Romans 2:11-16

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Text: Romans 2:11-16

THE MORALIST LACKS RIGHTEOUSNESS

INTRODUCTION:

In Romans 1:16-17 we have noted the theme of Romans. It is the gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. The one who is made righteous by faith in Christ's finished work on the Cross at Calvary is the one who will have eternal life.

The first major section of Romans deals with man's lack of righteousness. It shows the need for the righteousness of God. In Romans 1:18-32 we have seen that the pagan Gentile lacks the righteousness of God. As you reflect on Romans 1:18-32 , you may find yourself saying, I'm sure glad I'm not that bad. But the question is, What does God think?

In Romans 2:1-16 we see that the moralist, the person with good morals, whether Jew or Gentile, lacks the righteousness of God. In Romans 2:17-3:8 we see that the Jew lacks the righteousness of God.

As we study Romans 2:1-16 , we see that the moralist stands condemned before God and needs to be saved. He will not escape God's judgment any more than the pagan Gentile in Romans 1 . The moralist will indeed face the righteous judgment of God and be found wanting. In these verses we see several principles of judgment by which God will judge all, including the moralist. Be advised, however, that nothing at all in this context has to do with God's judgment of a saved man.

We have already seen that -

I. THE MORALIST WILL NOT ESCAPE GOD'S JUDGMENT - 2:1

Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

We have also seen that -

II. GOD'S JUDGMENT WILL BE ACCORDING TO TRUTH - 2:2a

Romans 2:2 a - But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth. . . .

In addition, we have seen that -

III. GOD'S JUDGMENT WILL BE AGAINST THOSE WHO COMMIT SIN - 2:2b

Romans 2:2 b - But we are sure that the judgment of God is . . . against them which commit such things.

We have furthermore seen that -

IV. GOD'S JUDGMENT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO ESCAPE - 2:3

Romans 2:3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

We have also already seen that -

V. GOD'S JUDGMENT CAN BE AVOIDED BY REPENTANCE - 2:4

Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

We have also seen that -

VI. GOD'S JUDGMENT WILL BE ACCORDING TO ACCUMULATED GUILT - 2:5

Romans 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.

Finally, we have already seen that -

VII. GOD'S JUDGMENT WILL BE ACCORDING TO ONE'S DEEDS - 2:6-10

Romans 2:6-10 - 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.

Next we see that -

VIII. GOD'S JUDGMENT WILL BE WITHOUT RESPECT OF PERSONS - 2:11

Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

For may indicate an explanation for verses 6-10 and be understood in the sense of now, or it may indicate the reason for what has been stated in verses 6-10 and be understood in the sense of because.

There is no respect of persons with God means that partiality is not found with God. God treats everyone fairly, equally, and alike. He has no favorites.

In addition, we see that -

IX. GOD'S JUDGMENT WILL BE ACCORDING TO THE SPIRITUAL LIGHT ENJOYED - 2:12-15

Romans 2:12-15 - 12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.)

Romans 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.

For indicates that verse 12 gives a further explanation of verses 6-10. It is used in the sense of now.

As many as have sinned without law means all those who were sinning without law.

The word for sinned means missed the mark. Its tense indicates continuous action in past time. Hence, it is all those who were sinning.

Without law indicates that they were sinning even though they did not possess law. Law is not needed in order to commit sin.

Shall also perish without law indicates that it does not matter whether they have law. If they are guilty of sinning by missing the mark, they are going to perish.

Shall . . . perish means shall die and is used especially of eternal death. It is the same term used in John 3:16 .

And as many as have sinned in the law means all those who have sinned in the law.

Have sinned is the same term used in the previous clause and means were missing the mark or were sinning. Its tense indicates continuous action in past time.

In the law means within the law and is used in contrast to those without law. One group has the law (i.e. the Mosaic law) and one group does not have the law (i.e. the Mosaic law). The Jews had the Mosaic law, but the Gentiles did not have the Mosaic law.

Shall be judged by the law indicates that the law will be used as a standard for judgment.

When they are judged by the law, they are going to be condemned and will perish just as those who were sinning without law. Each group will be judged by its own standard, but the result will be the same.

This lends further support to the interpretation of verses 7 and 10 as being a nil class, i.e. a class with no members.

The thought of verse 12 skips to verse 16, In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. Verses 13-15 form a parenthesis or interlude to the main thought. These verses offer an explanation but do not advance the argument.

Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

For introduces an explanation of something previously expressed. Verses 14 and 15 continue this explanation.

Not the hearers of the law are just before God indicates that it is not enough just to hear the law; it must also be practiced.

Just is righteous. Merely hearing the law does not make one righteous before God.

Before God suggests in God's sight. It does not matter how someone appears to other men. It matters how he appears in the sight of God Who is omniscient and all seeing. There will be no deception and nothing will be hidden or escape God's notice. God knows the truth. The man will appear in God's sight as he really is.

Hebrews 4:13 - Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

But indicates a strong contrast.

The doers of the law suggests those who keep the Law perfectly.

