Dec 31 2009

Romans 2:18

Posted by Anthony Crumley

and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law;

In the previous verse Paul begins to address his own people the Jews, confronting them for their superficial relationship with God.

They were in a wonderfully privileged position because they had the law of God given to them in what we know today as the Old Testament.  As a result, they knew God’s will.  He reveals His will concerning everything we need to know through the bible.  Since they knew His will they were without excuse before Him.  They could not even plead ignorance.

Because they were taught the bible and knew God’s will they were able to accurately distinguish right from wrong.  They could even tell the difference between good things and excellent things.

In Israel, the Old Testament was taught diligently in every city and every synagogue on the sabbath day.  They were very well instructed in the scripture.

With all this privilege they were still not necessarily approved of by God.  He does not approve of those who know His will but those who do His will, not those who approve what is excellent but those who are excellent.  Being taught the bible and having extensive biblical knowledge is only profitable if we live by what we have been taught.

Romans 2:17 – Romans 2:19

Dec 17 2009

Romans 2:17

Posted by Anthony Crumley

But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God

After addressing immoral people who reject God in chapter 1 and the moralist in the beginning of chapter 2, Paul now addresses his own people, the Jews, directly.

From this verse to the end of chapter 2, the person who outwardly identifies with God’s chosen people but whose heart rebels against God is called out as the impostor that they are.

These self deceived people put their trust in the fact that they have God’s law and are comfortable that this proves that God accepts them.  Yet, God does not approve of those who possess the law but those who fulfill the law.

Confident that they are acceptable to God, they brag and boast that He is their God.  They think that because they are associated with God through their ancestors that He approves of them as well.  They arrogantly think that God only accepts those born Jewish.  As a result, they reject people who are not Jewish, thinking themselves to be superior.

Today, this same kind of superficial relationship to God through the church is possible as well.  We need to be careful not to “call” ourself a Christian and rely on the bible and boast in God while our heart is far from Him.  We are made acceptable to God by trust in Jesus alone.  Being associated with the church does not make us acceptable to Him.

Romans 2:16Romans 2:18

Dec 9 2009

Romans 2:16

Posted by Anthony Crumley

on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

There will come a day when God judges mankind.  Many people deny it but all will be subject to God’s judgment.

Some say that the Gospel is all about acceptance and tolerance.  They don’t want to see God as a judge or their actions as subject to judgment by His divine standard.  Paul’s gospel message is not like this.  Judgment is as much a part of the gospel as is grace, mercy and forgiveness.  It is because of judgment that the gospel of Jesus is even needed.  If our sin is not going to be judged then Jesus suffer and died for nothing.

God will judge people’s secret sins as well as their public ones.  Even people who seem to be moral and above reproach will be judged by their thoughts, desires and motives.

God will judge by Jesus.  Those who believe in His death, burial and resurrection as payment for their sins will be judged as right before God and will spend eternity with Him.  All others will be judged as the sinners they are and will spend eternity in hell.

Romans 1:15Romans 2:17

Dec 4 2009

Romans 2:15

Posted by Anthony Crumley

They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them

As mentioned in the previous verse, the law was given to the Jewish people.  They received the ten commandments written by God’s own hand as well as the books of the old testament.  Other peoples did not have this revelation of God’s law written on stone and paper.

Nonetheless, all people have the law of God “written on their hearts.”  Our conscience was given to us by God and is a direct revelation of His law to each and every person.  Whenever our conscience accuses us of violating God’s law or excuses us when we follow it, we show the effect of His law written in our heart.  As a result, we will all be without excuse when we stand before God, the righteous judge.

Romans 2:14Romans 2:16

Dec 2 2009

Romans 2:14

Posted by Anthony Crumley

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.

God gave the law to the Jewish people.  They were wonderfully blessed to be chosen by God as the people He would reveal Himself to the whole world through.  The rest of the world, the gentiles, were not directly given God’s revelation of Himself in the law.

Yet, He did not leave the rest of the world completely without knowledge of His law.  Through the conscience, God has revealed something of His law to everyone.  As a result, societies generally agree with God’s law as it relates to how people should treat each other.  We naturally agree with many of the things that He requires.

As a result, peoples and societies with their natural agreement to God’s law become a revelation of His law to themselves.  Even though they do not have the complete law of God, they will be held accountable for violating His law written in their conscience.

