Sermon: The Wrath of God Against ALL Sin Romans 2:1-11

The Wrath of God Against ALL Sin

Romans 2:1-11

Truth Taught- We must not think that our disapproval of sin in others could ever free us from our guilt over our own sin.

Introduction

Chapter 2 begins the second phase of Paul’s teaching on sin and the wrath of God. In Chapter 1, he covered the wrath of God that will be poured out on the Gentile sinners for all the things they’ve done in their lives.

Romans 1:18 (ESV)

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

God wrath is just because He has shown them things about Himself in creation. Rather than worshipping God they decidedly chose to worship creation. They did all they did in full knowledge of God’s existence and of His righteous decree that says, those who sin will surely die. In this knowledge they still go on sinning as if there are no consequences.

The reaction of the Jews in Rome to the Gentile sinners was basically, God go get those low life sinners! They deserve every bit of what You give them!

In the midst of this condemnation by the Jews, Paul turns God’s spotlight on them. Because the tendency for others to highlight everyone else’s sin, God turns the focus now on the Jews in Rome. The Jews are now under God’s censorship and they’re not doing any better than the Gentiles did.

We must not think that this section of Romans is just for the Jews. To think that is to be guilty of the exact thing they were guilty of, namely, thinking they are better than the Gentiles. If we are not careful we can think we are better than the Jews. The reality is there is much in it for us. We may fall even more in line here than with the previous section. Just as the Jews were religious and perceived certain piety in their religion, we too can fall into the category that simply because we are Christians we are somehow better and our sin not as serious as those lost people we may know.

So, today we are still looking at the sin of mankind in hopes to accurately diagnose it.

Romans 2:1–11 (ESV)

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

  1. Our Disapproval of the Sin of Others Does Not Clear Us From Our Sin

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?

We are told in these opening verses that we are without excuse when it comes to sin. Just because we are without excuses does not mean we will not offer some up hoping to cause God to overlook our sin because it’s really just not my fault.

Here is the deception of our fallen nature. We may be deceived into thinking that my condemnation of someone else and my disapproval of their sin will somehow lift me up above them as far as God is concerned.

I think we felt this a little last week when we looked at the sin of homosexuality. We may not struggle with that particular sin so we felt more righteous than perhaps the sinner engaged in homosexual practices. We must see past this faulty way of thinking and understand that when we pass judgment on someone else, we only condemn ourselves. What Paul wants to extinguish is the faulty thinking of “I’m not as bad as that guy” type righteousness.

So, to disapprove of sin is good. To even disapprove of the sin of others is good. We also must be disapproving of our own sin as well. If we fail to turn our disapproval back on ourselves then all we do is put nails in our own coffin. Because by our disapproval thinking we are better really just invites God’s judgment upon our own sin.

This may be another reason Paul selected the sin of Homosexuality because most don’t struggle with that sin and so that set us up as sinful judges who need to be shown our own sin. We may have found ourselves seeking to divert God’s attention to their sin, thinking ours would go unnoticed.

Let’s look at what I mean…
Romans 1:29–32 (ESV)

29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Let’s say we don’t struggle with murder. So, we are free to condemn all murderers…Go get them Lord. Murderers deserve to be punished, they deserve Your wrath! We might not struggle with murder but we have been guilty of deception before. So, because we’ve just told God to judge all the murderers we’ve also told God to also judge all deceivers, which we may be guilty of.

Often, there has been some misunderstandings when it comes to this passing judgment issue. Probably the most misunderstood verse in the entire Bible is…

Matthew 7:1 (ESV)

“Judge not, that you be not judged.

This verse is often used by people who would want us to think it’s entirely wrong to use critical thinking skills when it comes to the sin of others. It’s not judging someone when we lovingly confront them about their sin. It’s not judging someone to seek his or her repentance. It’s not judging to use discernment and give words of admonishment. What Jesus is referring to here is passing harsh, adverse verdicts on others. Jesus forbids condemning others. Jesus, at the same time, commands us to make discriminating and discerning judgments.

So when you hear someone say, judge not lest you be judged just understand they’re seeking to condone either their sin or someone else’s.

God is the Judge and He will pass judgment.

  1. God’s Delayed Judgment is Meant to Lead Us to Repentance

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

Here, Paul shows us the second way we often convince ourselves that our sin is ok while other’s sin is horrendous. He shows us our tendency to view God’s patience and kindness over our sin and equate that with…I’m ok with God, He’s not going to pass judgment. The Apostle wants us to realize a second important truth. God is patient with us so that we will repent. Never conclude that because you didn’t get the wrath of God due you immediately after you’ve sinned you’re alright with God. The right conclusion and the one Paul wants us to make is that God didn’t judge you immediately because He loves us and desires our repentance.

