New International Version
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[a] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[b]
God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
This is one of the epistle lessons that can be read on Thanksgiving and it deals with the natural knowledge of God. It is a subject of debate like everything else. I thought of using it as a text but in these times I changed my mind. The Law always must be preached but the Gospel should predominate.
Here is how one of the old time preachers used this text on Thanksgiving back during the WWII years. His name was G.H. Smukal
The natural knowledge of God is the conviction of man by reaction of his senses, mind, and conscience to the visible revelation of God’s existence and of His wisdom, power, and goodness. -His revelation is not lacking, but is superabundant, in our country, where milk and honey flows. The physical features of our country, its varied climates, the abundance of its minerals, plants, animal life, the multiplicity of its resources, the rich harvests, flowing rivers, dense forests, and the sky above us: evidences which compel us to believe that there is a God. We may add the study of events under the government and providence of the wisdom, power, and goodness of the invisible God. Only the fool will say that there is no God, while his conscience yet urges him to seek, worship, and thank the true God.
Most of our fellow citizens are, by choice, just such fools as the text describes. They know from the visible things about them that God exists; but they do not seek Him, neither are they thank-ful. They do not react to His revelation, and they obstinately resist compelling evidences. Therefore their refusal to thank God is conscious, deliberate, willful. These ungrateful people are with-out excuse. -Though we as a nation know not where we are and whither we are going nationally, internationally, economically, socially, morally, the slogan is: We can, we must, we will. What? Idolized human intelligence turns from idolized images to idolized man power, money power, mind power. Thus the truth is sup-pressed and smothered in unrighteousness. The consequences are inevitable. Unbelief, self-reliance, ingratitude, lead to other sins (see vv. 28-32). These have become national sins, many of them legalized. -They challenge the wrath of God revealed from heaven and are worthy of death