My last two studies covered Romans 1:1 – 17 wherein the word “faith” occurs six times, teaching, among other things that the Gospel of Christ the Lord Jesus Christ revealed to the Apostle Paul “is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek,” Romans 1:16. And that same Gospel also reveals the righteousness of God throughout history, i.e., from faith to faith: because faith was required for anyone at any time in history in order for them to be just or righteous before God, Romans 1:17. And it is not faith for faith’s sake; it means faith in God’s Word, true faith, which comes by hearing the Word of God, Romans 10:17. The word “faith” is not found after Romans 1:17 in the first chapter, nor in the second chapter. Instead, we find the other side of the coin of God’s righteousness, so to speak, and that is God’s wrath against those without faith. “For (in the gospel of Christ that reveals God’s righteousness) the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;” Romans 1:18. Paul continues in chapter one and throughout the second chapter teaching why God is right and just to pour out wrath on faithless, unrighteous mankind, whether Jew or Gentile.
God’s righteous wrath was revealed in the worldwide flood, which some scholars estimate occurred about 2242 BC, approximately 1760 years after Adam. There had to have been millions (possibly billions) of people living at the time, considering their extended length of life because the gene pool began perfect, although at some point “the sons of God” married the daughters of men and there were giants in the earth, Genesis 6:1 – 4. “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” Genesis 6:5 – 7.
Not one person who died in the worldwide flood will be able to claim God was unrighteous when they are resurrected to face judgment at the end of time: “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” Romans 1:19. Romans 1:20 – 32 goes on to list specifics of what Genesis 6:5 describes as the evil thoughts and wickedness of mankind during those first estimated 1760 years of history. It’s sobering to realize that out of millions, only Noah found grace in the Lord’s eyes, Genesis 6:8; and only he and his family, a total of eight, were saved in the ark from death. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11:7. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, Romans 10:17; Noah “heard” the Word of God and was counted righteous because he believed it and built the ark in obedience of faith.
The demonstration of God’s righteous wrath on all those who perished in the flood should be a lesson and warning to everyone today because God has promised He will again pour out His wrath on unrighteous mankind during the Great Tribulation and at the Great White Throne Judgement. After the Tribulation, The Lord Jesus Christ will return and reign for 1000 years, at the end of which mankind will again rebel. Then, the Lord Jesus Christ will judge every unrighteous man and woman who has ever lived when they are resurrected to face His Great White throne judgment and be sentenced to the Lake of Fire for eternity, Revelation 20:11 -15. That judgment will be based on the Gospel revealed to the Apostle Paul, Romans 2:16. Sad to say, many today reject God’s Word and the lesson of the flood. They have the same mind set as those who died in the flood “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Romans 1:32. As an example, after the flood, God placed a bow in the clouds as evidence He will never again destroy mankind by a flood, Genesis 9:12 – 17, but many today have made that bow into a banner advertising one of the practices of wicked behavior for which God condemned those who died in the flood, Romans 1:26 – 27; Ephesians 4:17 – 19.
That last verse of chapter one, Romans 1:32, leads into the first verse of chapter two: “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things,” Romans 2:1. This refers to all unbelievers, as all are hypocritical by nature (the pretense of having virtues, beliefs, principles, etc., that one does not actually possess). This includes countless millions of sincerely moral, ethical, generous and/or religious people who nevertheless are unsaved. For example; in 2010 the third largest religion in the world was said to be Hinduism, which is generally regarded as the world’s oldest organized religion, having evolved in India 3500 years ago, which is about the same time God gave Moses the Law. Then there is Buddhism that came into being about 2600 years ago; about 600 years before Jesus Christ’s advent, with an estimated 520 million adherents. When Paul preached to the Greek philosophers, who spent their time debating everything, while standing among the idols on Mar’s Hill in Athens, Greece, he told them “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Acts 17:30 – 31.
The word “winked” in verse 30 is from the Greek Hupereido (G5137) found only here in the New Testament (NT) meaning “to overlook, take no notice of, not attend to.” This tells us that after the flood, God let mankind’s sinful and hypocritical behavior slide temporarily, so to speak. Scripture does not identify anyone righteous in the years after Noah until God called out Abram from among pagan humanity and renamed him Abraham. God’s purpose for Abraham’s progeny, the Children of Israel, was for them to be a nation of Priests, ministering to the world, Exodus 19:6. They have failed but someday will fulfill God’s mission when God places His Spirit in them. During the years between Abraham and the Apostle Paul, Gentiles (non-Jews) had only one option to be righteous before God and that was to be circumcised and join themselves to Israel in Faith as a proselyte. Paul describes the condition of Gentile’s clearly: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11 – 13.
The Jews were God’s chosen people but for any individual Jew to be righteous before God, he/she had to follow the Law of Moses by faith. Unfortunately, most lacked faith and although they followed the Law, they did so in self-righteousness and so were lost. “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Romans 2:28 – 29.
When the Lord Jesus Christ revealed the Gospel of His Grace to Paul, Acts 20:24, God’s dealing with mankind changed. Before that, He dealt with Jews only but since Paul, anyone, Jew or Gentile, who recognizes they are a sinner, Romans 3:23, and truly believes Christ died, was buried and rose again for their sin/s are saved to eternal life, 1 Corinthians 15:1 – 4. Paul revealed that God “will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead,” Acts 17:31. The Greek word translated “assurance” is “pistis” translated “faith” 239 times in the NT and only 5 times otherwise, the point being that God has given faith (made faith available) to everyone. Paul writes in Romans 2:16, that God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to the Gospel revealed to him (Paul). All who don’t believe are going to face judgment by the Lord Jesus Christ and the second death in the Lake of Fire, Revelation 20:11 – 15. Thus, both our salvation and the judgment of the unrighteous has been validated by the fact God raised Christ from the dead, Acts 17:31.
- “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:36.
- “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” Ephesians 5:6.
- “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:” Colossians 3:4 – 6.