Judgment and wrath of God in Romans

Judgment and wrath of God in Romans

In Romans 1 - 3, Paul outlines the problem and solution of mankind: sin and the gospel. Most people think of the book of Romans as the great treatise on salvation yet most never stop to ask ‘saved from WHAT”. Paul is rather prolific in this book concerning that very subject.

The gospel is God’s power to save people from the wrath of God, which He exercises against unrighteousness and ungodliness (1:18). In fact Paul uses the word 12 times in this book. Paul uniformly teaches that such wrath is against sin. One expression that I have picked up in my reading that I like: God’s wrath is ALWAYS and ONLY directed toward sin. This is the point of the first three chapters of Romans and in specific, chapter 2.

In chapter one, Paul has shown that the gentile world has forsaken God and chosen the way of ungodliness. Before Paul addresses the situation of the Jewish people (chapter 3), he sets up the basis of God’s judgment in chapter 2. 

Paul speaks of the judgment of God five times, 2:2,3, 5, 12, and 16. Paul adds to the fact of God’s judgment some principles concerning God’s judgment.

·        It is against sin (12), unrighteousness (8), and evil (9). 

·        It is RIGHTEOUS (2, 5 and 1:32). God makes no mistakes; God is not unjust in such judgment.

·        It will be a judgment of ALL people - Jew and Gentile (9).

·        It will be according to each man’s life - (6).

·        It is without partiality (11).

·        It will be complete as it judges not only their actions but their thoughts and secrets (16).

·        It will result in wrath, fury, tribulation, and distress for those who have done evil (8-9).

·        It will result in glory, honor, immortality, eternal, and peace for those who do good. (7,10).

This is not trying to tell people how to be saved, for the problem stands and will be concluded that ALL have sinned and therefore ALL are under the penalty of sin. Paul returns to the gospel story in 3:21-31. In this chapter his point is that God’s righteous judgment is upon all that do evil. There is no escape based upon genealogy, political position, or wealth. 

With this foundation concerning God’s dealing with mankind, Paul proceeds in chapter three to show that that Jew sinned and is facing the wrath of God in judgment UNLESS he is forgiven through Jesus Christ.  

Hugh DeLong