Romans Chapter II: Overview
Those who judge others, and disobey God themselves, are inexcusable, and will not escape the judgment of God. The measure of God's dealings with Jews and Gentiles will be the same, as there is no difference in ethnicity. It is what is in the heart not the skin that matters to God, even in the OT! All will appear on the day of judgment. Paul solemnly admonishes the Jews, who only trusted in the law and their relationship to Moses, and yet they still broke it.
Being judgmental will not work; it will only backfire on you. And shows that our external works will not gain us anything, without a renewed heart through grace. God will accept even in the uncircumcised, that which the Jew finds offensive. God looks at the trust in His work, the Jew looks to the comfort of their work. The Jews felt they where outside of God's wrath and judgment, just as some Christians feel today. Who take comfort in their church membership and not who they are in Christ.
All have sinned, no one is immune therefore we have no right to judge!
General Idea: Paul jumps from all the root cause of sin and their various manifestations to how we as Christians can get caught up in a heinous sin too: Being Judgmental. Our guilt and sin is personal and individual, thus our evil desires to judge come from our self-seeking and not Christ seeking (8:1). God does not care about our pedigree, and no one is immune! It is ONLY by what Christ has done that we can be saved. Our sins have been neutered on the cross and covered by His righteousness, thus we have been judged by God's standards of holiness with Christ taking our place in judgment (John 5:24). So we have no right or basis to judge others. This transpires to how we treat others. Even when we are saved we cannot say it is by what we did. And this transpires to how we judge, because we should know better so we do not sin. The Roman church was a mix of Jews and Gentiles, thus disagreements and prejudice arose and Paul had to address them.
1. Beware of judging others (Psalm 18:25-26; 62:12; Matt. 7:1-5)! Because all we end up doing is covering ourselves with the critique of others failings or our misperceptions of others. When we need to be covered by Christ's righteousness!
a. No one is justified by their work and righteousness, or moral standards or deeds. Thus we have no balance to weigh a judgment on someone else!
i. In the OT only by God's grace was repentance possible yet people still were responsible to act on it (Duet. 5:29; 10:16; 30:6).
ii. Indignation and wrath, our Judgment from God is based on our relationship with God. How is your relationship (Isa. 2:11-12; 13:6-13; Ezek. 30:2-3; Joel 1:15; 2:1-2; 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18-21; Obad. 15; Zeph. 1:7; 1:14-2:2)?
iii. Some Jewish teachers taught and still do that you can store up your good deeds as a defense against The Judgment. Scripture disagrees and tells us it is our sin that is stored up (Duet. 32:34-35; Hos. 13:12)!
b. The chapter starts out with a 'therefore', which is a conclusion to the previous chapter (Rom. 1:18-32). Thus because of our uncleanness and our deserving of death we are saved anyway, therefore why are you being judgmental?
c. Do you judge yourself or others? If so, all you do is judge yourself!
d. Despise (NKJV)' / contempt (NIV) vs. 4, refers to the refusal to yield to the knowledge and trust of God's goodness and His right of judgment. That we refuse to use His goodness as a guide to see the sorrow for our miss-actions and compassion towards others for theirs (within reason, there is no license to keep sinning) (Psalm 136). That God is generous with His grace, so we should be generous toward each other and be thankful. And finally to refuse to see His goodness and turn from sin, is the ultimate contempt to our loving Lord!
e. Treasuring up (NKJV) / storing up (NIV) vs. 5 is referring to ultimate in stubbornness. The flat-out refusal to yield to Christ our Lord. He is there offering His grace, do you accept it, or harbor resentment and then perish in your sin. Then thinking you are innocent and deserve Heaven and good things on this earth. Therefore we are storing up His wrath to be unleashed in hell, or having it pleased by accepting Christ.
i. It is imperative that we live what we preach; being a hypocrite is a disgusting obsession in the face of our loving and gracious Lord as well as our witness to others!
ii. The Jewish leaders in Jesus' time felt it was an insult to God to live one way and teach another, yet few of them obeyed this precept, saying "since everyone else does, why I shouldn't do as I please regardless of what I teach!" Sound familiar? Hopefully this is not your mindset too!
2. God will not just judge your actions, but also your motivations!
a. The law is written upon our hearts vs.15, therefore we have no excuse to avoid judgment or refuse grace (Gen, 1:26-27).
b. God judges people accordingly to what they know. Even if you never heard of the 10 commandments, or the name Jesus, God and His standards are already the operating system written into your soul. He is your source code!
c. God judges us by the knowledge of what we have learned. Staying ignorant, thinking "I will not study His Word so I will not be held accountable" is an even a greater offence. It is not the amount of the revelation we have, it is our response to it that matters vs. 16.
i. He knows the truth about each of us, there is nothing to hide, so confess and repent!
ii. There is no escape from God's judgment (1:18)!
iii. Salvation is a gift NOT a reward (5:15-17; 6:23)!!!