Shall be justified is shall be declared as righteous.

Justification by faith pictures an individual standing before God as the judge waiting for a declaration of a judicial decision. What he expects is a verdict of guilty because he is guilty. What he does not expect is a verdict of innocent because he knows that he is not innocent. However, the verdict is righteous. God declares the sinner to be righteous and forever treats him as righteous.

However, in this context, this is not justification by faith. This person is being declared to be righteous because he has kept the law perfectly throughout his entire life. In his whole life he has never committed any sin. How many people will God declare righteous because they have kept the law perfectly throughout their entire lives and have never committed a single sin? None. The problem is that this is a nil class - a class or group of people which has no members. There is nobody like this who has kept the law perfectly and has never sinned.

Romans 3:20 - Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Romans 3:23 - For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Consequently, the moralist finds himself in the same predicament as the pagan Gentile in Romans 1:18-32 .

Romans 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves.

For may continue the explanation, or it may be emphatic and understood in the sense of indeed or in fact.

When the Gentiles, which have not the law. The Gentiles do not have the Mosaic law.

But Gentiles do have law. It is not only the Jews which have law. The law which the Jews have is the Mosaic law. The law which the Gentiles have is the law written in their own hearts. They have something within them which makes them want to live in accordance with some law code.

Do by nature the things contained in the law indicates that it comes natural for Gentiles to do things which God would have them do.

Having not the law is referring to the Mosaic law. Gentiles don't have the Mosaic law.

These . . . are a law unto themselves indicates that the law in their hearts, their conscience, which has been given to them by God, renders them without excuse before God in the same way that the Jews are without excuse before God because they do not keep their own standards. It shows that God has built within each person a standard for right and wrong. They are, therefore, individually responsible before God for their own actions.

Romans 2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.)

Which is who or such ones who.

Shew is demonstrate.

The work of the law is the work done by the law or the work belonging to the law.

Written in their hearts indicates that God has given consciences to these individuals. The fact that they have consciences demonstrates that there is such a thing as a law. This law is written in their hearts, i.e. indelibly inscribed in their hearts, i.e. deep within them in the innermost recesses of their beings. Thus, they have within them a knowledge of what is right and wrong.

Their conscience is their moral consciousness.

Their conscience also bearing witness is their conscience testifying together along with. One's conscience is in full agreement with the law written in his heart.

Bearing witness means to testify or bear witness with, to confirm, or to testify in support of. The tense of bearing witness indicates something that is continuously occurring. That which the conscience is confirming is that there is a law written in their hearts.

And their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another shows how conscience is confirming that there is a law written in their hearts.

Their thoughts is their reasonings or their reflections.

The meanwhile indicates that the accusing and the excusing which follow are going on simultaneously with the bearing witness. They all occur at the same time.

Accusing is by means of accusing, and excusing is by means of excusing (or defending themselves).

One another refers to their thoughts and is to be understood in the sense of among themselves, with one another, or with each other. Their thoughts are pictured as having an ongoing debate or argument with each other. This is the action of conscience. Their own thoughts accuse their own thoughts and their own thoughts defend themselves against their own thoughts. This built-in monitor continuously acquits and condemns them, and proves or demonstrates that there is a law written in their hearts.

X. GOD'S JUDGMENT WILL NOT MISS THE SECRETS OF MEN - 2:16a

Romans 2:16 a - In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men. . . .

In the day when God shall judge is to be connected with verse 12.

The secrets of men indicates what God will be judging. It is not just the actions of men. It is the secret things, the hidden things, or the secret thoughts, the secret plans, or the secret purposes of men. It includes the motives.

Men is the generic term and includes females as well as males.

The fact that God will judge the secrets of human beings indicates that nothing will be missed, including the innermost secrets of people. There are no secrets God doesn't know about. He knows everything. Nothing is hidden from Him.

Of course, things that are not secret will also be judged.

XI. GOD'S JUDGMENT WILL BE CARRIED OUT THROUGH JESUS CHRIST - 2:16b

Romans 2:16 b - . . . By Jesus Christ. . . .

By Jesus Christ indicates that God will carry out this judgment through Jesus Christ as His intermediate agent. It is God's judgment, but Christ will actually perform it. This is the Great White Throne Judgment as seen in Revelation of Jesus Christ 20 .

XII. PAUL'S GOSPEL WILL BE THE STANDARD FOR GOD'S JUDGMENT - 2:16c

Romans 2:16 c - . . . According to my gospel.

According to my gospel specifies that God's judgment is in accordance with what Paul has been preaching. He does not mean that he has been telling them all along in his gospel that God is going to judge them, even though he likely did this. He means that the gospel he has been proclaiming is going to be the standard by which they will be judged. He knew that his gospel was the truth, and he knew that there was no difference between his gospel and God's gospel. His gospel was God's gospel. Men would not be judged by some false teaching.

CONCLUSION:

Are you saved? You need to be. Your sin is going to be judged. It can be placed under the blood now, or Christ will be your judge.

Are you going in the right direction in your Christian life?