#3 Reasons For The Wrath Of God
Today we are going to talk about a very uncomfortable subject, the wrath of God. Our text is Romans 1:18-22. Now it is interesting that in our ‘modern’ world people don’t even believe in God let alone a God who is angry with the wicked every day. The subject and His righteous wrath rarely comes up in conversation and when it does, those who have the gall to speak of such things are labeled extremists, fundamentalists, or ‘dark ages’ preachers.
People say things like ‘if there is a God, He loves everyone.’ But is that statement true? Does God love everyone? For the answer to this question we must turn to the Law and to the Testimony, the word of God. In (Ps 7:11) we read that “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day. That is pretty much straight forward is it not! ‘But’ the world will counter, ‘there is no such thing as wickedness! That’s merely an archaic state of mind that really doesn’t exist!’
I’m here to tell you that evil does exist! You can hide your head in the sand of psychology if you want, or you can listen to your inner guide or follow the directives of your ‘life coaches’ who tell you otherwise. You can bow before the altar of your favorite talk show host or hostess who are very willing to tell you ‘how things really are’ but what they are doing is preaching ‘another gospel’ which really isn’t another but wicked men and women are merely trying to blind you to the truth. These ‘ministers of righteousness’ are following the orders of their master the devil; yes I said the devil.
Again you can almost hear the people sneer, “There is no such thing as the devil” or “I don’t believe in the devil”. Great! You have just identified your religion and it is one of convenience. If there is anything you don’t like, all you have to do is say “I don’t believe in that” and you’ve taken care of business. Or have you. The sad reality is that you are merely lying to yourself.
Just because you close your eyes and plug your ears so that you can’t see or hear anything, doesn’t mean that life just stops. Just because you say “I don’t believe in this or that” doesn’t mean that the object of your disdain suddenly doesn’t exist. You could just as easily say “I don’t believe in air”. Does air then suddenly cease to exist because you say “I don’t believe”? I don’t think so! But this is all just an illustration of the wicked minds of modern men and women who think they have all the answers. And it is also a sign of gross immaturity.
I remember when I was going to school; suddenly I decided that I was smarter than those stupid old teachers. I didn’t need to go to school anymore. Thank God my mother didn’t see things as I did. She knew the truth and she made sure I stayed in school and got an education. And what she did helped me to see that I didn’t have all the answers. It was part of the maturing process that is greatly lacking in the world today where children are ‘free to live their own lives’ regardless of where the road they have chosen takes them. I dare say that if they would choose to be a murderer or a thief they would be cheered by this world for ‘following their hearts’. That’s an interesting phrase ‘follow your heart’, is it not! From the psychiatrists couch to talk shows to pulpits, people are encouraged to follow their hearts. But what does the Bible say? It says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer 17:9)
As we take this verse apart we first look to the word heart. It comes from the Hebrew world “Labe” and means the mind, the intellect, the understanding. And so we see that this mind, “Labe” is deceitful or “Aqob” the Hebrew for crooked, polluted, insidious, and slippery. These are names we would associate with evil, with ugly things, like criminals, serial killers etc. The passage goes on to say that this insidiously polluted mind is desperately wicked. Ooh there’s that word again: wicked! The Hebrew word is Anash and means that something is incurably sick and frail. So much for the exalted state of the human mind: according to the world.
The world says you have to know yourself, be true to yourself: trust yourself. This was the battle cry in the 60’s: know yourself. I remember people saying, “I’ve got to go and find myself.” What does that mean? Aren’t you standing right there! It was and still is an excuse to do all sorts of horrendous things. To those who wish to follow their heart I echo the scriptures which tell you this: Your heart is a liar, more than anything else and incurable. You can’t trust your heart. It is wicked, desperately wicked.
And what I have said is the truth, the absolute truth; THE ONLY TRUTH! Yes I can hear people saying, “Who do you think you are? There is no such thing as just one truth. There are many truths, many ways; many roads to travel on. What gives you the right to say you have the only truth? I answer that I am declaring the words of God who cannot lie, Who came to earth in the form of a man named Jesus Christ. This man Jesus declared that He was God and the only way to heaven, that He was the only truth about God and that He was the One who bestows the only real life, a new life that is found in a relationship with God.
Now this is a message of salvation, a message of hope. And it is the absolute truth. You can’t get to heaven except through Jesus Christ. There is only one way, Jesus! And He stand and calls to sinners saying; (Mt 11:28) “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Here is deliverance from your sin, from the wrath of Almighty God which will come upon the whole world. Here is the way to heaven. Here is a gracious gift!
