Summary: This sermon seeks to communicate the truth that all persons are responsible to acknowledge and know God and to refuse to do so leaves one subject to the wrath of God being revealed in their life rather than receiving the righteousness that comes from God
Paul has made his point that he is proud of the gospel because it is the power of God for salvation. It provides deliverance from the penalty of sin (death) and freedom from sin’s power over us now (it no longer masters us). For in the gospel he points out that a righteousness from God is revealed. The way of being made right with and before God has been declared, but more than that you have been made right and righteous in your spirit and soul. Now, Paul comes to establish the truth that ALL are unrighteous and in need of this salvation and righteousness. He does this by proclaiming that “Wrath Is Revealed” as we read in Romans 1:18-32
I well remember my Dad telling me that I could learn the easy way or the hard way. The lessons of life are sure to be learned one way or the other. Most of us choose the hard way don’t we? As one Auto Insurance Company advertises, “Life comes at you fast.” So get ready to learn the easy way or the hard way.
God can be known the easy way or the hard way. The easy way is spoken of by Paul in Romans 2:4 and 11:22. God’s “kindness or goodness leads you toward repentance. . . Consider therefore the kindness of God.” God is a God of love and mercy. But He is also a God of wrath and justice or judgment. Therefore, you may get to know God the easy way or the hard way. The point is, God is not willing that any perish, but that all come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, Lord and Life!
Before I say anything more, I must establish the responsibility of ALL people everywhere to acknowledge the existence and the basic character of God. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way, “He who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him” (11:6b). You may or may not acknowledge Him, however I’m warning you that it’s your responsibility to do so! If you don’t, that’s where the wrath of God comes in and you’ll learn the hard way.
Now the wrath of God is not an irrational burst of anger such as we humans often exhibit. Rather, it’s the outworking of the consequences of sin upon persons by a holy, righteous God. C.K. Barrett says, “It’s God’s personal reaction to sin.” It’s divine displeasure or retribution in a morally ordered world that God created. What wrath reflects is the downward spiral of human behavior as God withdraws His presence and His restraining influence in your life and in His world. At the same time, lacking respect for God leads to a lack of justice for persons as well. History well demonstrates that nations who forsake God lose their concern for the rights of individuals. We can see that right before our eyes here in America today! So recognizing that God’s wrath is a reality what do I hear this passage of Scripture saying as “Wrath Is Revealed?” First of all as wrath is being revealed it says:
I. GOD CAN BE KNOWN verses 18 – 20
Verse 18 indicates wrath is being revealed in the present tense which has continuing action, from heaven which equals from God. It’s being revealed against those who don’t respect God and those who lack justice for people, who also restrain, withhold or stifle the truth. That being the fact, the truth really is:
A. People by nature know God verses 19 – 20
People have no excuse for not knowing God and the word here “without excuse” is a legal term meaning stripped of any defense. The reason being and why wrath is revealed is God has made it perfectly clear to mankind, He has made it evident within them as well as in His creation. Theologians call this General or Natural Revelation. God has provided sufficient evidence of Himself to hold every person accountable for knowing Him. The Message Bible says, “By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of His divine being. So nobody has a good excuse.” However:
B.People by bent and rebellion reject God verse 21–23
Running throughout this passage (21, 28, 32) is the consistent reminder that ALL people have knowledge of God . . . . The basic problem of people is not ignorance of the truth, but rebellion against the One who is truth. From the very beginning humans have been rebels. Adam and Eve chose to believe Satan’s lie that God was withholding something from them. So our first parents rebelled and the entire human race has suffered the effects of that rebellion.