Figuring out what is right and what is wrong might seem like common sense. In a way, it is. Jesus summarized all the teaching of the Old Testament in a single principle: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12). C. S. Lewis called this “the law of human nature” and pointed out that when we object to the way others treat us, we often appeal to a standard of behavior we expect them to already know. When we are the victim, the wrong seems obvious. Not so much when we are the one at fault!
Romans 1:18–32 refers to a kind of common knowledge about God when it describes “what may be known about God” as “plain” (v. 19). This means that God’s power and nature are clearly displayed by what He has created. However, according to verses 21–23, humanity’s reaction to the things God has revealed about Himself is just as common.
As humans, we distort what God has made plain about Himself. Indwelling sin leads to denial. Instead of glorifying God and giving thanks, we allow sin to make our thinking foolish and darken our hearts. According to verse 28, “just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.” The natural consequence of our sin combined with God’s judgment makes what should be common sense look like nonsense. What God has revealed about Himself is still plainly seen, but sin has distorted our understanding.
>> Our moral compass has been broken. We cannot rely on “common sense” to understand right and wrong as God sees them. While we may still be able to tell when boundaries of right and wrong have been crossed, we are hypersensitive to what others do wrong while explaining away our own offenses.
Father, give us the mind of Christ—even regarding ourselves. Teach us to love justice, even when it costs us. Give us humility to recognize our own wrongdoings. Impart to us Your righteousness.