Romans 1:18, Jeremiah 44:22, John 3:36, Ephesians 5:6,1 Thessalonians 2:16, Revelation 15:7
Summary: In Romans 1:1-17, Paul has presented his apostolic credentials, his desire to visit the brethren in Rome, and the power of the Gospel. His focus now shifts to the revelation of the wrath of God, a topic that too few believers and too many people in general are afraid to face.
In his multi-volume work on the book of Romans, the late pastor and Bible expositor Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote concerning the wrath of God, “It would be pleasant not to have to preach on this subject, but if one sets out to be an expositor of the Word of God, it is necessary to consider all of the revelation of truth in the order in which God has seen fit to deliver it to us. The minister has no right of choice, though there are some ministers that seek to interpose their choice in priority over the Divine Revelation” (Romans, Vol. 1: “Man’s Ruin”, p.215).
As these days continue to grow darker in this world in terms of spiritual warfare, the need to present this subject is even more profound as more ministers and their respective congregations prefer to have their ears tickled at the cost of their souls (Isaiah 5:20-21, 24; Mark 7:13; Timothy 4:1-5). One hardly hears anything from the average pulpit today on the “wrath of God” because it is either viewed as “too offensive” or gets in the way of the image of a deity they have conceived in their own hearts and minds that gladly looks the other way in terms of sin and accountability (Exodus 20:1-2). Facts outweigh feelings, especially when it comes to the truth and fact of our condition before a Holy, Sovereign, and Almighty LORD God.
Like the late Dr. Barnhouse and other faithful preachers of the Word, I don’t particularly enjoy bringing up the subject of God’s wrath, but I cannot be faithful to my calling as a minister of the Word if I neglect to address this serious issue (Ezekiel 3:18-19; 1 Thessalonians 5:14), if only to shake some sense into the growing flock of mind-numbed sheep following everything and anyone but the Good Shepherd and the salvation that He provides (John 10:11; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25, 5:4; Revelation 7:17). Any man of God (1 Timothy 2:12, 3:1-8; Titus 1:8-9) who preaches only on the “love of God” without presenting the fact of His anger towards sin and our rebellious attitude towards Him is not doing anyone any good. The messenger is to deliver the message, which is precisely what I aim to do from this point going forward.
Starting with Romans 1:18, Paul lays out the prosecuting case against humanity in terms of our sin and perpetual condition of hopelessness. Before there can be a remedy, there has to be an initial diagnosis, and before that, a case history.
As part of the case history, we need to establish the meaning of the term “the wrath of God.” What does the Bible mean when it describes this part of His Holy character?
In the New Testament, there are two Greek words used to refer to the wrath of God. The first word is “THUMOS,” meaning a sudden explosion of anger. We see this in Luke 4:28 when the citizens of Nazareth wanted to harm the Lord Jesus. The word used in Romans 1:18 is different. It is the word “ORGE,” meaning to become “red-faced,” picturing someone who is holding in his anger as it builds up inside of him, implying that there will come a time when the anger comes forth. God demonstrated this built-up wrath that came in the flood (Genesis 6-8), the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), and at the Red Sea where He destroyed the armies of Egypt (Exodus 14).
When God’s wrath is described in Scripture, it is always done in a manner that is just, fair, balanced, and within the boundaries of His Holy, omnipotent, omniscient, sinless nature. When the wrath of God falls upon a person or a nation, it is because they deserved it, and it was executed in perfect, divine justice. He can bring the inevitable discipline to people as well as bring their doom due to their wickedness. As the days grow darker and the return of the LORD draws near, this discipline and judgment will increase and be more obvious to those who can truly see and who have ears to hear (Matthew 24:4-14; Mark 13:3-13; Luke 21:7-19). It is wickedness and sin on our part that gives the reason for why the wrath of a Holy God even exists.
In our present sinful condition, we are His enemies (Romans 5:10, 8:7; Ephesians 2:3). Due to our willful rebellion, we do not want to be under the rule and guidance of God. Therefore, every civilization and person outside of God’s redemptive grace has been more than willing to fashion a deity into their own liking and image that will not mind their behaviors and actions, even if they decide to deify themselves and deny the existence of the true God altogether (Psalm 14:1-3, 51:1-3).
Generations of foolish and arrogant civilizations have either believed, advocated, or assumed that their self-conceived “gods” would never demand an accounting from them at the end of life but welcome them into whatever sense of ethereal bliss their respective mythologies presented.
This present world is no different as people and organizations from all walks of life have come to decide that “God is love,” a blanket term to demand acceptance for their beliefs and lifestyles without any fear or consequences. Never mind the fact that they cannot seem to define the term “love” except as a combination of physical gratification and some kind of self-centered emotional idea that is in total conflict with the standards God has decreed in the Scriptures. In turn, these same corrupt souls will condemn the God of the Bible for having the “nerve” to send people into eternal hell.
The wicked are content in sin and depravity and do not want to face the possibility that they are wrong and blind to anything that might interfere with their lives. They do not want to hear or be confronted with their unrighteousness.
And as Paul will present in Chapters 1-3, this degrading behavior and its rotten harvest brings about the certainty of the judgment of God.
A good doctor will be blunt and open with any patient who is exhibiting the symptoms of a fatal disease. He will not prescribe a placebo or give a pain reliever that temporarily soothes discomfort. The caring physician will show their patient how the disease originated and the seriousness of what will happen if no treatment is given. Jesus is the Great Physician who shows us the terminal effects of our sins and rebellion towards God, and He provides us the cure by surrendering our diseased, sinful lives, which are bound for death and hell, to Him to cleanse us from our sins, and to give us eternal life that will be forever free from the curse of sin, death, and hell (Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 5:6-11; Romans 10:9-10; 1 John 1:6-10, 2:1-2).
Do not listen to confused friends, psychics, secular psychologists, nor the irritating empty heads and flapping gums of talk show hosts, political pundits, or even some so-called “ministers” who peddle the idea that we are not all that bad, that our “best life is now,” and if we “think good thoughts” or produce some other type of self-remedy, all will be well. The Bible makes it clear that we are not “good” in the eyes of a Holy God, and if you care to face the facts of reality, then continue to see how Paul lays out his case as he progresses through these verses. The Doctor is in, and he is waiting to give you the cure.
My book, The Scope of Biblical Prophecy, is now available at www.parsonsporch.com.
Donald was born and reared in the authentic “Cajun Country” of southern Louisiana. He is a graduate of Louisiana College (B.A. in History Education/ Biblical Studies, 1984), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div. In Christian Education, 1994), and Andersonville Baptist Seminary (Doctor of Ministry, Biblical Exposition, 2000). He has been in the Gospel ministry since 1986, serving as an evangelist, interim and supply pastor, hospital and rescue mission chaplain, high school and college teacher, and pastor in churches in Louisiana and Oklahoma.
In 2018, he began to devote his time to the rich field of internet and social media evangelism and outreach. In 2021 he became a member of the Oklahoma Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, using his skills as a writer to contribute articles and sermons to websites such as Rapture Ready, Sermon Central, and Inspirational Christian Blogs. He also writes Bible studies and curricula for churches in southeast and central Asia and Africa, the locations of which are anonymous. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries, information, and speaking/preaching engagements. A copy of his resume is also available upon request.