"They are without excuse!" Romans 1:20
Who are without excuse? The Apostle refers to the heathen, who had only the light of nature. But as the unity, majesty, wisdom, and goodness of God are proclaimed by the works of creation, their worshiping so many, such base, such foolish, and such cruel deities — was inexcusable. They knew, or they might have known — that there was but one God; and that He was glorious, wise, and good; and they were held responsible for the knowledge they might have obtained; and are condemned for their follies and their crimes.
But if heathens, who had only the book of nature, were inexcusable — then how much more so are those who have also the Book of inspiration; to whom the gospel is preached, and before whose eyes Jesus Christ, as crucified, is set forth.
Reader, you have the Bible, which contains a clear and full revelation of the character of God, and the demands of the law, and the provision of the everlasting gospel. To you the word of salvation is sent; God has set before you the way of life — and the way of death; if you therefore live in sin and die without hope, you "are without excuse!"
There can be no excuse for sin. God has prohibited it in His law; and he has threatened it with death, even eternal death. He often visits it in this world with evident marks of His displeasure, and He has pledged His character to punish it forever in those who die impenitent. No one is, or can be, forced to sin; it must be voluntary — or it is not sin; if, therefore in opposition to God's prohibition, if, defying His solemn threatenings, if, despising the promises of His mercy — men will persevere in sin — are they not, "without excuse"?
There can be no excuse for sinners. God has graciously provided means for our recovery from our fallen state; He has furnished us with the most powerful motives to flee from the paths of the destroyer, appealing to our hopes and our fears. He has promised His Holy Spirit to every one who asks; He has pleaded with us, exhorted us, and invited us by His servants; and He has told us plainly that our destruction is off ourselves. And yet multitudes who hear His Word remain unmoved and unaffected; and from year to year, go on, "treasuring up unto themselves wrath, against the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds."
To such especially we must say, "You are without excuse!" To you God has spoken both in justice and in mercy; to you God has presented His beloved Son, in the everlasting gospel; to you God has promised His Holy Spirit upon asking; and to you He has sent His servants to warn, invite, and beseech you to be reconciled unto Him. You have heard His Word; you profess to believe its truth; you have often felt convinced of sin; you have purposed and promised to reform! And yet you have violated those purposes and promises; you prefer sin to holiness; you mind the things of the flesh; you dare justice to do its worst; you resist the Holy Spirit; you treat mercy with contempt! And all this on the brink of eternity — with Hell flashing before your eyes!
What excuse can there be for you? You approve of sin, you love it, and therefore persevere in it; you justify the Jews in putting the Son of God to death, for reproving and condemning sin; you grieve the Holy Spirit of God; and you are in league with Satan. Who then will attempt to make an excuse for you? Will conscience? No, it cannot, for it often reproves and condemns you! Will saints? No, not even if nearly related to you by nature, for your conduct appears awful to them. Will angels? No, they will admire the long-suffering of God toward you, and justify God in your eternal condemnation. Will devils? No, they will accuse, reproach, and eternally torment you! Will Jesus? No, He will say, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." All will be against you, and join to testify that you are without excuse.
Sinner, if you reject the Savior, if you despise the day of visitation, if you trifle with eternity under the light of the gospel — you will, "receive greater damnation!"
Salvation is brought near to you in the gospel. It is presented to you as a sovereign remedy for your soul maladies; do not dash it away from you like a maniac, do not treat it with neglect. It is spread before you as a feast, a supper of the great King; do not refuse the invitation, or begin to make excuses for not sitting down to partake.
It is a great salvation; great beyond expression, great beyond conception! It is as vast as our miseries, as boundless as our sins, as durable as eternity! Look at the price it cost — the blood of Jesus. Look at the evils it prevents, and the blessings it secures. Look at the happiness it promises, and the glory and honor it confers.
Neglect it not. If you do, how will you escape? (Hebrews 2:3.) You are shut up to the way of life — or the way of death; to salvation by free grace — or damnation as the effect of persevering in sin. Neglect it not. It is the height of folly, it is the basest ingratitude, it argues the greatest stupidity!
Remember, you are without excuse. You cannot escape. Would you flee? Where can you flee? Would you harden yourself in torment — who can harden himself against that God and prosper? Think, I beseech you, think. Beware! Oh, beware, lest He take you away with a stroke! Ask, ask, "How can my heart endure, or how can my hands be strong — in the day that God will deal with me?" See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from Heaven?" (Hebrews 12:25.)
Reader, at parting, allow me to repeat the solemn truth, "If you perish — you will perish without excuse!"
Stop, poor sinner! stop, and think,
Before you farther go!
Will you sport upon the brink
Of everlasting woe!
Once again, I charge you, stop!
For unless you warning take,
Before you are aware, you drop
Into the burning lake!