Why We Need the Gospel
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Why We Need the Gospel

Romans 1:18  (ID: 3568)

The wrath of God is an uncomfortable topic that many prefer to avoid. Yet it is only when we understand God’s righteous judgment against sin that we can truly face our predicament as sinners and see our dire need for a Savior. Alistair Begg explains that the cross of Christ is all that stands between us and God’s wrath—and therefore, the salvation God provides is the need of every person in the entire world.

Series Containing This Sermon

God’s Power for Salvation

Gospel Hope for a Romans 1 World Romans 1:16–32 Series ID: 28801

Sermon Transcript: Print

I invite you to turn to the book of Romans and to chapter 1 and to follow along as I read from the sixteenth verse. Romans chapter 1 and beginning to read at verse 16.

Paul writes,

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relation[ships] for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

Thanks be to God for his Word.

We went to Romans 1:16–17 largely on account of the fact that it was an opportunity to stand with others on Reformation Sunday. And as we looked at those verses, we were made aware of the fact that Paul’s great conviction about the gospel, which has upended his life and changed him, is the entire story of the book of Romans. And we’re studying it in various ways at the moment in the church, and so I feel a measure of confidence that others are going before me in tackling some of these hard passages, and hopefully, what I do will only seek to underpin what discoveries are already being made.

We noted last time that Paul, writing to a place that he’s never been, told them that he was very “eager to preach the gospel”[1] to these people in Rome. And he then explained that the reason he was so eager was because—verse 16—he says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel.” And then he says, “And the reason I’m not ashamed of the gospel is, it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, because in it the righteousness of God is made known to all who believe, and, in short order, God rescues those who believe.” And so we were trying to encapsulate all of that by reminding ourselves of the fact that here we have the record of God’s action in reaching out to rescue all who trust in Jesus by giving those who trust in Jesus an undeserved gift of a right standing before him, the holy God.

Now, I don’t know if you had occasion to take that story out, as it were, from the seats into the streets this week, but I have in my own mind been imagining how a conversation might have gone if one of us had occasion to say to our friends or our neighbors, “You know, we had Reformation Sunday, and we were thinking about what God has done in Jesus, and I thought I could share it with you.” And they were polite enough to give us a chance to say something, and then they responded along these lines: “Well, I’m very pleased for you. I can hear from your tone that it means something to you. But it’s not for me. It’s not something I need.”

So then, what do you say at that point in polite conversation? I hope you don’t immediately go to 2:5, which reads, “Because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” You might get there after another couple of conversations, but I don’t suggest that that is the immediate reflex reaction. But I think you ought to be prepared—we ought to be prepared—to say, “Oh, well, actually, this good news is something everybody needs.” The salvation provided in the gospel is the need of every person in the entire world. Let me say that to you again: the salvation provided in the gospel is the need of everyone in the entire world.

Well, our friends, if they’re still listening to us, say, “Well, you know, I don’t know how you get there.” And so you say, “Well, you know, perhaps we could follow up and just read a little bit of the Bible together.” And if they agree, then we can say, “We’ll meet, and we’ll have coffee, and we’re going to pick it up from verse 18. We’re going to read all the way to the end of 3:20 over a period of time.” Because in this section, this is where Paul says, “This is why everybody needs the gospel. In this section, he is explaining why the gospel is necessary.”

The salvation provided in the gospel is the need of every person in the entire world.

And so we’re talking with our friends, and we say, “And you can see it says here in the text that we are by nature ungodly, and we are also unrighteous. Doesn’t matter what background we come from. Doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish in background or you’re gentile in background. Because, as you will see in the text—and it’s good to have our Bibles open, so you can see here it actually says that both Jews and Greeks are under sin. In fact, you will also see, if you’re prepared to turn over and look at verse [10], that there is none who is righteous, no not one.[2] There is no one who is righteous. So the provision of the righteousness of God is necessary because no one has a righteousness of their own. The provision of the righteousness of God, to be granted as an undeserved gift to those who believe, is in order that the unrighteous, in the righteousness of Jesus, may be able to stand before God today and on that great day, unashamed, clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. In fact, God is at work in such a way to convince the whole world of this—3:19—because ‘we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world … be held accountable to God’; that no one will have anything to say in their defense, and that the entire world, which will be brought before Almighty God on that day, will have only ever one thing to plead—namely, that by the goodness of God, they had been enfolded in the love of God provided in Jesus.”

