Text: Romans 2:1-16
At some point in your life, Jesus Christ has to become the Son of God to you personally. You don’t get in on the individual blessings found in Jesus Christ without him being the Son of God to you. If he’s your parents’ religion, you don’t have eternal life, he’s just your parents’ religion. If he’s your grandparents’ religion, you don’t possess eternal life. If he’s just your church’s religion, you’re still guilty before God as Paul will explain. At some point, Jesus Christ has to become the shepherd of your soul.
The Jews, even to this day, had this problem. They thought that because of who they were and what they knew God justified them no matter what. Kind of like a Critical Race Theology or superior race theology. The Jews fell into the same trap the independent Baptists would fall into. They think knowledge and information exempt them from behavior. Jews said b/c they had the law they were essentially free to do whatever they wanted. They believed they were what you would call eternally secure. Baptists would say it this way, because we know Jesus we’re eternally secure and nothing else matters.
Paul is undoing these thoughts about how man is justified before God. In dealing with heathen guilt, Paul said the heathen doesn’t really care what the truth is or what God thinks. They don’t take any of it to heart. The Jews, on the other hand, take Moses’ law and justify themselves in whatever they do. The Jews are self-righteous while the heathen are just pleasure seekers.
Paul explains guilt before God to a Jew who believes he has eternal life because he’s a Jew
- vs 1 – you’re a sinner by your own standards
- vs 2 – as a fellow Jew Paul says, WE, as Jews, are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth. (This is why he doesn’t bother explaining the whole moral argument. He’s assuming he’s addressing Jews who boast in the law and know that they know the law of God.)
- vss 3-6 – Paul asks if they’re just going to take God’s delayed judgment for granted by continuing to violate their conscience and the known will of God.
Paul emphasizes the individual priesthood in the New Covenant in Jesus Christ
- Paul does something that we don’t think is Christian in the next few verses even though he is the one explaining Christianity. Paul links an individual’s behavior with the true condition of their heart. The same Paul who says whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved, quoting from Zephaniah, also said continue in well doing, obedience to the truth, and to them that WORK good receive glory, honor, peace and eternal life. Paul says essentially we show to God what we’re after through our behavior. The way we search out and seek the things of God is by deeds.
- There are a couple of options. You can just say Paul’s comments in Romans 2 contradict his comments in Romans 10.
- Or you can back up out of your theological box and think about how all of this is actually true at the same time.
- The bad news is this morning we’re not sorting this out because Paul assumes his readers already have this figured out about the nature and reception of eternal life.
- Paul’s point in all of this is that there is no racial justification before God. There is only individual justification before God based on what the individual is looking for from God. So we get to verse 11.
Paul reemphasizes that God will judge the secrets of individuals in verses 12-16
- Eternal life is not a racial matter. God doesn’t care if you’re a Jew or a Gentile. Not now. Not in the future.
- God will judge the secrets of individuals. This can be good or bad.
- Jesus said when you pray, pray in secret, not like the hypocrites who pray to be heard. Then my Father will reward you because you’ve clearly shown you’re looking for God’s approval and not man’s.
- Jesus said when you fast, fast in secret instead of like the hypocrites. And my Father will reward you openly because you’ve demonstrated you’re seeking an answer from God, not man.
- On the other hand, wicked men do wicked things in secret. Psalm 44:20-21 If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
- Solomon summed it up in Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
- Ezekiel 18 the soul that sins it shall die (18:4)
- Jeremiah 31:27-30
- What Israel (and Baptists BTW) had such a hard time understanding is that the old covenant had to end on the cross. It ends in a curse. The husband, Jesus Christ, dies and the agreement is no longer in effect because of the death of the husband. However, it will free the wife, Israelites, to remarry under a new covenant. And Paul will explain all this in Romans 7.
- Acts 10:34-43 Peter goes through exactly what Paul is beginning to go through in Romans.