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The Wrath of God

The Wrath of God

I am not too mechanical, but I have learned around my house that one of my jobs is to change light bulbs. Last week I was trying to unscrew one but it wouldn’t budge so using logic I determined it needed more force. I used maximum force and to my shock it broke off in the socket. All I could think of was the electricians bill. My son-in-law came to the rescue with some needle nose pliers and a question—“were you turning it clock wise?” Yes I was. Well what we have here is a left threaded screw so you must turn it counter clock wise. My wife spent 30 years teaching me how to change light bulbs and now it’s a whole new ball game.

Maybe some of you spent the last 30 years learning about the grace of God, the love of God, and the forgiveness of God and along comes this guy teaching about “a left threaded screw” which is the WRATH OF GOD. Does the Bible really teach about the wrath of God? Isn’t that an Old Testament concept? Since Jesus came doesn’t the New Testament only teach the grace and love of God?

Not so fast, just read the Apostle Paul’s systematic presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in Romans 1-5. Paul introduced the theme of this epistle to the Romans in 1:15-17 by telling them how eager he was to preach the gospel to them because it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe. In the gospel the righteousness of God and the righteousness from God is revealed to us by faith from first to last. Paul will continue to elaborate on the righteousness from God in ch.3:21, but first it is all important that we understand why we must have this righteousness. We must understand our great need, and we must understand how desperate our situation is without a relationship with Jesus. Paul’s presentation of the gospel is over five chapters and the majority of it is about the wrath of God, the unrighteousness of mankind, the rebellion of the human race, the suppression of truth, and the failure of religion and human effort. Clearly Paul would not devote so much space in his most important epistle if the wrath of God was not a very important truth.

God’s Wrath Is Connected to His Righteousness

After telling them that the gospel is the power of God for salvation, he tells them why they need that salvation so badly in v.18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men”. Romans 1:18 is connected to v15-17 by the Greek word “gar” which is translated “for” but could be translated “ because”. In fact 1:15 through ch.3 is one continuous flow of thought about the importance of the gospel and why everyone must have it. Each clause is subordinate to the previous statement and builds on why Paul is so eager to preach the gospel. Why is God’s righteousness needed in order to live now and be eternally saved? Because God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against the wickedness of people who suppress the truth.
What is the Wrath of God ?
We normally think of it as unworthy of God as if it means losing your temper, to be suddenly enraged and violent, but this word in Greek is “orge” which is a wrath that builds up over time like water collecting behind a dam and creating a lake. It is a settled opposition to all that is evil and which contradicts His holiness. God’s hatred of all that goes against His holiness is building up, is being revealed now in an evil world, and will one day result in the eternal condemnation of all who are not justified by God’s righteousness.

God’s wrath is a necessary reaction of a holy God against sin. God’s anger is not like human anger. It is not a selfish anger or an emotional anger, but it is a righteous and just anger. There are at least four reasons given in Romans 1:18-32 why every person deserves God’s wrath :

1. God has revealed Himself to everyone—God created us with an inherent knowledge of Himself and a desire to seek God. God is evident in His creation because the size, the order, and the complexity give unmistakable testimony. In spite of this, man has suppressed the truth.

2. The human race, in its pride, has willfully rejected God.

3. Rationalization—men are determined to justify themselves by wisdom and philosophy of their own choosing. In doing so, they become greater fools.

4. Man made religions are systems designed to replace the truth. Man is not godly but he is religious. Mankind has made gods of his own choosing and ended up worshipping what is created instead of the Creator. A Roman poet named Horace said, “I took a piece of lumber and I wavered, shall I make a stool or a god? I chose a god and thus god I am”.

Only by understanding the bad news can we appreciate the good news. Thus we need to know the human predicament which is that God’s wrath is well earned and there are no excuses.

Next weeks message—How I learned to stop worrying and enjoy the wrath of God.

About the Author: Charlie Taylor
About the Author: Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor grew up in Dallas, Texas, graduated from the University of Texas Business School and went into the commercial real estate business for about twenty years before enrolling in and graduating from Dallas Theological Seminary with honors.

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