Now, I’m assuming that our friend has already left. But if they were prepared to stay, they would say, “You know, hold on a minute. Hold on a minute. I think we need to slow down here. Let’s just proceed one verse at a time.”

“Okay. Well then, let’s just try and tackle verse 18, shall we? ‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.’”

“Well,” says the person, “what in the world does that mean? And is it important for us to find out exactly what it does mean?”

Well, the answer to that is, of course, yes. Because it is so clearly there in the text. The wrath of God is responded to malevolently. It’s treated irreverently. It’s treated speculatively. But it has to be faced. And so we have to say, first to ourselves and then to those with whom we’re speaking, “No matter how unfashionable this may be, no matter how strong one’s initial prejudice against it may be, the wrath of God is an unassailable reality, because it is the very identity of God himself.”

Now, the response to the question “What does the wrath of God mean?” that comes not simply from the lips of those who have no interest in the things of God but, sadly, often from the lips of those who would claim to be the followers of God… I mean, the more I studied this this week, the more I said to myself, “You know, the hard part in this is not trying somehow or another to convey this to the unbeliever. The hard part in this is ensuring that we as believers actually believe our beliefs,” and suddenly that we get an inkling of the reason that our friends and neighbors find it relatively easy to dismiss us, relatively easy to respond by saying, “Well, I’m pleased for you. I can see that it matters to you. But it doesn’t matter to me.”

And the missing string to our bow is simply in this: that the good news of the gospel is actually bad news before it’s good news. If you think about it in a very straightforward way, if somebody tells me, “There are amazing heart doctors here at the Cleveland Clinic”—which is, of course, the case—I’d say, “That’s very interesting but largely irrelevant to me”—until all of a sudden, I fall down, and now that which is sort of at arm’s length and remote and unrelated suddenly becomes a necessity. Suddenly, I need a savior!

So, we want to say to people, “You need a Savior.”

They say, “What do I need a Savior from? I’m a relatively nice person. I’ve been doing good,” and so on.

You say, “Well, I have something to tell you. Here’s something you need to know: the wrath of God is revealed from heaven. You’re under the wrath of God. Society is.”

“Oh,” people say, “well, that’s just an old-fashioned idea. It’s anachronistic. People have been reading Charles Dickens books too much. It’s a projection from those old Victorian headmasters, who were really beastly, and so we’ve projected that up, and we’ve created a God in that way.” Someone else says, “You know, if God exists—if he exists—I’m sure he’s too merciful ever to judge anybody.” That’s not unusual, is it? “If he exists, I’m sure he’ll just take care of it all.” “In fact,” says somebody, “the very notion is inadmissible in relationship to a God who is love.”

Now, if you read theology at all, you will know that by and large, people have arrived at these dismissive statements by an unwillingness to allow the Bible to be the Bible—without a willingness to acknowledge God as God has revealed himself. And so the phrase, the very phraseology “the wrath of God,” is disliked because we have sentimentalized our conception of God and therefore have no way to put this into the economy of his redemptive purposes. And so theologians, in seeking to “protect” God (which is such a joke, isn’t it, to “protect” God?) see the notion of the wrath of God as somehow outside of that. They see it in a deistic way—Franklin, deism: the Watchmaker wound it up, let it go; he’s got nothing more to do with it. So the wrath of God, if it means anything from that perspective, is it is just cause and effect in the world. He may have started it off, but he’s not personally involved with it. So you can’t hold a charge against the living God. And, of course, you run up against this all the time.

The Scriptures are unashamed, from beginning all the way to the end, to say that God is provoked to anger by the rebellion of his creation.

