Proclamation Not Suppression is Love

Shane Sands Shane's Blog

During the last couple of weeks I have been blessed to look at and examine Romans 1:18-19 with a focus on the word “suppress.”  As I continued to look at and study these verses I began to see, that in the context of chapter one, a distinction was being made.  Paul was showing a difference between the motives of proclaiming and suppressing are.  The world would want you to believe suppressing the truth of the gospel is acting in love.  But the truth is this; proclamation not suppression is love.  I would like to share with you some of my thoughts as I was (still am) examining this part of Scripture.  I hope and pray this will be a blessing to you who follow after the risen LORD of Lords and KING of Kings.  I also hope this will be used of the LORD to grant those who do not see – sight that leads to repentance and faith in JESUS CHRIST the LORD.
 
One of the key components to understanding any section of specific Scripture is to examine the context of the entire section both before and after the targeted text. Then take the time to understand the meaning of the words used as how theySuppress the truth apply in grammar (i.e. is something being acted on by the word you are studying…is it the action – is it a verb etc). By taking the time to understand the entire idea, then the specific words, especially those the LORD is placing on your heart, and then finally is cross references to further help in understanding the word/section of Scripture. So, for example, I have been looking at Romans 1:18, more specifically the word “suppress” in that verse. Here is verses 18 & 19 together. I have followed by including the greek definition (how this word was used in the manuscripts, in this section of text)
 
 
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
 
Romans 1:18-19
 
[as a side note look at 2 Thessalonians 2:6 to see how the Greek word for suppress is used as restrain]
 
SUPPRESS:
 
to check ⇔ hold down v. — to lessen the intensity of, temper, hold in restraint, or keep within limits; conceived of as physically holding something down.
 
 
The question which arose from the study of the word was how did they suppress. The answer is in “unrighteousness.” Here is the definition of unrighteousness from a greek word study.
 
 
UNRIGHTEOUSNESS:
 
1. As distinguished from ungodliness,* unrighteousness describes the actual breaches of God’s law, the fruits of the root of ungodliness.
2. We may understand ungodliness as descriptive of the moral state of fallen human nature and unrighteousness as descriptive of its legal state. Because of the sinfulness of the nature we all have from Adam, all men are by nature under the wrath and curse of God. Thus, unrighteousness is the opposite of the state of justification that believers enjoy in Christ, through whose vicarious obedience they are “constituted righteous” (Rom. 5:19, Greek).
 
 
Now, by the examination of these two words we can have a better idea of who and what GOD is telling us through Paul in Romans 1:18. But remember the specific targeted text has to be examined in greater detail by the surrounding text, in context. A prime example is in the above verses. Notice how verse 18 begins with the word “for?” The word “for” is used as a conjunction connecting the previous verse/thought with the current verse/thought. What is that previous verse/thought?
 
15 So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
 
Romans 1:15-17
 
 
Now we know why Paul wants to proclaim the gospel – verses 18 & 19. Paul is so overwhelmed by the good news of JESUS CHRIST he must tell everyone because he knows what awaits all unrepentant mankind – GOD’S wrath!
 
But wait, is there more to this? remember how is said we have to examine the greater (before and after) context? What follows verse 19?
 
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 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 1:20-23
 
Now there is a more complete understanding of this suppression in unrighteousness. Mankind knows there is GOD and that HE has created the heavens and earth and seas and everything in them (both visible and invisible) including themselves. But because of man’s nature of being ungodly they look to created things and not the CREATOR to give glory too. Instead of loving the ONE who created, by nature mankind rages against HIM in an attempt to flee from facing their sin and accountability to GOD. Paul knows this is the fate of all mankind – the wrath of GOD – unless GOD does something stay the judgement. HE has! HE sent JESUS to be a sacrifice and substitution!
 
Back to the word “suppress.” As I begin to examine and think on how does one suppress something, especially as GOD has told us all unsaved people do, several things begin to jump out at me. One of the darkest most insidious parts of this “suppression” is NOT THINKING! Consider the greatest commandment as told by the LORD JESUS CHRIST:
 
28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
 
Mark 12:28-31
 
 
One of the ways we show ourselves to be followers of the LORD JESUS CHRIST is by right thinking and just as important, teaching others how to think critically/logically.  When we do not take the time to spend the time in asking questions/wrestling with topics or other ideas; when we don’t take the time to validate what others are teaching by asking questions and evaluating their premises we become basically blind and unreasoning.  We will follow just a an ox goes to slaughter (Read Proverbs 7) with the result of death suddenly coming upon us.  If you continue to read the rest of Romans chapter one you would become alarmed at what GOD does to those who continue to go down the path as described before in verses 20-23.  However, back to the lack of critical thinking.  What follows from this degeneration of thought/verifying are concepts, which we know are false, even disgustingly vulgar.  Many of which are talked about in the Old Testament regarding the law and the consequences of sin.  But, for this blog, let me simply put forth three concepts which are prevalent today (even though these have existed before): 

