Romans Chapter 2

Part 3

KLMX Radio

Sept 2008

 

Bryan Kimsey

First Baptist Church

Des Moines, NM

[Introduction]

[Prayer]

 

This week on the Ministerial Alliance program I’ve been teaching through the 2nd chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans.   Yesterday we saw Paul teaching that God holds all men, Jews and Greek, accountable for their actions and declares them all lacking.   This verse:

 

Romans 2:11  For there is no partiality with God.

 

Is a brief synopsis of what we’ve seen so far.  Today’s passage will be this one:

 

Romans 2:12-24  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  (13)  (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;  (14)  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,  (15)  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)  (16)  in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.  (17)  Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God,  (18)  and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law,  (19)  and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,  (20)  an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law.  (21)  You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal?  (22)  You who say, "Do not commit adultery," do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?  (23)  You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?  (24)  For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," as it is written.

 

Here, Paul expands a little on his comment that there is no partiality with God and he continues to show that all men fall short of the glory of God.  His statement here “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…” shows that every man will be judged by what he has.  Those without the law will be judged by their actions.  Not seeking God is no excuse because, as Paul told us back in Chapter 1:

 

Romans 1:20-21  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,  (21)  because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

 

Even though non-Jews do not have the law, they do have knowledge of God which includes evidence of His eternal power and Godhead and this knowledge leaves them with excuse.  No man can fall back on the “ignorance” plea.  Paul says, parenthetically,

 

Romans 2:13-15  (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;  (14)  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,  (15)  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)

 

A person cannot merely hear the law, but must also do it, if he hopes to be justified in the law.  Gentiles, who do not have the law, nevertheless by nature do many of the law and this is further evidence of God’s law written on their heart.  In other words, everyone knows that murder, theft, and lying are not right.  Even atheists know and practice those things.  Men have a conscience and this conscience bears witness to them.  If they violate their conscience, then they essentially violate their internal law.

 

Recapping this passage, then, we have:

 

Romans 2:12-16  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  (13)  (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;  (14)  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,  (15)  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)  (16)  in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

 

As we saw yesterday, we see again that God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to the gospel that Paul has received.   I discussed this judgment yesterday, but suffice to say, it will be a fearful and dreadful time for those who are not covered by the atonement of Jesus Christ.

 

Having addressed the Gentiles and their conscience, Paul now turns his attention to the Jews.

 

Romans 2:17-20  Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God,  (18)  and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law,  (19)  and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,  (20)  an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law.

 

As Paul just said in addressing Gentiles, “for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified” and he’s now going to call the Jews to task.  First he outlines their qualifications: they rest on the law, boast in God and that they know His will.  They are confident that they are guides to the blind, instructors to the foolish, and teachers of babes.  Unfortunately for them, Paul doesn’t stop here.  He continues on with:

 

Romans 2:21-23  You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal?  (22)  You who say, "Do not commit adultery," do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?  (23)  You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?

 

And even more unfortunately, no one can truthfully answer “I have never stolen, I have never committed adultery, I have never had false idols.”  As Jesus made it clear in the Sermon on the Mount, evil begins in the heart.  Therefore, according to Jesus, merely to look at a woman with lust is to essentially commit adultery with her in one’s heart.  The Jews may not have stolen boldly, but they stole subtly and by circumventing the law.  And finally, they had false idols- we all do.  We can see false idols in Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18.  This young man came to Jesus and said “What good thing must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus’ reply was “Obey the commandments”, and he listed a few of them: “'DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,' 'DO NOT MURDER,' 'DO NOT STEAL,' 'DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS,' 'HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER.”  The ruler replied, “All of these I’ve kept”. 

 

Luke 18:22-23  So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."  (23)  But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.

 

You see what’s happened here?  The man thought he’d kept all the commandments, but Jesus went right to the heart of the matter and showed him that he worshipped other idols besides God Almighty.  The man could not give up his riches for the glories of the kingdom of God.  Be careful how you react to this story!  I’ll be quite honest- it would be extremely difficult for me to give up my riches, too.  Suppose you’ve just finished paying off your house, your car, your kids are in school and now you’re finally looking forward to retirement and doing a little fishing.  And then Jesus knocks and says “Give up the fishing and retirement and follow me!”  How many of us could do that?   But this is where Paul is driving with his criticism of the Jews.  He says “you teach do this and don’t do this, but do you follow your own teachings?’  An honest answer is “No.”  Paul doesn’t mince words.  He says:

 

Romans 2:24  For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," as it is written.

 

Ouch!  And yet, we see this today.  I constantly see people who call themselves Christians yet who steal, lie, cheat, break the laws, and so on.  And before you say “Ohhhhh….not ME!!!” when was the last time you drove a little over the speed limit?  Or when was the last you excused yourself from an invitation with “I’d love to come, but I have other plans”, and you just made those plans up?  To paraphrase Paul, “the name of God is blasphemed among non-believers because of you.”  Christians are supposed to be salt and light in a world of bland darkness and yet, so often, we’re vinegar and a flickering match.  So, like I said, be careful how you react to Paul’s chastisement of the Jews.  It applies equally to you and to me.

 

To catch us up here, what Paul’s doing is showing that everyone- Jew and Greek, Christian and atheist, believer and non-believer, are without excuse for failing to honor and glorify God, and that none of them actually do give full glory and honor to God.  He’s showing that no one can rest in their religiosity or in their good works.  What hope is there, then, for a man?  His only hope is the free gift offered by God.  To jump ahead in Romans:

 

Romans 5:8-9  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  (9)  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

 

Christians have hope in the justification from sins offered by Jesus Christ.  All men- Jew and Greek- need this justification.

 

I’m Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines.  Join me tomorrow on the Ministerial Alliance program here on KLMX radio at 9:45 as we start winding up Chapter 2 of Paul’s epistle to the Romans.

 

[closing prayer]

 

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