But what do people do with this wonderful message of mercy? They get mad, foam at the mouth, drool, and shake their fists at both God and those who have the audacity to proclaim this exclusive message of salvation. And it is for this very reason that God is going to visit this world in judgment, yes I said judgment! He is going “To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”(Jude 1:15) And according to the Bible, we don’t have to wait until judgment day for the wrath of God. 18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness… The idea here is that the wrath of God is being poured out even now. God is judging sin and sinners even now. Some may say “Hey wait a minute. God hates sin yes, but he loves the sinner.” Oh! How do you separate the two? A dog barks because that’s what dogs do. Its part of what they are. Sinners sin because that’s what they do. It is part of what they are.
If the argument of God hating sin and loving the sinner were true, then God would cast all of our sin into hell and bring everyone into heaven. But that’s just not the case! In fact Jesus told us to fear Him who can cast BOTH BODY AND SOUL INTO HELL! Let me further correct the unsound argument of loving sinners and hating their sin by my personal testimony. Before God saved me I was His sworn enemy. Sure I said I believed in God but at the same time I spent my whole life breaking His Holy Commandments demonstrating my contempt for Him. I may even have said I loved God but my actions were proving otherwise. My mode of life proved that I hated Him.
The bible says that we were enemies of God and I was living proof. But one day God stooped down and called me to Himself. He did so by opening my eyes to see who I really was. Now before this event, I was just going along enjoying my life as it was and never thinking twice about eternity.
Suddenly I saw the reality of my situation. Suddenly I saw that I was in danger. I had the growing understanding that I was going to die. How did I know this? God had placed it into my mind. Suddenly I knew I was a condemned lost sinner and I was already judged and sentenced for my crimes against a Holy God. Again I see the raised eyebrows of the world. Let me back up my statement with the words of Jesus Christ; (Joh 3:18) “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The conviction of my wickedness increased day by day until God delivered me, forgave me and made me a new creation in Christ Jesus. I was a sinner transformed into a saint. I was justified, made righteous by virtue of the righteousness of Jesus Christ which was granted to me. God set His love upon me! And this is part of salvation. Before God called me to Himself in salvation, I was His enemy, under His condemnation and the sentence of death. But His call was His salvation.
Again His word backs me up: (Ro 8:30) “and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. We will deal with Predestination in depth at a later date but suffice it to say at the moment that the word Predestinate means to previously determine someone’s destiny or life. What I want you to see is this: when He calls, He justifies or wipes our slate clean. This is a picture of what Jesus did on the cross for on the cross He took on the sins of men from every tribe, tongue and nation and He killed them there! For the Christian this means that He remembers our sins no more, having cast them as far from Him as the east is from the west. I love Greg Laurie’s illustration on this; “He has cast them into the sea of forgetfulness and has posted a sign NO FISHING ALLOWED! This is the work of God and it is marvelous in the eyes of those who have been made partakers in the righteousness of Christ. The world does not know peace with God nor does it want peace. Indeed the world would rather see God dead, gone, out of the public square. This is what Paul means when he said they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. They are full of unrighteousness and ungodliness and as such they cannot stand to think about anything good or holy. Jesus said that wicked men hate the light and will not come to the light lest their evil deeds be exposed.
Now people try to deny the existence of God to soothe their wicked hearts. They want to flex their muscles to do evil but they don’t want there to be any consequences. So they say that God doesn’t exist. But again they are lying to themselves 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. The word ‘evident’ comes from the Greek word “Phaneros” and means to be plainly recognized or known.
What this means is that even atheists know the truth. But because they don’t like what they see they are doing their best to suppress the truth in an act of unrighteousness. They try to bury the truth or at least cover it up because they can’t stand to have their consciences bothered.
The problem is this: “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard. 4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, 5 which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; it rejoices as a strong man to run his course. 6 Its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat. (Ps 19:1-6)
Paul continues in verse 20 saying, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. Did you hear that! What the bible is saying is that if you say there is no God or no judgment or no absolutes or whatever else you may say to cover your sin, it is an exercise in futility. Try as you might you can’t cover the stain of your sin for the eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good. He has seen your evil deeds: You are without excuse!
