Summary: God has made every person responsible for responding to the knowledge of Him place within every person & within creation.
ROMANS 1: 18-23
THE UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
God’s Imprint On Mankind
[Acts 17: 23-28]
God has placed knowledge of Himself within every person that has ever been formed in a womb. Knowledge of God is also plainly evident in His creation. So God has made every person responsible for responding to the knowledge of Him within every person and within creation (CIT). If any person would respond to this knowledge God would lead him until Gospel salvation would be his also. But man has chosen to ignore and blatantly suppress this knowledge of God.
Thus every person is justly chargeable with rejecting God, for every person has inner revelation and the opportunity for outer realization of God but have chosen to follow their own desires and thoughts. The righteous wrath of God abides on all who reject the knowledge of God.
I. The Righteous Wrath of God, 18.
II. The Inter-Evidence of God, 19.
III. The External Evidence of God, 20.
[IV. The Vain Speculations of Man (21-23).]
The Bible has revealed to us the Gospel of Salvation by faith in Jesus alone. That’s the good news, now we have the bad news, or why man so desperately needs to be saved. [So the objective is to prove, the doctrine of the preceding verse which is, that the righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel and that righteousness is only obtainable by faith.] The Bible proves this need by showing that men are in themselves destitute of any righteousness that will satisfy God’s just standard and are under just condemnation. The argument will be: God is just, He must punish sin, all men are sinners, therefore, all are under judgment. Until a person is persuaded that their condition is one of the total lostness, they are not likely to be concerned about deliverance. [Everett Harrison. Expositor’s Bible Com. Zondervan. p 21. ]
This section on God’s assessment of the human condition will continue until 3:21. It begins in verse 18 which discloses another revelation from God, the revelation of the coming wrath of God against the wick rebellion of man. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,"
As the Gospel reveals God’s righteousness, it also reveals God’s wrath. God’s saving power will only be properly appreciated against the dark background of His opposition to evil. [The NT uses two words for wrath: thumos (rage- emotional) & org . The word use here is org . It expresses God’s abiding, opposition to evil.] The wrath of God is the determined purpose of His reason and law against sin. It is the justice of God punishing sin and those who participate in it. It is the calm undeviating purpose of the divine mind which makes sure of the connection between sin and punishment. His moral laws are as predetermined as His physical laws. This wrath is presently operational but culminates in judgment on the last day.
So wrath is God’s relentless opposition to all that would distort and destroy His will. It is His firm stand against all sin and rebellion. He seeks to dissuade individuals and societies from their sins by handing them over to the consequences of their sins.
This wrath of God is revealed ( ) or "uncovered, brought to light," or made known by direct communication or in some other way. The wrath of God is revealed by divine law, in actual punishment in life, in peoples’ consciences, etc. The world is built on a moral foundation so that over the long run life is better with the good and ill for the wicked. God makes it known that those who commit sin deserve death and punishment.
The greatest display and revelation of the wrath of God is seen in Jesus’ vicarious substitutionary death for mankind’s sin. At the Cross God poured out His judgment upon Christ for man’s sin and Christ cried out "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?"
God hates sin so deeply and requires its penalty met so that He allows His perfect, beloved Son to be put to death as the only means by which fallen mankind might be redeemed from sin’s curse.
John the Baptist said, "Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (Mt. 3:7). If you wanted to escape the fierily wrath of a prairie fire where should you flee? To a place where it has already burned. Where can you go to escape God’s wrath? To the Cross of Calvary where God has already poured out His wrath for sin upon His Son, our Substitute.
This wrath of God "is revealed against all ungodliness." Ungodliness is lack of reverence or obedience to God. God’s wrath is universal against "all" who deserve it. Unrighteousness men are people who do not give God His proper place in their life. They are rebellious toward God. Those who do not reverence God naturally will be lacking in just conduct toward one another (Rom. 9:14; Luke 18).