“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” —Romans 1:18
Rejecting Revelation Brings Forth The Wrath Of God
At the very beginning of the book of Romans, the apostle Paul points out that God expresses a wrathful indignation with specific consequences toward all men who are given a revelation and then repress it. God has revealed himself to mankind through four major revelations. The first revelation discussed in Romans is creation. The second revelation discussed in Romans is conscience. The third revelation discussed in Romans is the Mosaic law. In the fourth and final revelation of God to humanity is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Each of these revelations laid a foundation for the next one. God expected man to take advantage of what He had revealed concerning Himself and that man might pursue Him as a result of what had been given. When men see what God has given and reject or repress it, God responds by allowing the sinful condition of man’s heart to steal life from him. In other words, sin begins to dominate the individual in some fashion or form and makes it more difficult for man to come into relationship with God the Creator. The pain caused by sin in life is redemptive in its nature. When man realizes that he has rejected what God has given and that life has become a misery without God, then the potential of repenting and turning back to what God had revealed exists. A failure to repent of rejecting God’s truth (in essence rejecting God) causes God to turn that person over to the power of sin. A failure to repent and receive the revelation that God has given causes that individual to experience a downward spiritual spiral. This ultimately results in that person being filled with all manner of unrighteousness.
The Revelation Of Creation
Creation validates and proves the truth of God’s existence. The Bible says, “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps. 19:1). The solar system preaches the evidence of a creator. The earth and all that is in it has been wondrously established by a power and a person far greater than humanity. God set the boundaries for the oceans and the seas. He established the grandeur of the mountains and the solidarity of the solar system. Man has attempted to silence the evidence of creation through the nonsense of evolution. He has attempted to quiet the voice of God in creation by carving out of things created, idols made of wood and stone. Those who recognize that a creator must exist and that He has formed the planet upon which we stand begin a search for God. But those who encounter the evidence of creation and deny the existence of God experience a wrath in the form of dominating sin that begins its life-stealing purpose.
The Revelation Of Conscience
In the heart of every man born to a woman beats God’s copyright of the human soul. This copyright is the essence of conscience. Conscience is the inbred knowledge of that which is right and that which is wrong. Conscience is the reflection of the nature and character of God implanted within humanity. The evidence that we are formed by a moral creator therefore exists, evidenced by our innate moral conscience. However, conscience is easily and progressively seared. The first time a person lies, he will encounter a fierce opposition from the conscience within. But the more that lying is embraced, the less impact conscience will have on the decision to lie. Scripture refers to this process as the searing of our conscience. To move contrary to the conscience is to reject the nature and character of our Creator. This too will bring wrath in the form of dominating sin that causes men to encounter the downward spiral.
The Law Of Moses
The law of Moses is God’s third major revelation to humanity. Before the law was given at Mount Sinai, a corporate knowledge of God did not exist. The law clearly confirms what conscience (prior to being seared) indicates as right and wrong. Contained in the types and shadows offered through the law was a clearer picture of who God is. The moral code of the law, which emphasizes worshiping God and loving your neighbor as yourself, is expressed throughout the content of Mosaic law. The types and shadows that helped separate Israel from the rest of the world all pointed toward the truths that would later be revealed in Christ. This revelation taught man how to corporately worship God, and re-established the demand for a sacrifice, the need of a high priest, and the need for constant reliance upon God. A rejection of the Mosaic law under the terms of the old covenant demanded the ultimate price be paid—the death of the individual. Freedom from death and the law would come only through the final revelation of God in the coming of Christ.
The Gospel Of Jesus Christ
Jesus told His disciples, “When you see Me, you have seen the Father.” Clearly Jesus was the last final and full revelation of God. His words superseded the words of Moses. But take care to understand that the things that God has revealed in creation, conscience, and the law of Moses gave us insight as to the fullness of God that would be revealed in Jesus Christ alone. While we are no longer bound by the identity markers of the Mosaic law, the character and nature of God and the knowledge of right and wrong are now emphasized not through a written law but by the presence of the Holy Spirit who lives within the heart of every believer. This was made available to us through Christ’s death on Calvary. If a person wants to come to know God, he can only do so through Jesus Christ. If a person wants to be formed into the image of Christ, he has to put full reliance upon the redemptive work of Christ. To reject the truth of salvation as offered by Jesus and His apostles will result in the wrath of God dominating an individual. One cannot afford to reject the most complete and final revelation of God as found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. We must never depend upon ourselves. Instead, we must rely completely upon Christ and what He has done for us at Calvary. In so doing, we are prepared to face eternity with God and will presently experience a transformation into the image of Christ.