About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Wrath Against Mankind (ch. 1:18-32)
ended the last section with verse 17, which is one great and historic verse.
"The gospel of righteousness from God is revealed, a
righteousness that is by faith from first to last, as it is written, the
righteous shall live by faith.Ē According
to Paulís thinking, we are not only saved by faith, but we live by
faith as well. This means
that we donít get saved by good works, and we donít stay saved by
doing good works. We stay
saved by our faith, and nothing else, and remember, faith is trusting
your life with Jesus every day.
emphasize trusting your life with Jesus and not just your salvation, or,
your entrance in heaven with Jesus.
This second aspect is very much the predominant way of thinking
among Evangelicals these days. I
say trust your life with Jesus because when we come to Him in salvation,
we come to the Lord of all there is.
I grew up being taught that you first receive Jesus as Christ or
Saviour then you receive Him as Lord at some future date.
That is not Biblical. From
the very beginning you hand your life over to Him because He is Lord who
has become your Saviour. Thus,
we trust Jesus with our whole lives and not just our salvation.
now makes a very abrupt change in what he says.
From talking about the revelation of righteousness by faith, he
now introduces the revelation of the wrath of God on those who suppress
the truth of God.
1:18 states that "the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven
against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth
In Greek grammar, the words "is being revealed" are a
present passive indicative verb.
There are a couple of things I'd like to point out about the verb
First of all, the NIV as well as the Greek state that the wrath of God "is being
revealed", as in the present tense. It's
not the past tense or the future tense. To me, this suggests that as Paul was writing these words God's
wrath was being revealed upon the pagans in the
fact that the phrase "is being revealed", or, "is
revealed' is a present indicative verb means that the revealing of God's
wrath is in the present tense and is a certainty.
That suggests to me that when men suppress the truth of God,
God's wrath will be revealed in some way as they are suppressing the
should note here that God's wrath is only on those who suppress the
truth. It's not revealed to
those who don't suppress the truth.
word "revealed" is translated from the Greek word
"apokalypto" which means to "make known or to
It's the same Greek word we see in the book of Revelation.
God's wrath is made known to those who suppress His existence.
What God's wrath looks like in any given era may
vary from era to era. During
Noah's day, God's wrath was quite severe.
What God's wrath looks like in any given era may vary from era to era. During Noah's day, God's wrath was quite severe.
students are divided whether Paul had his day in mind when he spoke of
the wrath of God or if he had all generations of mankind in mind.
I'm not sure we can read into Paul's mind, other than to say, Paul does
speak of creation and therefore, it's quite possible that he had all
generations of mankind in mind, or, maybe he had both in mind.
Whatever the case, I believe what Paul is saying in this part of Romans
applies to all ages, both past, present, and future.
have termed this present age in which we live as the "age of God's
God's grace is available for us upon repentance and trust in Him, He has
not laid aside His standards of justice.
That's why we still must repent of our sin.
In Romans 1:18 and following, Paul says that men suppresses the
truth that God is the Creator of all things.
Such suppression of truth leads men to do as they please because
they think they have no greater authority than themselves.
For this reason, even in the age of grace, God's wrath can be
directed towards those He considers as wicked.
Biblical terms there is a difference between wrath and anger.
You might say that anger is a softer form of wrath.
Wrath is an uncontrollable explosion of anger.
It is as if God's anger can no longer be restrained and it
explodes into wrath. The
wrath of God is seen in its full intensity in the book of Revelation at
the end of this age, but, Paul says here in verse 18 that it can also be
seen at this present time.
believe that the fall of nations and empires is an expression of the
wrath of God. I believe the
fall of men is an expression of the wrath of God.
I believe disasters, whether on a national level or a personal
level is an expression of the wrath of God.
being said, I believe these actions of wrath don't come close to the
wrath of God that is seen in the book of Revelation that appears in
history at the end of this age. Therefore,
it might be possible that God's wrath as seen in the fall of nations
might actually be a demonstration of His anger and not His wrath.
It's hard to know for sure since we really can't see into the
mind of God in some of these matters.
is important to understand that there is a difference between God
pouring out his wrath on the wicked and God disciplining His people.
God's people experience discipline from a loving God.
The wicked experience wrath from and angry God.
God's people do not, or will not experience God's wrath.
See 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 5:9.
points out how man has suppressed the truth that God is the Creator of
all things. Paul says in
verse 18 that men knew God is Creator but now hides this fact.
In verse 21 he says that we "knew God" but now "we
don't glorify Him as God". In
verse 25 he states, "they exchanged the truth of God for a lie Ö
and serve created things rather than the Creator".
Finally, in verse 28 he says that men no longer "think it is
worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God".
That should hit home with us who live in the western world today
because that is exactly what we have done.
of our society in the west has been built on the acknowledgment that the
God of the Bible created all things and therefore we are ultimately
subject to Him. Thanks to
Charles Darwin, and liberal theologians of the 1800's who removed all
supernatural content from the Bible, the west has slowly removed the
knowledge of God from life and society. We've exchanged the truth of
Creation for the lie of evolution.
19 and 20 simply state that the revelation of God, who He is, and, His
existence should be clearly seen in creation.
Therefore man has no excuse but not to believe in the existence
of God. At this point Paul
is not talking about the existence of Jesus.
He's talking about God and how creation reveals His existence.
teachers often point out that the revelation of God can be seen in three
progressive aspects. The
first one is what we see here. God
is revealed in creation. The
second way God is revealed to man is through their conscience, that
unless is totally destroyed, tells us what is right and what is wrong.
The third form of revelation is through the Holy Spirit.
21 alludes to the second form of revelation.
