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Reasons for the Wrath of God, Part 2 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
August 28, 2023 4:00 am

Reasons for the Wrath of God, Part 2 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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August 28, 2023 4:00 am

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So man has a history that is devolutionary, not evolutionary. He knows God. He will not glorify God. He won't be thankful.

He's too proud. And when he puts God out of his life, he creates a vacuum. And that vacuum is his own empty musings. And into that vacuum comes the darkness of evil that fills up his foolish heart. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. Do a Google search for joyous events in history and you may come across stories about the end of World War II or the demolition of the Berlin Wall and what made those events so great. It's that they mark the end of bleak and terrible times and the good news shined bright in front of the bad news. Well, for sinners like you and me, there is some really bad news.

In fact, it's the worst bad news of all. God is angry at sinners and promises to judge them. In light of that, why would anyone reject the good news that Christ paid the penalty of sin for all who would turn to him in faith?

John helps answer that question today. Follow along as he continues his series, Wicked World, Angry God. Romans chapter 1 is our text, and I would invite you to take your Bible and look along with us as we examine this most essential portion of Paul's epistle to the Romans from verses 19 through 23. If God is going to judge and if He is going to pour out His vengeance, is it fair? Is it just?

Is it right? And the answer is in these verses. Four reasons for God's wrath and they are also four phases in the decline and fall of man. These four phases become the four reasons why God is just in condemning men to hell. They are revelation, rejection, rationalization, and religion. Revelation, rejection, rationalization, and religion. Revelation simply says that God has revealed Himself to men.

Rejection says men have turned away from that revelation. When man finds God in creation, he rejects God. Lucifer did it.

Adam did it. Adam even walked and talked with God and rejected Him. And the sin of rejection is crystallized in verse 21.

Look back at it for a moment. When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God. Now God has always desired that man would see His glory. And I want to take you on a fast tour through this theme, so look back at Genesis chapter 3.

Genesis chapter 3. Now God had made Adam and Eve and placed them in this wonderful garden. And God has placed His presence there as well and it says His presence was in the garden. And we call the presence of God there the Shekinah glory.

God actually manifested Himself in some kind of light, some form of light. And Adam and Eve even walked and talked with God in the cool of the day. And they recognized God's glory. They saw God's glory. They communed with God. They praised God. They accepted His glory. And then they sinned in the third chapter. Verse 8. They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Here was the Shekinah, the presence again. And they heard God speaking as He moved through the garden. And Adam and his wife, and here you have a monumental change, hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God.

Why? They were no longer interested in communing with His glory. That was a thing of the past. And go to the end of the chapter, verse 23. Therefore the Lord God sent Him forth from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from where He was taken. So He drove out the man and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way to guard the way of the tree of life. Adam rebelled and he was expelled. Adam saw God's glory and turned his back. He is a classic illustration of Romans chapter 1. When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God. God had said, Obey me and do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

That's what I ask of you. Glorify me by your obedience to my law. Adam defied God, led by his wife and the temptation of Satan. You shall be equal to God. Get some glory for yourself.

Be like God. They sought their own glory and they were expelled. In other words, just what Romans 1 says, they knew God but glorified Him not as God. Would you say Adam has an excuse if he were to be condemned?

Not at all. He was expelled from the garden because he made his choice. He could have obeyed. He had the knowledge. He knew what it was to perceive and to know God. But he turned his back on it and God put a sword and said, That's it.

Now God could at that point have just obliterated the human race and started from scratch. But God desired to reach back to mankind and let man see his glory. God wanted to seek out fallen sinful men and draw him back. And so throughout the Scripture, God endeavors to reveal His glory. In fact, He comes to the point in the 12th chapter of Genesis where He forms a special nation.

And that nation is designed for a vehicle by which God can reveal His glory. God gives Him a great leader by the name of Moses. Turn to the 33rd chapter of Exodus. God had said to Moses, I want you to lead My people.

I want you to represent Me before them. And God came to Moses to set him aside for the work. Verse 11 of Exodus 33 says, And the Lord spoke unto Moses face to face as a man speaks unto his friend. God came and communed with Moses. Verse 12, Moses says, Lord, see thou sayest unto me, bring up this people, and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. This is a big job, Lord. You've got to be kidding.

Couple of million people. You want me to lead them around? Who's going to help me? Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. In other words, I know that you'll be gracious to me, and I know you know me. I know you're here with me, but I don't know if I can do it alone. So he says in verse 13, If I have really found grace in your sight, this is Moses talking to God, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight. In other words, do something tangible, physical. Show me something. Demonstrate yourself. Verse 14, God says, All right, My presence shall go with thee.

