The main theme in Romans is the righteousness of God.
For man to understand and appreciate the grace and the righteousness of God, he must first understand his own unrighteousness.
To know what salvation is, you must know how bad sin is!
“But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away” (Isa. 64:6).
In Romans chapter 1, Paul talked about two things revealed from heaven by God:
1. The righteousness of God (Rom. 1:17; Phil. 3:9)
2. The wrath of God
The wrath of God is His feeling – His holy anger, not His punishment of sin; it is God’s constant and insistent displeasure with evil.
Paul laid out the scope of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16-17).
He tells us of the origin of the Gospel: it is the Gospel of Christ (v.16a).
He tells us of the operation of the Gospel: it is the power of God (v.16b).
He tells us of the outcome of the Gospel: it is the power of God unto salvation (v. 16c).
He tells us of the outreach of the Gospel: “to everyone that believeth” (vv. 16d-17).
The Gospel reveals the righteousness of God, His wrath against sin and the plan of salvation (Rom. 1:16 &17).
The Gospel tells us about the mercy and redemptive grace of God.
The Gospel has made it possible for the sinner to hear and believe the redemptive love story of God to mankind.
However, the Gospel has not in any way changed God’s attitude towards sin.
God is merciful, not because He is lenient with sinners but because Christ died.
The sinner (now) has the choice of either accepting the righteousness of God or the wrath of God as both are revealed from heaven.
God put His witness in the universe (Acts 14:17). The original revelation from God can be seen in nature (Rom. 1:20). The universe tells two things about God: His person and His power (Ps. 8:3, 19:1).
“There is there that within man which so catches the meaning of all that is without as to issue in an instinctive knowledge of God” Dr. James Denny.
However, God has put His full and complete revelation in the Gospel.
According to the Scriptures, all men are sinners:
1. The Gentiles are guilty (Rom. 1:18-32)
2. The Jews are guilty (Rom. 2:1-3:8)
3. The wholly world is guilty (Rom. 3:9-20)
God’s wrath is revealed against …
Unbelief – lack of faith or conviction in God
Disbelief – the state of a soul. “The fool (insane) hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Ps. 14:1)
Ungodliness – that which is against God
Unrighteousness against man
“Who holds the truth in unrighteousness,” that is, to hold down or suppress the truth in unrighteousness.
God’s wrath is revealed against such actors and acts (Rom. 1:19).
Since the Fall, man had been moving downward. Every generation had had a light, but moved away from God. No generation or people have ever lived up to the light that they have had.
They did not glorify God – they did not give Him His rightful place. In order words, man became self-sufficient and his own source.
There were neither thankful. Ingratitude is a sin.
They became vain in their imaginations. So, their foolish hearts became darkened and they edge deeper into darkness through secularity and the systems of this world.
They “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:23).
Consequently, God gave them up” (Rom. 1:24). Since they turned from God to Satan, He handed them over.
With the restraining, sovereign grace of God withdrawn, the land and the people went into the ever widening spiral gyre of sin, evolving into several complicated sexual perversion, immorality, passions of dishonor, idolatry & greed.
Man’s rebellion develops into full blown sins (Rom. 1:29-31).
Man has the revelation of God, His righteousness and wrath, yet he continues to disobey God and actively celebrates anyone who indulges in such ungodly habits (Rom. 1:32).
But God is not pleased or amused.
Folks, what do we need today?
“Sow for yourselves according to righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God); reap according to mercy and loving-kindness. Break up your uncultivated ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, to inquire for and of Him, and to require His favor, till He comes and teaches you righteousness and rains His righteous gift of salvation upon you” (Hosea 10:12).
A ground once tilted but now in waste and neglect; it needs to be broken up and mellowed, before it can receive grains again.
Examine your own heart!
• Ingratitude – moments of favor from God yet without any expression of thanks
• Flagging affection for God
• Consistent neglect of the Bible
• Unbelief towards His promises and declarations
• Neglect of prayer – secret prayer, family prayer, prayer meetings
• Neglect of the means of grace
• Lack of interest in soul-winning
• Lack of brotherly love
We need revival (not some signs and wonders, thunder-clapping meetings); a call to a new beginning of obedience towards God.
We need a ‘deep repentance, a breaking down of heart, a getting down into the dust before God, with deep humility, and a forsaking of sin. (Charles G. Finney).
It has been said that …
• When there is a want of brotherly love and Christian confidence among professors of religion, then a revival is needed.
• When there are dissensions, and jealousies, and evil speaking among professors of religion – they show that believers have gone far from God, and it is time to think earnestly of a revival.
• When there is a worldly spirit in the Church (a backslidden state); when the Church finds its members falling into gross and scandalous sins; when sinners are careless and insensitive to the presence of believers while perpetrating their ungodly habits, or when believers are found willing to make the sacrifices necessary to carry it on – sacrifice their feelings, their business time, to help forward the work, right there and in that moment, repentance and revival are dearly needed.
“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Ps. 85:6).