Have you ever wondered what it means when Paul writes in Romans 1:18 that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men”? I have. And recently, I’ve asked, “When and how will God’s wrath be revealed?”
The word “revealed” in Greek is in the present tense — an ongoing, habitual action in Greek. So unlike so many other references to God’s wrath in Paul’s epistles, this is a current happening — not a future cosmic event. God’s wrath, in Romans 1, is being revealed now.
And I believe that God’s wrath is more than just a disclosure to the mind or a future judgment to come that will last for eternity in hell. Just like the same word in verse 17, it has historical reality to it. Something is physically being manifested in the real world. Verses 24-28 tell us how God’s wrath is revealed. Paul writes that God has given people to the lusts of their hearts to commit impurities (v. 24), to the dishonoring of their bodies (v. 24), to dishonorable passions (v. 26), and to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done (v. 28). God’s wrath is revealed in people’s lives by God giving people over to their sinful desires.
God’s wrath is something that is real, not just cognitive; something current, not just futuristic. God’s wrath is a current and ongoing reality that is manifested in and through a sinful, unhappy, worthless life that is lived for the pleasing of self and not God.
Where are you today? Have you been redeemed and rescued from the wrath of God now and the wrath to come? If so, then celebrate and praise and thank Jesus! But if you are still rebelling against God, and presuming upon his patience and kindness toward you, then repent. Are you unfulfilled and dissatisfied? Are you unhappy and feeling the effects of sin? Remember that God is a wrathful God who hates sin. But he is also “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7).
God has not only revealed his wrath. Oh, no. He has gloriously revealed his righteousness (Rom. 1:17), and this marvelous manifestation is revealed through his Son. It must be received by faith, so if you would have it, come. Jesus will receive whoever comes to him. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).