Part 9 – Trauma – Repression – Substitution
As Paul continues with his thorough explanation of the Gospel he explains to his audience the how’s and why’s of peoples’ rejection of the Gospel, and how all mankind is accountable before the Lord – whether they have directly heard the Gospel preached or not – through general or natural revelation (through God’s creation).
Having proved that the Lord God has revealed Himself to all people through His creation, Paul then shows his readers what fallen man has done with this information, and it lines up with the way that humans deal with psychological issues as well.
The revelation of the holiness of God to the innermost being – the spirit – of sinful man through the creation is so spiritually traumatic that man cannot face it, so he suppresses (or better put – represses – buries) the painful reality of his own sinfulness. Just as a child who has experienced a traumatic event – the death of a parent or sexual abuse or constant belittling – buries the memory (represses it), fallen man buries the traumatic reality of his sinfulness.
The child buries this memory because they don’t have the tools or the maturity to face/deal with/resolve the event, but it doesn’t go away. It stirs around inside until it has to find an escape, and it does so through faulty relationships, insecurity, promiscuity, acting out behavior, etc. The child’s mind must find a substitute – something to replace that bad memory, in particular, replace/substitute/exchange the loved one involved or who perpetrated the trauma (father, relative, war, etc).
Fallen man has buried the reality of the Holy, Holy, Holy Jehovah God, but since the Lord has placed eternity into the hearts of every man, the sinner must find a substitute to replace that need for God. He does so through false religion, false idols, anything other than the holy God. He develops or ‘worships’ an inferior ‘god’ because their inferior god will ‘tolerate’ and excuse their sin. This inferior man-made god is manageable, so fallen man ‘settles’ for this false belief system.
This explains why fallen man – even ‘good’ sinners – refuse to see the truth of the biblical God. They are spiritually dead and incapable – and don’t desire – to personally know this God by repenting and trusting their life in His hands.
For that reason we need to
1. Be patient with those who don’t believe.
2. Pray that the Lord will be merciful towards them and open their eyes
3. Share the true Gospel with them.
3. Live a godly life around them.
5. Rejoice and be grateful to the Lord in saving us.
6. Live in humility since it is by grace alone that we have been saved.