Centered on Christ
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Centered on Christ

If You Continue to Reject God, You Continue to Treasure Up His Wrath for Yourself

A treasure chest open with a light inside.
Photo by Ashin K Suresh on Unsplash

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, (Romans 2:5)

Those who thought God would judge them differently were actually guilty of despising God’s goodness.

As Paul goes on to show — they had a hard heart and refused to repent. As a result, the wrath of God was building up against them.

A hard and impenitent heart.

The Greek word for hardness is sklarotes, and the doctors have adopted the word for the disease of hardening of the arteries. You should realize that hardening of the arteries may take you to an early grave but hardening of the heart, spiritually, will take you to the ultimate lake of fire. — Barnhouse, Romans Vol. 2, 31

A hard heart is a “stubborn” or “calloused” mind. Someone with a hard heart refuses to accept they are wrong and stubbornly continues down the same path.

Paul shows that just because someone might be a more “moral” person than the ones he discussed in Romans 1:29–32 doesn’t mean that God would judge them differently. They had still sinned — they still needed to repent — they still needed the gospel of Christ.

But they stubbornly refused to accept the truth that God would judge them according to the same standard as everyone else. As a result, they refused to repent.

What they were doing to themselves was terrifying.

Treasuring up God’s wrath.

The Jews especially thought God would treat them differently at the judgment.

The Jews believed that by their good works, and especially by alms giving, they were able to store them up in heaven and gain interest. Then, on the day of judgment, the good works and interest would be paid back to them. Several intertestamental books contain this idea, and none better express it than 2 Baruch 14:12: “For the righteous justly have good hope for the end and go away from this habitation without fear because they possess with yo a store of good works which is preserved in treasuries.” — Pollard, Truth for Today Commentary, 79–80

What they didn’t realize was that they had sinned and also deserved death (Romans 3:23). No amount of good deeds could make up for that fact. They needed the gospel of Christ too.

Instead of building up a “credit” in their account that God would “owe” them on the Judgment Day — they were actually storing up God’s judicial wrath against themselves for rejecting His goodness.

At the Judgment, God will be shown to be entirely right.

The Bible never did teach that the purpose of the Final Judgment is to determine for the first time what each man’s destiny shall be (that is something already known in this life). Instead…the Judgment is a final vindication of God for the rewards and punishments already in part bestowed. He will be shown to have been perfectly “right” in what He does with men. — Reese, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, 82

It’s a terrifying thought that the righteous wrath of Almighty God is being stored up against those who stubbornly refuse His goodness.

Every supply of goodness that is given to you and which is rejected becomes a supply of wrath which you must harvest in the evil day. — Barnhouse, Romans Vol. 2, 32

Writing to the Christians in Corinth, Paul revealed part of his motivation in urging people to obey the gospel of Christ.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men… (2 Corinthians 5:10–11)

Knowing how terrifying it would be to stand before the Lord, having rejected Him and His goodness, ought to motivate us to submit to Him. It also should motivate us as Jesus’ disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel” to everyone (Mark 16:15).

Please don’t continue to refuse to turn to the Lord. His goodness, mercy, and longsuffering are abundant (Romans 2:4).

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