God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

We really see two different people in this section. Verse 4 shows us a person for whom God’s patience worked repentance in their lives. Hopefully, that’s all of us in this room. Are you thankful today for God’s patience and kindness toward us? We will be more and more thankful and even more amazed when we learn how much God utterly hates sin. It took great restraint on God’s part to delay wrath for our sin. His white hot fury was being delayed and left to burn until we repented. Now we must realize that because repentance is something God works within us it is not a work of ours and yet we must repent.

What is true biblical repentance?

The Greek word for repentance is metanoia, which comes from two Greek words, meta and nous. Meta means “after” or “beyond,” and nous means mind. Literally, a metanoia is an afterthought or a second thought. The Greeks used it especially for times when a person had second thoughts about something, regretting that it was too late to make any changes.

Repentance means a change of mind-set. It means a change of your fundamental attitudes and outlooks on life. In Hebrew terms, it means changing the desires of your heart, consequently changing the orientation of your whole life.[1]

A great biblical example of repentance is found in Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son. We see that the prodigal returned to his father with a much different frame of mind than he left with. Rather than seeking selfish sinful things he returned on his father’s terms thankful to even be a mere servant in his father’s house.

Biblical repentance is coming to our Father on His terms. Seeing sin for what it is and loathing it and seeing Christ as our treasure. Our mind and thinking begin to change concerning sin. Rather than seeing how much we can get away with we begin to see how holy we can truly be.

Then there is a second person God has in mind here in verse 5…

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

Here is the sinner who never repents. These folks simply presume on God’s goodness and patience. Here are lost people who believe they are getting away with sin because they’ve not really ever experienced any judgment from God. What they fail to realize is wrath is being stored up for them and one day the floodgate will be opened and God’s wrath will be unleashed upon them for each and every sin they committed in their life.

The danger if you’re in the first group is to put repentance off, thinking that you can simply repent at your leisure. We must be diligent repenters, coming to the Lord daily confessing our sin and seeking a new direction as we walk not in the light of this world but follow Christ.

The danger if you’re in the second group is a timing issue. You might think that you have all the time in the world to repent. The truth is, the kindness and patience of God will at some point run out. In other words, to put it off too long may lead to a time when the door of repentance is shut, never to open to you again.

The conclusion to all this is our third point for today…

  1. God Will Judge All Sinners Impartially, Therefore, I Must Repent

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

Here in this final section for today, we see that Paul begins and ends his chiastically structured paragraph with his main point…God will render to everyone according to his works and then closes with God shows no partiality.

Throughout the Bible we see that the Jews thought that their title as God’s people meant that they would be simply forgiven because they were Abraham’s descendants. This has never been the case. Every person is accountable to God on an individual basis.

This passage is one in which we must allow the entire Scripture to bear out the precise meaning. If we just read these verses it would seem very strongly that Paul is promoting a works based salvation. This, however, goes against other things he writes.

Romans 3:20 (ESV)

20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
1 Corinthians 3:8–9 (ESV)

He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.
God does not judge on the basis of religious profession, religious relationships, or religious heritage. But among other standards, He judges on the basis of the products of a person’s life. An issue on the day of judgment will not be whether a person is a Jew or Gentile, whether he is a heathen or orthodox, whether he is religious or irreligious, or whether he attends church or does not. An issue will be whether or not his life has manifested obedience to God. On that day “each one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12).

The subjective criterion for salvation is faith alone, with nothing added. But the objective reality of that salvation is manifested in the subsequent godly works that the Holy Spirit leads and empowers believers to perform. For that reason, good deeds are a perfectly valid basis for God’s judgment.

A person’s actions form an infallible index to his character. “You will know them by their fruits,” Jesus twice declared in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 7:16, 20). [2]

Our works, while not gaining salvation for us are the unmistakable witness to our salvation. So, when Paul writes that
He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

He is referring to the fact that the saved person will offer these good works to God and a lost person will only have selfish works. Both will be seen by God and both will give an account to God.

In other words, the life that is saved by faith is to give evidence of that salvation by doing God’s work. Outward godly works are the evidence of inner faith.

Salvation is not by works, but it will assuredly produce works. The presence of genuinely good deeds in a person’s life reveals that he has truly been saved, and in God’s infallible eyes those deeds are a perfectly reliable indicator of saving faith. In the same way, the absence of genuinely good deeds reveals the absence of salvation. In both cases, deeds become a trustworthy basis for God’s judgment. When God sees works that manifest righteousness, He knows if they have come from a regenerated heart. And when He sees works that manifest unrighteousness, He knows if they come from an unregenerated heart.[3]

Application

–How do we process the fact that everyone will give an account before God for all their life. Every word that comes out of our mouths will require a reckoning.

–God is not taken in by clever deceptive words but passes judgment based on our works because it is through our works the accurate picture is seen.

[1] https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/true-repentance/

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (p. 128). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1991). Romans (pp. 129–130). Chicago: Moody Press.

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