January 2, 1979
I still haven’t gotten over the last session a few weeks ago, the great seventeenth verse of
the first chapter of Romans, which you can just never say enough about, because it just
stands as a great fulcrum in the book, of Romans. Everything swings on it. But after the
great fulcrum we get to verse 18.
After I said that great fulcrum of seventeen, there are two great truths in there that make a
springboard for this eighteenth verse, namely, “revealed from faith to faith” – the essence
of the believing of Jesus Christ, and then we who are justified by what Jesus Christ did for
us, we accept that and we live by believing. So you have the believing of Jesus Christ, and
those of us who are born again, the justified living by believing.
Here in the eighteenth verse of this first chapter, we begin to unfold in the Word the utter
depravity and the need of both Gentiles and Jews for the righteousness of God.
Romans 1:18-32 deals with the Gentiles. Romans 2:1-29 deals with the Jews. Romans 3:1-
20, both Jew and Gentile are covered again. In Verse 17, “For therein, (the gospel) is the
righteousness of God,” and in Verse 18, “For” again, in the gospel, the revelation of God,
you have also the wrath of God. Two things are revealed in the Word: one is the
righteousness of God, the other is the wrath of God. The wrath of God, of course, would be
the opposite of the righteousness of God.
The word for “wrath” is the Greek word orgē. Could be transliterated into English very
interestingly, orgy. It is interesting that death, man’s death, or judgment, are not spoken of
in light of the wrath of God, and that the wrath of God, even though Adam blew it, it never
speaks of Adam in the sense of the wrath of God being on Adam. Nor does it ever speak of
the wrath of God on anyone who is born again of the second Adam. Never.
This is one of the usages of the wrath of God.
Its fourth and final usage is in Colossians 3.
On the one hand you have the righteousness of God and on the other you have the wrath of
God. Both of those are declared in the Word of God.
You have places in the Bible that talk about the anger of the Lord. The wrath of God, I’ll
look up this “wrath” here once.
The wrath was kindled against the people here.
The Lord’s wrath, wrath of the Lord, turned from him (Exodus 4:14), and that’s the word
that is used throughout here.
There are a number of different Hebrew words used here, which you would have to study
very carefully. Very interesting. When you work this wrath or anger of the Lord down, you
will find out that it’s always due to uncleanness on the part of individuals or groups and
basically stemming from idolatry. That’s what tees God off. First commandment, Thou
shalt have no other gods. The wrath or the anger of the Lord is basically kindled against
men who are unclean and it stems also from idolatry. Idolatry is to worship anything or
anyone ahead of the one true God.
We have its usage here in Romans 1:18, the word “wrath.” Its next usage is in Romans 2:5.
It’s interesting to compare this wrath with the revelation of Thessalonians that we taught
This wrath of God is when a man becomes unclean, idolatry, when he serves anything else
but the true God. It’s always this wrath of God, and it’s against that wrath of God that
Jesus Christ comes to establish the new kingdom. Remember when he comes back in
Thessalonians to reestablish it, wherein there is righteousness and true holiness, and he
turns it over to the Father that he is the only one to be worshipped. When you tie this
righteousness of God in line with the wrath of God and you understand it, then you see that
the wrath of God is just because people will not accept the righteousness of God and
believe to follow what he accomplished and what he did. The wrath of God is revealed
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven” – That deals with II Thessalonians of the
return of Christ.
“Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” – “Men” is anthrōpos.
“Who hold the truth in unrighteousness” – The word “hold” is hold down, but I think,
there’s even a much more wonderful word that communicates at least to my mind and that
is the word suppress. The wrath of God is revealed against men who suppress the truth in
unrighteousness. To suppress it is to indicate that you know it but you deliberately act
contrary. That’s why they hold, suppress, the truth in unrighteousness.
Verse nineteen gives the reason. Because. Verse twenty-one again has because. One right
after the other. Watch this develop now. They suppress the truth. Verse nineteen. Why?
“Because that which is known of God” – The “may” is “is.”
Is manifest, or shown to them, for God showed it unto them. They suppressed the truth
because that which is known of God is shown to them. The word shewed and manifest in
that verse are the same Greek word. Known of God is “was shown to them,” for God
manifested or showed it unto them. They suppressed the truth. They know the truth but
they hold it down, suppress it. That is because they do not worship the true God. By not
worshipping the true God, they suppress the truth which God has shown to them.
