Principles of Judgment #4

 

Principles of Judgment--Part 4
Romans 2:11-13
 
Let's look at the Word of God tonight together in Romans chapter 2. We want to continue our examination of the principles of judgment as they appear in the first sixteen verses of this chapter.
 
Now we've said that in verse 1 is the principle of knowledge. God will judge men who give evidence of knowing His law.
 
The second principle in verses 2 and 3 is the principle of truth. God will judge according to the truth. You cannot hide the truth from God.
 
Thirdly in verses 4 and 5, God will judge according to real guilt, for men are guilty more than anything else of abusing the mercy and the grace and the goodness and the forbearance and the long suffering of God.
 
Then in verses 6 through 10 we learn that God is going to judge men based upon their deeds. He will look at their deeds and by their deeds determine whether in fact they have a right to enter into eternal life or not.
 
And then we come to the next element of the principles of judgment and that is God will judge with impartiality, verses 11 through 15.
 
And final, He will judge in regard to our motives, and you see that in verse 16.
 
So tonight we will deal with impartiality. God is no respecter of persons. 
 
Zero in on verse 11: “For there is no partiality with God."
 
Now what that verse is saying is that God is righteously impartial. He is not looking at the person on the outside.
 
The issue is not whether a person is poor or rich, whether a person is a Jew or Gentile, whether a person is a church member or not, a man or a woman, educated or uneducated, wise or foolish. He's looking at the works. God's sentence will be strictly on the basis of character and God will be impartial and cannot be bribed. He judges without respect of persons.
 
Now that phrase, "there is no partiality with God," is a most interesting phrase. Other translations say “respect of persons”, but “respect of persons” is basically one word in the original texts. And the one word is a combination of the word face, your face and the word to receive. Literally, it translates, “God doesn't receive your face”. 
 
God is not in the business of receiving anybody's face. What does that mean? It is illustrated in a number of ways scripturally. 
 
For instance when the time came for the selection of a king, Samuel comes to look at the sons of Jesse. And when the first one passes by, Eliab, Samuel says, “This must be him”. 
 
But God’s response was “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as a man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”. 
 
God is not going to judge on the basis of the surface. God doesn't receive face. And the word, of course, later became the word for partiality. God is not partial. Partiality is the fault of one who gives judgment with respect to the outward circumstances and not the inward merit.
 
To have respect of a person's appearance is to rule in their favor for what you see on the surface, rather than what you know to be true in the heart. And only the vice of an evil judge would so violate justice. God cannot, God will not do that.
 
Think about the ministry of Jesus while on the earth: it was most generally the wise and prudent, the erudite, the up and inners, if you will, the supposedly religious and God-fearing whom Jesus did not receive because they thought they could come on their own terms.
 
On the other hand, it was the poor and the naked and the lame and the halt and the lepers and the blind and the destitute who, because they were in desperation knowing they had no resource at all, were received because God doesn't look on the face.
 
Think about the fall of Lucifer. I would say that the most elevated and exalted creature that God ever made was Lucifer, the son of the morning who fell and is known as the devil or Satan.
 
And if you were to go back into the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah, you would read this,
 
12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground,       You who weakened the nations!
 
13 For you have said in your heart:
 
      ‘ I will ascend into heaven,
      I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
      I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
      On the farthest sides of the north;
     
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,       I will be like the Most High.’
15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.
16 “ Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying:
      ‘ Is this the man who made the earth tremble,       Who shook kingdoms,
17 Who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, Who did not open the house of his prisoners?’
 
If there was ever one that God might have dismissed because he was so exalted, it would have been that one but God cast him rapidly out of His heaven. Why? 
 
Because God doesn’t receive face. He has no respect of persons, not even the supreme personage of all of His creation. And if He has no respect for him when he sins against God, He will have no partiality toward someone lesser than that being.
 
Now that is the theme of what we find here in verse 11 of Romans chapter 2. 
 
