For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, 19 since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. (Romans 1:18-19)
When we think of God’s wrath we often think about fire and brimstone. We think about God completely opposing us. In some ways those views are justified. Jesus refers to hell as a place of “eternal fire” in Matthew 25:41. We see scriptures like 1 Peter 5:5 which says that God “opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So those are not inaccurate views of God’s wrath or judgement. However, I think the way that they play out practically is very different than we might think.
In this chapter, we see that people suppress the truth about God. It’s not as if God has hidden himself from view. Everyone by looking at the created world to draw the conclusion that God exists but because of our sin we suppress that truth and deny God. Because of our denial God’s wrath is revealed. But how is it revealed?
In Romans 1:24 it says that the way God reveals his wrath is by allowing sinners to do exactly what they want. Romans 1:24 says, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts”. In other words, God’s wrath is most clearly revealed when he allows human beings to willingly do whatever sin they want to do. C.S. Lewis says it like this in The Great Divorce:
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.”
According to Scripture God’s wrath is God simply allowing you to be your own god. It’s allowing you to continue to do what you most want. God’s grace is the opposite. God’s grace is an act of God changing the heart of a sinner to have new desires (Ezekiel 36:26). So ask yourself, has God so gripped your heart so that you no longer want to be the ruler of your own life. Have you said to God, “You will be done?”