Wrath Versus Wickedness
Elder O. B. Mink
Now In Glory
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
The same apostle (Paul) said in another epistle, “Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men ...” (II Corinthians 5:11). Paul knew that “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men ...” (Romans 1:18). It is the unrelenting force of this knowledge which moves the apostle’s heart in issuance of the many tender warnings we have from his pen against sin.
The Sins of Our First Parents
“... As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). Ungodly men make a mockery of the Biblical account of our first parents’ sin. They sneer, and ask, “How could it be, that God would condemn man for the mere eating of an apple?” Adam’s sin was a capital crime, not a mere misdemeanor. God says to vain man, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways ...” (Isaiah 55:8). With God a person does not have to steal a thousand dollars in order to be a thief, the unlawful taking of anything, regardless of its value makes one a thief in God’s sight. With God it is not, “The soul that commits adultery, murder, theft, etc. shall die”, but “the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Let us note something of the magnitude of Adam’s sin, and we may better understand why God said to him, “... In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
1. Adam’s sin was disobedience to His Creator, and rebellion against His authority.
2. Adam’s sin constituted a breach of the whole moral law, the law of works under which our first parents were placed (James 2:10).
3. There was unbelief on Eve’s part, which amounts to calling God a liar. Eve’s confidence was transferred from God to a malignant spirit, which is the ultimate insult to God. While Adam was not deceived in the transgression (I Timothy 2:14), Eve was the object of his supreme affection, and that constitutes idolatry.
4. There was discontentment with God, and ingratitude for His unspeakable blessings. There was pride and a desire for elevation by unlawful means. There was self-will, which is insubordination to God. There was alienation of heart, brought on by listening to the slandering of God by the serpent.
5. Their sin was intensively compounded by the smallness of the temptation, thus it was stamped with the darkest hue.
6. Their sin was greatly aggravated due to the sinless nature which they possessed. There was no dark and impenetrable shroud upon their understanding, and they had the powers to master the appetite. Moreover, they were surrounded with all the help necessary to defeat the devil himself, but Adam chose fellowship with a sinful woman rather than God. It is humanly impossible to paint the Adamic sin too black, nay, man cannot with his verbal brush paint it as black as it is, much less too black. Adam, through his sin fell into the hands of the living and sin avenging God, the holy wrath of God was kindled against him, and spiritual death immediately ensued and at that point Adam began his sorrowful journey back to the dust from whence he had come. All the sons of Adam, without a single exception, are born in sin (Romans 3:23), and are, the very moment of their arrival in time, the objects of God’s holy just and active wrath. This wrath is not as a waterless cloud which the gentle winds soon removes from their heads, but is “abiding” wrath, perpetual, and becoming more intense with their every sin. They unconsciously treasurest up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath. (John 3:3 &6; Romans 2:5). Our God is a consuming fire and His burning wrath against sin has not over the long centuries of time from Eden’s blight until now cooled down one single degree, to which ascertation the doubly burned and burning Sodomites would hurriedly and will one day attest to.
Sin's Permeation of Man
“... The whole world lieth in wickedness” (I John 5:19). Sin has traveled its slimy path down from the garden’ of Eden to our present day, and has swept in its devastating wake, not only all of mankind, but all of each man. “The whole head is sick and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness ...” (Isaiah 1:5-6) every man at his best state is altogether sin, and the hissing of the serpent is heard in the best deeds of ‘moralities’ best man. (Psalms 39:5, Romans 7:18)
Sin has touched man’s intellect and reasons, and the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness unto him (I Corinthians 2:14). Thus it is, “The carnal mind is enmity (present tense) against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7, 8). Sin has rendered all of mankind wicked, and it has so thoroughly and completely permeated his essence and being that Solomon says, “The plowing of the wickedis sin” (Proverbs 21:4). There is not a thread in man’s moral fabric that is not rotten through and through. Sin has touched man’s emotions, causing him to love darkness rather than light, and has erased all fear of God from before their eyes (Romans 3:18). Sin has touched man’s will rendering it averse to every similitude of holiness. He neither wills to come to God, nor can come to God (John 5:40, 6:44). His will is in bondage to the lusts of the flesh and of the mind, and he happily walks the course of this world, knowing not he is a child of Divine wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3). It is not denied that there are carnal pleasures in sin, but they are only temporal (Hebrews 11:25), and they who die while pursuing the course of fallen nature will awake to the eternal wrath and fiery indignation of God and find “they have no rest day nor night” for forever and forever (Revelation 14:11).
