Have you ever been in town and seen a label on a big lorry that are carrying petroleum products written “Danger Petrol.” Why is this sign critical? Because of the content inside the truck. If all goes very wrong, that container can be a cause of death and grief and many sorrows, should its contents spill in the wrong way. In life there are many danger signs we are given. Signs are there to help us see areas we need to adhere to or things we need change. We will not be excused in our ignorance because we had the chance to know.
As we walk this journey, there are also eternal danger signs that we should be able to notice so then we may be motivated to call people to repentance and to indulgence; call them to abandon their small little loves because of the danger alert we know so well. In our journey of faith as well, there are danger signs that we must focus on, otherwise we will not make it to the prize. Whenever we see danger signs, it is for us to know why they are there and what consequences they bear. For, there has to be a big reason why the signpost is in the open- so then those who want to go against it know what they are going to get.
In the life of faith, there is a danger alert out there already and no one should ignore it. The alert is there because the contents there-in are not enjoyable for us at the end of it all. The danger alert is about the wrath of God. It is true that God is love but also that God is full of wrath. In fact, his wrath is burning. Nevertheless, we need to understand at least from Romans 1 why God is angry/wrathful.
First, the general statement is that God’s wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness. To suppress is to hold down. That means that truth is rising up to the foreground but because they hate truth, they press it down that it is not seen or heard. We have many today in our century who are experts at suppressing truth. Hearts are won over by unrighteousness so much that the thought of truth is a bother and not a joy. You see, when your vision is full of the desire to push down truth, your judgment will also be clouded. Paul also says that part of the reason of this wrath is because God has revealed what he needs to about him since the creation. When we look at the skies, the moon, the sun and the galaxy- all that points out to the eternal power of God. In Romans 1v18-20, Paul is laying the foundation of why the wrath of God is revealed- because he has revealed himself but people have chosen to hold down his truth in unrighteousness. How? In idolatry.
Paul says that men’s hearts have become darkened and unthankful. In the wisdom, they have become fools to the extent of exchanging the glory of the immortal God for images of man and creatures. Idolatry is the number one reason in this text why God will emit wrath on people. What is idolatry? It is when other things take the place of God in a man’s life. Idolatry can be jobs, spouses, children and family. Probably the greatest idol nowadays is the gadget world. Cell phones, tablets, and internet. Many young people spend horrendous amounts of hours online, browsing and chatting. For some today it is sports. They would rather buy whole season tickets than give to the work of ministry, support their parents or relatives or other needy situations. Betting has become the new name for cancer. Movies and music videos come on board this list as well. God has been suppressed and there is no acknowledgement of his nature, attributes and power. They have chosen to worship the inventions of God than God himself. Just as they did in Rome, we are doing today. God has clearly said that his glory he will not share with another. If we claim to know Jesus and to be in a relationship with him, we must understand that he never takes second place. He is Lord. Some people may wonder why God would be bothered by too much TV watching and gadgets and all. Well, because of this one reason- he seeks to be number one in all things. Anything that takes first place is an idol and attracts the wrath of God.
You see, unrighteousness is not a matter of simply doing bad things. That is partly true. Ultimately, unrighteousness is bred when the Lord has been moved from the core/ centre of our lives. When our hearts become darkened (lose sight of the light of the world) and get easily pleased with small little loves and pleasures, then we dive into unrighteousness. To refuse to have God at the centre of our thinking is an act of dethronement of deity. For, the seat of our hearts must have one who commands and rules; either fleshly, worldly things that bring no growth to the Spirit or spiritual, godly things that have eternal rewards for the Spirit. Idolatry must be seen through the eyes of the 21st century man as something that has taken different shapes and forms and is as destructive and inviting God’s wrath as it was long ago.
What are some things that have taken the centre stage in your life today? What are these things that have caused you to grow more into selfish and godless lifestyles? What is it for you? The wrath of God is being revealed against ungodliness and unrighteousness and top of the list is idolatry. In the next blog, we will explore what kind of response God gives when he has been dethroned from our lives by other small, little loves that are, as it were, cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.