Summary: The gospel is the good news of Jesus that is the antidote of the bad news of God's wrath and judgment against sin. In Romans 1:18-32, Paul discusses why God's wrath is justified, and what happens to humanity when they reject God and God gives them up.

A. The story is told of a street evangelist who was trying to get the attention of people passing by.

1. He spoke loudly, urging the people to flee from the wrath of God to come.

2. He roared, “I warn you, that there will be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth!”

3. An older woman passing by shouted snidely: “Sir, but I have no teeth, so how will I gnash my teeth?”

4. The evangelist replied: “Oh, don’t worry about that, teeth will be provided!”

B. Although we might find humor in this story, there is nothing funny about the wrath of God.

1. Most of us would rather hear about God’s love and grace than about His wrath, but the truth about God and about the future include the reality of God’s judgment.

2. In fact, the Bible says more about God’s wrath than about love, and Jesus spoke more about hell than about heaven.

3. The Bible is filled with warnings about God’s wrath and about eternal judgment, and I would not be faithful as a preacher and teacher of God’s Word if I avoided this subject and the texts that discuss it.

4. Many Christians feel that they have to apologize for this doctrine and they see it as a blemish on God’s good character, but as we will learn in today’s sermon, God’s wrath is the appropriate and needed response to sin.

C. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

1. Today’s sermon continues our series called “Paul’s Letter to the Romans: Pursuing Righteousness From God.”

2. After beginning with an introduction of himself, his ministry, and the gospel he preaches, which is a gospel of a righteousness that comes from God through faith, Paul moved right into an almost three chapter presentation of “the gospel and God’s wrath.”

3. Even though the theme of Romans has to do with the righteousness that comes from God, Paul first must declare the unrighteousness of man.

4. Until all people know that they are sinners destined for God’s judgment, then they cannot appreciate and accept the gracious salvation God offers in Jesus Christ.

5. And so, beginning here in Romans 1:18 and going through Romans 3:21, Paul will lay out the fact that the Gentile world is guilty, and the Jewish world is guilty, and then finally, the whole world is guilty, and therefore subject to God’s wrath and judgment.

D. The section of text that we want to explore today includes Romans 1:18-32.

1. Those verses can be divided into three basic parts.

2. Part One: God’s wrath against sin and its basis (1:18-20).

3. Part Two: People’s suppression of truth and its consequences (1:21-31).

4. Part Three: A final concluding indictment (1:32).

E. With that introduction, let’s dig into the text: 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. (Romans 1:18-20)

1. Let’s talk for a minute about the word “wrath.”

a. Some modern translations use the term “anger” instead of “wrath,” for the Greek word used in this verse.

b. But even though the word “wrath” is a bit old-fashioned, it preserves the more objective sense the Greek word carries when applied to God.

c. What we must understand is that God’s reaction to sin is not the “anger” of an emotional person, but rather is the necessary reaction of a holy God to sin.

d. God’s wrath is not uncontrollable rage, or vindictive bitterness or losing His temper.

e. In fact, the Bible tells us in more than one place that God is “slow to anger” (Neh. 9:17; Ps. 103:8)

f. God is not egotistical or capricious, but always acts justly on the bases of His own unchangeable, perfect standards.

g. And so, wrath is what happens when holiness meets sin, and when justice meets rebellion, and when righteousness meets unrighteousness.

h. As long as God is God, He cannot overlook sin, or dismiss lightly those who trample His holy will, or mock His holy name.

i. God’s very nature demands that He react decisively and negatively to sin.

2. Here’s Ray Pritchard’s working definition of God’s wrath: God’s wrath is His settled hostility toward sin in all its various manifestations.

a. The word “settled” is used to convey the notion that it is a predetermined reality, rather than an emotional reaction.

b. God’s reality includes the fact that God’ holiness cannot and will not coexist with sin.

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