God is no respecter of persons, whoever you are He promises to judge.
 
And verse 11 actually sets the section in motion, it says, "There is no partiality with God."
 
When God goes about judging men by knowledge, by truth, by guilt and by deeds, He will do so absolutely without favoring anyone, based only on the subjective reality of their faith in Christ and the objective confirmation of that in their works.
 
Now someone might immediately say, (and I think Paul is anticipating this response), "How could God judge everybody the same?"
 
The key to understanding the principle is understanding that what it says is that God will not be unfair. It doesn't necessarily mean that everybody will get the same reward or the same punishment. We know there are degrees of reward. We know that when we face the Lord Jesus Christ at the Bema Seat, some of our works will be gold, silver, precious stones; some will be wood, hay and stubble.
 
And some of us will have a lot of wood, hay and stubble and very little gold, silver, precious stones, and some will have very little wood, hay and stubble and a lot of gold and silver and precious stones. There are crowns promised to believers who are faithful in the Scripture and some of us will have some of them and some of us will have all of them. And so we know there are degrees by which God will reward. And the same is true in punishment.
 
God is fair. He doesn't favor people, nor does He hold people responsible when they didn't know as much as someone else knew who is more responsible. S
 
o bound up in this statement "there is no partiality with God" is the fact that He doesn't favor certain people, and secondly, that He deals fairly with everyone according to the light or the knowledge they have had.
 
And someone is going to say, "Well, does God judge everybody the same?" No.
 
And that's what we find beginning in verse 12. God, without partiality will judge.
 
Then notice verse 12. (amazing verse)
 
Now think with me: Here’s the basis: there's no partiality with God. If you don't have the law, you'll be judged as one who didn't have the law. If you have the law, you'll be judged as one who had the law. God will be utterly absolutely fair. And the basic idea of the verse is that in the final eternal judgment, God will show His equity and God will show His impartiality by dealing with men according to the light they possess.
 
Did you get that? If they did not possess the law, they'll not be judged as those who possess the law. If they possess the law, they'll be judged as those who possess the law, that's the basic principle.
Now remember, He has just said that men will be judged according to their deeds, Jew or Gentile, and here he really is saying much the same. The Jew has the law; the Gentile does not have the law. If a man has the law, he'll be judged on that basis. If he doesn't, he'll be judged on that basis.
 
Now notice in verse 12 then you have two distinct groups of people.
 
First of all, "As many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law." Take the little phrase "without law." That's group one. They don't have the law. What law? The law of God. The Mosaic law.
 
This is a term to designate Gentiles who do not have the written Scripture. They had no prophets; they had no biblical writers; they did not have the written revelation of God, the law of God. 
 
That does not mean they're without any law, or they have no sense of what is right and wrong. He'll get to that in verses 14 and 15. Of course they have some. They have a law written in their hearts, he says that. But they are without THE law in the sense of the Mosaic Law. They are without special revelation, Moses, the Scripture and the prophets.
 
And the truth of the matter is that throughout history most people who have lived in the earth have been in that category. 
 
Just statistically speaking, most people that come into the world don't ever hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. In modern times with development of media and the translation work that is wonderfully being done today, we're really getting the Word out.
But most people who have lived on the face of the earth have not had the law of God. They have not had the written Scripture.
 
What about them? Will God judge them when they never had the law? Yes, but He'll judge them as those who never had the law. "Well, if they never heard the gospel, will He hold them responsible?"
 
Well, let's find out.
 
Back to verse 12. It says the people without the law will also...what's the next word? Perish. Basically the word means to destroy or to put to death.
 
It is used of eternal death in Matthew 10:28, Luke 4:34. It does not mean annihilation. It doesn't mean they go into an unconscious existence.
 
Basically the best way to understand that is when something perishes it is ruined so that it no longer can serve its intended purpose. All people were created for the glory of God and for fellowship with Him and when they do not come to God, they are then ruined as to that purpose and intention.
 
