As sinners, there is something hardwired in our fallen nature that makes excuses as effortlessly as water makes things wet. Every parent has a front row seat for this reality. We don’t need to teach our kids to make an excuse for themselves and blame someone else. As soon as they can speak, the child immediately becomes a tiny attorney.
As we get older, our excuses simply get more skilled:
The person I attacked started the fight; therefore they are really the ones to blame for all the trouble, so go speak to them instead of me.
My behavior is the product of an oppressive system so don’t look at me as a villain but rather a victim.
I have a genetic predisposition toward this naughty behavior, and you cannot judge me because that is unloving.
I grew up with bad parents and so my family is my lifelong “get-out-of-jail-free” card to excuse whatever I am doing.
I took a personality test and it says I am classified as a M-E-A-N personality type so there’s nothing I can do about it.
At least I’m not as bad as Hitler, or Biden/Trump (depending upon your political preference).
When it comes to being aware of our own sinful unrighteousness, we have no excuse because God has made it clear in two ways. Romans 1:19-20 says, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
What Paul is referring to is general revelation, which is available to all peoples, times, and places but is less specific than special revelation (e.g. the Bible, or the life of Jesus Christ). General revelation shows us how bad we are in two ways:
- External Creation (Rom. 1:19-20). As we look at the world God made, it reflects something of His nature just as a piece of art is a reflection of the artist. Creation reveals such things as God’s power, beauty, life, creativity, order, and power.
- Internal Conscience (Rom. 2:14-15). As we heed the conscience God put in us, we learn about the character of God. Conscience reveals such things as God’s goodness, wisdom, care, love, and justice.
As sinners, we have a tendency to use God’s revelation not to judge ourselves, find our unrighteousness, and repent to God. Instead, we use God’s revelation to judge others while excusing ourselves, find their unrighteousness, and demand that they repent to us. Before you deal with their sin, it’s always best to deal with your own. And, if we do this thoroughly, we likely won’t have any time left to run around judging them as we will be busy dealing with us.
Who or what do you tend to blame for your faults, failures, and flaws?
To find the free Romans study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit realfaith.com or download the Real Faith app.