THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (36)
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching from the Book of Romans. The title of her sermon was ‘The Doctrine of the Wrath of God’ (3). Her main text was taken from the Book of Romans chapter 1. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 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 Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 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. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Rom 1:16-25)
The wrath of God is God’s view or sin; God’s hatred of sin; God’s punishment of sin! The word ‘wrath’ means justified anger, and hatred; a passion that leads to punishment. God is Holy! God is Love! God protects His Glory! God hates anything that tries to damage His Holiness, His Love and His Glory! That is why God hates sin! God’s wrath against sin is a manifestation of His jealous love toward His people! Therefore, to protect His glory and His people, God must punish sin! The Gospel is power because it reveals the wrath of God. The Gospel also reveals the imputed righteousness of Christ received by us thru faith. Both this righteousness and the wrath of God were best manifested at the Cross of Calvary. Both are revealed in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit! You cannot argue with unbelievers about the wrath of God or the salvation in Christ. They need God’s revelation. The word revelation means an unveiling; removing the cover and expose something behind it. Darkness and blindness are removed. The light of God must shine upon the object. “Once I was blind, but now I see…” This is called revelation!
The natural men hate this doctrine. They imagine that God is a God of love who will not punish anybody. Man hates discipline and obeying any law. Paul introduced the doctrine of the wrath of God against sin from the first chapter of Romans. The preaching of the wrath of God is foundational in preaching the Gospel. All evangelism must start with preaching the sinfulness of sin, and God’s wrath against it. Never start with man’s needs. Do not even start with Jesus! Always start with God the Father! He invented the plan of salvation! Always start with God and His glory! Many Christians ignore this doctrine. They say they believe it, but they deny it in practice. Many preachers ignore it too. They fear that people will leave their churches. But truth must be preached! Romans 1 reveals two problems: the wrath of God and the sinfulness of sin. One of the major problems in the church is that men ‘come to Jesus’ as a Friend, Helper or Healer. They do not come to Him as hopeless desperate sinners going to hell. The preachers make it too easy for people to be saved. They do not tell sinners that God is angry with sin and He will surely punish sin! To say that you are converted, and you do not have the fear of God, that is a lie!
The doctrine of Justification by Faith is the major doctrine of salvation. God the Father designed it. The Son executed it and the Holy Spirit applies it to our understanding. This is the Gospel and its power: Jesus died on the Cross to appease the wrath of God and to save sinners. Jesus said: ‘It is finished’. You must believe and receive the finished work of Christ! By faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross you become FORGIVEN, CLOTHED IN HIS imputed Righteousness and ACCPETED in the Beloved! Faith is not just something you think about. Faith is always relational. Faith connects with the Truth. Faith ‘marries’ truth. Faith is never alone. Faith sees, acknowledge, goes closer and embraces (becomes one) with the truth. Then faith and truth produce fruits, to the glory of God!
The ‘wrath of God is revealed from heaven’. God is angry with the sinners because ‘they suppress the truth in unrighteousness’. To suppress it means to prevent the growth of something by force; to stop something from manifesting using violence. Sinners sell the truth and buy lies. They reject the Glorious, incorruptible, indestructible God for things that are much inferior. The result of this terrible ‘exchange’ manifests as follows:*Men are not ‘thankful’. They are selfish and proud. The hardest word for a proud man is to say: “I am sorry… Thank you”.*They thoughts are futile (useless, having no effect, achieving nothing). God gave us brains to think about Him, about His Word and Glory. Idolatry makes the mind useless, reduces it to the level of an animal. *Foolish hearts are darkened. A dark heart is depressed, confused, and anxious. *They are Deceived. They think that they are wise. Idolatry means making your own God so that you can control it. You do not need to obey, and you are not afraid of him. They become liars, deceivers and at last, they become slaves to men and demons! God gives them up to what they wanted. It is a terrible think for God to give you up to your selfish, wicked lusts. May God have mercy on us! May the fear of God descend upon us!
Man is a spirit, has a soul and lives in a body. Each has its function and purpose given by God. The spirit, because it is from God, has the highest value. Next to it, is his soul, made of mind, emotions and will. The least valuable is the body, made from the same elements as the earth. Sin makes man spiritually imbalanced, spiritually cripple. This means some things are too much and others are too little. There is no symmetry, no right proportion, no beauty. Salvation in Christ changes this. It brings the God given balance to man. Man becomes beautiful again!
The greatest gift given to man is his mind. He must use it to think spiritually, to understand God. “WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND and PURPOSES OF THE LORD, SO AS TO INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ [to be guided by His thoughts and purposes]” (1 Cor 2:16; AMP). Once man understands the Word, the emotions follow. Then he can use his will and make correct decisions in life. This is the godly pattern of the believer. But sin has damaged this delicate spiritual process. Sinful man is guided by emotions first. He moves by what he sees and likes. Walking ‘by sight’ is sin! Walking blindly ‘by sight’, man tries to rationalize his sin. The will is weakened already and must please the emotions, the lust of the eyes and of the flesh. This emotional leading is bondage. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (Jn 3:19).
Why did men reject Jesus? They did not think! They did not try to understand Him and His words. They ‘loved darkness’. They loved ignorance, unbelief, rebellion, foolishness, and the wickedness of sin. Their emotions guided them. That is why God gave them over to the darkness they loved. Faith is Jesus is light, freedom, mercy and grace of salvation! Glory! Worship the Lord!