Jesus used this word to describe when men put new wine in old wineskins and the wineskins were ruined by the new wine. They perished; they ceased to have any function or usefulness.
 
The noun form is used by the disciples when they saw the woman anointing the feet of Jesus and putting all that precious ointment and they asked, "Why this waste?" And that is the noun form of perish. Why are you just letting the stuff perish or be rendered useless? It didn't go out of existence. 
It just was used for a useless purpose in their mind. So the word came to mean useless or ruined, put to death, wasted. It does not mean to go out of existence.
 
Paul is not saying that the unbelieving people who've never had the law simply go out of existence. That is not what it teaches. They are ruined as to their intended purpose, they are put to death but it is a casting alive into the lake of fire as graphically illustrated by the use of the same term in reference to Satan Himself in Revelation 20. God will condemn those who have never heard and even without the Scripture they will perish.
 
Now their perishing, it says in verse 12, will be without law. What does that mean? It means it will be commensurate with them not having the Scripture, which means that it will not be as severe as it will be for those who had the Scripture, but it is nonetheless perishing. It isn't less than hell, it is hell.
 
It is not that those who have the law receive hell while the others receive less than hell. It is that they receive a greater hell than the hell the others receive.
 
Why? Verse 12 again, "For as many as have sinned without law." Even though they didn't have the law of God, they sinned and the wages of sin is...what?...death.
 
People say, "Will those people who never heard perish?" Yes. Why? Because they have sinned.
 
 
You see, man sins, whether he has the law of God or not. And even thought he doesn't have the written law of God, he has in him a sin nature and because of that he chooses a life time and a life style of sinfulness. Therefore, men without Scripture are guilty and they're perishing.
 
Look at Luke 12:47-48
 
"The servant who knew his lord's will," get that? He knew his lord's will, that would be the one who had the law, in a sense. "And did not prepare himself, neither did according to his will shall be beaten with...what?...many stripes. But he that knew not and did commit things worthy of stripes shall be beaten with...what?...few stripes.
 
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."
 
They both get beaten. They both are punished. They both perish but the greater punishment comes to those who knew the most.
 
Now go back to Romans 2. Those who sinned without law shall perish. And their punishment will be a perishing, a damnation, for they have sinned against God. But it will be a lesser judgment than group two.
 
Now look at group two in verse 12, "As many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law."
 
What does it mean "as many as have sinned in the law?"
 
This refers to those who received the special revelation, those who had the Word of God, particularly Israel and anyone who is attached to them who knew the truth of God. Those who heard the prophets, those who read the law and the holy writings, those who had the special revelation, it refers to people today who sit in the church, people who know the truth, people who are in a Christian society, or Christian environment, they will be judged according to the greater light and greater privilege and greater liability.
 
Jesus said in Matthew 11, "How much greater will be the punishment of Chorazin and Bethsaida and Capernaum," because in those places Jesus walked and lived and did His miracles.
 
"It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah and for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, then it will be for those cities."
 
Why? Because they knew so much more and the greater perishing will belong to them. They'll be judged by the law. That refers to final judgment. They'll be judged in accord with full knowledge of God's law.
 
So God is impartial. He's very fair. The hottest hell is reserved for the people who knew the most. That is why, beloved, it is such a fearful thing to be an apostate. It is such a fearful thing to know the truth and constantly turn your back on it. You would be better off eternally if you never knew than to know and turn your back. But God is fair and He will judge those without law as without law, and those with law as with law.
 
Now immediately at this point Paul knows the Jew's are going to ask a question. Someone is going to say: 
 
"Now wait a minute, Paul, we who have been the guardians of the law, we who have been the agents by which God has revealed the law, we who have written it and rewritten it and preserved it, we should have the higher honor, not the greater condemnation. We who have possessed the law should be protected from God's wrath."
 
