I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of [those] who suppress the truth by their wickedness. (Romans 1:16,17)
I don’t suppose that “a simple desire” has ever done this: to ask our readers to take to heart the warning of God that wrath is coming, but can be avoided. So, here I go:
The wrath of God is coming, but can be avoided.
You don’t have to believe in a wrathful God to see how wrath is being revealed day by day: it is enough to see the wrath of humankind, to see how the way we live: in active evil or passive indifference is leading to our destruction. Name your poison: war, materialism, sexism, racism, flaunting of personal immorality … it’s a long list, and we participate, whether willingly or no.
But the faithful God reveals a gospel, a good news available for the salvation of everyone (quite remarkable, that). The faithful God reveals that God is not surprised by the evil we humans do. On the contrary, from the beginning, the faithful God has planned this good news by first faithfully nurturing a people to whom was revealed God’s truths (the Jews), then, at just the right time, God sent Jesus, the Son of God to be the culmination and perfection of that truth. And Jesus’s death, in service to the truth of God and the needs of humanity, became (in the faithful plan of God) the means of salvation to all to Jews and “Greeks” (that is, non-Jews) alike.
This is the true story of the human condition, which Paul’s book of Romans describes out in more detail. But the good news: you can be good (or, as Paul describes it here, righteous) by trusting God’s plan, especially God’s brilliant decision to send Jesus, God’s Son, to become the righteousness we need. And then we can really live by faithfully following the road of righteousness set before us. Why choose wrath, when you can choose life?