Mercifully, in the goodness of God, particularly at the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century, where much of this material was arising out of Germany and German theologians, there were those whom God raised up to help us, to help me, to help you. Quite fascinatingly, one of them was a professor—Professor Tasker at King’s College, London. And he had begun to study the Bible and to teach the Bible and from a perspective much along the lines in which I am mentioning. He then heard the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaching at Westminster Chapel, and suddenly, the clarity of Lloyd-Jones’s unfolding of the text of Scripture gripped his heart, changed him. And so he absolutely did a one-eighty in terms of his convictions.

And Tasker, responding to that kind of mentality, writes in a quite masterful essay on the subject of the wrath of God in a Tyndale lectures series. Responding to the idea—“It’s just cause and effect”—Tasker says it is not that. It is not that. “It is rather a personal quality”—personal to God, that is—“without which God would cease to be fully righteous …. His wrath … is not wayward, fitful, [and] spasmodic, as human anger always is. [His wrath] is as permanent and consistent an element of His nature as is His love.”[3]

Now, when you read your Bible in light of these things, you would say, “All right, then, let me allow the text of Scripture to either reinforce such a view or to dismantle such a view.” And if you start at the beginning of the Bible, you will discover that the Scriptures are unashamed, from beginning all the way to the end, to say that God is provoked to anger by the rebellion of his creation. The Scriptures are unashamed to that. You go back to the opening verses of Genesis, and to Genesis 3, and eventually, Adam and Eve are banished from the garden. The garden, the entryway into the garden, is now protected by a fiery sword. “Oh,” you say, “what a dreadful thing to do.” Oh, no! God was only giving them what they had already chosen. Because remember, they had already hidden from God. They hid from God. They suppressed the truth about God. And they were banished by God.

We’re not going to go through the whole Old Testament, you’ll be glad to know. But, for example, you take the flood. The flood! What is the flood, apart from the reaction of God in wrath to the absolute manifold chaos and rebellion on the part of those whom he has made? In his wrath remembering mercy, hence Noah and seven others with him. And if you wonder… And already in your mind, you’re beginning to say, “Yeah, but that’s Old Testament stuff,” and so on. No, no, no. Because remember, Peter, the apostle Peter, when he writes his second letter, and he’s speaking about these things and what is before us, he pictures it directly in terms of the flood. And if you want to somehow or another excuse Jesus from the party, then you’ll remember what Jesus said: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be at the coming of the Son of Man.”[4]

No, we cannot dodge this. The stubbornness of God’s people—you read of it in the Exodus all into Deuteronomy. Take, for example, Sodom and Gomorrah. What is Sodom and Gomorrah, apart from the expression of the wrath of God against the fact that those whom he has made—made to love him, made to know him, made to serve him… They decided, “We will love ourselves. We will not serve you, and we will do whatever we want!” Now, what do you want, indifference to that? An indifferent God? “Well, that’s okay. Whatever you want to do.” How could that be an expression of love? No, he loves them so much so as not to tolerate that—so as to explain how important it is.

Now, Paul, here in Romans, is dealing with this very expressly. But you don’t have to stay just in Romans. When we studied Ephesians together, you will remember where he speaks about the amazing love of God: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.”[5] Now, what has he just said before that? He said, “We all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”[6] But God, on account of his great love, because he is rich in mercy, has done this.

When you think about all of the fears, all of the anxieties, all of the neurosis of our contemporary world, and you realize that on that great day, when the apostle John gets a glimpse into the future, and he describes this amazing picture—how when the books are opened and the final judgment is to be conveyed, “then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and [the] rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated [up]on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and [none of us] can stand.’”[7] “We would rather be swallowed up in an earthquake than we would stand before Almighty God.” That is the situation of humanity. That’s why the gospel is for the whole world and for every person in the whole world—for those who find themselves, you know, just malevolent in their reaction, and for others, in our kind of context, far more dismissive: nice people, as it were, C. S. Lewis says—nice people, lost in their niceness.[8] Lost in their niceness: “I’m too nice for such a message. What are you going to tell me about this?”

