Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God… Romans 12:19
3. God is slow to anger
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psa. 103:8). Then why doesn’t God come back and wipe out evil? Because “the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). God holds out grace, and people come to Christ in faith and repentance every day. The day of God’s wrath will come, but God is not in a hurry to bring it because then the door of grace will be closed.
4. God’s wrath is revealed now
“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Rom. 1:18). When you read on in Romans 1, you find sinners going in one of three directions—they suppress the truth about God, exchange the truth for a lie, or worship created things.
When sinners do these things, God gives them up.
- God gave them up to impurity (Rom. 1:24).
- God gave them up to dishonorable passions (Rom. 1:26).
- God gave them up to a debased mind (Rom. 1:28).
Donald Macleod says, “Paul is not teaching that one day God will punish Roman civilization for its vice… The vice [is itself] God’s punishment… Their punishment was their greed, envy, strife, deceit, violence and faithlessness.”
When you see the moral fabric of our culture being torn, you can say, on the basis of Romans 1: “Lord, what we see around us is a sign of your wrath. In judgment, remember mercy. O Lord, do not give us up completely.”