EVERYONE NEEDS THE GOSPEL
Paul moves from the power of the true gospel to the absolute need of the gospel. Because there is a condemnation that this world will taste one day apart from His saving grace. What you and I benefit from the true gospel in our salvation…is a peace with God and eternal rest. But! The gospel is also about God’s judgment and wrath against the sinfulness of mankind.
The full gospel is saving but it also damming
to those who are outside His redemptive plan.
The complete work of the cross brought many sinners to taste the joy of His salvation; but there will be a people who will taste the full fury of God’s wrath. This is the part of the gospel the church doesn’t like to talk about. Many would rather speak about your “felt needs” like your “mood, fears, bad habits, loneliness, or uncontrolled desires. Or they present the gospel as a reward. It’s like dangling a carrot, you will receive a reward if only the listener accepts Jesus.
Martyn Lloyd Jones had something to say about this in reference to this portion that is before us. Martyn said this, “Why is he (Paul) ready to preach the gospel in Rome or anywhere else? He does not say it is because he knows that many of them (the Romans) are living defeated lives and that he has something to tell them that will give them victory. He does not say to them, “I want to come and preach the gospel to you in Rome because I have had a marvelous experience and I want to tell you about it, in order that you may have the same experience….because you can if you want it; it is there for you.” This is not what Paul does….there is no mention here of any experience. He is not talking in terms of their happiness or some particular state of mind, or something that might appeal to them, as certain possibilities do….but this staggering amazing thing, the wrath of God! And he puts it first; it is the thing he says at once.”
The Gospel Is Not about your felt needs or receiving some reward. It’s about telling people that we are not in a right relationship with God. Many are in danger of everlasting condemnation at hands of a holy God.
1. Revelation Of The Wrath Of God Is Revealed. (v18-v20)
The general revelation of God is seen and everyone is without excuse. The same general revelation we have when David penned these beautiful words. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world….” Psalm 19:1-4. God’s wrath is a display of His righteousness against those who suppress the truth about God. (v18)
This revelation is intentional, not accidental,
incidental, arbitrary or circumstantial.
Observe the word ‘all’ it is against all the godlessness and wickedness of the men who do these things. Nothing is exempt; he is angry and this goes against the wishful thinking of mankind’s fallen nature. How could a good and merciful God display such anger and fury against His “imago dei?”
Some people have written in the past that…..
Noah’s God destroyed the earth with a flood.
Abraham’s God was a bloodthirsty God who wanted a human sacrifice.
Moses’ God was a horrible God of burning anger from Mt Sinai.
The Psalmists God calls down wrath upon the enemy.
By the time of the prophets God was improving His behavior.
When Jesus came along God changed from this angry God, to a loving Father.
Many so-called Christians today think the same way. If God is like all those terrible things the Scriptures speak of, I want nothing to do with this God. And sadly many will face this wrath because of unbelief and ignorance of God’s revelation through the Gospel. See! The good news of the gospel is that we can find freedom from this wrath; but there is also another side to why the gospel is needed. The fear of eternal condemnation is the reason the Gospel is vital for the eternal soul.
God is a God of wrath just as He is
equally a God of mercy.
is necessary for God to hate sin as it is for Him to love righteousness. A W Pink said
“A study of the concordance will show
that there are many more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath
of God than there are to His love and tenderness.” John Murray wrote,
“God's wrath is his holy disgust against
that which is the contradiction of his holiness.”
“Wrath” refers to “a settled, determined indignation”, not some momentary rush of emotion. Not some outburst of anger or rage as we are naturally prone to do. This is as John MacArthur calls God’s wrath “a balanced in divine perfection” Just as God is balanced in all His other attributes, God is equally balanced when it comes to His perfect pure wrath over a sinner. This isn’t some red-hot anger that overcomes Him. This is a controlled, this is a perfect and settled, controlled wrath. It’s controlled and perfect because it is parallel with God’s perfect righteousness.
What do I mean?
God is absolutely justified in revealing His wrath against the human race because they have suppressed the evidence for His existence. And they (the lost) failed to worship and honor Him as the Creator God.