Bruce Milne, whose book we studied some time ago as elders, Know the Truth, he says, “Beside[s] the wrath of God, all other human dreads and fears are mere bad dreams.”[9] All our other needs, however acute or extensive, pale into relative insignificance.

God’s provision of a Savior is directly related to our predicament as sinners.

Now, there is an inherent logic in this that I hope you are not missing: that God’s provision of a Savior is directly related to our predicament as sinners. Again, when Paul is writing to the Thessalonians, in just the briefest of statements in 1 Thessalonians 1—he’s talking about different things; he says, “They themselves report concerning … the … reception we had among you, and how you turned to God”—“how you turned to God”—“from idols to serve the living and [the] true God.”[10] That’s what they’d done. You see, they had decided that they would just worship whatever they chose—which is exactly what we do today. Oh, we don’t necessarily have little figurines or whatever it might be, but we can worship money, worship sex, worship achievement, worship notoriety, worship how many people we’ve got on our Facebook page. We can worship whatever we choose. And we will continue to do so until we have turned from idols to serve the living God, “and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who…” Who does what? “Who delivers us from the wrath to come.”[11] That’s what he has done: adopted into his family, justified in his sight, clothed in his righteousness, and set free, delivered from that final day.

But notice very carefully that here in Romans 1, although he does address it in Romans chapter 2, Paul is not talking about that day. Notice what it says. “The wrath is God…” It’s not future tense. It’s present tense: “The wrath of God is revealed.” “Is revealed.”

You see, when the wrath of God is gone, actually, the gospel’s gone. And again I say to you that it struck me again this week that one of the reasons that we make such little headway with our friends and neighbors is because we are so afraid to actually say what the Bible says. And so they’re saying, “I get it for you. Apparently, it’s nice for you and everything. But it doesn’t matter to me.” Well then, we have to say, “Well, yes, but it does.” And when the gospel is gone, it’s on account of the fact, ultimately, that the wrath of God is gone.

You see, if people don’t need a Savior, they’ll be happy with an example. If they don’t need a Savior, they’ll be happy with a guru. If they don’t need a Savior, they’ll be happy with a life coach. But Jesus did not come to do that. No fear in death, no need for the atonement, no need for the cross—actually, no need for salvation at all—unless the human predicament is as reported.

“Well,” you say, “that’s a very long introduction, because you haven’t even come to the phrase.” Well, here we are. This is a long journey. “For the wrath of God is revealed.” In other words, it is already being revealed. How is it being revealed? It’s being revealed in the “ungodliness and unrighteousness” of people who, in their rebellion against God, “suppress the truth.”

The same righteousness of God that is revealed in the good news of verses 16 and 17 is the only answer to the wrath of God being revealed in human society. The manifold chaos that is described in the balance of this first chapter was Rome, but it’s always, everywhere, to one degree or another. The righteousness of God revealed in the gospel is the only answer to the wrath of God being revealed in human society.

“Ungodliness.” “Ungodliness.” The most broken commandment of all the commandments is what? Number one: “You shall have no other gods before me.”[12] That’s ungodliness. It is revealed “against all [the] ungodliness.” Because the response of man is to say, “Oh yes we will! Yes we will.” And therefore, idolatry is an attempt to get rid of God. And since it is impossible to get rid of God, plan B, then, is a determination to live as though we had succeeded in getting rid of God. Plan A: “Let’s get rid of God. Can’t get rid of God? Then let’s live as if there is no God. That way,” as Huxley very honestly said as an atheist, “that will free me up, both politically and sexually, to do whatever I want.”[13] That was his straightforward acknowledgment of what he was doing. He was, he admitted, an ungodly person.

