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The Unbeliever Has Replaced His Knowledge of God

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
–Romans 1:22-23

In Romans 1, Paul showed that the unbeliever has not only received the knowledge of God and rejected the knowledge of God, but that he has also replaced his knowledge of God. In Romans 1:22-23, Paul said, “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” If you have taken a course in comparative religion, you were likely taught about the evolution of man’s spirituality. This thesis says just as man is evolving physically and emotionally, he is also evolving spiritually. But the Bible says just the opposite. Man is not evolving; he is devolving. Man started with a knowledge of God. And when he rejected that knowledge, he exchanged the knowledge of God for the worship of many gods. And the worship of many gods gave way to the worship of statues, animals, and everything else you can imagine. Paul said the unbeliever is damned because he has received the knowledge of the true God, he has rejected that knowledge, and he has replaced it with a god of his own making.

What about a person who has never heard the gospel? Are they condemned forever to an eternity of Hell? There are four statements that will help you understand the biblical answer.

Statement number one: Everyone is guilty before God. Romans 3:10 says, “There is none righteous, not even one.” Verse 23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If God sent every human being who has ever lived straight to Hell, He would be completely justified in doing so. The fact that God chooses to save some is a testimony of His grace.

Statement number two: No one is saved apart from faith in Christ. There are not multiple ways to be saved; there is only one way to be saved, and it is through a personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter said in Acts 4:12, “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Statement number three: Everyone has a knowledge of God. While that knowledge is not sufficient to save them, it is sufficient, if rejected, to condemn them.

Statement number four: Anyone who wants further knowledge of God will receive it. If a person receives the limited knowledge of God and responds to it, then God will send the gospel of Jesus Christ so that he can be saved. Anyone who wants the light can receive it. Remember this: God wants to save as many people as possible. The Bible says that when God sees a heart that is open to Him, He will send the knowledge of Jesus Christ so they can be saved.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “What Every Atheist Knows” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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