Romans 2:13Romans 2:15

Nov 30 2009

Romans 2:13

Posted by Anthony Crumley

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

Knowing what God requires of us does not make us acceptable to Him.  Reading the bible, listening to preachers, going to bible studies and reading Christian books does not improve our standing before Him.

We are only acceptable to God when we hear and do what He requires of us.

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.  (James 1:21-25)

Unfortunately, there is a problem with all this.  We are not capable of being doers of the law.  Actually, that is the point Paul is in the process of making.

Everyone is corrupted by sin and incapable of pleasing God on their own.  Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross for us so that we could become pleasing to God.  We can be made righteous through Jesus and become justified before God because Jesus fulfilled the law for us.

When we believe on Jesus, He makes us right before God and begins to live through us.  Then, and only then, are we able to be doers of the law and not hearers only.

Romans 2:12Romans 2:14

Nov 24 2009

Romans 2:12

Posted by Anthony Crumley

For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.

The question is always asked about what happens to people who do not know God’s law.  The answer is that they will be destroyed because of their sin.  Sin is a destroyer of people, regardless of whether they know God’s law or not.

This reality seems so unfair.  In verses 13, 14, and 15 Paul explains why this is true.  Everyone agrees with portions of the law even though we are all totally corrupted by sin.  This agreement with the law is proof that the law of God is written in our hearts.  So, when we sin we violate the law God placed in our heart.

Contrary to what some may think, knowing the law does not make us acceptable to God.  When we sin with knowledge of the law then we will be judged by the law.  This is a scary thought because the law is a harsh and unforgiving judge.  Everyone is found guilty when judged by the law and no one can escape.

Romans 2:11Romans 2:13

Nov 17 2009

Romans 2:11

Posted by Anthony Crumley

For God shows no partiality.

God is completely righteous, just and impartial.  He does not give preference to the rich or poor, educated or ignorant, fit or overweight, attractive or unattractive, intelligent or unintelligent, high-class or low-class, powerful or weak, religious or atheistic.  There is no hint of favoritism with God.

He judges every person according to His law and by Jesus (Romans 2:16).  If we have broken His law, which we all have, then He judges us as guilty and deserving of punishment.  Yet, if we believe on Jesus and His acceptance of our punishment by dying on the cross then God judges us as innocent and righteous because of Jesus.

Romans 2:10Romans 2:12

Nov 14 2009

Romans 2:10

Posted by Anthony Crumley

but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.

In the previous verse, Paul described the consequences of doing evil.  Now he describes the blessings that come from doing good.

When we truly do good, we are acting like Jesus and will receive glory similar to His.  The good that we do and the glory we experience are all a result of being changed into Jesus’ likeness.  This is the work that the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives and is the reason He came to live within us.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.  (2 Cor. 3:18)

The word honor literally refers to the value or worth placed on something.  When we do good our lives have value to God and He rewards us with honor and respect.  There is no greater honor in this world than to be honored by God for doing good.

The peace that results from doing good is first a peaceful relationship with God and also a peace of mind that comes from that relationship.  This peace is a tranquility and quietness of mind that goes beyond circumstances and even our own ability to understand it.

Just as God’s punishment of evil begins with the Jewish people, so does His blessing of goodness.  In God’s spiritual economy, the Jewish people are still a privileged people, His chosen nation.  So, when He blesses the good, He begins with Israel and proceeds from there to all other peoples.

Romans 2:9Romans 2:11

Nov 10 2009

Romans 2:9

Posted by Anthony Crumley

There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,

There are consequences for the way we live our lives.  If we do things that are evil, sinful and wrong then the consequences will be difficult and painful.

When we practice evil, one of the consequences is tribulation.  Tribulation is the extreme pressure God puts on us to let us know our actions are evil.   This pressure is caused by physical and emotional suffering that our sin brings into our life.  We should respond to this pressure by repenting of our evil acts and changing our ways.

Another consequence of our evil actions is distress.  Distress results from being stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard spot.  Distress is the agony, strain and anxiety we experience because of the tribulation our evil actions caused.  This agony can be felt physically, mentally and emotionally.

Because Israel is God’s chosen nation, everything goes through them first and then flows to everyone else.  Sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes it is a bad thing.  In this case, it is bad.  God judges Israel first because they have been the most privileged people in the world, receiving the prophets and scriptures before everyone else.  The rest of the world does not escape though, the judgment that begins with Israel will continue on to everyone who does evil.

Romans 2:8Romans 2:10