What is that? Oh, that's the same presence we saw in Genesis 3. Here it is back again. It is God's glory, God's Shekinah. And God is saying now, I'll show you My glory, and God desired that the people would see His glory and respond properly. I'll show you My glory.

My presence will go with you. Well, Moses was still skeptical, so in verse 18 he says, I beg you, show me your glory. I can't accept it by faith, Lord.

Reveal yourself. And He said, I'll make all My goodness pass before thee. I'll proclaim the name of the Lord before thee. I'll be gracious to Him, I'll be gracious, and show mercy on whom I will show mercy. In other words, God says, I'll show you My name, that's the sum of all My attributes. I'll show you My goodness, I'll show you My grace, I'll show you My mercy, I'll reveal My glory. But He said, You couldn't see it all, verse 20, and live, for if you saw all of it, you'd die. So the Lord said, There's a place over here where I am. You're a rock, and you get in that rock, in a cleft of the rock, verse 22, and I'll cover you with My hand.

And that's an anthropomorphism. God veils His sight, and I'll pass by, and I'll just remove My hand and let you see My back parts. My face shall not see or burn you up. So God says, I can't show you the full deal, but I'll let you see a little of My afterglow. And so He tucks Moses in the rock. Moses is up on the mountain, and God goes by. And when Moses saw the glory, it got all over his face. And God sent him down a mountain. And after this incredible vision that Moses had seen, his face was literally transfigured. The glory of God was all over it. In verse 5 it says, The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him and proclaimed the Lord, Lord God, merciful, gracious, longsuffering, abundant in goodness, truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, sin. You see, He just recites all of His attributes, and they were all somehow revealed in a blazing light. Now I don't understand that.

I just know that's what it says. And He says, Now let me go and show the people. So He goes down a mountain, and He came to reveal God's glory. He came to show the people the glory of God. Did they accept it?

No. No, they never glorified God. They griped.

They complained. They belly ached all over the place until that entire generation died in the wilderness. I guess God could have written them off then, but He didn't. He gave them plans to build a tabernacle. Look at chapter 40 when they finished the tabernacle.

They were to wander for 40 years. And all the while they were to wander, God wanted them to see His glory. And so when the tabernacle was completed, verse 34 says, A cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Now all the tribes were set around the tabernacle. They all had their camping places, all twelve tribes around the tabernacle. They all faced the tabernacle. It was a place of worship. And when they moved for those 40 years, the tabernacle was picked up and moved along, and the glory went with it. And the glory of God came down and dwelt between the wings of the cherubim on the ark of the covenant in the holy of holies, and the whole camp focused in on that glory. And by the way, through all of those wanderings, the glory of God led them when they were to move during the day by a cloud and led them when they were to move at night by a pillar of what?

Fire. That was the glory of God. God was putting Himself right in the middle of the camp, right in the middle of their life, in the middle of their activity and saying, Will you see My glory? Will you see Me for who I am?

Will you honor Me for who I am? And in spite of all of that glory coming down, it says in verse 35, it literally filled the tabernacle and it led them day and night. And in spite of that, when it came time to conquer the land, they didn't have any faith.

And only two of them even believed that they could do it. And even Moses himself, because of his sin, never entered the promised land. And God was saying, Will you see My glory? Will you see My glory?

And men refused. Finally they got in the land. And God said, I want to reveal My glory one more time. He said, I want you to build a temple and My glory will dwell in it.

Look at 1 Kings chapter 8. They finished the temple. They brought the ark of the covenant into the temple. And after it was all done, the tables of stone were placed there.

1 Kings 8, 10 says, And it came to pass when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests couldn't stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. And here was again the temple, permanent, right in their midst, this incredible, magnificent, Solomonic temple. And there in the midst was the glory of God. And He was saying, Will you see My glory?

And then will you, like Moses, reflect My glory to the world? For Israel was to be His channel. And He was asking them that here. Did they respond? Did they become the channel to reach the world? Did the temple remain a place where God's glory dwelt?

Nope. No, they refused to see the glory. They turned their back on it just like men always have. Look at Ezekiel chapter 8. This is an incredible passage.

And this is so typical of how they desecrated the temple. Verse 4, Behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there. He saw a vision of the place of worship, the house of God. And He saw the glory there.

That's where it belonged. But then He said unto me, Son of Man, lift up your eyes now in the way to the north. I lifted up mine eyes in the way to the north and behold, northward at the gate of the altar, this image of jealousy in the entrance.

