Yesterday morning we tackled Romans 1:18… But not apart from Romans 1:16-17 like it is so often done. I really struggled a little this week, not preparing the study, but how the folks in my class were going to respond to seeing that the bad news of the gospel is what makes the good news of the gospel SOOO Good. Before we get to the Romans study in Sunday school, let me share with you the affirmation I received from the Lord for my sticking to the text and the Gospel of Jesus Christ
The first hymn in the service was Amazing Grace, and every time I sing that hymn I can’t help thinking of John Newton and his life… I knew right then and there that GRACE is only AMAZING when we see how really bad we are… Now I could have thought about my life just as much, because it was bad… But the simple truth is I didn’t write one of the most sung and cherished hymns of all time. His life before Christ was bad… This man was real bad, so how much more greater was this grace? to know his sinfulness and the grace God had for him… Must have been truly amazing grace to save a wretch like him and to bring him home. John Newton would later say “By the grace of God I am what I am!”
John Newton had to see how bad he was before he could see how good the gospel was… From his last will and testament we read: I commit my soul to my gracious God and Savior, who mercifully spared and preserved me, when I was an apostate, a blasphemer, and an infidel, and delivered me from the state of misery on the coast of Africa into which my obstinate wickedness had plunged me; and who has been pleased to admit me (though most unworthy) to preach his glorious gospel.(read more here)
Now to the Romans class…
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
Now see it with Romans 1:16-17
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man 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, Romans 1:16-18
“For the wrath of God” Without the wrath of God, the Gospel is not Good News… Why does this verse begins with the word ʻfor.ʼ The word ʻforʼ indicates that this is part of an argument which did not begin with this sentence. Itʼs something thatʼs connected together with what has gone before. Paul has made three confident statements about the Gospel, that it is the power of God, it is a revelation of the righteousness of God, and it is a revelation of the wrath of God.
John Piper explains For by asking… Why does Paul introduce Romans 1:18 with the word “for” or “because”? He does this in order to show that everything he is going to say about sin is meant to support the GOSPEL of Romans 1:17. He does not mention the gospel for the sake of sin. He deals with sin for the sake of the GOSPEL. UNDERSTANDING SIN is the FOUNDATION that upholds the preciousness of the GOSPEL, not vice versa. His main aim is not to lead us from gospel to sin, but from sin to gospel.
Remember the one hit wonder “You gotta be cruel to be kind” in the late 70’s this is what Paul’s saying in my finite mind… But today the gospel is “God loves you, and has a wonderful plan for your life.” It’s so Crystal Clear that Paul doesn’t start there, he says itʼs a revelation of the righteousness of God, the power of God, and of the wrath of God.
Look folks the gospel without Romans 1:18 would be just plain news, Paul would say the power of God, and the righteousness of God and we would say OK! that’s news. So now add verse 18 to it… now it becomes Good News and the good news of the gospel is so good because the “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness”
It’s becoming abundantly clear that this is going to have a part 2… I’ll finish up Tuesday with the wrath of God. I leave you with this from John MacArthur regarding Wrath (orge)
Orge signifies the strongest kind of anger, that which reaches fever pitch, when God’s mercy and grace are fully exhausted. It will mark the end of God’s patience and tolerance with unregenerate, unrepentant mankind in the swelling of His final, furious anger which He will vent on those whose works evidence their persistent and unswerving rebellion against Him.”
I ended the class with this video from Jim McCarty on
What is the Gospel
That’s what I learned in church yesterday and can’t wait to bring you part 2 on Tuesday Morning