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 honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.Romans 1: 18-21
When I think of wrath, I have images of out of control anger run through my mind. I personally have an ‘at-odds’ relationship with anger. I don’t feel, most of the time, that its expressions are appropriate and because of that it has lead to me having some unhealthy repression of anger issues. I often quote to myself the Bible verse James 1:20 The anger of man does not bring about the righteousness of God. Man’s anger and God’s anger are not the same.
In this passage, we get a picture of how contrary our sinful nature is compared to God’s holiness. We see exactly why we are in need of the gospel and a savior. It also gives us an understanding of how wrath is revealed, it comes through the consequences of sin and it’s expression through out our human experience. The Bible says that God has been made plain and has been shown to us. It expressed to us that who God is, his character, and His expression is built into the creation of the world. His attributes like His eternal power and His divine nature are revealed to us through the creation of the world. Can you see it? Have you glimpsed the glory?
In verse 18 it says that His wrath comes against ungodliness and unrighteousness.
Ungodliness -man’s offense against God
Unrighteousness – man’s offense against one another
This offensiveness is why we need the blood of Christ applied to our lives. Jesus’s blood covers the sin’s we’ve committed against God and against men. Jesus did this for us on the cross. God revealed Himself to us through creation but here it tells us that every truth of God that had been revealed to man has been suppressed by men, that even though man knew God – they did not honor or glorify Him as God, or give thanks, so they became futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened. Have you ever denied the truth and found yourself in some faulty thinking and your heart wrapped up in foolishness? I have.
Futile in thinking – unable to produce godly results and stuck chasing worthless and purposeless things.
Foolish in heart – spiritually blind by willfully ignoring God……………. leading to darkness.
This is the condition of man with out Christ the Light of this world.
In this passage, we are faced with the fact that God, Himself, has wrath and that this wrath is not like human, out of control, anger at all. This is a righteous expression of His character. Yep, read that again, God’s wrath is a righteous…expression… of …His…character. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. How He deals with anger is not how we deal with anger.
Romans is a book that I fight with and that we just have to wrestle with it. The things written in it are things that I have struggled to understand because I am a limited being but I keep coming back to read it over and over again. I recently heard someone say, “It’s OK if you don’t get it, our minds are tiny compared to the infinite wisdom of God.” It’s true. Truth is often hard to comprehend.
God’s righteous wrath is against the sinfulness of man and God sent Jesus as a sacrifice to appease that wrath. He took it for us. Every time I think of how Christ died in my place. I am humbled. He deserves honor and thanks for it is by His sacrifice that I am kept from experiencing the effects of wrath.
Let’s look at what the effects or results of wrath are:
Sin Brings Death – Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death. (Eternal life comes through Christ)
Slavery to Futility and Suffering – Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope (Freedom comes through Christ.)
Continued Breakdown of Human Thinking and Behavior – Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves. (Restoring us to our right mind and action comes through Christ.)
As Christians, honor and thanks become the language of our lives and the expression of gratitude for His great love and sacrifice. Just stop for a moment and give thanks.
All is grace,