And some people today would join and say, "Yeah, I've been going to church all my life, I've been trying to be religious, I bought a Bible, I'm trying to be religious. I mean, how can we be condemned, we've been the religious ones, we've preserved the law."
Some are going to say, "I've taught in seminary, I've pastored churches, I’ve been a deacon, taught Sunday School. . .we've been religious, we've been connected to Christianity. I mean, it's us, you know, us, the religious folks.
 
Paul’s reply to that is found in verse 13
 
Now the word for "hearers" is used specifically of pupils who hear because they're constantly in the educational process.
 
Vincent, I think, is a good translation of it, "Those whose business is hearing," and that's exactly what the Jews did in the synagogues, didn't they? They heard and heard and heard and heard, it was read to them week after week after week after week after week, it was explained to them and they were literally professional hearers.
 
But it is not to the ones who make it their business to do the hearing, it is the one who make it their business to do the doing that justification comes. It is not performance, beloved, it is possession.
 
That's why James warns us in the same way, "But be ye doers of the Word and not...what?...hearers only because if you are, you are deceiving your ownselves." What a deceit.
 
God's law doesn't protect hearers from judgment. In fact, the more you hear, the deeper the judgment. I know some people are going to come to the judgment and they're going to say, "God, do You have a record of how many hours I listened to Tolbert?
 
That ought to be good for something. I listen to Christian music and Bible tapes and some guy reading the Bible all the time. I went to church...isn't that good for something?"
 
Yeah, greater condemnation. See, God's law does not protect. The more you know God's law, the more it intensifies the consequence unless it is obeyed.
 
So the question the Jew might ask is answered. It doesn't do you a bit of good to have it unless you do it. It just intensifies your guilt because only the one who does it is justified. And that's a judicial verdict there.
 
Are you ready for the second question? Here it comes: 
 
This is the question asked by the Gentile or the pagan or the one who didn't have the law.
He's going to say, " Now wait a minute. We never had the law. And if we never had the law, how in the world can we be condemned for not obeying it?"
 
Fair question?
 
The Jew says, “We are exempt because of special favor.” God says no.
 
The Gentile says, “We are exempt because of ignorance.”
 
 Is that right? What about that pagan? What about that heathen who never saw the law of God, never read the Scripture, never heard the gospel? Can you condemn somebody for not obeying the written word?
 
A lot of people ask that question. Does God hold people responsible who never heard the written law of God?
 
Let's find out the answer.
 
Verse 14-15
 
Now what is he saying? He's saying simply this: you do not have to have the written law to be responsible. For you have a law within you manifest in your behavior, manifest in your conscience, and manifest in your thinking patterns.
 
Then he lists four great reasons why the heathen are lost. Here they come.
 
 
 
Reason number one, creation.
 
Go back to chapter 1 and we'll pick up a thought from verse 18.
 
"The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and all unrighteousness of men."
 
Now you see it is not just the religious men, it is not just the people with the law of God, it is all men.  The wrath of God is revealed against all of the ungodliness and all of the unrighteousness of all men...whether they had the written law or not. Why? Because they hold the truth.
 
How do they hold the truth?
 
Verse 19, "That which may be known about God is manifest in them."
 
How is it manifest in them? Well, God has shown it unto them. Well how did He show it unto them?
 
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen so they are without excuse."
 
So from chapter 1 we learn the first reason why the heathen are lost, creation. They can look around them and know there's a God. They can look around them and perceive that He is supernatural and that He is more powerful than any being that they know of in their dimension. And so they are responsible because they hold that knowledge.
 
Reason #1 is creation. 
 
Now as we come to chapter 2 and find the three remaining reasons why the heathen are lost and why we have to send missionaries to reach them.
 
First they're lost because of creation, secondly, because of conduct.
 
Chapter 2, Verse 14
 
In other words, they don't have an outside law, but they have an internal law that makes them a law unto themselves and it is manifest in their conduct.
 
"Now when the heathen do by nature the things contained in the law" indicates that it does occur.
 