We see this amoung groups like:
The alphabet groups
Liberal science groups
False religious groups
God is perfect in His judgments…. because the Gospel is God’s perfect plan to save sinners from His perfect wrath. The sons of Korah sung “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” Psalm 45:6-7. The Hebrew writer quotes this again as a reminder for the redeemed. “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;” Heb 1:9. The true church cannot shy away from this truth, because every soul outside the Gospel hangs in the balance of this reality. What reality? God is angry because sinful men are His enemies. “For if while we were enemies… “Rom 5:10. Which makes us according to Paul’s writings “among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Eph 2:3
Many “unrighteous” or better yet “ungodly” people will suppress this truth. (v20) “Suppress” carries the idea of holding something down. This suppression of truth is not passive. This suppression is continual and aggressive striving and doing whatever possible to silence truth. Examples! Bill C-10 the Liberal Government is trying to pass a bill that conservative Canadians could lose access to some websites and potentially having their freedom of speech cut by federal government regulators. Bill C-6 Conversion Therapy bill the Liberal Government wants to pass to make it illegal for me to explain why this wrong. A federal Liberal bill to outlaw the damaging and discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
This present world system and those who follow after her are naturally inclined to follow after sin and resist God. What is before us could render “Those who constantly attempt to suppress the truth by steadfastly holding to their sin.” Every single one of us, before the gospel confession… has a natural built in desire to suppress and oppose God’s truth. Jesus said “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” John 3:18-20. What are they suppressing? Paul gives us the answer in the text. (v19-v20) Mankind does its very best to holding down the basic knowledge of the majestic transcending power of God as the ONLY Creator and Sustainer of all life.
This isn’t suppressing theological issues, or doctrine, but man’s natural denies or suppresses the simplest of realities. “God’s invisible attributes” creation reveals the existence of God without seeing the form of God. The word “plain” means “manifest” this cosmic revelation of God is no secret for one or two people.
God has made knowledge about
Himself plain to everyone.
And Paul says, “He is justifies in exercising His wrath towards humankind for suppressing that knowledge.” And many will say there is “No evidence of for God” or “Insufficient evidence for God” but God says they are completely wrong and without excuse. And they know it! But they will continue in their ignorance of what is plainly and clearly seen. And the wrath of God is piling up for them in that Day of Judgment. “to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against Him…” Jude 15-16
2. Reason For The Wrath Of God. (v21- v23)
Instead of worshipping the Creator; the human race descends into idolatry and worships creation. Anything that doesn’t worship God is idolatry! The word “glory” means “weight” If something that had weight in the Old Testament, this meant it had worth or value. In the Old Testament silver and gold’s value, was determined by weight. The heavier something was, the more valuable it is, or the more “glory” it had. And nothing can compare the weight of God’s glory. "Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” Exo 15:11
David said, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:3-9
They exchange and refuse to glorify God… with substitution and moral foolishness. In other word they became “morons” which is an exact representation of one’s moral condition. Mankind praising and setting up for themselves worthless idols to satisfy their sinful conscience. “As a thief is shamed when caught, so the house of Israel shall be shamed: they, their kings, their officials, their priests, and their prophets, who say to a tree, 'You are my father,' and to a stone, 'You gave me birth.' For they have turned their back to me, and not their face. But in the time of their trouble they say, 'Arise and save us!'” Jer 2:26-27
Complete morons! They worship other humans, animals, birds and creeping things. There has and there always will be people who worship the idols of .. Wealth, health, pleasure, prestige, sex, sports, education, entertainment, celebrities, success, and power. That has been painfully clear to all of us as you reflect upon the past and present conditions of our own country. But as John MacArthur said “At no time in history have those forms of idolatry been more pervasive and corrupting than in our own day. Countless books , magazines, games, movies and video games glorify sexual promiscuity, incest, rape, homosexuality, brutality, deceit, manipulation of others to one’s own advantage, and every other form of immorality and ungodliness.”
Moral and spiritual pollution is our pandemic and
we should be more concerned about this than anything.