Who Then Can Be Saved
The Lord Jesus Christ laid bare the deceitful and desperately wicked heart of man in His teaching. He said, “... there isnone good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:18). He said. “All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers ...” (John 10:8). He used the metaphor “viper” to describe the utterly depraved state of fallen man (Matthew 12:34), and the disciples “... were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves Who then can be saved?” And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:26-26). Who then can be saved? Salvation is of the Lord, (Jonah 2:9) with men it is impossible.
Man has no part nor lot in the scheme of redemption, it is of the Lord from the beginning to the end (Hebrews 12:1, 2). Salvation being of the Lord, it is not human merit, but of sovereign and ill deserved mercy. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us ...” (Titus 3:5). The best of human righteousness is as “filthy rags” in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6), and is from His omniscient view seen as subtle rebellion against Him. The devil is no fool, so he takes his pawns, clothes them in the respectable robes of religion, gives them pious looks, and sends them forth with his soul damning error covered with just enough truth to deceive the unsuspecting. Heaven’s admonition is, “Search the Scriptures, study to show thyself approved unto God” (John 5:39; II Timothy 2:15), and God has warned over and over, saying, “Be not deceived.” God’s wrath abides upon everything outside of Christ, and His fury is never more heated than against those who would enter His holy presence clothed in their own righteousness (Matthew 7:22, 23; 22:12, 13). The prophet Habakkuk, having seen God’s wrath at work in the earth, prayed, ‘O Lord … in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2), and had it not been for God remembering mercy He would have with the eternal stroke of His wrath hurled fallen Adam and his corrupt stock into a deserving and ransomless hell (Job 36:18). In Adam all men went astray, in Adam God’s sheep turned unto their own way, and became children of wrath the same as others (Isaiah 53:6). However, the Psalmist says, God “Remembered us in our low estate: for His mercy endureth forever (Psalms 136:23). God remembered the covenant of mercy made with His Son before the world began, wherein the iniquity of all the elect (sheep) was lain on Christ (Isaiah 53:6), and Divine justice wielding the flaming sword of eternal wrath exacted from the bleeding and sinless Son of God the last farthing necessary to pay the full wages of sin charged against the God hating sheep. God remembered mercy in wrath. In mercy He has forgotten every offense of His people (Hebrews 10:17), and now the believer stands justified in His presence (Romans 8:33). How about you, dear reader, are you washed in the blood of Calvary’s lamb? The great day of His unquenchable wrath is coming (Revelation 6:17) will you be able to stand?
Paul prayed for his friend Onesiphorus, saying, “The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day ...” (II Timothy 1:18), and this is my prayer for every person whose eyes peer over these pages.
“And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter ...And Peter went out and wept bitterly.” “So shall it be, but in a different sense, with sinners at the day of judgment. The eye of Jesus as their judge shall be fixed upon them, and that look shall awake their sleeping memories, and reveal their burden of sin and shame , countless and cursed crimes, denials worse than Peter’s, since lifelong and unrepented of, despisings of mercy that called them. All these shall pierce their hearts as they behold the look of Jesus. And they shall go out and flee from the presence of the Lord, go out never to return, flee even into the outer darkness, if so be they may hide them from that terrible gaze. And they shall weep bitterly; weep as they never wept before, burning, scalding tears, such as earth’s sorrow never knew. Weep never to be comforted, tears never to be wiped away. Their eyes shall be fountains of tears, not penitential and healing, but bitter and remorseful; tears of blood, tears that shall rend the heart in twain, and deluge the soul in fathomless woe.” (Anonymous)
Wrath versus wickedness, but not in the sense of contest, but to visit every sin with the measure of justice it deserves.
(Sovereign Grace Advocate - April, 1981)
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