Wrath Stored Up

That wrath is thundering down the chasm of history toward the day of final judgment, and one day it must break upon you unless you stand before God in Jesus Christ

Study of Romans as given by Dr. James Montgomery Boice: Romans 2:5

5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

This is the second time we come to the subject of God’s wrath. While wrath seems out of place for God, we must recognize that it is part of God’s character and we must defend it. We cry out with anger when we read about a heinous crime such as a mass shooting, physical abuse of the weak, and so on. Boice retells a story of a serial killer named Gary Heidnik. The police were informed of this, but were unable to do anything about this until a woman escaped and was able to tell about the crimes of Heidnik. The people were angry at the police for not doing anything and wanted punishment for this evil. We demand justice from our judicial system and want to know why the authorities did not stop this evil. In short we demand justice when evil has been done, yet we don’t think a holy God should be able to punish and have justice. As Boice writes, “…we consider our sins and those of most other people to be excusable—forgetting that in the sight of the holy God they are not much different from those of Gary Heidnik.” Our sins are not measured by our own relative and wavering standards of good and evil, but by God’s absolute and utterly upright criteria

    1. Wrath Revealed
        1. Our first introduction to the wrath of God was in Romans 1:18 which we looked at earlier.
        2. In Romans 1:18 Paul wrote, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickendess of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.”
        3. Romans 2:5 is telling us that there is a day of wrath to come.
        4. God’s wrath is not only being revealed to us daily, but there is also a wrath being stored up and a day will come when that wrath will be poured out.
        5. The wrath of God is being revealed to us chiefly in the debilitatin downward drag of sin upon our lives.
        6. Sin captures us and pulls us down inexorably, until–if we are allowed to continue in sin long enough–we end up calling what is good, evil and what is evil, good.
    2. Wrath Deserved
        1. Paul’a first point is that God’s wrath against the sin of men and women is deserved.
            1. It is deserved because of our willful ignorance of God.
            2. It is deserved because we wilfully refuse to seek him out and worship him.
            3. It is deserved because of our wilful refusal to repent.
            4. It is deserved because of our hardening of the heart against God’s kindness which He has bestored upon us.
        2. The wrath of God against the race is deserved on two counts:
            1. We have rejected the natural revelation of God.
            2. We have shown contempt for God’s patience and kind acts.
    3. Wrath Proportionate to Sin
        1. The most important teaching here is that those who sin much will be punished much and those who sin little will be punished little.
        2. This idea of proportionate sin is a problem for some as they thought of Hell’s punishment as being poured out because of peoples adament refusal to accept Christ.
        3. This is incorrect thinking:
            1. First, everyone has not had a chance to hear about Jesus Christ, and therefore not all will be punished for refusing to believe on him.
            2. The native is condemned not for failing to believe on Jesus, about whom he has never heard, but for failing to seek God out on the basis of the revelation of God found in nature.
            3. Those who have heard of Christ but refuse to believe are more guilty than the native.
        4. Those who have heard the gospel and refused to believe has rejected two sources of revelation.
            1. They have rejected God as revealed in nature.
            2. They have rejected God as revealed by special revelation.
        5. Those who have heard the gospel repeatedly and have seen God’s power at work are the guiltiest of all.
            1. We have had repeated chances to come to the knowledge of Christ.
            2. This is where Paul talks about the stubborn and unrepentant heart.
            3. Becuase of that stubborn and unrepentant heart wrath is being stored up, which will be poured out one day.
            4. Like a man who hoards gold above his bed only for it to come crashing down on him, killing him in his sleep, because of its weight.
            5. We to store up wrath above us, thinking that our sins are building up a life of future happiness and freedom, but each sin is actually a storing up of wrath.
    4. Certain Wrath
        1. Another thought expressed in Romans 2:5 is that the wrath of God against sin is certain.
        2. The people being addressed are those who look at the heathen and concluded they themselves would escape God’s wrath because of their imagined superiority.
        3. This is not so. In fact because of an awareness of high moral standards, coupled with their refusal to repent of sin and come to God, it intensifies their guilt and assures their final condemnation.
        4. Certainty of coming judgement is in the phrase “the day of God’s wrath.”
            1. Why is the outpouring of this wrath called a “day”?
            2. In Boice’s opinion it is not because this wrath is to be poured out in a 24 hour day.
            3. It is called a “day” because it is as fixed in God’s calendar as any day you can mention.
            4. This day of wrath is as fixed in God’s calendar as any other day you can say, i.e. December 7, 1941. When the day arrives then God’s wrather will be pured out.
    5. Wrath That Is Just
        1. God’s wrath is a just wrath. In other words His wrath is not arbitrary or petulant, but rather according to His “righteous judgement”.
        2. When Paul mentions judgement he brings in thoughts of God’s law and reminds us that judgement of God will be according to law.
        3. One big problem with sin is that it breeds an attitude of self-justification. Anything that happens to us that we do not like is immediately declared as unjust.
        4. When bad things happen to us we find a reason to blame God for the ordering of the universe. We cry that all we want from God is justice.
        5. God forbid that we should receive justice from God! God’s justice will condemn us.
        6. Do not ask God for justice. Seek mercy. Seek it where salvation from the wrath of God may alone be found.
    6. Wrath Poured Out
        1. How can this wrath of God be avoided–since we are sinners? The only place is in Christ, who bore the full measure of the wrath of God in our place.
        2. Jesus was not afraid of death, but he trembled before death because his death was not going to be a normal death.
        3. He was going to take upon himself the full measure of the wrath of God that they deserved.
        4. He was to drink the cup of wrath to the bery dregs–in order that the justice of God might be satisfied and sinners might be spared.
        5. For centuries the sins of men and women had caused wrath to be stored up. When Christ was crucified the dam was opened, and the great weight of the accumulated wrath of God was poured out upon him.
        6. When Christ died the thick curtain which hung in the temple was torn from top to bottom. This curtain symbolized the barrier that sin had raised between God and ourselves.
        7. For centures it had hung there, proclaiming that God was holy, that man was sinful, and that the way to God was therefore strictly barred.
        8. When Jesus died for sin, taking the place of any who would trust him and receive the benefit of his sacrifice, the wrath of God was expended, the way was open, and there was nothing left by God’s great love and kindness.
        9. This is the gospel. It is what is open to you if you will approach God, not on the basis of your own good deeds or works, which can only condemn you, but on the basis of Christ’s having borne the wrath of God in your place.
        10. That wrath is thundering down the chasm of history toward the day of final judgment, and one day it must break upon you unless you stand before God in Jesus Christ.