And sadly this pandemic of moral decay is reaching generations, younger and younger every year. They treat all idols equally or weighty, but are nothing more than empty, lost, and broken cisterns that hold no water. To forsake God is to exchange truth for falsehood and hopelessness and finding satisfaction for emptiness. This exchange is a sign of moral and spiritual depravity for those who exchange truth for a lie. They suppress the truth about the greatness of God and then pervert it by worshipping insulting images. The ungodly in a sense worship self, but the Westminster Confession eloquently says “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
As Paul wrote “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Rom 15:4-7
Man was created to glorify God… and for us to fail to give God this glory; is therefore the ultimate affront to his/her Creator. This leads to an even deep stage of wickedness and rebellion, against a holy and transcendent God.
3. Results Of The Wrath Of God. (v24-v32)
Because of mankind’s immorality and worship things, a holy God is justified in revealing His wrath against the unholy practices of the human race.
Man is not basically good but evil. Our nature
is innately bent towards sin.
Paul said, “There is none righteous, not even one;…..there is none who does good, there is not even one…..all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:10, 12, 23. As the Psalmist wrote “The fool says in their heart, “There is no God” Psalm 14:1. It is from this suppression of truth that mankind continues downward into a pit of despair and filth of destruction. Paul lists the specific sins that characterize the lives of those who suppress the truth about God and exchange His glory for things that are against His holy standard. (v24-v31)
We read “Therefore” which refers back to what Paul previously said.
God reveals Himself to man. (v19-v20)
Man rejects God. (v21)
Rationalize and reject God, by creating substitute gods of their own making. (v23)
What does God do in all this? “He gave them over, or up"
an intense verb,
this is equally as terrifying as Jesus saying “Depart from Me I never knew you.” This
is God’s divine abandonment and consequences for those who are on this path
destruction. This is the most fearful
passage in this entire epistle. Same intense verb when Christ’s giving Himself up to death. “I have been crucified with
Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I
now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave
himself for me.” Gal 2:20. Just
as Christ gave Himself for sinners, God
gave them over simply by withdrawing His restraining and protective hand. Allowing
the consequences of sin to take their foreseeable, destructive course because
of their rebellious heart. The exact warning that John gave that we are to flee from or
never to succumb too in your life. “Do
not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the
love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of
the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father
but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires,
but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
Do we not see the outcome of
yielding to the lust of our hearts here?
It’s bad enough they deny the existence of God, suppress this truth of God, and worship idols that appeal to their conscience. But they continue in the downward spiral by acting upon their lusts to do the very things that Christ came to save us from. “Dishonor” is referring to degrading, debased, or disgraceful.
This list of sins only reveal to us the inner condition of one’s heart apart from God. God gave them up to dishonorable passions of homosexual practices. And when man forsakes the Creator of the nature, he unavoidably forsakes the order of nature. They rebel against what is natural to do what is unnatural. What I found interesting in my study is that Paul starts with women in their degrading downward spiral. Why? Because women are always the last to be affected in the decay of morals. Charles Hodges wrote, “Paul first refers to the degradation of females amoung the heathen, because they are always the last to be affected in the decay of morals and their corruption is therefore proof that all virtue is lost.”
And these rebellious hearts take what is beautiful and common between a man and women, in confines of the marriage bed, and defile with what is unnatural and abomination against a holy God. (Examples Gen 19, Lev 18, 1 Cor 6, Rom 1) Even most pagan societies have recognized that homosexuality is uncharacteristic and unnatural.
But now it’s become natural to most of society. Churches have embraced this new liberation and even to the point of appointing or ordaining homosexual ministers to shepherd the people of God. The Alphabet groups are having story times with impressionable children in some schools and public libraries. Movies, TV, and social media outlets, go to great lengths to promote this way of life as natural and accepting. But the Scriptures say it’s nothing more than “Cosmic Treason” against a holy God who revealed Himself to His creation. And according to Paul “the due penalty of their error” they will be judged by the self-destructiveness of their sin.