When they do it...and it is a common occurrence.
 
Pagans naturally do things that are written in God's law. Did you know that? Without ever reading God's law. Their conduct proves they know what is right and wrong. Their conduct proves that there is available within them, residing in them the law of God.
 
Sometimes pagans pay their debts. Is that in the law of God? Yes. They honor their parents. There are many people who do not know Jesus Christ, do not know God, never read the Bible who love their wives. There are many wives who so love their husbands. There are many people who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ who care for their children and there are many children who care for their parents.
 
 
 
There are many of them who believe it's wrong to kill. There are many people who've never known Jesus Christ or the message of Christ or the Bible or the meaning of the gospel who would feed the hungry, who would help a man who was sick or a woman who was sick. Pagans will tell the truth, sometimes. They will even seek to do justice. They will struggle for equity. You see, all of these things reveal an internal human code of ethics that is the law unto themselves.
 
We see it in our human system of justice. We see it in our humanitarianism. And the humanitarianism and the justice around the world even in very obscure and isolated peoples. Sometimes it's warped but in any society you ever see, you will find some of those heathen exercising things which they do naturally that are in direct line with God's law. And they therefore show that that law is in them.
 
You see, man can recognize that there is a right, that there is a code of ethics. There's a sense of right and wrong. And when men naturally do something that lines up with the law of God and they do it all the time, they show that the law of God is written in them.
 
The unregenerate world, you see, does do relative human good. They do not do good in terms of spiritual righteousness. They do not do good in terms of good that is based on the right motive because nothing is truly good unless it is done for the glory of God. But they do good in a relative human sense and when they do that, they show the law of God at work though unwritten at work in their heart.
They will do good in the right manner if not for the right motive. 
Man is totally depraved in the sense that he cannot do anything that is righteously good or that is good toward God or that is good as revealing God. But he can do a man kind of good. But every time he does that he proves that there is a law within him that points to that as good.
 
Are the heathen lost? Yes. Can they claim ignorance? No.
 
First, because of creation. It is around them. And they can perceive within their minds God in that creation and secondly, because of their conduct they prove that there's a law within them.
 
Now let's look at a third reason why the heathen are lost and that is conscience.
 
And this is part of that same concept in verse 14 but it's in verse 15. They not only reveal the work of the law within them by their conduct when they do naturally the things that are in them, but they also reveal the law of God written in their hearts when their conscience functions in bearing testimony. Now stop there for a minute.
 
Now we all know what conscience is. The word simply means co-knowledge. And I guess we could say that it means co- knowledge with oneself. The idea is “to know along with”. Conscience is sort of that thing in you that knows along with you what's right. It refers to a person's inner sense of right and wrong, the moral consciousness that pronounces judgment on thoughts and attitudes and speech and deeds.
 
I remember reading about a tribe in Africa that had a very interesting process to determine who was guilty of something. When there was some stealing and it had gone on in the tribe, they would line all of the men up because stealing was normally done by men, and they would go along and they would ask them if they did it.
 
And they would say yes or no. And then they would, after having said it, ask them to stick their tongue out at which time they took a hot knife and placed it on the tongue. If there was saliva on the tongue, the knife would be removed without a problem. If there was no saliva on the tongue, the knife would stick and burn its way through their tongue. And they could always tell who the liar was because he had no saliva.
 
What makes your spit dry up when you do something wrong? There's a conscience in you. There's a thought process in you that knows right and knows wrong and deals with you when you violate it. It's like when you cheat and you live in this constant state of fear of being found out. That's conscience.
 
Conscience responds to the internal norm and I would say in the Christian, of course, conscience is tremendously intensified because you not only have that basic law within you but you have also the law of Christ from His word added to the normal natural law and the compounding of that even excites the conscience more to respond.
 