iv. God has pure intentions, pure uncorrupted love, mercy and omniscience knowledge, so He knows all things and how everything and everyone is intertwined into each other relationally in the past, present and future. We have no such knowledge. We see the bark of
a single tree, while He sees the entire forest. Thus we cannot judge based on our blind imprudence.
d. We will also be judged according to the knowledge we have. The more you know the more responsibility you have!
i. That is why Moses was not let into the Promised Land; he disobeyed God in a minor matter as we see. As God sees the matter as not important, because Moses knew better! Thus the offence of striking the rock was bad enough for him to be excluded from entering the Promised Land. Because of all the people who ever lived, Moses knew better. Moses had been face to face with God and knew his duty and call. His anger broke the trust he had with God, resulting in grave consequences. Fortunately for us we have grace to further protect us (Ex.17: 6; Num. 20:8-11)!
e. Being judgmental is extreme foolishness, because what you are in fact doing is throwing a boomerang of condemnation that comes back to hit you harder than you had thrown it.
i. God judges according to truth, we judge according to greed and misunderstanding.
ii. Do you value others in the same way you do yourself, is the scale balanced?
iii. Do you cover-up your frailties by attacking and criticizing others, to throw the dogs off your scent (Matt.7:1-5;21-23; 25:31-33; John 5:22)?
f. When we are focused on seeing the corruption and deceit in others, it is because we are filled with it ourselves, and we do not take the Word of God seriously. What if God judged us as we do others?
g. So the answer is, Don't! Yet Christians can be the most critical and arrogant people on earth! Let God remove your pride!
3. Salvation is by His grace, condemnation is by our works.
a. Are you grateful for what Christ has done or do you take it for granted (Luke 15:17-19)?
b. To despise God is to refuse to acknowledge His sovereignty and work, as well as His generous gift of grace. Refusing to yield your life over to God's will, will cost you greatly in judgment and in life; as God's ways are better than ours!
c. Do you base your comfort on what you do, your works?
i. Works do not earn, they only prove. Do you obey God and pursue righteousness? Never forget that salvation is a gift not a reward (II Cor. 5:10)! As driving a car is a privilege, not a right!
ii. Is your heart hard or soft?
iii. Do you hide in the comfort of your parent's faith, or in the activity of the church? External worship and faith does not guarantee what is inside! God searches our heart, what will He find in yours?
d. God is more concerned with our obedience than our knowledge!
i. The law comes before grace, for without the law and the righteousness of God we have nothing to be saved from.
ii. The bad news of judgment is shadowed by the good news of grace!
iii. The just will find honor.
Do you struggle with self-centeredness? If so you should take careful note of this, this mindset is one of the best ways to find the wrath of God! This is something you may not want to experience! We have to know there is only One God and you are not it! A Christian must practice what we preach. We cannot be "two faced" doing one thing and saying another. If you like to do this or find comfort in it you need to know that this is a great way to bring up dysfunctional children! This is a great way to destroy the work of God in your church. It is also a great way to keep the neighborhood away from your church. But of course this should not be you goal. Self-centeredness only makes you lose out on life's precious opportunities. Now we need to ask ourselves do I do this, am I self-centered? Do I condemn others for what I do in secret? If so, what are you going to do about it? Paul's point is this, everyone should know better than to sin!
Note: This is Paul's first discussion of law and its implications. This will be expanded upon in the next lesson.
- Have you ever had a pet that had a pedigree? If so what purpose did it have such as to show or stud?
- Do you or do you know people who take a passionate comfort in their heritage with pride?
- There is nothing wrong with being glad with your heritage, but when does it get to the point that it turns into pride and sin against our Lord?
- How does God see the different ethnicities all over the world? Does He have His favorites?
- Many Americans feel that God favors Americans and we are His special people today instead of the Jews, what do you think of that?
- Why do people put others down when they are different such as skin color or social status?
- What are the factors that cause prejudice, from not being friends and associating with people who are different than you to being a Hitler or Stalin who kill millions they feel are "human weeds"? What does Christ think about that?
- Have you ever experienced prejudice against you? If so how did that make you feel?
- Do you obey God and pursue righteousness?
- How can you be on guard from judging others yourself?
- What can you do to gain more favor with God?
- What ways can we judge others?
- Why would someone 'despise (NKJV)' or show 'contempt (NIV)' vs. 4, to God?
- Have you ever refused to yield to the knowledge and trust of God's goodness?
- How do you feel about God's right of judgment?
- Because God is generous with His grace toward us, so we should be generous toward each other and be thankful. What do you think of that statement?
- Do you think that people, who refuse to see God's goodness and turn from sin, are the ultimate sinners who are living in contempt to our loving Lord? Many Christian theologians say this is the unpardonable sin!
- Why would people think they are special and will go to Heaven and receive no judgment when they reject Christ?
- How and Why do we store up wrath?
- How and Why can we get rid of the wrath?
- Most people think Judgment is about our actions and behaviors. So what about our motivations?
- Have you ever considered that the law is written upon our hearts, if so how does that make a difference to your behaviors?
- God judges people accordingly to what they know and have learned. So how do you feel knowing that the more you learn the more you are responsible for?
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Eager to learn? Indifferent? Scared?