Because God gave them over to their… “Debased minds” this is referring to “impurities” as you would find commonly used of metals that were rejected by refiners because of impurities. Impure metals were discarded as worthless and useless. Just as those who continue down this road of destruction. They will be judged by the self-destructiveness of their sin. Why? The sinful, depraved mind says to God, “…..'Depart from us! We do not desire the knowledge of your ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit do we get if we pray to him?'” Job 21:14-15. But as Paul said in (v22) they are supremely foolish and will stand before Him one day.
Paul said the gospel is the only way a person will be delivered from darkness. “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Cor 4:4. The god of this world has blinded them to celebrate and normalize sexual immorality. But not just that sin, but also the many sins of….
Evil…. to practice and take pleasure in venomous and unprofitable actions.
Covetousness… the desire to always wanting more.
Malice… deliberate wickedness that delights in doing other people harm.
Envy… never satisfied but instead demand for more at the cost of others.
Murder… it’s hatred in the heart that leads to this. As it started in Cain’s heart first.
Strife… always contentious, quarreling or wrangling about everything.
Deceit… outright words used to destroy or entrap for the deceivers personal gain.
Maliciousness… someone who is accustom to set out to harm someone.
Gossip… words spoken in a whispering tone, in reference to speaking about others.
A slanderer… gossip unleashes but slander is done openly, literally means “to speak against”.
Haters of God… this is a hardened sinner who slanders God.
Insolent… this means pride it’s a pride that sets a human being up against God.
Haughty… personal superiority that regards others with snootiness or arrogance.
Boastful… someone who seeks admiration by claiming to be something they’re not in reality.
Inventors of evil… old ways are boring, slow, and unproductive, so they will invent new evils to anger God.
Disobedient to parents… utterly disregarding or ignoring their parents’.
Foolish… referring to someone who is senseless or without understanding of morals in respect to God.
Faithless… this is literally “breaking faith” that breaks an appointment or covenant, they cannot be trusted.
Heartless… having no natural affection, this is evident in a mother who intentionally aborts or abandons her child or the father who abandons his family.
Ruthless… having no mercy for others, applauding the blood of others, an unspeakable hardness of the heart.
The natural depravity of the human heart has devastating effects on the family and our society. The moral condition of those who Paul explains here in this text, is ever so present today in 2021, and will continue to the Lord returns. And sadly! (v32) This is depravity at work in the heart of a sinner. Those who heartily applaud those who give themselves to sin. A prime example is the supreme horrors of the Roman Colosseum when they had hungry animals feast on the flesh of Christians for show. The wickedness of man to organize such a spectacle; but I think what was more wicked was the ones cheering in the stands. Mark Dever said “sin once tolerated seeks to be accepted, and sin once accepted seeks to be celebrated." Jesus said “And he said, "What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person." Mark 7:20-23. Those who justify one’s sinful behavior; they also praise and encourage others to do the same. Not only encourage others to do the same, but approve and defend such sinful behavior.
We Christians are not exempt from this. Satan knows that…..if he can get us to laugh at things we believe we would never do, our defenses will fall. We need to be very careful what we watch and applaud. This is why everyone needs gospel! We have been commissioned to reminding them of who we once were. “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph 2:1-10
Everyone needs the gospel…without excuses because many live their lives this way today. To deny the Creator and suppress the truth of His infinite glory only leads to destruction and mayhem. It’s the darken heart that says, “I will do whatever will make me happy and you can’t stop me.” It’s all about peace, acceptance, and tolerance. Only if you agree with me and not with God.
Why would you do this LORD?
Sometimes God often allows men and women to hit rock bottom in order to drive them to despair to show them their need of Him. I could say that about my life when He saved me by His grace….a rebel, an insurrectionist, who hit rock bottom and it’s their God open my heart to see how much I needed Him. God does this……to possibly bring healing and restoration of the heart of one, whom once rebelled, but now is a child of the Living God. The wrath of God is absorbed in the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ as our judicious and forensic Savior. Praise God for this…..we are never beyond the need of reminding ourselves of this reality each and every day. This urgent portion of Paul’s letter shows us …. Why we need the gospel and the book of Romans leaves us praising God for this gospel.