirms what Blaise Pascal is credited with saying: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person.” Since we have been created in the image of God, we have all been created with a spirit that desires to connect with God. When we don’t connect with the one, true God – or worse, we reject that connection – then we fill that void in our hearts with a different connection or we fill it with other things and in other ways. But we fill it. We fill the void. All of us have a spiritual space inside of us. God created that spiritual space to be filled with his presence. We can choose to fill it with his truth, with his presence, with his power… or we can choose to fill it with something else. If the void or God-shaped vacuum inside of you is not filled with the Spirit of God, it will be filled with something else. If something else fills it, then there will be consequences for you. Dire consequences. Evil consequences.
Those consequences are listed in v24-32 and are introduced by the phrase “God gave them over” What does that mean exactly? It means that God allows people to make their own choice. He does not prevent us from choosing what we want. He does not stop us even though that means: we might… not… choose him. What do we call that? Free will. God never forces his way or his will upon you. You are free to choose God or to not choose God. Always. A hundred times a day you can choose God’s way, God’s will, or you can choose your own way. How do you know which way is God’s way? That’s what the user’s manual is for! The Bible reveals God’s way, God’s will, God’s desires, and best of all… it reveals God’s Son, Jesus, and the Gospel. When we don’t accept or receive or pursue God’s way, we suffer the wrath of God. When we choose what is not God, then we bear the fruit of what is not God.