Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
–Ephesians 5:6

In Romans 1, Paul started his gospel presentation by talking about the wrath of God. What do we mean by God’s wrath?

In the New Testament, there are primarily two Greek words that are translated as “wrath.” The first word is “thumos.” It refers to an explosive rage that is easily triggered. This is when you are driving on the highway and somebody cuts in front of you, and you explode in anger. Or it is when somebody says something that ticks you off, and you spew words of rage. That is thumos: a volcanic expression of rage. In Colossians 3:8, Paul said, “Put them all aside: anger, wrath [thumos], malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.” But “thumos” is not the word used in Romans 1;18. There the word is “orge.” This kind of wrath is a strong, settled opposition to all that is evil, arising out of God’s own nature. It is God’s holy revulsion against that which contradicts His holiness. God does not blow up like we do. He does not look at somebody who is sinning, explode in fury, and then apologize for His outburst. Instead, His wrath is a slowly building revulsion toward everything that is against His holiness. And just like water that builds behind a dam until the dam can no longer contain it and it pours forth on the residents below, so God’s settled wrath is building, and one day it is going to be poured out on the earth. The Great Tribulation is when God will pour out His wrath on the earth.

There is a future expression of God’s wrath, but there is also a present expression of God’s wrath. Paul used the word “orge” 10 times in the book of Romans. Notice he did not say, “The wrath of God will one day be revealed from heaven.” Instead, he said, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven.” How do we see God’s wrath right now? First, we see God’s wrath expressed through God’s natural order. That is, God has put certain natural laws into effect, and if we violate those rules, we will suffer the consequences. For example, the law of gravity says if you jump off the roof, you will fall and go splat. In the same way, God has put certain rules into effect, and if you violate His principles, you are going to suffer right now.

A second way God’s wrath is demonstrated today is through His direct intervention. Sometimes God directly intervenes in this world today. Think about the destruction of the world with a flood in Noah’s time or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Bible says sometimes God intervenes and pours out His wrath on individuals or nations. Do not make the mistake of thinking that because God’s wrath has not yet come in your life, somehow He is overlooking your sin. Just because something is not imminent does not mean it is not inevitable. God will judge sin. He will do so in His way and in His time.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “No Excuse” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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