Holy Spirit Interactive
Friday, February 24, 2017
Inside Holy Spirit Interactive

The Other Side of Christ

The Wrath of God

by Fr. Robert D Smith

In St. Paul's Letter to the Romans, after he has delivered his greetings and notified the Romans that he is coming to Rome, he says: "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel..." Romans 1:16). Ashamed of what? Ashamed of what is in the Gospels? He explains: "For the wrath of God is indeed being revealed from Heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness." Romans 1:18)

He is telling the Christians at Rome that besides revealing the full extent of the love of God, which no one is ashamed of, Christianity also reveals the full extent of the wrath of God, which many are ashamed of. A new teaching revealing the existence of Hell, a severe and eternal punishment to those who remain committed to wickedness. From expressions like this, and from other remarks elsewhere in the epistles, it is clear that the Apostles were teaching one thing....a religion which included both strong love and strong fear, and that many of the catechists and priests in their own religion at the time were ashamed of the latter and dropped it from their teaching altogether. It is very possible that the Apostles in their own church were outnumbered in this respect by those who saw it differently!

St. Paul goes on, speaking about the pagan Romans: "For since the creation of the world His [God's] invisible attributes...of eternal Power and Divinity have been understood through the things that are made. And so they are without excuse seeing that, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or give thanks...for while professing to be wise, they have become fools, and they have changed the glory of the incorruptible God for an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things. (Romans 1:20-23)

"Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts...their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males, likewise, burned with lust for one another...They are filled with every form of wickedness...full of envy, murder...treachery and spite...they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness and rebellious toward their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." Romans 1:24,26-27,29-32)

In other words, although the pagans claimed only to be following their consciences in disregarding worship of the Universal and Invisible God and in disregarding all of most of their obligations toward their fellowman, in fact they did know better, and were without excuse for their failure to worship the One, Supreme God and also knew that they deserved death for their other sins.

This "faithlessness" that St. Paul mentions here among the sins of the pagans does not here refer to religious lack of faith; he has already spoken of this. The word here refers to their disregard of contractual obligations and disregard of marriage vows. They were claiming innocence, claiming that they saw nothing wrong with any of the things that they were doing. But this was a lie!

The same thing is happening today. The secular media present to us what seems to be an unending stream of people who are defending their own irreligion and their own disregard of God's laws, defending even sodomy just like the ancient pagan Romans did. In today's world, the statement that worship of God is required, that divorce and re-marriage is adultery, even that sodomy is a perversion is effectively unheard in the media, even while they boast of their own tolerance of free speech.

Worldlings today tell themselves that the very totality of the triumph of self- righteousness in irreligion and immorality in the secular world provides its own excuse from guilt. Not so at all. No more than it did for the ancient pagan Romans.


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