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The Epistle to the Romans.
The suppression of the truth (Rom. 1: 18).
The discovery of the meaning of the term" the righteousness of God" is of the first importance, but as
the apostle was as sensible of this as any of his subsequent readers of expositors, we feel that it will be
better to defer an extended examination of this term until we are considering the apostle's own inspired
explanations that occupy Rom. 3: and 4:
Following therefore the line of the apostle's teaching, we find that after the great thesis of the epistle
has been stated in Rom. 1: 17, he turns aside to establish the utter need of both Gentile (Rom. 1: 18-32), and
Jew (Rom. 2: 1-29), and then "the whole world" (Rom. 3: 19), and that a righteousness provided by grace
has taken the place of a righteousness attained by works of law.
Rom. 1: 18 to 3: 20 is one large section of this epistle devoted mainly to the establishment of the utter
need of all men for the provision of grace in the gospel. It opens with the testimony of creation, and the
things that may be known of God; it closes with the testimony of the law, and the knowledge of sin. Man
needs something more than knowledge, he needs power to perform, and this he does not possess.
Confining ourselves for the time to the revelation given of the darkness of the Gentile world, let us turn
our attention to Rom. 1: I8-.2: 1: The statement of verse I8 is the conclusion of the argument introduced at
"FOR I am not ashamed of the gospe1."
"FOR it is the power of God unto salvation."
"FOR .herein is revealed a righteousness of God."
"FOR the wrath of God is revealed from heaven."
The necessity for righteousness is stressed by the fact of the revelation of wrath against all
The word orge (translated" wrath") occurs twelve times in Romans, and of these occurrences seven
are found in the first great doctrinal division (Rom. 1: I-5: I I). It is an important word, and seeing that" it is
placed in distinct relation to righteousness in Rom. 1: 17, I8, it demands a prayerful study. We observe in
the first place that" wrath" is used in the outer portion of Romans only. The word is not used in Rom. 5: I2-
8: 39. The word" wrath" is not used of either Adam or of man seen in Adam. Judgment, condemnation
and death there are, but unaccompanied by wrath. There is no wrath either in connection with the lake of
fire, or the great white throne in Rev. 20: All is calm, books are opened, everyone is dealt with in pure
justice. Wrath, anger, indignation, fury, these words are of a different category.
Many times do we read that the wrath or the anger of the Lord was" kindled," as in Exod. 4: 14, or of
wrath" waxing hot," as in Exod. 22: 24, or of His anger" smoking" (Psa. Ixxiv. I), and of it being poured
out in "fury" (Isa. 42: 25). The nature of the wrath of Rom. 1: I8, and of the day of wrath with which it is
connected (Rom. 2: 5). is discovered in the book of the Revelation. Those upon whom this wrath is poured
are the" nations," and the time is the time of the dead that they should be judged and rewarded (Rev. 11: I8;
19: 15). This wrath falls particularly upon Babylon (Rev. xvi.19), and in direct connection with its
idolatry and uncleanness (Rev. 14: 8-10). Babylon is in view in Rom. 1: I8-32. There we see that Satanic
system in all its naked horror, there we see the domination of darkness and the lie. In this section we read
of those who by their deeds are" worthy of death," and who" have pleasure" in deeds of evil (Rom. 1: 32).
This section therefore is connected with wrath.
In the inner section, which is connected not with Babylon but with Adam, it is death and not darkness
and uncleanness that comes through to the race, and in some cases it is distinctly implied that some who
thus die in Adam are not held to be personally" worthy of death," for it speaks of some who did not sin"
after the similitude of Adam's transgression" (Rom. 5: I4), and in this connection we find one who instead
of "having pleasure" in the practice of evil, says that he hates the deeds he finds himself practising, while
inwardly delighting in the law of God. Such is the very different point of view of these two sections.