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Wednesday, March 04 2020

Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye

INTRODUCTION: Last week we started in the topic “God’s righteous judgement” where we studied how dangerous judging others could be. Romans 2:3 reminded us that by pointing fingers at others does not mean God will be distracted from seeing our misdoings! We have all heard the question before: “Is God fair to judge those who have never heard about Jesus Christ?” Will they go to hell because they did not believe in Jesus when they never heard of Him? Another variation of the question is, “Won’t those who have done the best that they could do get into heaven?”. Hopefully, after today’s teaching, we will better understand how to answer such questions.

  • Romans 2:8: "But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness – indignation and wrath”

Those who do not obey the truth, that is, the light God has given them, stand under the wrath of God. God will judge according to the result of obedience or the lack of obedience to truth in a person's life.

  • JUDGMENT ACCORDING TO IMPARTIALITY

Romans 2:10 "Tribulation and anguish on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first, and also the Gentile. But glory, honour, and peace, to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.”

The wrath of God is coming upon all those who do evil. It is upon every soul; none will be free of this judgment. No person can plead innocent; all will know themselves to be guilty. This judgment will come first on the Jew and then on the Gentile. Why? Both have rejected God's light, but the Jew had so much more light.

These blessings are for those who give genuine evidence of inner salvation by their good works. Possibly the Jew who has responded to Christ will be rewarded before Gentiles who have received him.

  • JUDGMENT ACCORDING TO OPPORTUNITY

Romans 2:11-13 "For there is no partiality with God. For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;”

God is holy, just and shows no favouritism towards any man. God will judge everyone with perfect justice. Paul is anticipating a Jewish objection, “But surely God will treat us more favourably than the pagan Gentiles. We know God’s ways as revealed in His Law, but they don’t!”

Or, perhaps a Gentile would object, “It’s not fair for God to judge me for disobeying a standard that I knew nothing about! I’ve done the best that I could with what I knew. God won’t judge me, will He?”

Paul therefore highlights that God will impartially judge everyone for sinning against the light that they were given. His line of reasoning - The Gentile sinned without the Law, so he will perish without the Law. The Jew sinned under the Law and so he will be judged by the Law (2:12). In other words, as verse 6 stated, God “will render to each person according to his deeds (actions).” Paul is not looking at how a person enters into a life of obedience, but rather at the results of it. Note carefully that both groups have sinned and both groups will be judged for their sin. The Gentiles who sinned without the Law will perish, which refers to eternal condemnation. We will see later in verses 14 & 15 how to answer questions such as: “How could the Gentiles be guilty of sin if they didn’t have the standard of God’s Law to live by?” The point of this verse 12 is that God will judge every person, Gentile or Jew, regardless of: Background, education, position, privilege, upbringing nor heritage. So, God can’t be accused of partiality.

Merely hearing God’s Law is a waste of your time if you don’t do what He commands (2:13). The Jews boasted in having God’s Law. They heard it read every week in their synagogues. But here Paul says, “Hearing it is not enough. Hearing the Law doesn’t put you in God’s favour ahead of the Gentiles, who have not heard the Law. The issue is, doing it. Only those who do God’s Law will be blameless.”

Romans 2:14-15 "For when Gentiles,  who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them).

Those who do not have God’s Law are a law to themselves in that they still have an inner sense of right and wrong that convicts them when they violate it. Sometimes they do what they know to be right. But they often disobey what they know to be right, so that their conscience condemns them. Paul is not saying that the Gentiles automatically know all of the Laws but rather, he is pointing out the obvious fact that even pagans, who have had no exposure to God’s revealed Law, have a built-in sense of right and wrong that matches with God’s Law. The work of the Law [is] written on their hearts,” (teaching the difference between right and wrong).

The issue is even though we all have this built-in sense of right and wrong, we all have violated our own standards. When we do, we justify it by various arguments. “I know that I treated him wrongly, but he had it coming!” “I know that I shouldn’t cheat on my taxes, but everyone else does it. Besides, the government wastes so much money. And I’m not a millionaire!” So, our conscience and our thoughts go back and forth, either condemning us or trying to defend us.

Our conscience is not an infallible guide, but we should never go against our conscience. It is not infallible in that it needs to be informed by Scripture, not just by what our culture may think is right or wrong, or by what we may unconsciously feel is right or wrong.

  • JUDGMENT ACCORDING TO GOD’S OMNISCIENCE

Romans 2:16: “in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”

Whether a person had God’s Law or not, he will stand guilty before God on that day.

  1. There will be a certain day of judgment. God has fixed the day (Acts 17:31). If we believe that, we’d better be ready! And if you don’t believe it, that does not mean that it will not happen!
  2. On that day, God will judge the secrets of everyone. That is a scary thought! God doesn’t just look at our outward deeds. We can put on a pretty good show towards others. We can impress people with our knowledge of the Bible or our prayers or religiosity. But God knows every secret thought we have and private sin that we do. He knows the hidden prideful motives, even when we outwardly serve Him. He sees the seething anger in your heart, even when you coverup it up.
  3. When God judges the secrets of men, it will be through Christ Jesus. Jesus made it clear in (John 5:22-23), “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father.”

CONCLUSION

Romans 2 springs a trap on any religious person who read Paul's lists of sins at the end of Romans 1 and thought it wasn't about them. Paul calls them out for making themselves judges when they are also guilty. He shows that God will judge everyone, including those under the law, based on their works. This prefaces this letter's theme of salvation by grace, through faith, rather than by works. Many benefits come with having the law, but only if those under the law keep it.

Culled from: http://www.cleartheology.com/expo/45Romans/NT.Arnold.Rom.12.html; https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-11-god-s-impartial-judgment-romans-212-16

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 04:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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