Today’s Theme: The Wrath of God
Today’s theme is the wrath of God toward every sinner regardless of their nationality or background. Here Paul lays the canvas on which the beautiful picture or redemption is skilfully painted.
Without the reality of Gods personal and active wrath and judgement then the Cross and Gospel lose their context.
Sub themes include mans depravity in sin and the rewards earned through fruitfulness or judgement through unfaithfulness
Don’t follow your evil will
and because you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, every one of you follows his stubborn, evil will, refusing to listen to me.(Jeremiah 16:12, ESV)
The modern and western exaltation of the will is a very dangerous thing… it seems we all have rights to choice and will except God.
Don’t follow your own stubborn, evil will, instead listen to God.
Who will you follow?
Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.(Jeremiah 17:5, ESV)
The first two (trusting in man and human strength) results in the third (heart turns from the Lord). Who will you trust today, whoever you trust, your heart will follow
Well placed and watered
He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”(Jeremiah 17:8, ESV)
Yes Lord we want to be like this well watered, well placed tree, always bearing fruit without anxiety.
This is the state of those who really do have a healthy, biblical relationship with The Lord. The evidence is in the fruit.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?(Jeremiah 17:9, ESV)
This is every mans problem, total depravity. This is not just true of some men or those who commit a particular sin, it is true of all Adam’s children who have inherited sin and are evil by nature (the teaching of Original Sin).
We will read more about man’s depraved state in sin in our NT reading today.
Paid according to fruit
“I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”(Jeremiah 17:10, ESV)
With this being true, Lord we need your help, mercy and grace.
God will pay every man that has ever lived, if the payment has not been made for an individual in Christ then God will pay with his wrath.
Again we are called to be fruitful as this will determine our reward.
God actually saves
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.(Jeremiah 17:14, ESV)
God actually saves, not potentially saves. If God saves you then you are saved and can rest in that calm assurance that those he saves, he keeps.
God is angry
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.(Romans 1:18, ESV)
The truth of God’s active, personal, revealed wrath (anger) and judgement against all mankind’s sin is a teaching that has fallen on hard times.
Many attempt to teach today that God is not angry. This is not true. Paul begins his argument by consigning all men under the present and future wrath and resulting judgement of God.
This is connected to verse 17 from yesterday’s reading where we read the righteousness of God is revealed. It stands in contrast to the anger of God revealed against those who stand opposed to his righteousness which can only be received by faith through the power of the gospel message.
God’s wrath is against all sin not just select ones and it is not against sin as some abstraction from the sinner he is angry with the sinners themselves who by their sin supress the truth.
Preaching about the reality of God’s wrath is essential to the presentation of the gospel, it is the canvas on which the beautiful picture of grace and reconciliation is painted.
God’s anger is an important part of who God is, we do not need to sanitize God, he is who he is and he is righteously angry with the self destructive treason of man.
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.(Romans 1:20, ESV)
Paul now makes the case that man in his sin is suppressing the very basic truth all men know, that God is Gods, Creator and King worthy of worship and honour.
Creation is a testimony to all men even atheists who are all liars, lying to themselves that there is no God when the creation is clear evidence of the creator.
This is often called general revelation, the truth that creation testifies to the reality of God to every creature and even the fact that we are moral creatures points to God.
All mankind are without excuse. Our sin is the wilful suppression of the truth about God.
Foolish, dark hearts
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.(Romans 1:21, ESV)
Paul continues to build his argument to show just how depraved man is in sin. He asserts that although all mankind knows who God is through creation, all (not just some men or sinners but all men) do not honour or thank God.
This wilful rebellion and thanklessness leads to God giving all men over to a futile, foolish dark heart.
Mankind is totally depraved in his thinking because he does not honour the Creator and so have become fools even asserting that there is no God
God gave all men up
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,(Romans 1:24, ESV)
We all need to recognise what a desperate condition we were in as children of wrath, we were all given up to a reprobate, lust driven mind.
We may try to sanctify our own past in sin as being respectable “natural” sins as opposed to the spectacular, gross “unnatural” sins but this is a false economy.
