Review: Romans 1 lays the groundwork for the rest of the letter. Paul defines the Gospel then points out why all need it.
—vs. 1-17, we came to the conclusion that the Gospel is the free gift of a righteous life in Christ. Faith in Christ, as the Romans understood it, was not enough. Paul points out that obedience is also required (vs. 5). This obedience reveals Christ’s righteousness as I submit to Him, keeping the faith (vs. 17).
—vs. 18-32 points out that those who reject this free gift are under God’s wrath—both now and in the future. These verses make it clear why this gift from God is such an awesome, undeserved offer. Among that list, even the “small” things make those who practice them “worthy of death” (vs. 32). God also has made His free gift of life and consequences for rejecting it clear. He has displayed His invisible attributes, eternal power, and divine nature in His creation—both outside us and within us through our conscience. People understand that there is a God and they know their evil, yet they speculate about what true life is and suppress the truth about God and their depravity. Submit to the Creator’s purpose or suffer His wrath. ALL ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE (vs. 20).
This is where Chapter 2 picks up…
-“Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment…” (vs. 1)
-Paul now uses the second person tone—YOU. The previous chapter is not about wicked people “out there…” The judgment of God falls on all who judge others.
vs. 3…God is asking each person to judge himself—that he is just a man (“O man”) not worthy of God’s gift—otherwise he will not escape God’s judgment!
vs. 4…After making a proper judgment of myself, I should see the surpassing value of God’s kindness and tolerance and patience. God’s kindness leads us to repentance. Repentance is turning AWAY from something TO something new. His offer is to give us HIS LIFE (righteousness) in replacement of our old, worthless one. The question is—do I think of my life as worthless? Do I see Christ as just adding value? (“I can go to heaven now that I have faith.”) He is my life…
Let’s not miss what Christ expects in the present.
vs. 5…stubbornness and unrepentant heart “stores up wrath” for judgment day.
vs. 6-8…a contrast is being drawn here, and the OT verse quotation is key in understanding it. He is not just talking about ceasing evil activity, but he is also addressing a proactive approach to “doing good.” The verse quoted is Proverbs 24:12. Reading vss. 11 and 12 for context helps us understand that it is talking about turning others from evil. There will be consequences if we don’t do this! (Compare Ezekiel 3:17-21).
—“Obey the truth” means Christ in me doing His work. Cleaning me out for service.
—As I experience the righteous life of Christ, I cannot help but share it.
—Rather than passing judgment, share the hope of eternal life!
—We are called to speak hard to truths to people (just as Paul is!) and “no longer [give] hearty approval” to those practicing evil (1:32).
If I am not wanting to share this good news of a righteous life in Christ, perhaps I myself have not received it, or I am not cooperating with Christ in me as I should.
Judge yourself and share your hope with everyone. There is no hope in a man, including myself, but we can share God’s kindness, tolerance and patience.
vs. 7—we need perseverance to do good because not all will like our message! Seeking Christ’s glory and honor and immortality is evidenced in sharing the hope of eternal life--this is the type of life we can experience even in the present time. It is Christ’s life.
vs. 8—“Those who are selfishly ambitious…” Those who share Christ for their own gain are the same as those in chapter one who “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” In this case, they are withholding the truth about God from other people! They are also worthy of death, under God’s wrath.
God’s Word will do His work—speak it unashamedly (Just as Paul does!…chapter 1:16).
vs. 9-10…another contrast. Tribulation and distress for those who do evil. Glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good. These principles hold true for everyone—Jew and Gentile.
“Doing evil” means those who suppress the truth—either they have not received the free gift of a righteous life in Christ or they are trying to use this message to their own gain.
“Doing good” means those who judge themselves correctly in light of who God is, receive His awesome gift and share it with others.
vs. 11. God is impartial. The riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience—the free gift of a righteous life in Christ—is for all who will repent. His wrath abides on all who reject Him.
The question is, “Am I judging myself correctly?” Do I truly think my life is worthless without Christ? Do I think that He only adds value to my life, rather than completely turning away from my former life (SEE THINGS AT END OF CHAPTER 1)? What do I have my hope fixed on—eternal life or worldly gain? OUR HOPE: We will be restored to the glory and honor of God and experience His peace in the present if we persevere in the true gospel.
Matthew 7:1-5…remove log, then you can judge! This is done by the power of Christ, not my “standard of measure.”
2 Cor. 4:1-4…”manifestation of truth” is Christ’s life in me—a change of nature. Many hate this message, but we shouldn’t compromise even when called “judgmental Christian.” vs. 16-18…though we don’t see the whole weight of God’s kindness, tolerance and patience, we can experience it now…we fully will one day!
This is the blog of Tyler Shepard, the Associate Pastor for Centre Union Church in Yeagertown, PA.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus Christ!