Romans 1:18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Why do we need union with Christ? Why do we need salvation? The gospel? The righteousness of God that removes sin and shame.
Here’s why – Romans 1:18.
The wrath of God is not a very popular or pleasant doctrine. Just like the sin of man is not a very popular or pleasant doctrine. But both are very real. And very necessary.
God is love. Everything he does flows from his great love for the Trinity and for humanity. Anything that seeks to destroy the glory of the Trinity or the glory of humanity as image bearers of the Trinity must and will be destroyed. This is God’s wrath – in his love he is settled in his opposition to sin. Like a gifted and benevolent surgeon, God will destroy the thing that is destroying us. “He will never condone it or come to terms with it (John Stott).”
We struggle with this because we almost always think of wrath or anger as being sinful. But it isn’t. Anger flows from love. Anger over injustice or over evil is what sometimes we Christians call “righteous anger.” Are you angry over the sex trade? Racism? Corruption? Good. So is God. In fact, disgust with the wrath of God is primarily a western mindset. Many people around the world are empowered by the idea of the wrath of God. A God who will fight evil for them. A God who is angry at injustice.
The problem is that the very sin and evil that God is opposed to is IN us. We can’t separate evil from ourselves as humanity. Systemic injustice comes from unjust individuals. And it’s all of us. None are innocent. Any one of us can “break bad.”
Sin is the cancer that has taken over every heart and mind. Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”
This is the rest of Romans 1, an outline of how mankind has suppressed the truth and turned against God in order to worship everything BUT God. Because of this mankind is unrighteous.
But salvation has come to us who are in Christ by the power of God, through the gospel of God, to give us the righteousness of God, by faith in God.
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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
In us the wrath of God is satisfied in Christ. To be in Christ is to be forever free from the wrath of God. Yes, he is still against your sin. But he is never against YOU. He is for you. He is for your healing. Your transformation. Your holiness. Your joy. Your life.
“To live is Christ” is to live free from the wrath of God. God has destroyed your sin without destroying you by giving you a new life in Christ Jesus. This was no gift free from cost. Jesus took upon himself the wrath of God. He did not run from it or shrink back. He received the just punishment for our sin, so that we might be made the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Who would have thought that the wrath of God would be ultimately aimed at God himself? Shockingly, Jesus took upon himself the wrath of God to free not just the victims, but also the victimizers. You and me. Praise God.
Read John 3:36. Are you still under the wrath of God?
John 3:36. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
If you are in Christ, then the wrath of God is no longer upon you. In what ways does this reality change how you might relate to God today? How does it free you from shame?