All sin at it’s core is the same, it is open rebellion against the King of Heaven, it is an honouring of the creation instead of the Creator.
God in his wrath gives men over to their sin which is in a sense the present judgement for their sins because sin by its corrosive nature will rot and destroy the life it holds.
Don’t worship creation
because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.(Romans 1:25, ESV)
Naturalism, Evolution, New Age even some Environmentalism is all guilty of this as well as the core nature off sin which is self and creation worship.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.(Romans 1:26-27, ESV)
The bible is bold in talking about homosexuality, it is called unnatural so it can never be redeemed as a way of life or being.
Homosexuality is described as a shameless act which receives a due penalty because of the wrath of God and the breaking of natural law. We see this today in sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS which used to be called GRIDS.
There is no confusion in the bible, homosexuality in men and women is a sin that must be repented of if someone claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
One of the problem with sin worshiping the creation is that creation was not made to handle worship and so the undue honour distorts the creation resulting in the most deplorable and unnatural deviations from God’s plan and created order.
A debased mind
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.(Romans 1:28, ESV)
Not an unredeemable but a worthless mind in sin. If we are willing to be honest all our minds were debased and reprobate in sin when we consider what we should be before God.
The death penalty
Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.(Romans 1:32, ESV)
The wages of sin is death as decreed in Eden, the reason men die is the penalty of sin not old age, sickness or happenstance. All sinners (not just the worst) actually deserve to die for their sin.
Don’t be a hypocritical judge
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.(Romans 2:1, ESV)
All mankind have no excuse! When we start to judge one sin over against others and in light of our own sin we are being hypocrites hiding our sin behind the condemnation of others.
The proper response is to judge our own sin first and seek Gods grace and from that place judge all sin against the word of God…now without hypocrisy.
Kindness should lead to repentance
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?(Romans 2:4, ESV)
What do we do with Gods grace, goodness, kindness and mercy to us. Is it a licence to live in anyway we like… Of course not… The goodness and grace of God should lead us to initial repentance from sin and perpetual repentance in our daily walk with him.
Do not be presumptuous, God will not be fooled or used.
Stored up wrath
But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.(Romans 2:5, ESV)
This is a word to all those who knowing the truth harden their hearts and refuse to repent.
It is also a word to those who seek to abuse Gods grace and will not repent.
In both cases Gods very real wrath is being stored up and not general but personal and specific judgement will be meet out on the day of judgement.
Jesus took the judgment and wrath due us on himself on the cross
Judged by works
He will render to each one according to his works:(Romans 2:6, ESV)
We may not be saved by works but we are judged by them so be fruitful
The reward of Eternal Life
to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;(Romans 2:7, ESV)
We must endure in doing well, the reward/gift is eternal life
A level playing field
For God shows no partiality.(Romans 2:11, ESV)
We are one in Christ, now we are all judged on our works this is why we need Jesus to be saved and then to be fruitful
Avoid self deception
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.(Proverbs 16:2, ESV)
Dear Lord, please keep us from thinking our ways are pure or right, help us to know our own spirit and be genuine so when you weigh each of our spirit we are not found wanting
Commit your ways to the Lord
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.(Proverbs 16:3, ESV)
As I read through my notes on this today I read a prayer I wrote this time last year committing every area and plan of my life to the Lord, the prayer included family, ministry and my career. I would encourage you to do the same today.
Sovereign over the wicked
The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.(Proverbs 16:4, ESV)
God is sovereign even over the wicked
Punishment will come
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.(Proverbs 16:5, ESV)
Arrogance will be punished by the wrath of God so humble yourself today
Fear God and repent
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.(Proverbs 16:6, ESV)
There can be no repentance without the fear of the Lord
Seek to make peace
When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.(Proverbs 16:7, ESV)
He makes his enemies be a peace with him, they are not at peace with him by default of his ways pleasing the Lord but a man whose ways please the Lord will seek to make his enemies at peace with him
Make a plan
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.(Proverbs 16:9, ESV)
At least make a plan and the Lord will lead
Glorify God in business
A just balance and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are his work.(Proverbs 16:11, ESV)
Good and fair business brings glory to God