Uh-oh. There's an idol in the entrance to the temple. Do you see, Son of Man, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, that I should go far off from My sanctuary? But turn yet again and thou shalt see greater abomination. And He brought me to the door of the court and when I looked behold a hole in the wall. In other words, it's in disarray.

They aren't even taking care of it. And He looked in the hole. Go in, He said, through the door and behold the wicked abominations that went in and behold every form of creeping thing and abominable beasts. And all the idols of the house of Israel portrayed upon the wall round about. Now let me ask you a question. Were they responsible and without excuse?

You better believe it. No more so than any other person. They got into the snakes and they got into the abominable beasts and they got involved in the idols because they turned their back on the glory of the Lord. They would not see God for who He was. And then you have in verse 11, there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel. In the midst of them stood Jazaniah the son of Shaphan and every man had his censer in his hand and a thick cloud of incense went up.

And here you have a whole bunch of people playing the role of a priest and that was a desecration and a blasphemy worthy of death. And then in verse 13, turn again and I'll show you greater abominations. He brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord's house which is toward the north and behold there sat women weeping for Tammuz. He said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Turn yet again and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord's house and behold at the door of the temple of the Lord between the porch and the altar which is the most sacred place were twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east and they worshiped the sun. Do you see this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here?

Therefore, verse 18, I will also deal in fury. You see, God has patiently revealed His glory in the garden and man turns his back. He reveals His glory in the face of Moses and they turn their back. He reveals His glory in the tabernacle and they do the same thing. His glory in the temple and they pollute the very temple in which His glory dwells.

This is how it is with man. And in chapter 10 you have the saddest event in the history of Israel. Ichabod means the glory has departed. And you can go through the tenth chapter on your own and you can watch the glory of God leave the temple.

It leaves. Verse 4, the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub and stood over the threshold of the house. And the house was filled with the cloud and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord's glory. That's the first place. It just comes out of the holy, holy, holy of holies and it moves to the court.

And if you follow it then moves up over the top and then it moves out over a mountain and then it's gone. Men have always refused God's glory. You say, did God ever send it back again?

Yes, one more time. John's gospel, chapter 1, verse 14, and the Word was made flesh. Who's that? Christ. And the Word was made flesh, listen carefully now, and dwelt among us and we beheld His...what? Glory. The glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. When did God reveal His glory?

In Christ. And one time Jesus went up on the Mount of Transfiguration and He pulled aside His cloak, the Bible says, and showed His glory in blazing light. He was the glory of God. The same glory that walked and talked in the garden, the same glory that shone in the face of Moses, the same glory that dwelt in the tabernacle, the same glory that departed from the temple. That same reality of living God came in a human tabernacle, a human temple, a human face, and walked and talked in this world God's glory, again saying to man, will you see me for who I am?

And He demonstrated love and He demonstrated mercy and goodness and strength and power and wisdom and truth in every attribute of God. And what did they do to Him? What did they do to Him?

They murdered Him. But that's how it is with man, you see. So when you want to come along the track and say, well, is God just in condemning men?

Ask yourself this question. Has man repeatedly throughout his history known God, seen His glory, and turned his back on Him? Even Israel with the fullest revelation did that. Why would we expect anything other than that from the pagan? And when it comes down to condemnation, beloved, when it comes down to God's judgment, God judges men because they reject His revealed glory. The classic illustration is Pharaoh. How many times did God display His glory, and how many times did Pharaoh deny it? You say, what about the future? Will God's glory come again?

Oh yes. Look at Matthew 24. Matthew 24, verse 29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. Now, one word comes into my mind when I read that verse.

What word do you think of? It starts with a D. Darkness. Did you get that? The sun is dark, the moon doesn't give its light, and if the sun is dark, the moon won't give its light, and the stars fall out of the sky, the heavens collapse, pitch blackness. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth, what? Mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power, and this is the first time it's ever been stated this way, great glory.

You see? All the lights go out, and then comes the blazing Shekinah revelation of the glory of God, and then His glory will fill the earth in the wonder of His kingdom. The whole history of Scripture is the history of God revealing His glory. You say, what about the present tense? God's revealing His glory in the world today. Do you know that?

You want to know how? Colossians says, Christ in you, the hope of what? Of glory. To Him be glory, Ephesians in the church. I believe we are the radiation of Christ's glory in the world today, and they don't listen to us either. You see, man always refuses God's glory. Now let's go back to Romans 1.

Now you have a context for this verse. When they knew God, and all men knew Him, simply because of His revelation and creation, and because Christ is the light that lights every man that comes into the world. That's the promise of Scripture. But when they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God because of their own pride, and watch what happens.

