I want to share some thoughts about scriptures I've been studying and meditating on.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
This passage of scripture has given rise to a great deal of commentary, and controversy, most of it having to do with the phrase in verse 17, "the righteousness of God." I intend to deal with that phrase in more depth as well but right now I want to focus on what I take to be it's parallel in verse 18, "for the wrath of God is revealed…" By parallel I mean that Paul is comparing two opposites, the righteousness of God is revealed in verse 17 and the wrath of God is revealed in verse 18. My take on it is this, if I can figure out what he means by the wrath of God being revealed then I will know what he means by the righteousness of God being revealed, because they are, if not direct opposites, at least opposed to each other.
I've been meditating and studying on this passage of scripture for some time and today realized that Paul is not saying that the wrath of God has now been revealed, i.e. that it is in a permanent state of being revealed, but rather Paul is saying that, the wrath of God when it is revealed, is done so in response to the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. In other words when people engage in ungodliness and unrighteousness the wrath of God is revealed against them. He is saying essentially the same thing he says elsewhere for example:
Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
The important take away from this understanding of the "wrath of God being revealed" is that the verses that follow, (Where Paul talks about how people can know God even without the Word of God because God is revealed to them in nature and how their refusal to acknowledge God leads them further away from him.) are not describing the wrath of God or the results of the wrath of God but are describing the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men which causes the wrath to be manifested.