And the fact of the matter is, if we ever get to chapter 3—which I doubt—the quote there that ends in verse 18 ends straightforwardly (here is a statement concerning humanity), “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” “There[’s] no fear of God before their eyes.” We’ve sentimentalized God. We’ve neutralized the notion of death. We have recreated the conception of life. We have reestablished the fabric of human existence. And unashamedly! “What’s wrong with everybody? Why would God be angry?” Because of ungodliness.

Actually, there are two words here in Greek, the one for “ungodly” and the one for “unrighteous”—“unrighteous,” or “wicked,” if you like. And the first leads to the second. If you think of the first in terms of the first four commandments—in disobeying the first table of the law, if you like—it’s an expression of our ungodliness. Then you go to how that relates to us living with one another, and you’ve got unrighteousness.

Impiety—it’s interesting Samuel used the word piety this morning—impiety is the precursor to immorality. It’s because we are by nature ungodly that we then are unrighteous. And, says Paul, these are the characteristics of people who “suppress the truth.” Who “suppress the truth.” All of the inhumanity and the bestial behavior which is described subsequently has its roots in our failure to give to God the honor and the reverence that he has the right to demand.

Now, it’s a very different view of humanity, isn’t it, than that which is currently in vogue? And that’s what, in part, we’re up against—not simply because our friends and neighbors have a different worldview but because some of us are not actually convinced of our own biblical worldview. And it may be that the reason we don’t say anything is because we don’t believe what it is we’ve been given to say. That is a challenge that each of us must face, even in light of the fact that we recognize the challenge in dealing with neighbors and loved ones and friends to actually say what the Bible says.

Men and women are actually living—our friends and our neighbors—are living under clouds of judgment that pervade our society. The only realistic way to understand the collapse of Western civilization is directly in relationship to these verses in Romans chapter 1. Neither the scientist nor the philosopher nor the politician has got any ability to say what in God’s name is going on in our universe. Well, would you maybe check with the Creator? “No, no. Don’t start that creation stuff. Don’t start that ark thing over there in [Kentucky]. Don’t you start with all that stuff. We’ve moved way beyond that.”

Beyond it? Nobody, nobody, can ever say to God on one day or another, “You didn’t make yourself clear to me. You did not make yourself clear to me.” Why will he be unable to say that? Because what it says in the Bible there. Verse 19. Man, we’re rocketing ahead, aren’t we? “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” “For what [may] be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” Shown it where? Shown it in creation and shown it in conscience.

The special revelation of God, which is made to us in Christ and in the Scriptures, is necessary for salvation—that all the Scriptures are necessary; they make us wise for salvation.[14] God’s general revelation does not make us wise for salvation—that’s why the gospel is proclaimed—but it makes God so clear to us that it means that none of us are able to say, “But you didn’t make it clear.” So the difference is that special revelation, where God opens our blind eyes and softened our hard hearts, is unique to those who believe; God’s general revelation is on display for everybody. So you can look at the moon. God’s general revelation is natural; God’s special revelation is supernatural. God’s general revelation is continuous; God’s supernatural revelation is immediate and specific. So, for example: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shew[s] his handywork”—Psalm 19. “Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” [15] In other words, it’s always there before you go to bed, and it’s always there when you waken up. It’s always there. Look up! Look up! That’s what the psalmist is saying. And it is also creational as opposed to salvific.

Now, what does that mean? Well, it means this: that God says that our rebellion is a choice and our atheism is a choice. Because even human physiology can help us with this. And if we wanted some of our medics to come up here and just show us how many millions and millions of neurons are fiddling around in your brain as you’re trying to listen and my brain as I’m trying to speak; if you could just take a large microscope and show us the cellular nature of that which makes the me me; if we would get our friend Jeff Williams, the astronaut, and have him come back and show us the pictures again of when he docked against the spacecraft that has gone at seventeen thousand miles an hour around Earth and ask him to explain where he thinks he lives in a random universe where everything has just evolved by chance, and he’ll tell you, “Not for a moment. I would never have got in the capsule if I believed that.”

