But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasure up to yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation…
I. ITS NATURE.
1. We shall better understand this if we consider what is the nature of penitence, which is a clear view of our nature and conduct as tried by the pure and perfect law of God. Connected with this there is —
(1) A consciousness that we are deservedly under the wrath of God, and the curse of that law which our sins have violated.
(2) Alarm at sin and its consequences.
(3) An ingenuous disposition to confess sin to God, without extenuation or self-defence.
(4) Grief for sin.
(5) A disposition to forsake it.
(6) And there will be no true repentance where there is not faith in Christ, as the only way by which sin can be forgiven.
2. Now, impenitence means, of course, the opposite to this. The man who is not convinced of sin, etc., is impenitent, hard-hearted towards God and religion.
3. Mark the guilt of this. It really contains in itself every aggravation that sin admits of. It is —
(1) Rebellion against the authority of God, who commands men everywhere to repent.
(2) Great insult to God: for in proportion to the excellence of any being whom we may offend should be the promptness of our mind to confess the offence and mourn over it.
(3) Great contempt of the law of God, that, after we have trampled it under foot, we should have no grief for the injury we have done it.
(4) Total rejection of the whole scheme of mercy in the gospel.
II. ITS CONSEQUENCES.
1. The time when the punishment will be inflicted. It is very true that the moment we die we enter into heaven or hell. But neither the happiness of the righteous nor the punishment of the wicked will be complete till the judgment. This is called —
(1) "The day of wrath," and it wilt be to the wicked nothing but that.
(2) A day of revelation. There will be a revelation —
(a) Of God, in the wisdom of His plans, in His mercy to His people, in His justice of the punishment of the wicked.
(b) Of Jesus Christ. No more shall it be doubted that He is the great God and our Saviour.
(c) Of man. Millions of saints shall come out from their obscurity, and shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Millions of flaming but hypocritical professors shall stand at that day unmasked.
(d) Of secrets — all the secrets of men's history.
(3) But the text speaks of it as the revelation of righteous judgment that shall come on the wicked. There will be a revelation —
(a) Of judgment itself. The punishment of the wrath of God is now revealed only partially; never, impenitent sinner, till the day of judgment will the greatness of thy iniquity be revealed.
(b) Of righteous judgment; a complete manifestation of the justice of God in the punishment of the wicked. There shall be no infidels in hell: there shall none go from the judgment seat impeaching the justice of God.
(c) Before the world. So that, while the righteous shall be honoured, the wicked will be punished before the universe.
2. Its nature. "Thou treasurest up wrath." Whose wrath? If it were the wrath of an angel there would be something tremendous in it. But —
(1) It is the wrath of God — something more terrible than the imagination can compass! Solomon tells us that "the wrath of a king is as the roaring of a lion." But what is the wrath of a king to the wrath of God? But, perhaps, it may be said that it is only a taste of His wrath. The Scripture says wrath will come on the wicked to the uttermost; it will be unmixed wrath. Now God blends mercy with judgment: then mercy will retire.
(2) It will be wrath felt, not merely threatened. Now it is threatened, and the wicked sport with the threat; but then it will be felt.
(3) It will be everlasting wrath. What must it be to endure the unmitigated wrath of God for a moment, for an hour, for a week, for a year, for a century, for a thousand years, for a million of ages! But if, at that distance, there should be one gleam of hope appearing through the vista of darkness, hell would cease to be hell; hope would spring up; and the very idea of the termination of torment would sustain the soul under it. But oh, eternal wrath! To be obliged to cry out, How long? and to receive no answer but "Forever!" And after millions of ages have passed, and the question is again asked, How long? still to receive no answer but "Forever!"(4) This wrath is said to be wrath to come, and because it is to come, sinners will not believe it; because it is to come, they think it never will come. But it is perpetually drawing near. It is nearer this day than it was last Sabbath day.
3. The proportion of the punishment. In the Hebrew Scriptures anything that is accumulative is accounted treasure. Hence, we read of the treasures of wickedness. The expression "treasurest up wrath" seems to be put in opposition to "the riches of His goodness." What an idea! Treasures of love! Heaps of wrath! And you will observe the sinner is represented as the author of his own punishment. The idea conveyed is this, that there is an accumulation continually going on as long as he sins. And then, as this proportion will be according to the sin committed, so it will be according to the mercies abused and neglected. The sins of the poor heathen are light compared with ours, and the punishment will be light too.
(J. Angell James.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
WEB: But according to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath, revelation, and of the righteous judgment of God;