Romans 1:18-25 NKJV
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who [a]suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is [b]manifest [c]in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and [d]Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like [e]corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
A revelation of the wrath of God is needed to understand the righteousness of God. How can you understand grace if you do not even recognize what you have been delivered from? All mankind liable to God’s wrath. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold back the truth in unrighteousness. Here Paul begins is argument, the first position to be established is that all mankind without exception is guilty of sin before God, and therefore unable of itself to put in a plea of righteousness. But that’s not fair you say, so said the Israelites before you
“The wrath of God” is an expression with which we are familiar in the Bible. It denotes his holiness, his antagonism to sin, to which punishment is due. It expresses an idea as essential to our conception of His righteousness as do the words, “love” and “mercy.” Wrath means “vengeance”. To Paul, it was indispensable to use words which people used; but when applied to God they do not mean precisely what they do when applied to man. When the Savior is said Mark 3:5 to have looked on his disciples with anger (Greek, “wrath,” the same word is here), it is not that he had the feelings of a man seeking vengeance. Wrath is in opposition to His favor, by excluding the offender from the favors which he bestows on the righteous. It is not an unamiable, or an arbitrary principle of conduct. Wrath or indignation is used in the following Scriptures:
Ephesians 2:1-3And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the [a]course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 2:15-16who (speaking of the Jews) killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are [a]contrary to all men, 16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost. This word occurs 35 times in the New Testament.
Paul uses this term as the most powerful means of all for bringing home a conviction of God’s wrath to the consciences of believers, remember he is writing to those in Christ. For the gospel’s first office is to convince of sin and of judgment. YOU were an offense to GOD!
the apostle spoke of the wrath of God against human sin being especially at that time plainly revealed from heaven NOW (present tense)
Acts 17:30, “The times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commands all men everywhere to repent”
Repent from what? from all ungodliness and unrighteousness- Ungodliness means “impiety” a lack of reverence toward God, neglect of the worship and honor due to Him. It refers to the fact that people had failed to honor the true God, and had paid to idols the homage which was due to Him. Unrighteousness means that our sin was a direct offense against God.
Multitudes in every age refuse to honor him, and neglect his worship, even though they may not be idolaters. Many suppose that if they do not neglect their duty to “love” their fellow-men, if they are honest and upright in their dealings, that they are not guilty. The apostle here shows that the wrath of God is really revealed against their neglect of God; and that this is an offence of so much consequence as to be placed “first,” as deserving the wrath of God even more than the neglect of our duties toward men. Grace first teaches us to cling to God and His righteousness above all duties pertaining to man
Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness (impiety, a lack of reverence towards God) and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
These hold back truth (the truth of who He is and His Word as found in Scripture) therefore restraining the Spirit’s influence by their iniquity. This was done by a yielding to corrupt passions and propensities, and by being unwilling to retain the knowledge of a pure and holy God, who is opposed to such deeds, and who will punish them. As they were determined to practice iniquity, they chose to exclude the knowledge of a holy God.
Starting with two things—a portion of enlightenment on the one hand, and the natural tendency of the human mind to error on the other. Wherefore God gave them up — As a punishment of this idolatry, God withdrew his restraining grace. A contempt of God and His Word is the source of all wickedness.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-13The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
These changed the truth of God into a lie — They promoted false opinions of Him, and the worship of idols. And they represented His true being by images of men and creatures. The Greek expression here signifies inward veneration, reverence, esteem, and such like qualities felt in the mind and the paying outward worship and service to beings thought to be gods. These gave both to their idols, reverencing and respecting them inwardly, and performing various acts of outward worship to them. Because they were unwilling to retain the living God in their knowledge, give Him the honor due Him and chose to worship idols. So, the wrath of God is revealed- God gave them up – He abandoned them, or he ceased to restrain them, and permitted them to act out their lusts. These verses reveal the following:
(1) The tendency of all mankind was to these sins, the Jews who had His law and Gentiles alike; (2) The tendency of idolatry was to promote humanism; and, (3) all that was needful was for God to leave them to follow the devices and desires of their own heart.
In the passage taken as a whole, three steps or stages are indicated: (1) idolatry; (2) unnatural sins allowed by God as the punishment for this idolatry; (3) a still more complete and radical depravity. The first step is taken by the free choice of man, but as the breach gradually widens, the wrath of God is more and more revealed. He interferes less and less to save the sinful from their fate. I believe this is where we are as a country- America has forsaken God and turned their backs and ears from hearing His laws, and created a humanistic god of our own, therefore He has removed His hand from us and allowed our sins to overtake us.
The inevitable connection of idolatry with debased morality is stated here. Nothing but the knowledge of an Almighty and Holy God can teach and enforce human purity. Manifold experience shows that mere social civilization and mental culture can never banish sin. Nothing but the knowledge of God can reveal to man his sin and his value. I say value because the world is trying to redefine the value of mankind. Only God can do this.
How do we avoid the wrath of God?
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be [a]sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober (free from intoxication), putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11 Therefore [b]comfort each other and [c]edify one another, just as you also are doing.
