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January 25, 2021 Right Wrath - Pastor Perry Windecker

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.


For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.


Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen” (Romans 1:18-25 NIV).


Reflection

Read that again and let it sink in….


Basically, it is saying we messed up big time. We turned away from the God of all creation to stupid created things like materialism, greed, lust, sex, and a myriad of other things that still leave us empty. We worship the world and all it has to offer for the finite time we have instead of that which is eternal, the created instead of the Creator. We think more of the broken world that we broke than the Creator that made it perfect— and who can restore it to being perfect.


Talk about dumb! That us! And it’s not just everyone else, it's us. It's you and me. "Human godlessness and wickedness (1:18) permeate every age and culture." It’s not a particular race or gender, “but the innermost truth of all of us.” That is, all of us, the dumb idiots that tried the supplant God Himself with ourselves and our selfish desires. We are all guilty. Not one of us is innocent. We’re born with it and into it. Why else does a two-year-old lie about stealing that cookie with chocolate smeared all over their face?


However, in all of this we also must understand that God’s wrath is not Him sitting in heaven plotting against us with some sort of cosmic revenge or punishment. He is not setting there wringing His hands saying wait till I get a hold of them. No, instead He is crying with the disappointment of a caring loving Father. No, His wrath is much worse, it is simply allowing us to go our own way with all its consequences and inherent punishment of death.


In these passages Paul is telling us that humanities suppressing of the truth about God, rather than idolatry, is the root sin. Throughout all of time God has made Himself known to us through all of His creation as an invitation to a dialogue between us and God. However, this knowledge is not forced upon us. We instead need to take a more positive and receptive active role in it. Paul is not trying to prove God’s existence but rather scolding humanity for not honoring God, giving God the glory He deserves.


"By suppressing the truth about God, humans made themselves victims of self-deception." Deception to made up religions, sex, lust, greed, materialism, and a myriad of other prisons and shackles. “The punishment for sin is sin. Human law exacts no punishment of those who leap from skyscrapers. Like sin, its certain consequence is death—its own punishment"


I know you are now saying STOP already with the sin and wrath, where is the love and mercy of God. It’s there to. We just don’t see it in this passage so well. Read again, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.” God does not want us to go our own way, but He allows it, so we can also have freedom and free will.


It is by His grace we are saved and even allowed to see all that He has created as good. Paul later writes in chapter seven when he is lamenting about the sin nature within himself wearing against the Spirit, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!” It is by the power of the Holy Spirit we see rightly God as the Creator of all and give to Him all the worship, honor, praise and glory that is already His.


The point is that without Jesus Christ we are lost. Lost in ourselves and to our own devices. Maybe the point of God’s wrath is to let us hit bottom and look up.


Are you going your own way in God’s wrath…or are you following and accepting Jesus as the truth of your life?

___________

[1] William M. Greathouse and George Lyons, Romans 1–8: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, New Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 2008), 67.

[1] Ibid, 68

[1] Ibid, 70.

[1] Ibid

[1] Ibid, 75

[1] Ibid, 74

[1] Ibid

[1] Ibid

[1] Ibid, 75

[1] Ibid, 70

[1] Romans 7:24-25 NIV

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