“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”
In Aesop’s Fables titles, “The Old Man and Death,” the old man wished to die because he was tired of picking up sticks. However, when Death came to grant the wish, the old man changes his mind. He asked Death to help him put another pile of sticks on his shoulder. This story is where we get the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for.”
Well, the context of today’s text reminds me of that phrase, where God reveals himself, but people reject His revelation. Paul points out that no one can claim ignorance when God’s wrath comes. God has given the world signs of Himself everywhere, and all have an opportunity to recognize them.
But as a result of rejection, God removes Himself from them, or as the passage reads, “God turns them over.” The technical rendering of the phrase is God gives them up. Essentially, God gives them up to their own passions. Then, whatever they wish to do will be without God’s convictions. The repercussions that linger, though, in the absence of God’s hand, are nothing but depravity, destruction, and Death.
Paul declares that the wrath of God is out toward all humanity for rejecting the revelation of himself through creation. But, we do not have to leave it there. Later in the letter, Paul gives hope of another revelation. The revelation of Jesus Christ to save people from the wrath that God has declared. He will save us from the repercussions of our own wishes.
Use the HEAR method as you spend time with today’s scripture.
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?