Earlier in the service I read from the first chapter of Romans what is really a very, very shocking portion of Scripture. Just to remind you that Romans chapter 1, verses 18 to 32, describes the wrath of God that is unleashed in the world.
The wrath of God is divided into a number of elements. There is eschatological wrath. That is the wrath that will fall on the earth at the end of human history in a time called the time of Tribulation. There is sowing and reaping wrath. That is the wrath of God that comes consequent on sin--whatever a man sows, he reaps. There is cataclysmic wrath. That is the wrath of God that He sets on man from miraculous use of the natural order, such as the Flood, or any other massive disaster that catapults souls into eternity. So there is that wrath of God which is eschatological and which is consequential and which is cataclysmic. And then there is that wrath of God which is eternal wrath, and that would be the wrath of God unleashed on the ungodly forever in the punishments of eternal hell.
But the wrath that is being referred to in Romans 1 isn't any of those. It is the wrath of abandonment. The wrath described here is the wrath that is executed when, according to verses 24, 26 and 28, God gives them over--gives them over, gives them over. In other words, it's when God abandons a nation. It's when God abandons a society and gives them over to the consequences of their behavior, which is escalating iniquity and disaster leading to judgment. This wrath of God is released from heaven, "revealed from heaven," verse 18 says, "against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth." And he goes on to say they all have the truth; the truth is visible from creation....