Paul said that man knew God existed in his thinking, or, in his
conscience, but, man chose in his foolish thinking to ignore what he
knew. The descendents of
Adam and Eve knew that God existed.
Somewhere along the line they distorted the very nature of God
and turned to polytheistic paganism.
I'm sure that the devil had influenced man in this direction, but
from what Paul says here, it was man's choice, just as it was Adam and
Eve's choice to disobey God. Thus,
the wrath of God was poured out on humanity which was seen in the flood
in Noah's day.
in verse 21 that man's thinking became
22 is simple. Man claimed to
men have not retained the knowledge of God as Creator as seen in verses
24, 26, and 28, God "gives men over" to the sinful lifestyle
they have chosen for themselves. Simply
put, God steps back from us, and with hands raised in resignation, says,
"If that's how you want to live, go ahead, just beware of the
should note the past tense in verse 24.
It states that God "gave" them over to their sinful
desires. Paul probably had
pre-flood men in mind here. Paul
speaks of one particular sin that God handed men over to after they had
rejected God to follow their own lusts.
Verses 24 to 27 state this sin to be homosexuality.
I know it's not socially correct to point this out, but that's
what this passage states. I
merely repeat the Biblical stance on the issue.
At creation, God created male and female as seen in Genesis 1:27.
"For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother
and be united with his (female) wife, and they shall become one
flesh" (Genesis 2:24). From
creation, God's intent for a man and a woman is to be married to one
another. Anything beyond
this is a perversion of God's will.
liberal theologians, and others, began the slide away from retaining God
as Creator in their thinking in the 19th century.
This process continued in all areas of life in the 20th
century and now into the 21st century. In government, law,
education, finance, and the rest of life, we have progressively and
systematically removed the knowledge of God as Creator from our communal
consciousness. Paul was
right. The rise of the
homosexual life style follows the acceptance of the lie of evolution.
That seems quite evident to me.
verse 24 Paul says that homosexuality is degrading to the bodies that
God created for us. Christians
should take this stand today. In
my thinking, homosexuality is one of the most divisive issues in western
society today and that includes the western church.
Churches have been split over this very issue.
the context of sexual perversion, in verse 25, Paul speaks about the
worship of the created instead of the Creator.
This is very true today. As
the saying goes, "sex sells".
Much of our present western culture revolves around sex.
The female body is getting to the place where it's almost being
worshipped these days. As
the end of this age draws closer, I believe past pagan sexual practices
will become common place. It's
beginning to happen now. In
centuries past, pagan religions incorporated sex into their worship.
In Paul's days the pagan temples were occupied by both men and
women prostitutes because temple prostitution was just a part of their
verse 26 we note that it wasn't just men who had engaged in homosexual
sex. Women did as well.
The pre-flood generations were very sexually sinful.
27 speaks of male homosexuality. The
controversial part of this verse is that Paul says that these men
received in themselves the penalty due to their perversion.
As far as I'm concerned at the moment, it is questionable just
what penalty Paul had in mind. Some
use this verse to say that AIDS is God's judgment on men who are
homosexual. I'm not
convinced we can use Paul's words in defense of that point.
the rise of the homosexual lifestyle other sins have become part of the
western experience. Paul
lists a few in verse 29. The
first two he mentions are greed and depravity.
Was it really the falling house prices that caused the great
recession of 2008, or was it pure greed found in the depraved minds of
those who sat in their luxurious financial office towers?
adds more sins to this list in verses 29 through 31.
They are; envy, murder, strife, deceitfulness, malice, gossip,
slandering, God hating, insolent, arrogance, boastfulness, disobedient
to parents, senselessness, (I find that one interesting) faithlessness,
heartlessness, and ruthlessness. I
think I can safely say that I recognize those trends in the western
ends Romans 1 in verse 32 with a very relevant statement.
He says, "They not only continue to do these things (above
sins) but also approve of those who practice them".
If that's not relevant, I don't know what is.
People have always committed the sins Paul lists, but now, we not
only commit these sins, we approve of them by passing laws that legalize
and encourage these sins. Of
course, our society doesn't recognize such sins as homosexuality to be
sin as it once did. That's
just the result when you don't retain God in your cultural thinking.
what comes next? I simply
quote the verse I started with. "The
wrath of God is being revealed from heaven."
God has shut down nations and civilizations before.
I'm sure He's not afraid to do it again for those on the road to
my thinking, in recent years we have failed to preach the wrath of God.
In this Biblically illiterate world how will people know that
they are under Godís wrath if we donít tell them? I
know our failure to preach God being angry may be due to an over
emphasis in times past, but we should not throw out the baby with the
bath water. Besides, the more we understand the wrath of God, the more
we will appreciate His love and mercy He has for us.
of the main points to this section of Romans is the fact that God hands
a society, a nation, or, an empire, over to the sins of their choice.
It's my thinking that once this happens, the society actually
becomes the sin of choice. This
is why I see our western nations becoming nations of homosexuals.
We're no longer nations that support and condone homosexuality;
we are becoming nations of homosexuals.
We actually become what we lust after.
can't be certain just when God steps back from a society and hands that
society over to their sins, but once He does, we do know that judgment
comes next and that society will fall.
If God hasn't yet handed the western world over to our sin, we
must be getting pretty close to the day when He does.
I would not be surprised if He hasn't already handed us over to
our sin. If that is so, we
can expect judgment to come to the western nations in which we live.
When that day comes, we should know that all people in the fallen
nation will suffer, including Christians.
You may struggle with that, but did God keep Christians wealthy
during the 1930's depression. No,
Christians suffered along with the rest of the nation.
The only difference between the Christian and the non-Christian
is that the Christian had Jesus to help them through the depression.