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Sermon #3330

God's Wrath. Not Man's

A Sermon on Romans 12:19-20


Romans 12:19-20 ESV KJV
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will …

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Sermon Description

While some popular streams of so-called Christianity claim that becoming a Christian means a care-free life, the New Testament is clear that Christians are likely to have more troubles. In this passage, the apostle Paul assumes Christians faithfully living in this fallen world will inevitably encounter evil against them. In this sermon on Romans 12:19–20 titled “God’s Wrath, Not Man’s,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones expounds Paul’s teaching on the topic. Negatively, Christians are to respond to evil by not avenging. Positively, they are to give place to God’s wrath. But what do these things mean? Why should the Christian never seek personal vengeance and does this teaching support Christian pacifism? What about questions about the wrath of God and how are Christians to understand imprecatory prayers in light of this teaching regarding personal vengeance? In all these complex questions, Dr. Lloyd-Jones brings the Scriptures to bear in a cohesive manner by allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. Listen to this thought-provoking message as he challenges Christians to a distinct way of life in a world where they will encounter evil.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul exhorted Christians to not avenge themselves in Romans 12:19-20.
  2. Paul pleaded with Christians to not seek personal vengeance.
  3. Christians are to make room for God's wrath and judgment. Vengeance belongs to God, not us.
  4. We are sinful and unfit to properly judge and punish. God's judgment is holy, just and controlled.
  5. We must have the right spirit in leaving judgment to God. We should not desire punishment of others.
  6. Though we leave personal wrongs to God, we must stand for truth, righteousness and justice.
  7. We should desire God's reign to be extended and His glory manifested.
  8. We can be comforted that God will ultimately punish the wicked and vindicate Himself.
  9. We must distinguish between personal wrongs and standing for God's glory. The imprecatory Psalms show this.
  10. This teaching answers the error of pacifism. The command not to kill is for individuals, not states. God commanded killing of enemies at times.
  11. It is wrong to divide the Old and New Testaments. The same God is in both. Jesus accepted the Old Testament.
  12. Old Testament figures like David showed restraint in not avenging themselves.
  13. The New Testament also teaches God's wrath and judgment, e.g. parable of tares, rich man and Lazarus, sheep and goats.
  14. 2 Thessalonians 1 and Revelation show God's vengeance on the disobedient.
  15. We must have zeal for God's glory and judgment or our faith is defective. We await God's vindication.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.