  • Old Earth and Evolution:  The lie the world wants you to believe is that there is no GOD and HE did not create everything in six days, including man.  It is the first attack that deals with the sovereignty of GOD and HIS very claim to be the CREATOR, RULER, and UPHOLDER of all HIS creation.  What comes from old earth is the idea with enough time and chance something can come from nothing and then by a process that is unthinking and unguided mutations stat to occur which actually benefit the organism and thus lead to more development and other species.  I won’t go into all the “proof”, including the math, which shows this to be absolutely false here in this blog.  Surmise to say when the “evidence” is evaluated it is an overwhelming affirmation of GOD.
  • Abortion:  Once a person buys into the lie we are just another animal and not a creation of GOD who bears HIS image, then we can have absolution in devaluing human life, especially that of the unborn.  Once the lie of evolution is accepted then murder of the unborn can be justified.  It even becomes so hideous that we devalue human life below that of real animals like turtles and birds.  We will build protection zones around animal nests, but remove the protection on the unborn in the womb.
  • Sexuality:  If you continue down the path of faulty thinking, buying into the lie of old earth and evolution, you will eventually get beyond the truth that GOD made humans as male and female.  GOD created mankind both male and female to unite and become one flesh (marriage) and produce children.  The condition of homosexuality, transgender, choosing your own gender, changing your sex are a result of raging against GOD – sin –  and it is not natural.  Romans 1:24 and forward show this degeneration of mind and body as sin continues to bring about death both physical and spiritual.

 

One last thought regarding mankind suppressing the truth of GOD and critical thinking.  Students have been taught, in the class room, to think/ask questions about what they read.  All to often, we fail to do that as we read the Bible.  One of the common questions rarely considered, at least in my experience in discipleship, is what does this text say and what does it not say?  It just seems natural for us to read into GOD’S Word things not there.  For example, our text of Romans 1:18-19 may be thought to only be referencing an individuals efforts to suppress the truth in their own lives.  Yet, that is not what the text says.  It does say people suppress the truth in unrighteousness, but it does not say only in an individual.  Sin is so sinful it seeks to suppress the truth to all.  Given a person and their frame of influence in life/position in life they may have a platform which may reach many.  Truly the architect of sin, Satan, seeks to influence every area of humanity with his schemes even being deceptive to those who carry out his plans.

13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

2 Timothy 3:13

 

While it is true individuals will work in their own lives, by unrighteousness, to suppress the truth they will also use other means to suppress it in others.  Just look the example of sexuality.  A small percentage of people use media to convince the majority that homosexuality and transgenderism are normal.  They attempt to take their sin and impose it on others.  If others question or challenge their view they are labeled themselves as homophobic, hateful, or even unloving.  It becomes obvious, when evaluated with right thinking that those who use such tactics are truly trying to oppress and suppress those who would examine their views.  They love their sin, want to stay in their sin with no consequences that they will say and do whatever they can to suppress the truth so they do not have to face it.  Sadly, this is to their doom.

 

As I sign off, I hope to encourage you, the true followers of CHRIST JESUS the LORD, to continue in love and proclaiming the good news of the LORD.  More than any other religion, Christians are assured to be subject to intolerance and hatred from the world.  Knowing the result of an unrepentant life and what that individual faces we are constrained by love to call people to forsake their sin and live; to repent and believe the gospel.  Other religions, including atheism, seek not to call you from a heart of love, but in oppression or apathy, want you to follow after the world.  My friends let GOD’S Word comfort you:

 

12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

2 Timothy 3:12

 

17 “This I command you, that you love one another.
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
21 “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.

John 15:17-21

 

Continue to be in the world, but not of it.  Continue to love, even when mocked or ridiculed or rejected.  Continue to respect and care for those who would seek you to abandon the ONE who saved your soul.  Do not suppress or constrain the gospel, but actively proclaim it.  Be the instrument in the LORD’S hand which illuminates the world held in darkness.  Go, call all men to repent and trust in the finished work of JESUS CHRIST the LORD on the cross, HIS death, and resurrection!  Let this also be a call for you to pray for those who have been given charge over your souls, your pastors.  Those who day in and day out labor to study and feed you the truth of GOD’S Word are continually under the schemes of the evil one, who is trying to suppress them from leading you along the narrow path.  Pray for one another and seek their welfare.  Study GOD’S Word and be wary of those who appear as sheep but are wolves just like their master the devil.  Do not be silent, but rejoice and give thanksgiving with praises to our LORD!  Grace and peace to all who are in CHRIST.  To you, who have not come to know the LORD JESUS as SAVIOR, turn from your sin and suppressing of the truth…turn, repent, and trust in CHRIST…come forsake your death and live!

 

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, having now been justified aby His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved bby His life.

Romans 5:1-10

 

Shane Sands

© 2017 Shane Sands. www.unitedinchristjesus.org
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Shane Sands is the founder and president of United in Christ Jesus. In addition to local and statewide outreaches, he has organized and participated in numerous evangelism trips around the world and helped to establish a Reformed home church in Norway. Shane is a devoted husband to his wife, Holly and together they desire to follow the Lord’s leading to be based in Northern Ireland.

Shane SandsProclamation Not Suppression is Love