Tuesday, April 24

Romans 1:18 (First, the bad news)

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

In spite of all the biblical revelation and empirical evidence to the contrary, many people in our culture today are convinced that man is born basically good. As a result of this thinking many churches and preachers present the gospel as a mere call for ‘basically good sinners’ to accept the unconditional love that Jesus Christ already has for them. God’s wrath against human sin is not considered significant and repentance marginalized. There are even some that think that repentance should not even be included or mentioned in a gospel presentation. After all, why should a person that is ‘basically good’ need to repent to God who, they say, unconditionally loves all of humanity. (God’s love for his redeemed is unconditional, but for unbelievers to be told this love includes them without mentioning sin and wrath is a huge disservice to their eternal security.) Not only is repentance unnecessary in the thinking of some, but a Christian can continue to live ungodly and unrighteous lives for the rest of their years safe and secure in a salvation based on a momentary decision of belief. This view has a man made decision of belief, without any sincerity or repentance, binding God to responding with a get out of hell free card.

Paul in verse 18 answers this false teaching loud and clear. They are WRONG and are suppressing the truth of the extent of their depravity and ungodliness. The truth is that the extent of the depravity of ALL mankind is extremely severe and Paul begins to expound on that truth in this verse. Because of this ungodliness, the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven. God, who is holy and just, is extremely angry with the sin of humanity and his wrath is a righteous anger that his justice demands must be satisfied. On the cross of Calvary Jesus received the full brunt of God’s wrath and anger. This was an amazing display of God’s love and also His wrath and righteous anger for human sin. Sinners should understand that the cross indicates that human sin is a very serious problem and that a “so-called” salvation that does not result in a gratitude that addresses unrighteousness and ungodliness is pure folly. Romans 8 reveals that nature has also been subjected to futility and decay and the photo above confirms that even the atmosphere is capable of producing violent outbursts. There was no lightning in the Garden of Eden and there will be no lightning in the new earth and new heavens.

While his wrath is great, praise God that he provided a covering, of the righteousness of Christ, for all that flee to the cross of Calvary.


Craver Vii said...

Bad news is much easier to swallow when you know that it will be eclipsed by good news. I hope I never get too glib about the bad news and in doing so, fail to appreciate its gravity.

Shiloh Guy said...

I don't know why it continually amazes me that our culture clings to the "basically good" idea. I suppose it would be far too frightening to let it go!

This philosophy leads to some interesting gymnastics. What have we seen following the horrible events at Virginia Tech last week? Everybody is hyper-focused on finding who is to blame for the student's rampage. Certainly it could not be his fault! I've heard criticism for everyone from President Bush (remember: he caused Hurricane Katrina too!) to the kid's roommates who "should have seen this coming."

When we are all basically good, then we have to find someone to blame when we sin. Herein lies the horrible truth! As a culture, we won't face our sin and we won't take responsibility for it. That attitude won't last long!


jazzycat said...

Thanks. A failure to understand the bad news leads one to not understand why he needs the gospel good news.

I heard someone say, at the gathering at V-Tech two days after the shooting, that man was basically good. I think that was when I decided to go to Romans 1 next. It is amazing how fingers always want to point to external causes for human unrighteousness and ungodliness. Good point.

Anonymous said...

Excellent stuff guys!

Check out this very, very good post by Frank Turk on the subject of the V-Tech shooter.

I think we try to point fingers at something outside ourselves because we don't dare look at the cesspool of depravity within. Without the restraining hand of God, we are just like Cho - we ARE Cho, capable of the very same thing.

donsands said...

"Christains don't do righteous things to make them righteous, but by faith in Christ, they become righteous, so that they do righteous things". -Luther (may be a little paraphrased)

There's no way you took that lightning picture?

That's a photo i would have always loved to have been able to shoot.

jazzycat said...

Good point.

The lightning photo was taken about two weeks ago in northern Arkansas when that big system moved from west to east. We pulled over on the side of the road to get the shots. I took about 15 shots and got three bolts. I missed on most of them due to being little late.

Baptist Girl said...

Amen Jazzcat.


Bluecollar said...

The depravity of man, his slavery to sin, his resulting hatred of God.

Penal substitution. The wrath and full fury of the Father unleashed on His sinless Son as He bore our sins. You turn your head from these truths and there is no gospel.

Even So... said...

The wrath of God is still being revealed against all the thoughts of man being basically good. We cannot "educate" ourselves out of this problem, the irony being that the shootings were at a college campus.

Man left to himself can never climb his way out of his own heart...

Even So... said...

This is why we must continue to rail against the notions of man's moral evolution...in railing against that evil, we are casting down any imagination that tries to assert itself over and above the knowledge of God....

jazzycat said...

Mark and J.D.,
Thanks for the right on comments. It is sad that many cannot bring themselves to face what Paul is telling us here in Chapter 1 of Romans.