An anonymous donor sponsored a series of clever billboards with a spiritual message that captured the attention of drivers all across the nation. According to the Web site www.godspeaks.com, originally eighteen sayings were selected for billboards in south Florida. When the Outdoor Advertising Agency of America volunteered to make the series its public service campaign for 1999, the number of billboards mushroomed to 10,000. Each saying was signed “God.”
Long before the first billboard was ever erected on a Florida highway, God had already emblazoned His message in a far more indelible medium. Since the beginning of time, God’s eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen in creation (v. 20). The psalmist speaks of this general revelation of God’s invisible qualities, noting that the heavens “declare” God’s glory and the skies “proclaim” the work of His hands (Ps. 19:1). God is speaking to the entire human race through creation, which leaves us without excuse from knowing that there is a Creator.
This truth that God revealed about Himself in creation is not sufficient, however, to lead people to eternal life. The message of creation is clear but not comprehensive. General revelation shines a light on God’s glory but does not convey the gospel. What is more, ever since the fall of Adam, its message has been suppressed by those for whom it is intended. Its voice has gone throughout all the earth but those who have heard have plugged their ears and distorted its message.
Humanity’s downward spiral into sin described in today’s passage attests to our need for an additional word from God. That word is the gospel message, which is the focus of the book of Romans. The gospel is the only thing powerful enough to remove the veil of sin from our sight and open our eyes to the true significance of all that God has revealed about Himself in creation.