Romans 1:18-22 79
This explains this further.
“Of him” = of God
“Are clearly seen = may be arrived at
“His eternal power and Godhead” – This is the verse they use for the trinity. The Godhead,
three in one head. His eternal power and Godhead. He just told us in Verse 19 because that
which is known of God, God showed it to them. They deliberately suppressed the truth,
which is unrighteousness. He’s not talking about Jesus Christ or holy spirit. He’s talking
about doing this to the head, God. Godhead is basically nothing more or less than the true
God, head God. There are two gods: one the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; the
other the god of this world. In the commandment, Thou shalt have no other gods before
me, there is only one true God, and that’s what this verse is talking about. Both in Verse 19
and 18 and back in Verse 21 – it’s not talking about three gods. It’s talking about the one
Whenever you have the three gods, you have the beginning of the problems that are
manifested here in writing in the book of Romans in these chapters all the way through
3:20. They suppress the truth and then the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
ungodliness, and as you suppress the truth, then other things came in and get worse and
worse and worse, as we will see when we work the rest of this chapter in Romans.
Because – They are without excuse, Verse 20.
Because when they knew God, when they knew God’s righteousness, the truth of God,
when they knew God, they glorified him not as God. It’s praised him not as God. The
literal working of this, they worshipped him not as God, the true God. When you do not
worship him as the true God, you are no longer going to be thankful. Neither were
But became vain – Vain is perhaps in the essence of real conceit. They suppressed the truth
to the end that they believed they were right. They will be so bold about their error which
you and I know is error from the truth of God’s Word, but they do not believe it’s error.
They believe it’s truth.
Become vain in their reasonings. Imaginations is “reasonings.” They no longer can add
two plus two and come up with four. They become vain in their reasonings.
Then their foolish heart – they don’t think it’s foolish, but God’s Word says it’s a foolish
heart. Their foolish heart, because they suppressed the truth, what happened to their heart?
It got darkened. Do they think it got darkened? No, to them it’s bright sunshine, light.
These are the ones who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, which is just the opposite of
the righteousness of God. They profess themselves to be wise.
They profess themselves to be wise. You will certainly see this so vividly in our day and in
our time in our culture. The leading educators, leading philosophers, leading theologians,
who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, they profess themselves to be wise. They are
the so-called smart ones. They are the ones who sit in the seats of teachers and share their
so-called wisdom with their students, and the Word of God says they profess themselves to
be wise. They really become fools.
The only basis on which you can judge the righteousness of God or the wrath of God is in
the light of the Word of God. There is no other basis on which anybody could make a right
decision. This is why if we do not have the accurate knowledge of God’s Word, we’re
never going to have a solid foundation or basis upon which to make a proper decision or a
right decision. The righteousness of God, that great foundational verse, seventeen, sets that
whole truth of the greatness of that revelation. Then in verse eighteen and following, it
begins to develop this wrath of God as it relates itself to Jews, the Gentiles, Jews and
When you get to Chapter 5:1, the word “wrath” no longer appears, because once you tap
into the truth of the greatness of God’s Word, the word “wrath” is never used of Adam or
anyone who is in the second Adam, Jesus Christ. So as we go through the book of Romans
you will see how wonderfully God has taken care of men who do not suppress the truth.
What you have been in the past, He doesn’t bring up, doesn’t have to. It’s very simple.
Every man is dead in trespasses and sins. So if you’re dead, you’re dead. Can you get
deader than dead? This is why He never brings that up, doesn’t have to, because there are
no stages of sin. One sin is no worse than the other. If you’re dead, you’re dead. If a man is
dead because he has 10,000 or 100,000, he’s still dead. So that is how the foundation here
is laid of the wrath of God showing this in contrast with the righteousness of God and it
begins by the truth, stating the truth, that these people knew God, they knew the truths of
God, but they deliberately suppressed it. It wasn’t anything but a planned suppression of
that great truth.
So professing themselves to be wise, they become fools.
The next time we get into this session, we’ll see how big a fool they really become.
Again, I’d like to reiterate that basically this wrath or anger of the Lord deals with
uncleanness which is primarily idolatry. If you’re going to serve the body more than the
true God, it has to be idolatry.
Well, that’s all I’m going to do in Romans tonight.