Is God an Angry God?
Read the previous blog here.
Resuming the study of the Book of Romans from:
1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
There are two things here; the righteousness of God and the wrath of God. The wrath of God is revealed. Where is it revealed from? The righteousness of God is revealed from heaven all the way down to the believer, therefore preaching about sin isn’t necessary because then you have to preach about someone’s sin. But when you preach righteousness, you focus on God. Which is the gospel? Sin or righteousness? Righteousness! I didn’t come to church to hear about me, I already know about me, I came to church to hear about Christ. This chapter focuses on sin; no one is saying sin is not wrong. Sin is sin. And the wrath of God is revealed towards sin from heaven, not from you or me. You present the gospel, God will present the anger. But what is God angry about? When you present the gospel, the Spirit of God will reveal what he is angry about so that you will be without excuse.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
God is not angry with you, but he’s angry with everything in you that doesn’t look like Him, that doesn’t reflect him, and comes between you and Him. He’s angry about the ungodliness and unrighteousness of mankind.
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
Angels know more about God, Adam knows more than we do (in his perfect state) but what can be available to man is already plain to them because God has shown it to them. What has God shown?
20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
How do you show invisible attributes? There are two attributes: Eternal Power and Divine nature, which have been clearly perceived. Here he’s talking about ungodly people, not prayerful people, receiving revelation from God. We’re talking about ungodly people, far from Him, having enough information revealed to them to work on it. Revisit verse 18 who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. What truth would an unbeliever suppress? A regenerate person has been brought to life by Christ and an unregenerate person has not been brought to life by Christ, he is disconnected from God, he doesn’t have the holy spirit and the sanctification process of making him like Christ has not begun because he has not received Christ yet. Thus, what truth can such a person repress? The revealed truth has been suppressed by him! He knows it! He’s suppressed it to the bottom so we don’t see it anymore. But he knows it! There are no atheists! There are only those who think they are atheists. For his invisible attributes… They know it is a him; a person, they know He is eternally powerful, they know His divine nature. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. Where are the unregenerate people? They are in this world, in this creation, and everything in creation is yelling out to them that there is a God. So they are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God…
Stop and ask yourselves ‘Did unregenerate people know God? Did they really know God?’ What level of knowing are we talking about? He’s obviously not talking about the level of intimacy we share with Christ now. But, on some level, they knew. Stay focused on God because the gospel is not about sin or unrighteousness, it’s about God. What is God truly angry about?
For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him,
The problem is that man was not willing to acknowledge God as God. How did they do this? Well when God showed His attributes, they suppressed that knowledge and they stopped giving God his due. How did they not give God His due?
…although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
They knew God but they suppressed that knowledge. Where is knowledge? In your mind. The secret of sanctification, of victory over sin is the mind. They did not know God but we just said they knew God? Well they suppressed their knowledge and therefore didn’t know Him. They separated themselves from the light and two things went upside down: their thinking became futile and foolish hearts became darkened. What is the meaning of futile thinking? A waste, leads to nothing in the mind. Foolish hearts, what is foolishness in the bible? The fools said in their heart ‘there is no God’ What happens in your heart? Belief and faith. Their thinking died and led to futility, belief died and led to foolish hearts. You take a darkened foolish heart and a futile mind and you get …
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
That’s what happened! Once they removed God, their foolish hearts replaced God with images of another. This whole thing is not about the actions of sin, it is about the attitude to sin. Claiming to be wise, they became fools… they started making intellectual arguments to explain God away and when they started doing that, they became further and further away that God gives them up three times. God’s problem is not with the sin of man but with the mind and heart of man. God’s anger against mankind is what they have done and thought with who He is. This led to all sorts out of impurities. Man did not sin and then God got angry, I want to correct this. Man rejected Godliness and God’s position in his life, God’s worthiness of worship and then the actions followed. What Jesus did on the cross, in shedding His blood, is to wipe away the actions of man but what the gospel does is change the mind of man to acknowledge God again. In the acknowledgement of God, liveliness and righteousness of God will flow into a life of Godliness.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Once you do that, you transfer who God is to images of mortal man, something happens with your whole lifestyle. Impurities led to all sorts of dishonouring, this is the result of darkness.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
When God gives up three times we need to take notice.
Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity…
What is impurity? Letting your hearts and minds to be contaminated.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves. Suddenly, he’s gone from unrighteousness, knowledge of God and futile thinking to bodies. He talks a lot about physical and sexual sin. Why the focus on the body?
They refuted God and exchanged the glory of an immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Subsequently, whatever was made in the image of an immortal God was now going to be dishonoured. Chapter 1 is not a commentary or list on mankind’s sins, it is not an explanation of how bad man was and therefore how badly he needs the gospel. It is a documentary on the degradation of man when he chooses to not acknowledge God. The body is dishonoured because it is in the image of God. Man will continually seek out alternative lifestyles that doesn’t glorify God. Anything that doesn’t glorify God will glorify the body.
Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie…
What is God angry about? He’s angry because he’s being misrepresented.
‘I am God. You’re not acknowledging me for who I am’
Does God need our approval? But if God is God, he is worthy of all worship and it belongs to Him. For Him to want worship is not a need, it’s His right! And when you as a creation does not give Him his right, he’s going to be angry. When someone comes to terms with the gospel, and says ‘I am not God, you are God’ and submits and surrenders, he is submitting! Get right with God! You knew the truth about God but did not acknowledge, you refused to worship Him and you exchanged His truth for a lie. At least let’s be clear about what God is angry about.
For this reason, God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
This is not judgment; this is the result of going unnatural. If I am fat today, the reason I am fat is because I ate unnatural, processed and highly sugary foods. When you move away from the natural, your natural processes shift too and that results in errors.
…men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Don’t take that to mean that God is punishing homosexuals for then you elevate one sin above another. God is not specifically dedicating punishment to them.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
God gave them up three times. One of the worst punishments is to be left to do whatever you want to do.
29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die (be separated from God), they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
It’s not just those who practice such but the rest of the society who backs them up. ‘Do whatever you want, we are a free society’. God has given up on them.
When people who knew God suppressed what was revealed to them, and did not see it fit to acknowledge him, they exchanged his image for things. They worshiped the creation instead of creator. They were impure in their lifestyles because of their futile thinking and foolish hearts. When this happened, they altered and perverted the image of God with their alternative lifestyles.
God is angry because in their unrighteousness, they’ve distorted His image. What is the gospel? The gospel is the light of the righteousness of God revealed to the mind from faith to faith. You are renewed in the mind. And God makes the mind brighter and brighter. You become more aware of the character of God, so you’re not trying to be good – a darkened mind leads to darkened actions but a lightened mind leads to lightened actions. So God wants you to focus on Him, and as you go toward Him your life automatically, will be filled with the actions, relationships and the standard of God.
Watch the video of this sermon here.