"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men" ([Rom] 1.18). When we ask how that wrath comes to expression, we have a threefold expression that God's wrath is God's abandonment. "Therefore God gave them over (paredoken) to the sinful desires of their hearts" (v.24), "God gave them over (paredoken) to shameful lusts" (v.26), "He gave them over (paredoken) to a depraved mind" (v.28). It is no coincidence that it is this key verb paradidomi (=to abandon, to give up), which is used again in Romans 8.32, He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up (paredoken) for us all" etc... In order to do anything for those who because of sin have been given up to sin's destructive power, and lethal consequences (Romans 6.23a), the Son of God had to identify himself with them, by himself being treated as one who is abandoned and given up by God.
(p. 116, Thomas Smail, The Forgotten Father)
I never get tired of that. The punishment that belonged to us, fell on him!
While I'm here, a few thoughts on the idea often taught from Romans 1 that the wrath of God being God passively stepping back and giving us what we want:
- To the person enslaved by his own sin, the experience of being able to 'freely' sin is very rarely that we get what we want - "what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do" (Rom 7:15)
- If God's wrath/hell is simply giving someone over to what they want, then how did Jesus experience God's wrath?