In “Sin in the Heart the Source of Error in the Head," W. G. T. Shedd comes back to Romans 1: Paul “shows that no excuse can be urged upon the ground of moral ignorance.” Shedd makes an important observation – Many would apply this principle only to those millions, indeed billions, because of their idolatry and moral corruption. But Shedd asks, “Why do they not bring it into nominal Christendom and apply it there? Why [not] . . . into the midst of European civilization?” And we might add, “Why not apply the principle, i.e., that no one is without excuse, to our own context?” Shedd adds, “There is not so much difference in this particular between some men in nominal Christendom and some men in Heathendom, as is sometimes imagined.” That is, we might think of our own culture and our own people as somehow or other morally superior to others and, thus, with less guilt. Paul gives the lie to this supposition.
No one is without excuse! What, then, is to be done? Shedd: “Practically and deeply acknowledge the doctrine of human guilt and corruption. Let it no longer be a theory in the head, but a humbling salutary consciousness in the heart. And when the divine Word affirms that God so loved the world that he gave his Only-Begotten Son to redeem, make a quick and joyful response: ‘It is so, it is so!’” How does Paul put it? “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
in a believer’s ear!
It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds,
and drives away our fear.
It makes the wounded spirit whole
and calms the troubled breast;
‘tis manna to the hungry soul,
and to the weary, rest. –John Newton (1779)