Personal Reflection

The wrath of God. Say it with me “the wrath of God”. Meditate upon that for a while. A.W. Pink writes in “The Attributes of God”

The wrath of God is a perfection of the divine character upon which we need to frequently meditate. First, that our hearts may be duly impressed by God’s detestation of sin…..Secondly, to beget a true fear of our souls for God: “Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:289-29). We cannot serve him “acceptably” unless there is due “reverence” for His awful Majesty and “godly fear” of His righteous anger;….Thirdly, to draw out our souls in fervent praise for our having been delivered from “the wrath to come” (I Thess 1:10).”

Pink calls for us to not only to think about the wrath of God, but to meditate on it frequently. In these modern days we barely hear preachers from the pulpit speak on this attribute of God, afraid of driving members away. There are some ministers who refuse to speak about the consequences of sin, but only emphasize the positive side of God; love, mercy, grace, etc. While all these attributes are embodied in God, there is also wrath and justice. When ministers preach such a weak theology that only emphasizes the “fluffiness” of God without warning their congregation about the consequences of sin, which is the wrath of God, then he does a terrible disservice to the congregation they are preaching to. God detests sin. When the preacher refuses to ignore this and not warn its congregation, the congregation becomes comfortable in their sin. Soon those members are no different than those outside of the church, and as a result they are no longer immune from the wrath of God. They are under God’s judgement just as we all are, and part of that judgement is God’s wrath.

So what does God’s wrath entail? One part of God’s wrath has to do with His coming judgement. Everyone will be judged according to their sin and will be rewarded according to what he or she has done. (Romans 2: 5-16). Those who seek after Christ and righteousness will be acknowledged and on the basis of Christ’s atonement and merit on their behalf will be awarded that which they seek. The rest will receive a destiny commensurate with the godless way of life they have chosen, and that destiny will come to them on the basis of their own demerit. (J.I. Packer, Concise Theology). Nothing will be hidden, everything about everybody will be exposed. A second part of God’s wrath is the act of punishment for the unrighteous. After judgment comes the sentence, banishment into endless misery.

“Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14-15)”

The New Testament views hell as a place of fire and darkness (Jude 7, 13), of weeping and grinding of teeth (Matthew 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30), of destruction (2 Thess. 1:7-9; s Peter 3:7) and of torment (Rev. 20:10, Luke 16:23). Hell is a negative relationship with God, an experience not of His absence so much as of His presence in wrath and displeasure. It is the experience of God’s anger as a consuming fire, his righteous condemnation for defying him and clinging to the sins he loathes, and the deprivation of all that is valuable, pleasant and worthwhile will be the shape of the experience of hell (Romans 2:6, 8-9, 12) (J.I. Packer, Concise Theology, 262).

There are those false teachers out there who would teach that the wrath of God is not real, it is not a part of who God is. These false teachers go against a very real teaching of scripture and in denying this part of God teach a false gospel. There are those preachers who stand behind the pulpit and have vowed to never speak or teach about this aspect of God’s character. Those who remain silent condemn their sheep to Hell as well as themselves. I find that the Old Testament in general is a show of God’s wrath while the New Testament is a show of how to avoid that wrath. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ know that judgment is coming, know that the wrath of God is coming. Are you prepared?


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