Blessings all, know that I would never choose to preach these verses. They are not verses that you would find on a t-shirt or coffee cup cup. Not particularly favorite verses or life verses. They are difficult verses but alas my hand was forced. We are preaching through the book of Romans and so there is no skipping around, here is where I found myself. The beginning is kind of rough but after we got going, it gets smoother. Delwin is an awesome translator, so it was mostly my fault. I hope it is as much a blessing to you to hear as it was for me to preach. Here is a link to the audio and below that is the transcript. In order to follow the transcript, you might need a Bible but hey, that's a good thing, right: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5qyH1PcB6CiWXgwbnJvZXJRTDg/edit?usp=sharing ~
In Romans 1:18-32 Paul makes the case that man kinds relationship with God is broken and the result is we have become horrible depraved.
And the first sins He mentions is the sin of homosexuality (vs. 26-27). It is interesting, as He starts talking about man’s sinfulness, that that is where He starts. As if to say, men and women are capable of this and if men and women are capable of this, they are capable of anything. There is no limit to our sinfulness.
And then He goes on. Rom. 1:29-32
And then in Chapter 2, He begins to address a different set of people - Rom. 2:1 Who are you? Who are to judge? Why do you think you are better, you do the same things…
So, I want to talk about that idea in vs. 1 just for a second. The idea of judging, is it always wrong to judge? It is very common to hear people say, that the Christian should not be judgmental. But to carry this to its logical conclusion, makes no sense. It would lead to anarchy, chaos and all kinds of crazy debauchery with nobody saying anything to anybody because everybody and anybody should be able to do whatever they want, so just mind your own business. Yeah right, so I want to talk about the difference between passing judgment and making a judgment. One is biblical and one is not. The Bible commands us to judge. Judge with righteous judgment ( It also forbids passing judgment. Judge not lest you be judged. (Matt. 7:1) What’s the difference? Even the highly misinterpreted judge not lest you be judged. Just a few verse later says, to not give what is holy to dogs and to not cast your pearls before swine. It then in just a few more verses says to ‘enter the narrow gate’ and then goes on to tell us that we will know false teachers by their fruit. So, it cannot be just making a sweeping statement that it is always wrong – otherwise this would all be impossible. How would you know someone to be a false teacher - unless you judged them to be so?
Think about it, if we really believe what we believe, that people are sinners and unless if they turn from their sin and trust in Jesus, they will suffer in conscious torment in hell for all of eternity. If that is true and we really believe that is true – how unloving would it be to not tell people that. To just hide this from them, as they slip off into eternity – how hateful. Yet, how judgmental is this considered in our day in age to care enough about people’s souls to share the gospel with them.
Or how would we be parents, or friends, or teachers or counselors or pastors or anything? Oh, I guess I better not tell my 4 yr. to not put that fork in the electric outlet, who am I to judge here and tell her what is right and wrong?
Who am I to judge? I am no one but God is and there is enough that God has plainly revealed that we are commanded to make judgments by, in other words, we know it is wrong to lie, we know it is wrong to steal, we know it is wrong to murder --- and for the good of all, it is good to make judgments For instance – if I was walking down the street and I saw a group of men attack a woman and begin to beat her up and do things to her. Would the best thing be to ignore it and realize it is not my place to interfere in other people’s lives and that I have no right to tell them what to do or not to do. Who am I to judge them?
Or would it be best for me to interfere? It would be very unloving to only focus on ourselves all the time. Making a judgment in a loving way is to care enough about others to take the time and effort to do the hard things of speaking into their life, with meekness and the spirit of humility, fully realizing it is best to have people speaking into your life.
Galatians 6:1 We are not meant to live life alone. Real relationships are good. A loving heart does not like to see people hurt, either by self-inflicted sin or the sin of others and realizes that sometimes the hardest things to do are actually the most loving. So there is a right kind of judging. A judging according to God’s standards with God’s heart and by God’s guidance – we are commanded and called to do this. James 5:19-20 Even some day, God says we will judge Angels --- so we should be able to take care of the simple things here at least.
But there is also a wrong kind of judgment, and this is the kind it is talking about here. And as Romans 1 gets done you can almost imagine some people hearing it and feeling very self-righteous, and thinking "Get em’ Paul, you tell it like it is. I sure am glad we are not like them…”
Well, right there is probably the heart of what is wrong with the kind of judging we are not to do. The kind that starts with, “I sure am glad I am not like them, or look at those people – they are horrible.”
Because Paul turns to those people and says: “oh yeah, you do the same things!” We are to look at our hearts before we look at any of our actions So Paul’s challenge is: When you see someone acting wrong, what do you do? Remember the story of the tax collector and the pharisee --- do we beat our chest and say, I am so glad I am not like that other person. I do this, I do this --- God has made me like this and I am so glad I am not like that other person over there. Look at them – they are just horrible. the kind of judging we are to not do, is to have an attitude which basically says; You are messed up, I am going make sure you know how messed up you are, there is no hope for you, I don’t really want there to be any hope for you and I am glad and now I feel better about myself because of that. It is the kind of judging that makes you feel good about yourself by making others feel bad. It is to believe others are worthy of God’s judgment you are not. There is no room for this in Christianity.
So often, we are quick at pointing the finger at others. We find all kinds of excuses for our own sin— we need to be careful of this
(v 2 -3)
This is what it means to be a hypocrite. A hypocrite is someone who expects others to live up to a standard that they do not even live up to themselves or someone who does not live according to what they say they believe.
