Feb. 18, 2018 The Law and God’s Judgment Romans 2:11-29
We haven’t talked about the Gospel in weeks. We won’t talk about it for a couple more. But it’s coming! Right now, we’re mired in the ugliness and destructiveness and wretchedness of sin. And honestly, I hoped you’ve experienced that. (I know that’s not very kind. Debbie gets on me for that.) I hope we’ve been more broken over the wretchedness of our sin over these past couple of weeks and I hope we’ve grown to hate it more.
Paul has detailed for us the hideousness of the sin of the Gentiles (Chap. 1). Now, he begins to deal with the same sins that are occurring in the Jews, only their sin is also accompanied by arrogance because they had the audacity to think they were okay with God while no other group could be.
Last week, Pastor Brian led us through the Truth that God’s wrath is directed at ALL sin. We saw that our disapproval of others’ sin doesn’t absolve us from the guilt of our own. We looked at the fact that God’s patience in restraining His hand is extremely merciful for the purpose of causing us to repent. And we saw that God does not; HE WILL NOT; EVER; SHOW FAVORITISM.
Now I realize we covered v. 11 last week, but I included it as part of our text for this week. It could very well be the start of our section this week as much as it concluded our text last week. God shows NO partiality. This is as appropriate for us as it was the Jews. Man has always attempted to get the sawdust out of others’ eyes and ignore the log in their own. Remember David’s decree to kill the man who stole another man’s sheep? Such a harsh penalty, especially considering his own sin! Unfortunately, that theme has continually chimed down through the corridors of time. God will not excuse ANY sin—EVEN IN THOSE WHO BELONG TO Him. We need to let that sink in. GOD SHOWS NO PARTIALITY. ADAM AND EVE WERE BANNED FROM THE GARDEN BECAUSE OF THEIR SIN! (AND THEY WERE PERFECT). THE DESCENDANTS OF ABRAHAM, THE FATHER OF FAITH, ARE WARRING TO THIS DAY BECAUSE OF HIS SIN! MOSES NEVER ENTERED INTO THE PROMISED LAND! DAVID’S HOUSE WOULD NEVER SEE THE SWORD LEAVE, GOD SAID!
2 Sam. 12:9-12
And so, it is that disobedience in OUR lives will always have consequences.
Paul made the point in chapter 1 that all men know about God because of creation. Here he says all men know because of conscience. We think that only believers have a conscience. The lost have as well. Even though they may not have the Law; the 10 Commandments; all have been given a moral conscience by God. That’s a part of God’s great common grace He has given to all men because all are created in His image. This takes care of that weak question from many; that curve that people throw to get us off the subject when we share the Gospel: “What about the savage in Africa that has never heard the Gospel?”
All men in every culture have a code and know that they should live by that code. All men are warned when they violate that code. But, as chap. 1 shows us, most suppress it. They smother it. They squash it in hopes of making it go away because it makes them feel bad. The more man suppresses it, the less guilt they feel. This doesn’t mean if they obey it, they must be saved. Man following society’s basic moral code doesn’t save us. And you know something else? Following the 10 Commandments doesn’t save us!! The Law can do ABSOLUTELY nothing to save us from our sins. It is only Christ, and His sacrifice, that enables us to be forgiven of our sins and then to abide by the Law He has given to us!
The Jews, when they heard this about those not having the law still being judged without the law, they were excited. They LOVED this. They were vindicated. They were proven right! “Yes! See, I told you,” they said. They were not prepared for what Paul had to say to them next.
That’s when Paul brings us those without the law. The Gentiles can follow a code every now and then too, Paul says. (That drove the knife in a little deeper into the Jews). But the Gentiles could obey some laws too. Jesus mentioned that a number of times. The Gentiles love those who love them. The Gentiles greet only their brothers. What do you do more than the Gentiles?
GOD SHOWS PARTIALITY TO NO MAN. HE SHOWS PARTIALITY ONLY TO HIMSELF. HE SHOWS PARTIALTITY TO HIS WORD! HE JUDGES EVERY EVENT, EVERY HUMAN BEING IN RELATION TO HIS WORD!
That’s what God bases His favor or disfavor on: whether or not we obey the Truth. His Word is Truth. And yes, we are tremendously and especially blessed that He’s given us His Word and allowed us to understand it! But that in no way means we’re superior to anybody! There is no special privilege here. Paul tells his audience that as he goes into detail of the responsibilities of those who claim to know Christ.
This life here on earth for us is one of responsibility—not privilege! I think we have those two backwards.
Titus 1:16-They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him.
2 Timothy 3:5-holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.
III. A Case Study: Then and Now (2:25-29)
Paul took something that the Jews were so emphatic about; something that they associated God’s favor with and said it was nothing if a change hadn’t occurred on the inside first.
So, what are the things we are emphatic about today that mean nothing unless a work has been done on the inside first?
Not going to be judged on the amount of revelation we know. Going to be judged on our RESPONSE to the revelation we were given.
So many in our day are falling; national ministries; leaders; that seem to teach one way and live quite another (Bill Gothard). Many around us talk and teach and lead from the Word but live in rejection of it (Bela Grabovich).
These are the things that cause the lost to blaspheme God. But God is still God. And He WILL ALLOW EVERYTHING to come out into the light. And He will enact justice. How do I know?
Let us never rejoice at that. Let us never think, “Good, they’re not going to get away with this.” A right response to this is, “God, forgive me if I’ve been like that and keep me from doing the same.”
So, what’s in your heart? Are you living by a code, thinking God will accept you; God will favor you because of your code? Are you talking and acting one way yet living another? Or are you obeying the Truth because He’s gotten a hold of you and put a desire in you to love Him and EVERYTHING you do is in response to that?