Romans 1:18-23 The Wrath of God Is Upon Us

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

The Wrath of God is Upon Us

I went to church up a steep slope and sat in a row in the balcony as far from the pulpit as possible.  Maybe they would not notice me as far from the preacher as possible.  He wore a suit that looked like nylon or polyester or something synthetic.  It was drab and the lack of colour in his necktie seemed unimaginative and servile.  His hair was greased and parted at the side – although it was the eighties each previous decade seemed to rest unaware on his clothing.  However, after he had read from the text fire fell from heaven.  It rained sulfur and brimstone each Sunday evening.  Pastors flushed with passion and pounded the pulpit, declaring God’s revulsion at sin.  I knew that I too repulsed him.  My eyes lost their focus.  My lids grew heavy and in sleep I forgot my sin and smiled.

That was not the case every Sunday, but I was raised in an age when hellfire and wrath were regularly remembered.  I longed for grace and unconditional acceptance.  Thirty years later I wonder at how the pendulum has swung.  We seem to be coddling ourselves and ignorant of the depth of God’s justice and his holiness.  Jehovah is not a Greek god who becomes enraged when he doesn’t get his way.  His anger is not dark like Hades.  God’s wrath is at the offence of injustice.  It is a fully righteous version of our indignation of the massacres in Syria, or the plight of a child abandoned on a subway.  These things should cause anger because the goodness of God has been thwarted by freedom.  The flourishing of creation is cauterized by our choices.  We can agree that someone must pay – we resist the idea that the someone is ourselves.

God is good.  We are not.  In this age of acceptance, that does not sound too bad.  However, God’s holy goodness causes separation from all that is unholy.  All that is corrupted warrants destruction.  The garbage should be cleaned from God’s pure streets.  If we were talking homicidal maniacs, child molesters and bureaucrats we might get some sympathy for clearing the streets with a dose of God’s wrath.  However, when the garbage collection comes we find loving mothers, doting fathers, young children and feeble grandparents also swept up in the collection.  How can a loving God assign all walks of people to the incinerator?  Because he is good and there is no-one good but him.  His very creation contaminates itself by its free-will and so he designates a place where the infection can fester forever.  He lovingly allows those who shake their fists and knowingly shake their heads in disbelief to live apart from him.  He righteously assigns them their fate.  He is love, yes.  But he is good – a pure goodness that can not abide corruption.  Apart from a miracle, he is the Father whose own nature alienates him from his children.  We begin our story without God and without hope in the world.  Why?  Because that is the way it should be.  Maybe when we see his wrath we will cry out.  Then we will know what the true meaning of God’s mercy and grace is.

Prayer

Oh God – our sin is immense.  Even the most well-behaved and helpful of us has lost their way.  We are an offence to your created order and we deserve the most extreme punishment.  Help us to know how to communicate both your wrath and your love.  Help us to communicate compassion and estrangement.  The whole picture makes the most sense – help us to see it and speak it.

Questions

  1. What is revealed from heaven?
  2. What is it revealed against?
  3. How would you describe God’s wrath?
  4. Why is God’s wrath talked about less than it was 50 years ago?
  5. How could you communicate God’s wrath in a way that is true?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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15 Responses to Romans 1:18-23 The Wrath of God Is Upon Us

  1. 1. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven.
    2. It is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth about who God is despite what God has shown them about Himself.
    3. God’s wrath is pure and just. It is demanded by His holiness. He cannot be the holy God who interacts with people entrenched in sin without having rightful wrath.
    4. I think the church wore itself out so much so on the topic of God’s wrath that younger generations tend away from that focus. The heavy focus on God’s grace which excludes His wrath is worse in my generation because we want to fit in with the culture around us. I think our world’s definition of love has snuck into our generation’s Christian definition, meaning you cannot possibly love someone if you disagree with them or worse confront them about it.
    5. We should start with showing others God’s absolute holiness and our total depravity. God is so holy that He cannot tolerate a bit of sin in our lives without having wrath towards that wrong or injustice.

  2. 1. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven.
    2. It is revealed against ungodliness and unrighteousness.
    3. God is just in His wrath.
    4. I think God’s wrath is talked about less during the current times than it was in the past becuase more and more people are doing what is rigth in their own eyes and in result, they avoid the topic of God’s wrath because they don’t want to believe that it actually exists. People don’t like to think that there are consequences to their choices.
    5. I would talk about God’s wrath by going through the Gospel with an unsaved friend. I would convince them or prove to them that there is sin in this world and I would tell them that the Bible says that God is holy.

  3. Emmy R says:

    The wrath of God, that is what we truly deserve. It is something that needs to be understood in its fullness so that the blessing of God’s grace and mercy can mean that much more to the believer. God’s wrath is a powerful aspect of His being, yet He is much more than that, He is a loving God who protects and cares for His people. These two countering ideas help to formulate the complex but wonderful God that we serve.

  4. Maelynn says:

    1.The wrath of God revealed
    2.Against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who aupress the truth by their wickedness.
    3. His wrath is just.
    4. Because the world is much more interested in acceptance and tolerance.
    5. By explaining to people that while God is loving and good, His goodness is pure and hates whatbis evil. Therefore, he cannot ignore it.