- Knowing that we are indeed responsible for our learning and knowledge, what gives you the motivation and comfort and confidence to be persistent in your Sanctification that is spiritual growth?
- Staying ignorant, thinking "I will not study His Word so I will not be held accountable" is even a greater offence. Why is this true?
- Do not ever think damned if we do and damned if we don't! We have grace! We also are on this planet for such a short time we are to make the most of it, our true life is still to come, and that is eternity! Does knowing that this life is just a mere rehearsal and preparation to what is to come in eternity, give you great comfort? Or do you just want to live for this life now and today and are not concerned with what is to come, the reason for our existence?
- Do you base your comfort on what you do, on your works?
- How can you live your life with more integrity knowing that God knows the truth about each of us, so there is nothing to hide?
- How is it that being judgmental is extreme foolishness? Is it like throwing a boomerang of condemnation that comes back to hit you back harder than you had thrown it?
- Because God is all knowing (omniknowledge / omniessence) with pure intentions, pure uncorrupted love, and mercy so He knows all things and how everything and everyone is intertwined into each other relationally in the past, present and future. How can we then judge fairly?
- Why do we do it anyway when we have no such knowledge?
- How can you prevent greed and misunderstanding from clogging your judgments and decisions?
- Why do people cover-up their own sins and frailties by attacking and criticizing others?
- What if God judged us as we do others?
- Have you taken Christ's love for granted? Or has His love pulled you closer? How?
- Do you hide in the comfort of your parent's faith, or in the activity of the church? External worship and faith does not guarantee what is inside! God searches our heart, what will He find in yours?
- It is said by many ex-church goers that Christians can be the most critical and arrogant people on earth! Do you think this is a harsh statement if so why, keep in mind Paul's tone? So how then can we make our churches the place that Christ died for and called us too?
- How can you prevent yourself and others close to you from despising God and His generous gift of grace?
- How does refusing to yield your life over to God's will cost you greatly in judgment and in life; as God's ways are better than ours?
- Do you practice what you preach, that is, do you condemn others for what you do in secret?
Here is the answer to the question, Are the pagans lost? Paul (vs. 2:12) intelligibly states that those without the law will yet "perish" without the law. So how can a person be justly condemned if he has never heard the gospel? Paul answers, every man has a conscience, and no one has ever lived up to what he knows to be right (General Revaluation). Every person knows they shall do certain "moral" things, and not do certain "wrong" things. This is tested to be true every time people pass judgment on the actions of others (Rom. 2:1). Yet, no one can honestly claim that they have lived up to what they believe they should! Because of this, God can judge all of humanity, and find them lacking, because none has ever lived up to the light of their own conscience. So is God being fair?
Scripture teaches that God is absolutely "just" (Gen. 18:25; Luke 12:47-48; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rom. 2:6), and will reward everyone according to their works, and there will be degrees of punishment. So a question will arise in mission and evangelism committees in most churches, "would it be safer not to preach the gospel to the lost in fear if they who reject the gospel, they would be lost forever." (This is "Hyper Calvinism") If a person could be saved without hearing the gospel, simply because he has not heard, then it would logically be safer not to preach the gospel, so that no one would hear, and all would be saved! The church for centuries did little to no evangelism for this reason! But what did our Lord teach? Even today with the modern mission movements behind us leading the way a lot of churches still do not participate in evangelism and missions. They reason there is no rationale for any evangelism or missionary endeavors. The point is that Christ commands every Christian to preach the gospel to every creature (Matt. 28), because only through faith in Christ can one have salvation. The Bible does not teach that most people will be saved; rather, Jesus Himself said most will be lost, and only a few saved (Matt.7:14)
"The Human Conscience": The conscience is our moral center that monitors our actions from preset values instilled by God (Luke 11:39-44; Rom. 2:12-16; 14:23; Titus 1:15). It is the microprocessor that monitors and controls our thoughts into actions. That gives us the awareness of right and wrong. It keeps us in moral check and also monitors those around us (where our judgments and judgmentalism comes into play). It tells us what we deserve and what others need to do. Who needs to be punished, and who needs to be praised. And how we are to apply rules and procedures to events and life. This sets our values and standards for life. Jiminy Cricket almost had it right, "let your conscience be your guide". However, since we are sinful, this is not always a good idea. Our conscience gets corrupted when we combine our limited knowledge and experience to right over God's source code of values. So what is good becomes bad and what is bad becomes good (I Tim. 4:2). We rationalize our values so they are relative to societies precepts and not God's. Then an out of control conscience can produce shame and guilt, which is designed for conviction of sin. But take sin out of the equation and you have neurosis. Only the power of our Lord and what He did for us on the cross can free our guilt and empower our conscience in the right way. Scripture must be our guide and all of our experience, thinking, feelings, and emotions must yield to it. Thus our conscience only works well when we are governed by our Lord. Why the first step in AA is to let God help you, because we cannot!
(Condensed from "Walking by Faith: Impressions from the book of Romans," by Richard J. Krejcir ã 1998, 2000, 2003)