In Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for Grace he gives real testimonies of:
- Racists transformed by God’s grace
- Addicts transformed by God’s grace
- Murderers transformed by God’s grace
- The Abused transformed by God’s grace
- The Abusers transformed by God’s grace
From street children to death–row convicts, this book shows time and time again that grace can break through every circumstance, situations and darkness. It is an unstoppable force for good, one you can chose to revolutionise your life and others around you today.
I remember jogging up Georgetown road listening to one of the “Case for…” books as Lee writes about a man formerly on death row who had been transformed by Christ and is now a pastor.
How does this happen? How do people change? What is the big deal?
C.S. Lewis writes about our moral law and believes that this is evidence for a God. Without God, how can we know that there really is a right and a wrong?
I want to get into a passage about this very thing and my theme comes from Romans 1:18 and is:
God’s Wrath on us Points to Our Need for Christ
That is my theme. As we look at this passage and the messages over the next few weeks, we will see that we all, and everyone, need Jesus. No one is good enough.
Trust in Jesus and point others towards Him as well.
Read with me Romans 1:18:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness…
- First let’s look at the context of this passage.
- From 1:18-3:32 the major point in Romans is that being Jewish does not give one salvation, nor does being gentile. No one escapes the consequence of their sin.
- Remember Romans is Paul’s great treatise on Salvation. This is called This is very important for us to take seriously.
- As we look at the following verses we see a litany of sins.
- As we jump ahead we see chapter 2 which is directed at the Jews and begins with: You, therefore, have no excuse.
- As we get into chapter 3 Paul begins with What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of Christ.
- In 3:10-20 there is a quote from the Psalm regarding Jewish unrighteousness.
- Then we come to 3:23: for all have sinnedand fall short of the glory of God,
- But check out verse 24:
- and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
- Do you see my point?
- Prior to looking at these passages and thinking, “How legalistic Paul is!” Prior to looking at these passages and thinking, “I cannot believe Paul would mention these political incorrect things!”
- Realize that Paul is pointing people to Jesus.
- Paul and the other Inspired writers of the Bible were not afraid to offend people and this is because we must be aware of our sin so that we realize that we need a Savior.
- Preach the Gospel
- I read somewhere: Nobody in hell says, “I’m glad my feelings were never offended.” Preach the gospel.”
- Spurgeon said: “I will not believe that you have tasted of the honey of the gospel if you can eat it all by yourself.”
- I do wish to briefly talk about this passage. First let’s read it from the Message translation:
But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.
24–25 So God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.” It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!
26–27 Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either—women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.
28–32 Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags! They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. They ditch their parents when they get in the way. Stupid, slimy, cruel, cold-blooded. And it’s not as if they don’t know better. They know perfectly well they’re spitting in God’s face. And they don’t care—worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best!
- I recently read someone had said “the difference between God and us is that God never thinks He is us.”
- This passage is about pride, Pride puts us in the place of God and makes us think we can do whatever we want.
- Understand that God has set up a way in which we should live and we have all broken it. We all have dealt with pride in these ways. But this is no excuse to keep living in them.
- Once you commit to Christ, live for HIM!
- How many of you have committed to Christ?
- Live for HIM.
- This list of sins is not complete.
- Additionally, though these lists are pointing us to Jesus this also means that Christ followers must work diligently to let the Holy Spirit reign with us and not live in them.
- We have been bought with a price. (1 Cor. 6:20)
- This passage is about the holiness of God and the wrath of God on sin. These are things that we do not understand, though we must. We must take these seriously.
- It seems as though there are many sins in this list which we have tried to excuse and in so doing we are also excusing our need for a Savior. I will repeat that:
- It seems as though there are many sins in this list which we have tried to excuse and in so doing we are also excusing our need for a Savior.
- Look at verse 25:
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
- God is to be praised, don’t exchange His Truth for the world’s lie.
- Let’s apply this:
- Trust in Jesus and point others towards Him as well.
- Who are you trusting in for Salvation?
- Are you recognizing that you need Jesus?
- Do you recognize that others need Jesus?
- Point others to Jesus?
There was an episode of the hit show The West Wing in which a lobbyist comes in to see the President and she is against something on Biblical grounds. The President responds using Old Testament Scriptures for example:
“‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.
The problem with this is that then the West Wing is teaching Theology and Bible. But it is not only the West Wing. It is all of the world.
The writers of The West Wing are not Biblicist. They are not Theologians. They apparently don’t understand hermeneutics which is the science of interpretation. In the Old Testament They had civil and ceremonial laws. God was setting up a Jewish Nation state so when something is in the Bible one time in the Old Testament and not repeated it could, just maybe, be something for Israel. The Jewish dietary laws were settled in the New Testament in Acts 15 as was the rite of circumcision.
These things in the world cause us to question and step away from God’s way but understand where they are coming from.
God has a standard.
We need Jesus.
Don’t miss that.
Point people to Jesus.
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)
 Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005), Ro 1:18–32.