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Romans 2:8 “But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath.”


God’s indignation is kindled by those who despise God’s grace.


Imagine knowing that a great disaster is about to

be unleashed and that the people that are on its path are not aware of it; so you make every effort to warn those who are in the place that will soon be destroyed that they need to escape—only to be rejected and scorned by those very people you are trying to save.


Rejection is what makes God indignant and causes those who reject God’s free offer of grace to fall under the wheels of God’s wrath.

God’s wrath comes as the result of reaping that which we have sown.


Romans 2:6 “Who will render to each one according to his deeds.”


The reality is that there are people who are stubborn and who will not listen to reason, now why is that?


There are probably many reasons why people behave the way they do, but in our opening text God gives us the key that exposes the root cause for rebellion—those who are self-seeking.


We may not be fully aware of this truth, but if we take a close and careful look in the mirror, it will not be long before we come face to face with our mortal enemy and find that—surprise— it is us!


If we want to fully understand God’s grace, His wrath, His indignation, we have to view them from the perspective of our own mortality.


Let’s face it—self-seeking is hardwired into every one of us; just look at an infant, when they do not get what they want or need, they let you know it right away, and in no uncertain terms.


The grace of God teaches us, first of all, about the dangers of selfish ambitions. We cannot accept God’s grace unless we first acknowledge the fact that we are in need of it.


Titus 2:11-12 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.”


Once we realize that we are our own worst enemy, and that God’s wrath will fall upon those whose deeds do not live up to God’s standards, then, the only logical conclusion that we are left with is that we are in need of His grace, so that we repent and accept His offer of forgiveness.


But if after we have received His forgiveness, we despise His grace by continuously seeking our own selfish ways—after we’ve been delivered from the consequences of them—do we kindle then, His indignation, and fall back into the wrath that He worked so hard to deliver us from?


Romans 2:4-5 “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”


It is clear that Paul is addressing believers in his letters that he wrote to the churches. It is also clear that only those who are under God’s grace, are in a position to despise such grace. For how can we despise something that we have not personally experienced?


Wrath in the day of wrath.


God’s salvation has two basic components: Forgiveness and cleansing.


1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


The theological terms are Justification and Sanctification.


Justification happens instantly, as soon as we confess our sins before God in Jesus name, we are immediately forgiven.


Sanctification is a process which begins the day that we are justified.


This process is God’s mechanism to deliver us—cleanse us—from the consequences of all the sins that we have committed.


The agent that God uses to bring about His forgiveness and cleansing in us, is His grace: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.


In Justification we pass from death into life in an instant.


The same grace that saves us, now preserves us, while the process of Sanctification takes place. In order to receive salvation, we have to ask God for it with a repentant heart. In the process of sanctification, we have to learn how to deny ourselves and live for God, by the power of His grace that sustains us.


For we know that those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness fall under the indignation of God’s wrath.


1 Thessalonians 5:9 “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Remember that salvation has two components, forgiveness gets us into heaven, and cleansing delivers us from the wrath of God’s indignation.


1 Corinthians 3:11, 13, 15 “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (our salvation)...Each one’s work (selfish ambition or self-denial) will become clear; for the Day (of God’s wrath) will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is...If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss (cleansing from the consequences of their sins while on this earth); but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”


Salvation is a gift which cannot be earned; those who truly repent and accept God’s grace and forgiveness of sins, are immediately justified and on their way to heaven.


But while here on earth after we get saved, the grace of God teaches us to deny ourselves and to flee from all the worldly lusts and self-seeking that got us into the mess we were in before we got saved.


Refusing to deny ourselves incurs God’s indignation and wrath in the day of His wrath, so that we miss out in the cleansing part.


Matthew 10:39 “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake (denies himself to receive the cleaning) will find it.”


If we still go to heaven, what is it then that we lose?


Every believer that dies goes before the Judgment Seat of Christ, which is a judgment of rewards or the forfeiting of them as we read in:


1 Corinthians 3:14-15 “If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”


To the Corinthians Paul is talking about the works that those who were saved and died, built on the foundation of their salvation, and about what happens on the coming Day of judgment that will reveal whether those works were the result of self-seeking or self-denial.


But what Paul is talking about in his letter to the Romans is what happens in the Day of His Wrath to those who are alive when He returns to the earth, and finds them doing their own works instead of being sanctified to do the Lord’s work.


Luke 12:46-47 “The master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.”


Notice first, how Jesus considers the servant to be a believer who was unprepared and not looking for His return. After cutting him in two, He assigns that servant a portion with the unbelievers, which is to be beaten with many stripes. What did Jesus mean by cutting him in two?


I believe Jesus was referring to the separation between the justification and the sanctification of that wicked servant. He was still considered a saved servant who belonged to Him. But since he did not prepare or sanctify himself for His master’s return, he must suffer punishment before he is restored, which is the indignation of God’s wrath.


His portion with the unbelievers means that he has to go through the wrath that those who rejected God’s free grace must go through, but God will save him after his many stripes are completed.


If we read Revelation chapter three where the fate of the last two churches is decreed by Jesus Himself before His return, we find that the Philadelphia church is spared from the hour of trial—wrath—that is coming upon the whole world to test those who live in the world, because they kept His Word and did not deny His name.


Revelation 3:8, 10 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door (the rapture), and no one can shut it; for you have little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name...Because you have kept My command to persevere (through sanctification), I also will keep you from the hour of trial (God’s indignation and wrath) which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”


Then we read about the Laodicea church, and we see a different story.


Revelation 3:18-19 “I counsel you to buy from Me gold (sanctification) refined in the fire...As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten (discipline). Therefore be zealous and repent.”


The good news is, as of this writing, the rapture has not taken place yet. Jesus’ offer to be zealous and repentance is still available to all who believe.


It is never too late to start denying ourselves for the sake of Jesus Christ and for the glory of His Gospel of peace.


What ever it is that our self-seeking is gaining for us in this life is not worth losing the eternal rewards that follow faithfulness to the Word of God. There is no comparison between a few years and eternity.


All that we possess will be left behind the day that we are taken away from this earthly realm. There are no u-hauls attached to the hearse.


He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.


Let us make haste, for Jesus is coming very soon.

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