The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 6/18

Posted on | June 18, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 6/18

Scripture reading: Ezekiel 18:21–32

Cause or Effect?

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness. (Romans 1:18. NIV)

What does divine judgment look like? What happens to a nation that is experiencing the wrath of God? Until recently, I had always imagined that such a scenario would involve cosmic events (stars falling, the moon turned to blood, fire and brimstone, etc.), global catastrophes (floods, earthquakes, famine, etc.), and signs and wonders (angelic horsemen, beasts coming out of the sea, demonic miracles, etc.). Though these realities will undoubtedly be part of the ultimate and final judgment on a sinful planet, a closer reading of the Bible has caused me to think differently about the matter.

In Romans 1:18–32, Paul describes what a culture looks like that is currently experiencing divine wrath and judgment. The Roman Empire had turned its back on God and demanded freedom to worship idols, live in sexual perversity, and practice all manner of immoral behaviors. Three times Paul says that God poured his wrath on these people by simply giving them what they had always demanded:

_ God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity (idolatry). (vv. 24–25)
_ God gave them up to dishonorable passions (homosexuality, lesbianism, etc.). (vv. 26–27)
_ God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done (envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossip, etc.). (vv. 28–32)

Paul is not describing a wrath that is coming at some point in the future. No. He is describing a wrath that is here, now! The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven (present tense) even today (v. 18). His wrath is displayed when he removes his constraints for sin and simply gives sinners what they want! Such a civilization will soon self-destruct under the sheer weight of its own perversity. Rampant immorality is not the cause of judgment, it is the effect!

Like the apostle Paul, the prophet Jeremiah also lived in a culture undergoing divine judgment. The nation of Judah, similar to Rome, had turned its back on God and given free reign to idolatry and immorality. Though her sins were many, one in particular captures my attention. On three occasions, God says to the nation, I will silence the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride (Jeremiah 7:34; 16:9; 25:10). In other words, one of the ways Judah will realize that she is experiencing God’s wrath and judgment is that traditional weddings (the kind with a bride and a groom) will be no more!

As I have watched the homosexual agenda spread across America and seen the widespread acceptance of same-sex marriage, I remember what happened to Judah and Rome. I once believed that God was going to judge us and send wrath upon us because we had normalized the abnormal and blessed something God had cursed. But now I am beginning to realize that homosexuality is not the cause of coming judgment, it is rather the illustration of present wrath!

Ultimately judgment fell on Rome as on Judah, not because of their sins but because they refused to repent (Jeremiah 5:3). It is not too late for our nation to avert the judgment of God. But repentance is our only hope (II Chronicles 7:14).

The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words
“Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.”
—C. S. Lewis

point to ponder • Is the moral decay in our nation a cause for future divine wrath or a present expression of it?

prayer focus • National repentance.

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