In Christ, we are not appointed to the wrath of God, but that does not mean that we will automatically be exempt from it because we said a prayer at one time in our life. Paul says, be sober and watchful! Let us not sleep.—The metaphor here expresses not so much actual sin as carelessness in spiritual and moral things. “Let us not say, ‘Peace and safety,’ and resign ourselves to indifference about Christ’s coming.” The apostle uses the word ”sober” here twice, as in opposition to being drunk. But let us watch and be sober; to be understood of spiritual vigilance and sobriety: watchfulness denoting wakefulness from sleep, and sobriety freedom from intoxication. Both must be combined: we must be watchful, on our guard, and we must be sober, armed and prepared. Peter warns of the same,
We will not be caught unaware if we don’t get drunk like others. We separate from the world and obey the Word of God. We keep our eyes on Jesus. We crucify the flesh and walk in the light. We gather with the brethren and encourage one another. WE are awake, sober and watchful! THEREFORE
We understand that those not watchful may fall into the above idolatry. Paul tells us, Flee Idolatry!
1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
But what is idolatry? It can be veneration of an idol, such as in Hindu religion they worship the cow and a thousand other gods. That’s probably not the case with most of us here in America. The language in the Greek is not just of an outward making of an idol, but an inward veneration. Idolatry is defined as putting anything above or equal to God or His Word. Most of us do not see it this way. Often, ideas and philosophy can become an idol. WE make up our own Frankenstein Jesus- and so you idolize a god who has no standards or laws and just wants you to be happy and nice and to “love”.
Education can be an idol. Recently, science is being made and idol. I read an article the other day from an apostate preacher that said science and God are in agreement. Maybe in some respects, but only as science agrees with God. If you say, “Life begins at conception” than science agrees with God. But if you say, a fetus is only a mass of cells, then your placing your science above God’s holy Word. People display their idols every day. Science agrees with God on the ability of the mind to be powerful in directing our lives. “Mind over matter” This agrees with the Word of God, “we are transformed (changed) by the renewal of our mind”. But when you elevate science above God’s Word or even make it equal to God’s Word; then you are idolizing science.
Parents often idolize their children, placing sports, education, and the like above God’s command to gather. Let me explain- there’s a huge difference between missing a Sunday for vacation, work, etc. It is not sin to miss a service. It becomes sin when you habitually practice missing church. I have said it before and I will say it again, Heb 10:25 is directly connected to v. 26 ‘for if we continue to sin willfully” in forsaking the gathering (this is the public worship service, not a time of fellowship)
We idolize our children by embracing their sin and disobeying God’s Word.
Comfort is a huge idol. The Spirit revealed this to me: Comfort masquerades as peace “because I am comfortable I am at peace with God” and we choose comfort over obeying the Lord.
It is most often more uncomfortable to obey the Word of the Lord than not.
Ministry becomes an idol when we elevate our ministry above the Word of the Lord, celebrity pastors and charismatic preachers are idolized above the Word of God. Worship and worship bands are an idol- as we place their song lyrics above God’s Word.
Our duties and service to men become an idol—this is very much seen in the American church. Man is placed above God and His Word. This is humanism and is satanic at its core- “I am my own god”
–Disobedience is the first step toward idolatry. They “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” Because we choose to disobey God and His Word; the truth is suppressed. People will say things like, “I know what God’s Word says, but I do not think God would want me to be unhappy” and so they divorce their spouse. WE put our ideas on who we think or want God to be. Disobedience usually starts out small, but if left unchecked will become the norm.
Ex: I remember years ago before I met Matt, I was in a church with a great pastor. At that time, I began hanging around with a few people I should have not been hanging out with. I started missing a lot of church. I remember the pastor preaching one Sunday, “You should be in church every time the doors are open!” And I thought, “who does he think he is!” He was my spiritual authority watching out for my soul and the Lord was trying to warn me. Side note- if you are not submitted to the pastor, you are not submitted to God’s authority. An older woman wrote me a letter to warn me and a young teen whom I ministered to called me up, “Where have you been? I miss you”. I knew I was disobeying God and He used several people to warn me, but I continued for a short time and began to believe my own lies. I told myself I was secure and that I could do what I wanted to do.
–Deception follows disobedience. (I woke up after about 2 months, praise God)
If history reveals anything, it is that we easily deceive ourselves by believing our own lies, Paul tells us “although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened”.
When we fall away from the Scriptures and we begin to disobey God, doing what we want to do, when we want to do it and how we go about doing it; we deceive ourselves. Because God is good, and in His infinite mercy and goodness, He will continue to reach out to us, bless us, seeking to draw us nearer; and we deceive ourselves into believing He is pleased with us.
I knew someone (who claimed to be in Christ) having an affair with a married man and she convinced herself that he was the one in sin, not her, because he was married.
God is not pleased with you if you divorce your spouse and you do not have a Biblical reason. If you do not repent and marry another, it does not matter what others say, or the state says; you are an adulterer and living in adultery. There is forgiveness with God IF we repent, not if we harden our heart and brush our sin under the rug. We deceive ourselves. And the god we made up in our minds is not the God of the Bible.
–Delusion follows deception. “Professing to be wise, they became fools”
Delusion is a belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is accepted as reality or rational argument.
I am firmly convinced that America is under a spirit of delusion. It is the only rational answer I have for the things that are transpiring. We are in the time when people are calling things evil that are good and calling good evil. We have reached a state of delusion when you look right at a man and are told to call him a woman.
Lastly, once you reach this level of delusion, you venerate and lift up your sin and ungodliness above God-with a deluded mind you call evil good and good evil. You have entered idolatry.
I am asking the Spirit to search our hearts and remove every thing that has the opportunity to become an idol. If you are in disobedience, repent with a pure heart and He is faithful and just to forgive you. Do not let pride keep you from reconciliation. Do not believe the lie and do not give any place to the devil. We are not appointed to His wrath! Therefore be sober and watchful.
1 Cor 10:1-14
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