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Deserving Death

Jesus died the death that was yours.
Speaker: Ray David Glenn | October 8, 2017 | Series: The Gospel + Nothing

Watch as Ray David unpacks Romans 1:18-32 and points us to the abounding grace of the Gospel.

The Only Way

Romans 1:18-32 is perhaps one of the most damning, difficult pieces of scripture, because it forces us to come to terms with the fact that there is such a thing as the wrath of God. 

In this passage, Paul is addressing the question of – why is a righteousness that is revealed by faith for faith the only way for humanity to be saved? Why is God, through the Gospel, the only one able to save you from God? Why can we not save ourselves from ourselves and from God?


Every single person who has ever lived stands guilty before God. We often hope and maybe even pray that God’s wrath would be poured out on those who carry out extreme acts of violence – like the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas. We want God’s wrath to be poured out against people who are wicked. 

The destructive wickedness we see all around us in the world stems from a denial God. It comes from mankind suppressing the truth about God. If this is the real and deeper problem that results in destructive behaviors, than I stand as guilty before God as the mass-murderer, because I suppress the truth about God all the time. We twist and contort the truth about God to fit into our lives rather than conforming our lives to the truth about God. 

A Selfie

This passage functions as a selfie. It invites a brutal and naked honesty about who we truly are apart from God. We are guilty and without excuse. Each one of us knows better than to suppress the truth about God. That’s the tragedy of sin – we do it to ourselves. Scriptures teaches us that every one of us has this tragic bent – that our souls and our priorities are twisted and our very self has been divided. We are the product of a divided self. In the same car ride we can have good, noble thoughts and imagine ourselves being like Mother Teresa, and then two seconds later imagine ourselves being like Hugh Hefner. At our core we are all tragically and deeply bent and twisted in such a way that we do the wrong things and suppress the truth about God. So we stand guilty before the Holy God and deserving of His wrath. 

Given Over

When we repeatedly and unrepentantly suppress the truth about God, God eventually will allow the worst possible thing to happen to us – He will give us over to ourselves. When we exchange the truth about God for a lie, eventually God will say ‘okay, have at it’. Human behaviors don’t bring about the wrath of God, that is how human wrath works, but it is the existence of these behaviors in our own lives that are evidence that God’s wrath has already been poured out. God’s wrath in this passage is not active, it is passive. Wickedness in the world is a sign that the wrath of God already has been poured out. Because the worst thing that could happen to us is for God to take His hands off us and let us have our own way. 

If you feel convicted for areas in your life that are evidence of God’s wrath it’s because He hasn’t taken His hand off of you. In His grace and His mercy, He keeps calling you back. 

Deserving Death

With all of this accrued guilt before God, someone has to die. But the good news of the Gospel is that someone did die and it wasn’t you or I – it was Jesus. He died in our place. He died for us. In His body on the cross He bore the full weight of the wrath of God that actually belonged to you and to me. God judged all of our sin in Himself on the cross. And now it would be unjust for God to judge the same sin twice. Jesus died the death that was yours. You and I will never have to face death again. Jesus gave me the perfect life that was His, which means I will never have to live in fear of the wrath of God. The wrath of God has been swallowed up by the love of God – seen on the cross.

Poured Out Upon Himself

God’s just, righteous wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men has been fully and completely poured out – not on those who deserve it, but poured out upon Himself. 

Why is it important that God’s righteousness has been given to me from faith, for faith? Why is the good news of the Gospel the only possible way I can stand righteous before God? Because we can’t do it on our own. We deserve death. But in the Gospel, God gives us the faith to believe and the faith to keep on believing that Jesus died the death that was ours. And He gives us His righteousness and perfect standing before God. In Him, we stand before God forgiven and approved. Slate wiped totally clean. 


This is all something that ought to make us profoundly thankful. We are not thankful for something if we’ve earned it or deserved it. To be truly thankful means to realize that we didn’t deserve anything from God but death and wrath, and yet He shows His love for us that while we were yet sinful – Christ died for us in our place.

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About the Author

Ray David Glenn
Ray David is the rector (Anglican talk for senior pastor) here at St. George's. He lives in Burlington with his wife Monica and kids.
  • About the Author

    Ray David Glenn
    Ray David is the rector (Anglican talk for senior pastor) here at St. George's. He lives in Burlington with his wife Monica and kids.
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