Expository Sermon on Romans 1:18-23 | The Wrath is Coming

Scene of divine judgment

The Wrath is Coming (Romans 1:18-23)

Occasionally, we see individuals on the side of the road with signs saying: “The Judgment is coming!” We rightly think they could use their energy elsewhere. Yet, their message is true.

We don’t like to think about God’s wrath. We’d rather not think about this wrath because it shows how horrible sin is—sin no longer is something fun and harmless. We’d rather not think about this wrath because it convicts us of sin—it’s not just that everyone else is committing sin; we are as well.

Yet, this morning, we must think about God’s wrath.

Revelation of God’s Wrath, v 18

Paul has just affirmed that God’s righteousness is revealed in the Gospel. Because God is righteous, there isn’t any sin in him (Ps 92:15). Because God is righteous, he cannot tolerate sin; therefore, he punishes sin with his wrath.

God’s wrath is revealed from heaven. God’s wrath is his judgment. Some want us to believe that God is so loving that he would never punish sin, yet God does punish sin.

God’s wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. This wrath is revealed against “all” sin. There isn’t any sin that is going to escape God’s judgment. Any sin that you continue to commit will come under God’s judgment. Ungodliness is rebellion toward God. Unrighteousness is acting opposite from righteousness.

Men suppress the truth in unrighteousness. “Suppress” means to “hold down,” “keep from getting out.” These individuals suppress the truth by their unrighteousness; they know how they ought to live but they don’t live that way.

God’s wrath really is coming against the world (2 Thess 1:7-9).

Reason for God’s Wrath, vv 19-20

God has shown them what can be known of him.

God’s invisible attributes are clearly seen. God’s attributes have been seen since the Creation—There has never been a time that man could not know about God. His attributes are understood by the things that are made. We can learn much about God from the Creation. We can learn that God is orderly, intelligent, etc.

His attributes mentioned here are his eternal power and Godhead. God is powerful—An impotent god could not have created what is. God is divine, deity—Only God could create the world.

Therefore, men are without excuse. Men have no excuse for rejecting Christ—God no longer overlooks ignorance (Acts 17:30). Excuses are foolish. What excuses do we use?

The Rightness of God’s Wrath, vv 21-33

Those who receive God’s wrath rightly deserve to receive it.

They knew God. They knew who God was and what God expected. Although they knew God,

  • They did not glorify him—they did not honor him as God.
  • They weren’t grateful—they showed no appreciation to God.

They became foolish. Their hearts were darkened—the lines of right and wrong had become obscured. They became fools. These individuals thought they were being wise. But, in leaving God out of the picture, they became fools.

They changed God’s glory. These individuals chose not to worship God. Instead, they worshipped:


When Paul wrote this, emperor worship was common throughout the Roman Empire. Instead of honoring the true God, Romans honored the emperor.


The Romans honored idols of different animals. Instead of honoring the true God, the Romans were honoring the creation of God.

We deserve God’s wrath, but will we receive his wrath? Are we honoring God in our daily lives? Are we grateful for what God has done? Are we putting God first in our lives?


This story ends rather sadly. God gave these Gentiles up to temple prostitution. God gave these Gentiles up to homosexuality. God gave these Gentiles up to a multitude of sin.

Sin begets sin. We may commit “small” sins, yet if those sins go unchecked, they will rapidly multiply. We must therefore make sure we keep sin out of our lives.

Do you have sin in your life?

This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.

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