For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. -Romans 1:18
Imagine a world in which God is clearly visible in the sky. His face simply shines, and everyone can look up and see him. There is no question in anyone’s mind about the existence of God because, duh, He’s right there.
This will not do, we need our privacy. So we collectively pull a curtain closed over God’s face.
He’s hidden from our view so we can now go about our lives pretending his ever present stare is not penetrating into our business. We’re like children covering our eyes and thinking that means our parents can’t see them. Now, we can live as we like because there is no God. But there’s still a problem… the world looks like God’s world.
So now the inhabitants of earth get to work, suppressing. We need to explain away the curtain, discount the fact that there’s a God back there, and that we live in His creation. So we shoot our own ideas into the sky to stand in from of the curtain. Golden idols, sacred texts, scientific jargon… anything that will help us convince ourselves that there’s no one on the other side.
Why are we doing this? So we can sin. So we can live the life we want to live without God’s authority in place. Since that God is only a faint memory re-remembered as a fairy tale, we’re officially off the hook. Our new shiny gods in place, we can now get to work inventing new ways to sin. We will wallow in our filth since there is no one left to call it filth.
Behind the curtain, there is a God who has been rejected by his Creation and who has X-ray vision. How does God feel about these actions? He is furious. He laughs at our insane idea of shutting Him out and His wrath against our sin simply builds and grows. He is not worried, this evil Creation will be judged.
Since we know God is there, and we put up the curtain so he couldn’t judge us, we are also aware that the judgement will come, but for now we rest in our achievements of suppressing Him. We’ve convinced our guilty hearts that there’s nothing to fear.
Now, along comes a tiny man, carrying a big book. He knows about the God behind the curtain, and he wants to tell you about him. He says that God made you, and that you’ve pulled a curtain over His face, and you need to pull the curtain back and look face to face at God again.
It’s reasonable, and deep down you know it’s true. After mustering up some courage, you reach up, move the idols aside, and pull back a corner of the curtain. Suddenly, a blazing light shines through the opening and burns your arm.
“Oh, yeah.” You remember. “He’s going to judge me.”
Pulling back the curtain is not an option. It’s impossible.
If you were to look upon the face of this God, you would be disintegrated. You are covered in mud, drunk from your orgies. Believing in this God that you know exists would literally be suicide.
So you drop the corner of the curtain, reassemble the metal trinkets and scrolls, and get back to your pleasurable life.
Shocked, the little man opens the book he’s holding and reads on, as if he didn’t understand the instructions properly. He reads:
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, -Colossians 1:21-22
The little man realizes that as hard as he tries to prove to you that God is real, it will do nothing to correct your relationship with this God who has storehouses of wrath prepared for you. You were right. Simply believing is impossible, because it is suicide. First, you need reconciliation.
So the little man tries again “You are right that God is angry with you, but Christ has died as a substitute to take away God’s wrath and give you righteousness, so that God will now accept you as His child, if only you would turn from your sin and Trust in Christ.”
You ponder his message, the Spirit changes your heart, and you believe in this Christ.
Immediately metal objects and wooden idols come raining from the sky, crashing to the ground. You look up in joyful anticipation as the curtain flies open to reveal a man, shining like the sun standing triumphantly.
You look upon the face of God who smiles back at you, and you never look back.