 The Bible also suggests that your conscience can become scarred and scar tissue has no feeling.
That's why Paul in Romans tells us, "Do not violate your conscience. Don't violate your conscience." In other words, he's talking about Christian liberty and he says if you...if somebody tells you it's okay to do that but your conscience says don't do that, then don't do it even though it is okay because if you get in the habit of violating your conscience, you're going to scar something that you desperately need to protect you. It's like losing your sense of feeling.
 
Think about leprosy. Originally, people thought that when you got leprosy your skin just kind of ate itself and eventually your extremities were just disappearing. What they now know is that leprosy creates the absolute deadening of all sense and you wear out your extremities. Because you can't feel anything, you rub your fingers off. Or your rub your nose off because there's no feeling.
 
That's what happens when conscience is scarred. And so Paul says don't do that. Even the heathen have a conscience. But over a long period of time they can dull that conscience. But I don't think they can always obliterate it. I think it's there telling them what is right and what is wrong.
 
And I don't care if you're in a primitive society or any other one, you show me a person who has committed a crime and they may do everything they can to justify that crime, but they're always looking around to see whose coming after them because they know what's right and what's wrong.
 
The heathen are lost because of creation, conduct, conscience.
 
Fourth, the heathen are lost because of contemplation.
 
Here's another indicator of the lostness of the heathen.
 
Vesre 15b
 
In other words, there is in us the capacity to contemplate or to reason and to determine what someone does is right or wrong.
 
For example, a person without God, without Christ, without the Bible hears about someone who has murdered a child, what is his reaction? Unless the person is totally at the extremity of vileness he's going to say that's awful. He's going to accuse, we ought to find that person and do something to that person. Why do you think we have a punitive system in our society? Why do you think there are punitive systems in every society? Because men know what is right and wrong. They have the capacity in their minds to accuse or excuse. They know that's all right, we can excuse that, but not this. The heathen do that.
 
People in our society who are godless heathen people fight against crime. There are a lot of people lost without Christ who favor the death penalty and stiff prison sentences. 
 
And the sum of it is this: creation, conduct, conscience, contemplation, what they do, how they deal with the good and bad in their own life and how they deal with it in the lives of others indicates that they know the law of God as written in them.
 
Now here is the most important thing I've said yet.
 
The sum of it is this, if they live up to that much light, and they accept that much light, God will reveal to them the full light of Jesus Christ. I believe that with all my heart.
 
You see, that's what it says in Acts 17, "He is not far from us if we would feel after Him." Do you see? If they would just take what they have and accept that. John 7:17, mark it down, "If any man wills to do My Father's will, he shall know of the teaching." If the willing heart is there, he'll know.
 
I read recently the testimony of a man named Augustus Marway.
 
This man lived in a village in Africa involved in tribal wars. Listen to his testimony:
 
I resented it whenever strangers passing through the village were invited to our house. At first mother allowed me and my two brothers to eat with the guest, but I made a pig of myself, stuffing my mouth with handfuls of rice and grabbing another handful before I could even swallow what I had.
Mother was ashamed of me. She wouldn't let me eat with the guests after that. I would just sit and glare at the visitors, making them feel uncomfortable until they would invite me to the table.
 
From then on mother made me sit outside the house until the guests had finished eating. I don't know what made me so incorrigible. In fact the whole village asked the question, "What's the matter with that son of Marwey?" they would ask and my poor parents were at their wits end.
Even though I loved my mother dearly I found myself doing terrible things. I can remember seeing her sitting on a bench outside the house and impulsively picking up a stick to throw at her legs. I missed her and struck a little child, hurting him badly.
 
At times like that the villagers would join my parents in meting out a punishment. That time they held me down on the ground by my legs and my arms while they poured a bowl of hot pepper soup down my nose. I nearly choked to death and for hours afterward my nose burned.
 
Let me stop in this testimony for a moment: Why did that tribe of aboriginal people who never heard about the true God, who never heard of the gospel, never heard the name Jesus, why did they punish a young boy for throwing a stick and hurting a child?
 