Now, that is what Paul is saying: “Consider the beauty, the balance, the intricacy, the intelligibility. Consider it all—the complexity of a single cell. Consider this! Consider how it is that our tiny part of the universe, called Earth, has been bestowed with something we call air.” It is “plain to them.” “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because [he] has shown it to them.” In other words, God has surrounded us with evidence enough to make us theists—but not sufficient to save us. That’s verses 16 and 17.

When we come to the cross of Jesus Christ and we receive by grace through faith the provision that he has made for our predicament, then the wrath of God will never touch us.

We can’t escape from God’s revelation. To escape from God, we’d have to escape from ourselves—which says something about people’s attempt to do just that. We’ve been given some knowledge of God, which, he says, we have chosen to suppress. And the reason we’ve chosen to suppress it is because frankly, we just don’t want to live with it. Do you want to know why it is that premarital sex is a bad idea? Because God says so, and he made you. “Well, I don’t like that part.” Why? “I just don’t want to live with it.”

So let’s be honest. And let’s allow our friends and our neighbors enough to be honest. Because we can’t convince people. Only the Spirit of God can convince. But we can make it clear—and to make it clear in such a way that we can say, ultimately, to people, you know, that between us in our inexcusable rebellion or indifference—between us and, if you like, the thunderclouds of God’s judgment is the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. And when we come to the cross of Jesus Christ—which actually brings us to the Communion service this evening—and we receive by grace through faith the provision that he has made for our predicament, then the wrath of God will never touch us. The wrath of God will never touch us.

Why will it not touch us? Because it has touched him. When we get further on in this passage, you’re going to see, it says three times, “God gave them up.”[16] He “gave them up”; he “gave them up”; he “gave them up.” What is the answer to that? Well, it’s tonight, at Communion. Has he not given himself up for us all?

No. There’s no indifferent God. No indifferent God.

I was reading C. S. Lewis—and with this I’ll close. And this is from The Problem of Pain, in the section on “Human Wickedness.” And Lewis says, “A recovery of the old sense of sin is essential to Christianity. … When [people] attempt to be Christians without this preliminary consciousness of sin, the result is almost bound to be a certain resentment against God as to one … inexplicably angry.”[17] Now, you try that out with some of your friends and your work colleagues: “I’m just trying to be a very good person. I think if I’m a good person…” So, you’re the engine. Here are the rails. No power in the engine. “When we merely say … we are bad, the ‘wrath’ of God seems a barbarous doctrine; as soon as we perceive our badness, it appears inevitable a mere corollary from God’s goodness.”[18]

No exceptions. No excuses.

Let us pray.

Our gracious God, how we thank you that you are not an indifferent God. How we thank you that even when Adam and Eve were banished from the garden: still clothed, still pursued, still loved. How we thank you that you chased down fallen humanity in all of our ungodliness and in all of our unrighteousness, and that you’ve gone to such an extent to give to the whole world the gift of your only Son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish but should know eternal life.[19] Accomplish your purposes in us and through us these days, we pray, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

[1] Romans 1:15 (ESV).

[2] See Romans 3:10.

[3] R. V. G. Tasker, “Wrath,” in The New Bible Dictionary, ed. J. D. Douglas (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962; repr., 1967), 1341.

[4] Matthew 24:37 (paraphrased).

[5] Ephesians 2:4–5 (ESV).

[6] Ephesians 2:3 (ESV).

[7] Revelation 6:15–17 (ESV).

[8] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952), bk. 4, chap. 10.

[9] Bruce Milne, Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity, 1982), 106.

[10] 1 Thessalonians 1:9 (ESV).

[11] 1 Thessalonians 1:10 (ESV).

[12] Exodus 20:3 (ESV).

[13] Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means: An Enquiry into the Nature of Ideals and into the Methods Employed for Their Realization (New York: Harper, 1937), 312, 316. Paraphrased.

[14] See 2 Timothy 3:15.

[15] Psalm 19:1–2 (KJV).

[16] Romans 1:24, 26, 28 (ESV).

[17] C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (1940), chap. 4.

[18] Lewis, chap. 4.

[19] See John 3:16.

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.