  5. Christa says:

    1. What is revealed from heaven? the wrath of God
    2. What is it revealed against? All ungodliness and unrighteousness of men
    3. How would you describe God’s wrath? righteous
    4. Why is God’s wrath talked about less than it was 50 years ago? The culture of the world has changed in the past 50 years so that talking about God’s wrath against sin is even more unacceptable. Talking about our sin and God’s wrath against it is always uncomfortable because it is convicting but in our world of pleasure, gratification, and comfort it goes against what we value and strive for in culture.
    5. How could you communicate God’s wrath in a way that is true? I think that it is important when talking about God’s wrath to speak about it in the context of relationship and always including the grace and mercy of God

  6. Michael McCardle says:

    What is revealed from heaven?
    The wrath of God
    What is it revealed against?
    All the ungodliness and evilness of men
    How would you describe God’s wrath?
    Just, righteous, righteous anger
    Why is God’s wrath talked about less than it was 50 years ago?
    Because the modern world today has watered down the gospel so that man can be good enough for God.
    How could you communicate God’s wrath in a way that is true?
    That wrath comes after the opportunity of grace and mercy has been extended. It is also important to know the context of wrath. For example, God has given man the chance to receive grace through Christ today. But if man refuses God’s grace and refuses to repent, then they will suffer justly from the wrath of God.

  7. Maria T. says:

    God’s wrath is loving, because God is love. When God has wrath, it is because something He loves needs to be protected. His wrath is a response to ungodliness and unrighteousness. It was never assuaged, but fully borne in the person of Jesus Christ. God’s wrath against sin is just as powerful as it ever was, but in His mercy, we are no longer sons and daughters of wrath but sons and daughters of Him.

  8. Megumi says:

    1. The wrath of God
    2. Ungodliness and unrighteousness of men
    3. Righteous and rightly terrifying
    4. It could be that a past over-emphasis or poor approach to teaching God’s wrath has caused us to shy away from it today, but also I doubt that talking about God’s wrath made you popular in anytime and with today’s greater concern for tolerance and acceptance has made it even less attractive.
    5. Within the meta-narrative of God’s redemptive story, which automatically tempers wrath with mercy in a way that doesn’t diminish wrath.

  9. Kimberly W. says:

    For my Romans class, I have been memorizing the first few chapters of Romans. I worked on chapter 1 this week, and was struck about people who ignore God. God has made himself evident in creation, yet we choose to reject Him. The wrath of God is fully deserved by us. It is only because of His great mercy that humanity is not completely obliterated; that is what we deserve.

  10. Jung Kim says:

    Help us to know how to communicate both your wrath and your love. Help us to communicate compassion and estrangement. This is interesting to think about and worthwhile to meditate more. When we look at the term mercy, it is defined as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” Mercy can also be defined as receiving what we do not deserve. On the other hand, the wrath of God is fully deserved by us. God’s wrath is deserving because it is loving. Although they are completely two opposite things in our perspectives, God finds that balance perfectly equal and reveals both characteristics concurrently.

  11. Christina W. says:

    “We seem to be coddling ourselves and ignorant of the depth of God’s justice and his holiness.” I found this statement to be really interesting and very true. In today’s culture, we don’t want to look at our own faults and wrongdoings. We want to see a God who is love without seeing a God who is just and holy at the same time. I think that it is hard for us to truly understand the depth of God’s love and grace without also understanding the depth of his justice and holiness.

  12. Andrew Moore says:

    1. The wrath of God.
    2. It is revealed against ungodliness and unrighteousness.
    3. God’s wrath is just.
    4. In our day, God’s wrath tends to make people uncomfortable, so preachers tend to focus on the love of God rather than his righteous anger.
    5. By emphasizing the fallen nature of humanity, God’s wrath makes much more sense. If we see people as mostly good, then it can be hard to stomach God’s wrath. However, if we see ourselves as we truly are, then we can have a better understanding of God’s wrath.

  13. Olyn says:

    What is revealed from heaven?
    God’s wrath
    What is it revealed against?
    Ungodliness an unrighteousness of man
    How would you describe God’s wrath?
    Holy, just and righteous. He is rightfully wrathful.
    Why is God’s wrath talked about less than it was 50 years ago?
    This age idolizes the concept of ‘tolerance’-basically, not believing in any concrete form of truth. Therefore, it would not be tolerant to say that humans are sinful and deserving of hell.

  14. 1. The wrath of God is revealed from Heaven.
    2. The wrath of God is revealed against ungodliness and unrighteousness.
    3. I would describe God’s wrath as holy and just. We all deserve God’s wrath.
    4. God’s wrath is talked about less because people feel afraid to bring it up with non-believers.
    5. I can talk about God’s wrath in a more effective way by discussing it in the overall story of God rather than just pinpointing the wrath of God on its own.

  15. Nate Silvieus says:

    The wrath of God comes from his holy dwelling place in heaven, against all of humanity. In our day and age, no one wants to hear it, it brings uncomfortable and not good feelings, All people want in our day is happiness, we want peace and good tidings for ourselves, so to think of a God who is wrathful is seriously diminished. No pastor seems to want to preach about it, because I think they know that people do not want to hear it. They do not want to scare people away, nor do they want people to think less of them. It needs to be known that God’s wrath is an absolute necessity for who he is- were he not a God of wrath and judgment, then all of his other attributes that we like to think about, like his grace, love and goodness fall apart, for they are in perfect unity with his perfect wrath which we all deserve. If God was not serious about our sin, then why should we take his grace and love seriously?

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