And because you will not avail yourself of the only hope of deliverance you are guilty as charged and the sentence is death! Unlike the crime shows on T.V. there are no deals to be made, no lessening of your sentence. Once the gavel is dropped in God’s court, the sentence will be carried out. There will be no appeals.
I find it amusing when I hear these ‘evangelism’ programs and formats which use a line of reasoning that will not happen. The line goes something like this: ‘You are standing before God and He asks you why He should let you into His heaven.’ Excuse me? Nothing could be further from the truth! It’s like those who talk about ‘The Battle of Armageddon.’ What battle? Read Revelation 19. There is no battle. John describes the scene where the antichrist gathers the armies of the earth to fight against Jesus Christ. The very next line states that ‘the beast was taken and the false prophet and the rest were slain by the sword that comes out of the mouth of Jesus Christ. End of story. No battle: just a miserable end to a miserable lot of unrepentant sinners who have spent their lives shaking their rebellious fists in the face of God.
In the same way the scriptures are plain when they describe the heavenly scene. Matthew 25, the parable of the sheep and the goats, declares that Jesus will come and sit on His throne and separate the nations. There will be two groups; sheep and goats. Nobody will be able to sneak into the sheep’s side from the goat’s side. There will be no options. It’s Judgment Day.
The sheep are called to enter heaven and the goats told to depart to their eternal reward: the lake of fire. That’s it! There are no words offered except for the sheep asking when they ever did anything for Jesus and the goats asking when they ever didn’t serve Him. Other than that judgment is done. There are no bargains reached: there will be no compromise. God speaks and it is done! The question is asked why God would judge anyone! Paul lays out the detailed charges; a monstrous list of wickedness which the ungodly have flaunted IN THE FACE OF GOD. Indeed they have sinned against their own souls. 21 “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God they did not give Him the worship and honor He deserves as God. The scriptures tell us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. And so again we see the childishness of sinful men.
They are like a bunch of little kids who are filled with selfishness and believe they deserve a life of luxury and indulgence. Since God demands obedience to His Holy Law and is no respecter of persons, people will not honor Him or give thanks, even though it is God who sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous and allows His sun to shine on the evil an the good.
Did you get that? It is God who sends the rain and withholds it. It is God who created the sun and causes it to shine. It is God who gives us the air that we breathe and the food that we eat and the live that we live! Mankind should be a very grateful bunch of people but instead they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Let me paraphrase this; people came up with stupid theories about how the world came into being because God turned the lights off in their brains and they were deprived of the ability to comprehend the simplest things.
Coupled with this, their sense of reality became perverted so that they were 22 “Professing to be wise, they began touting all of their ‘wisdom’. Consider this one illustration. Have you noticed that every time something happens in the world, the News always has an ‘expert’ to can explain why! And they always have this look, as if they have special inside information. They are the wise men and women who can cure all the ills of humanity. Unfortunately all they have to offer is equivalent to putting a band-aid on cancer. It may cover up the problem but it doesn’t solve anything. These wise people were only wise in worldly wisdom that leads nowhere! For this reason Paul says “they became fools, The Greek word for fools is moraino from where we get our English word moron. What Paul is saying is that these people said they were wise but the stuff that came out of their mouths proved that they were morons; fools, idiots.
Jesus spoke of such people calling them blind guides leading the blind. He says that they will both fall into the ditch because the blind guide only thinks he knows where he is going. He thinks he has the right information but he is wrong. And the blind follower has placed his trust in one who can’t help. Interestingly God pronounces a curse upon those who would place their trust in people. He says in (Jer 17:5) “Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD.”
Next time we will examine the results of those who have suppressed the truth of God in unrighteousness, who have turned to each other for wisdom and who have decided that they will make a name for themselves and will shake off the restraints of the law of God. Let us remember God’s reaction to all of this bravado on the part of men: (Ps 2:4) “He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.” Let us also remember the Tower of Babel. Here too men decided to “make a name for themselves.” (Ge 11:4) “They (also) said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
Let us, let us, let us! Men are full of themselves and they think that they are the masters of their own destiny. But God will show them otherwise. The Sovereign Lord of the Universe continually shows men the frailty of their lives, of their inventions, of their ingenuity. And though they rail against God and boast of their own intelligence and power, the day is coming, called the Day of Judgment. It is a day when the universe will collapse with a thunderous bang and all men will be brought to stand before the Judge of all the earth. On that day no one will say, “I don’t believe this is happening.” There will be no doubt as to the reason for the wrath of God!
“But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God…” (Ro 2:5)