Neither were they thankful. In other words, they do not ascribe everything they possess to the God who gave it to them. Man's failure is not that he fails to recognize God, but that he refuses to glorify God. And if he does not accept God as the source, he will not thank God. And not to thank God is blasphemous, for God has provided everything that is, and He's so good.

He even makes it rain to fall in the just and the unjust. Instead of glorifying God and having thankful hearts, watch this. They became vain or empty in their imaginations. Very interesting statement. The word imaginations means thoughts, and they became empty in their thoughts. In other words, if you reject God, you have an empty mind. You've created a vacuous situation, vain human philosophy, perverse self-willed musings and reasonings. They were left with empty thoughts, useless, pointless, purposeless thinking. They go from truth to emptiness, but that vacuum doesn't stay empty very long. Verse 21 says it sucks in darkness, and that is representative of all the world of filth and trash and sin and vileness and evil.

So man has a history that is devolutionary, not evolutionary. He knows God. He will not glorify God. He won't be thankful.

He's too proud. And when he puts God out of his life, he creates a vacuum, and that vacuum is his own empty musings. And into that vacuum comes the darkness of evil that fills up his foolish heart. Man, having rejected God, cannot any longer find the truth. And that's what Jesus said in John 8 45. Because I speak the truth, you do not hear me.

Because it doesn't ring with you. The natural man understandeth not the things of whom? Of God. They are foolishness to him. It reminds me of one evolutionist who wrote in the front page of an article that I read in a magazine on evolution. He said, I refuse to believe in a God, so what other alternative do I have but evolution? At least he was honest. All he's got is a bunch of empty nonsense left. You know, sometimes I'm so overwhelmed with this as I watch the world going about its business that I just am appalled at the foolishness and the folly and the utter hopelessness. And the thing that makes it so unbelievable is that man thinks he is so smart. Verse 22, professing themselves to be what?

Wise, while all the time they're fools. Father, I pray that this great night we've shared, our hearts have been blessed, fellowship has been sweet. We've enjoyed the laughter and we've thought so deeply. But I pray that it'll all climax in the hearts of those who need Jesus Christ, that they might not face that inevitable hour of judgment. O God, deliver them. May they see your glory as you've wanted men to see it since Eden. And may they do all that they do to the glory of God. That's John MacArthur on Grace to You with a study he calls Wicked World, Angry God.

John is chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary in the Los Angeles area. And John, you talked today about how people don't naturally submit to God, that rebellion is the default setting for the human heart. One common form that rebellion takes is the popular idea that there are many paths to God, that there's not just one way.

Yeah, that is a very good statement. Rebellion is the default setting for the human heart. It is also true that the human heart is basically hostile to the Bible. The human heart, by its love of sin and love of self, is naturally hostile to Scripture.

And so we're dealing with a double issue here. A heart that is in rebellion against God and a heart that is in rebellion against the revelation from God that provides the only remedy. The sinner is in rebellion against the Scripture. It's revelation about God, it's revelation about Christ, it's revelation about sin, it's revelation about judgment, it's revelation about salvation. The human heart does not like the exclusive message of Scripture, but that has to be countered with the truth. That's why I wrote the book Why One Way, a powerful small book that argues for the truth of the gospel, the distinctiveness of the gospel, the exclusivity of the gospel, proclaiming that Christ is the only hope for people in this world to be saved, escape hell, and enter heaven.

It's the kind of thing you ought to have a dozen on hand to distribute. It's that powerful a message that drives people to the exclusivity of the gospel, the only way to be saved. That's right, and the title again of this book, Why One Way, it's a quick read that's packed with gospel truth, a great resource to pass along to a friend or to someone you've been witnessing to. Pick up a copy of Why One Way when you contact us today.

Why One Way costs $10 and shipping is free. Just call 800-55-GRACE and one of our customer service representatives will help you order a copy. Our number again, 800-55-GRACE, or you can order from our website, Again, that's And keep in mind that at our website you can download all of John's sermons. That's more than 3,500 messages, including those from his current study, Wicked World, Angry God. All of it free in MP3 and transcript format. And remember, there are thousands of other free resources available at If you want to know what the Bible says about doctrines like sovereign election and justification, or cultural issues like men's and women's roles, you'll likely find a sermon or a blog article or a devotional that covers the subject.

Again, head to our website, Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for starting your week here with us and be here tomorrow as John shows you how God can be both wrathful and merciful at the same time, and what that means for you. It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Grace To You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-28 14:03:27 / 2023-08-28 14:14:29 / 11

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