(2:4) It is an attitude which does not take seriously the idea of God’s wrath. This person believes in the existence of God, but sees no need of Him. It is the attitude of the person who welcomes God’s wrath on others but do not realize they also deserve His wrath.
in 2: 5 This person finds their self-worth in how good they think they are, they think they are really good because look at how bad everybody else is and they are so much better. And Paul says, “You are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath”
But verse 11 says, judgment will not be according to race or culture or religious background
Instead he says that judgment for eternal life and eternal wrath is "according to deeds." vs. 6
So, how does receiving eternal life or eternal wrath "according to works" fit with receiving eternal life by faith and faith alone in Jesus Christ? Because there are some pretty powerful verses: Romans 3:28, Romans 4:5, Romans 5:1.
Is Paul contradicting himself here in vs. 6 of Chapter 2? I don’t so.
So, how does Romans 2:6 fit?
Let’s read vs. 7
God gives eternal life to those who persevere in obedience but maybe He gives eternal life not because the obedience is perfect or because it is the reason for eternal life, but because real faith always changes our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit so that true believers do persevere in doing good.
In other words, a changed life of obedience to God's truth is not the reason for eternal life, but it the evidence or the fruit of real faith.
is why verse 6 says, we will get according to our works - not because of our works
There is a big difference.
But since faith, by the Holy Spirit, always changes us into the image of Christ, there will be works because of faith. Look at 2 Corinthians 3:18
We did nothing but believe to be saved but God does something to those He saves. He does not leave us the same. There will be a way of life that God can display to show that a person's faith was real.
It is almost like, if there has ever been a moment in your life when you have doubted your salvation and if we are honest – there has been. God will be able to point to your life and say to you. See, you really were saved, you might not think it but your life really does line up with what you say you believed.
vs. 4-5 Paul does not have perfect obedience in mind as the path to eternal life. Notice the importance of repentance.
So if we have repentant hearts, we will not store up wrath for the day of judgment.
God is kind and merciful and is willing to forgive people, if they will repent and turn to him for mercy.
So "perseverance in doing good" probably includes a repentant heart that depends on mercy for forgiveness for failures. That's the path to eternal life.
Romans 8:12-13. What is at stake here? Death and life - it says that God will give eternal life to those who put to death the deeds of the body.
That is how we persevere in doing good. We live by the Spirit through faith. The good deeds don't earn eternal life. They are the fruit of depending on the power of the Spirit in faith.
Galatians 6:9 - if we don't "lose heart in doing good we will reap. Reap what?
The answer is found in Galatians 6:8 - The one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."
Never, does it say that eternal life is earned by good works. They simply say, that the final judgment of eternal life will be that there will have been good deeds because of living by faith.
They go together. And the reason they go together is not that works has replaced faith but because the gospel of justification by faith is the power of God unto salvation.
It is not a weak thing. The gospel does not come into a life and leave it under the power of sin. It comes in the power of the Holy Spirit. And where it is believed, trusted and treasured, it produces what Paul calls - the obedience of faith. In other words, your life will line up with your profession. You will not be a hypocrite. Anybody can say they are a Christian. But if you were put on trial for being one, Would there be enough evidence to convict you? Can people look at your life and say, yes – that person is a Christian. That person is an evangelical. The implication of this is plain: Tremble at what it means and trust Christ to do it. Because it is one thing for people to look at your life and say, yes that person is a Christian. That person is an evangelical. But it will be a whole other thing to stand before God.
When you trust Christ, trust him to give you the power to do whatever it takes. If there are good works that need to be done, don’t turn from faith to your own will power. Instead, lean harder on Christ to work in you what is pleasing in God's sight. When he died for you, he bought not only justification, but sanctification. If holiness is needed, holiness will be given to those who trust him.
Look at verse 11 - God does not show favoritism. What matters is not who we are, but what we do: what matters is not our family or cultural background but how we relate to God.
(v 12 - 13) there are two warnings here. Don’t think that hearing, and knowing is somehow magical – knowing without doing is just as bad as not knowing and not knowing does not make you safe either
all are held accountable, whether having heard or not because we will find out in these next verses – that all know the law, every single person who has ever existed knows what God requires
Vs. 14 – 15 –There is a piece of God written on each of our hearts that is constantly bearing witness with our conscience, either approving of us or condemning us. We all know what is required and we all know we all fall short.
And this is a God thing because it is showing us our need for a savior, it is pointing us to Christ. The first person who ever tells us about our need for Christ is ourselves because we ourselves know there is a standard to which we do not measure up to.
The scariest thing in the world is if this inner witness goes away
Often after suppressing and saying no to it so much, that we become hardened and calloused and there comes a point in time, when God just gives you over. Romans 1:19-24 The worse form of judgment is when God quits dealing with a person, and says “ok, you want that sin that you treasure more than me, you can have it” and He gives you over and leaves you alone with it.
All human beings are made in the image of God. The law of God is written on each one of our hearts.
This is what it means to be human. vs. 15
We all have an in-built sense that there is right and wrong. It is the way God starts to deal with us from the time we are born, until the day that God in His grace saves us through the message of the gospel
(v 16) On that day, the “you” of verse 1 - will have no excuse, we will no longer be able to hide behind our religious performance and none of will be able to say we didn’t know. What he is saying is very clear. To every single person in all of history, every single person in all of the world, those who have heard and those who haven’t, those who have understood and those who haven’t will be judged according to His gospel.
He is not going to judge on a sliding scale or whether we did the best with what we had – He is going to judge based on His standard of His perfect righteousness. He is going to judge according to His gospel on the basis of Christ Jesus.
You either have Christ or do you not have Christ. You will either stand before God with your own righteousness or will you stand before God clothed in the righteousness of Christ. I think you know which one you need. No ritual is good enough, no amount of human effort is good enough. You are not somehow better. It does no good to compare yourself to others.
Our only hope is Christ. The good news is, is that He is offering himself to you today. The Bible says, “that all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Roman 10:13)
Trust in Him completely. You will not regret it. He is more than enough to carry you home with Him