Musings 79

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them…22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 & in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman & burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts & receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 & just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

In light of recent events, those with hope that God was not going to send a great judgment upon us have revised that hope. It is not that judgment will not come, but it has already arrived, though assuredly things will get worse. Despite the gibberish put out by liberal theologians and those who lean hard to the left in politics, God is a God of wrath. Romans 1:18 is about as clear as one can be. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” The text is really indisputable in that God reveals His wrath, but what is not so obvious is how He shows His wrath.

Romans 1:18-32 is a classic text on the fact that God shows wrath, but it seems to be forgotten in our day just how God shows His wrath. While people expect the wrath of God to come in lightening or in famine or in dramatic ways, there are actually far worse judgments that He sends. The judgments that God sends in Romans 1 are spiritual judgments and are simply not thought of as judgments. Men think of being punished in a physical way for their sin, that is, that bad things will happen to them if God judges. What they don’t understand is that the severe judgments of God happen immediately and yet they are not recognized because part of the judgment is being turned over to pride and a hardened heart and so they are blinded to the judgment.

We must look with some care at Romans 1 or we will miss the teaching of the awful judgments and wrath of God. We see in v. 24 that it is a judgment when God gives people over to “the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.” Now men don’t understand that being given over to their lusts is a judgment, but instead they think of it as being free to exercise the lusts of their hearts. They don’t understand that when God hardens them and gives them over to their sin, they are in bondage to sin and an even greater bondage to that sin. As they slide deeper into the slavery of sin, their misery will increase though they will not recognize that either. As they slide deeper into the life of being controlled by their lusts, their bodies are dishonored and yet they are blind to that as well.

Another thing that sinners are blind to as they slide deeper and deeper into sin is that they are treasuring wrath up for the day of wrath (Romans 2:4-5). These poor, deceived sinners think that they are free from the wrath of God and yet at the same time they are being given over to their sins and they are treasuring up wrath for the day of wrath. In other words, when God turns a person over to sin that is a severe judgment on that person. It is a present judgment for sin in that it will bring more and more sin and more and more hardening to sin. It will bring more and more eternal judgment as well. When we think of the text of Scripture (Matthew 18:6) that it is better for a person to have a large stone hung around his neck and dropped into the depth of sea than it is for that person to be a stumbling block for a true believer, it should give some idea of the hideous nature of sin. When God turns a person over to sin by means of a hardened heart, though the person may not recognize this as a judgment, yet it is as severe a judgment that can be given in this life. The Supreme Court’s decision this past week is evidence of the wrath of God having been poured out upon us perhaps years ago. The wrath of God was intensified this week as seen in this judgment of turning a people over to sin.

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