Who told them that was wrong? Why did this young man feel guilty? He said, "My heart was broken every day because I loved my mother and I knew she was ashamed of me but I couldn't correct my behavior."
 
Why did he feel that way? Where did he get to feel that guilt? Where did that come from? And why was his mother ashamed of him? Who told her what the standard was? He goes on: I couldn't understand myself. After one of those episodes I would go off into the forest and pound my head against a tree crying, "What's wrong with me?  I should kill myself."  I hated being the white sheep of the family.
He says, But one day when I was about twelve years old a boy returned to our village from the coast where he had been visiting his father.
None of us younger ones had ever seen the ocean. So we crowded around him to hear all about it. It was as though he had been to the moon and back. Enjoying the acclaim he kept us spellbound with his experiences as he recounted the strange things he saw. Among other things he told us about how some people met together in a house on Sundays and they sang and stayed a long time.
 
He couldn't figure out what they were doing. And finally his curiosity got the better of him so he asked one of the villagers, "What do you do in there for such a long time?" They told him they were praying to God, the God who created everything and they said they believed He heard their prayers.
 
I had never heard anything like this. A God who hears your prayers? It excited me. And I wanted to pray to God, too. I asked the boy to meet me on Sunday since that's the day they met in that house and we would go someplace outside the village and he could tell me how to pray. But he wasn't interested. Disappointed I decided the next Sunday to try it by myself.
 
I went to a hut that my cousin was still building and with no one around I tried to pray for the first time. I had never heard anyone pray. But I decided I would just talk to this God like He was my father. I can't explain what happened but it was an exciting experience. I wanted to know more about this God but there was no one in our village who knew anything about Him. So for two years I kept praying by myself on Sundays and hoping that some day some one would come along who could tell me about Him.
 
You see? Now he lived up to the light he had, didn't he? He followed that light.
 
About this time the government started building a motor road to prepare for the new invention called the automobile. And along with many of my relatives, we spent two weeks a month for the next two years building the road under terrible working conditions. Then I went back to the town where I had been born to stay with my cousin.
 
There I made the most wonderful discovery of my entire life, for in that town there was a house where people met to pray to the God who created the world. How excited I was. I could hardly wait for Sunday. All night I lay on my mat waiting for that bell that my cousin said would ring and call us to that house. That morning I sat in the back. I listened to a man tell about God for the first time in my life. I found He was far more wonderful than I had ever imagined.
 
The preacher said that God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son named Jesus to take away my sins. I wondered if He knew how terrible I was. I wonder if He knew the awful things I had done back in my village. But the preacher said no matter what I had done, God would forgive me and make my heart clean. 
 
Listen to this next statement: “I knew it was all true.
 
How did he know that? How did he know that was true? You say, "Well, he went to the counseling room. He gave him a sheet on apologetics." How did he know that was true?
He was following a light God had given him and that was the next logical step and his heart was a prepared heart.
 
Hadn't this God heard my prayers when I talked to Him and asked Him to help me? Hadn't He sent me here when I didn't even know He had one of His houses here? I gave my heart to God that morning and it was nice to know He had a Son, too. He was really a father, just like I had been praying to.
 
You know what happened to that man? That man became the most significant man in the nation of Liberia in our day in founding and building churches.
 
Do you get the picture? The very fact that that could occur proves the heathen have the knowledge if they'll live up to it. God will be fair, no favorites but each is responsible for the light he has. Far too often we look at that statement in verse 11 as kind of a negative statement.
 
The idea we have is that God is not impressed with us, and our estimation of ourselves. And in a sense that is right, but I tell you tonight, to Augustus Marwey, that is a wonderful thought. Because it means that even though he was an insignificant, disobedient, fourteen-year-old black child in a remote African village, God cared enough to get the gospel to him. 
 
He didn’t have to impress God or measure up to some standard; he just had to respond to the light that God revealed, and discover that God was already there. 
 
And the same is true for you. . .
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