Romans 2:1-29, “Defensive or dismissive?”

Romans 2:1, “1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.”

  • The phrase, “same things” is a literary cue to remind us of what was just went over in Romans 1.
  • The Christian Jew in Rome, hearing Romans 1, would have nodded their head in agreement about the Gentile immorality in Romans 1.
  • But, then in Romans 2, verse 1 the Apostle Paul is saying, “I am pretty sure Jewish people do the same thing, and it is because Jewish people also have a broken relationship with the God of Scripture.”

Romans 2:2-3, “2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?”

  • Lets make it practical: We do verses 2-3 all the time. How many times are you watching these politicians in the news get caught in lies, greed, power, selfishness, sexual immorality, and you find yourself thinking, “These people are horrible!”
  • We love to say things like, “I hate hateful people.” Or, if you have children, have you noticed how many times you scream at your children, “Stop screaming! It’s disrespectful! You’re supposed to love one another!”
  • All of humanity loves to put the offenses of humanity on trial, but we somehow conveniently remove ourselves from humanity.

Romans 2:4-5, “4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God”

  • First, I need you to see the beauty of verse 4. You should highlight, underline, and circle verse 4, so we don’t forget verse 4.
  • In verse 5 the Apostle Paul writes, “because of our stubbornness and unrepentant heart all of humanity is storing up wrath of God against every human being throughout history.”
  • Defensive or dismissive: When humanity reads about verses 1-5 our response is either to get defensive or dismissive.

Romans 2:12-13, “12 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; 13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.”

  • Defensive: The Apostle Paul addresses those who are defending themselves against God’s judgment, and says, “Okay, as you defend yourself, as you give your list of excuses and reasons to escape God’s judgment, just remember, the God of Scripture is holding you to a standard of perfection.”
  • The God of Scripture has a standard that all of humanity is to be 100% perfect. We are to keep the Law 100%.
  • It isn’t about being a good person. It isn’t about trying really hard. It isn’t about God knowing your heart. It isn’t about good intentions. It is the God of Scripture calling humanity to be 100% holy and blameless before Him.

Romans 2:14-15, “14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them”

  • Dismissive: The most obvious excuse is, “I don’t care!”
  • The Gentile didn’t know the Scriptures. The Gentile didn’t care about the chapter and verse. The Gentile didn’t have a description with the immorality in Romans 1.
  • But, the Apostle Paul responds and says, “Don’t you see, you have become a law unto yourself.” The very fact that you go around spewing out any kind of judgment toward others is evidence of a standard, and you have become a law unto yourself.”
  • On every continent, every language, every point in history there are people saying, “That’s wrong, that’s right, do it this way, not that way, it does matter, it doesn’t matter” and as a result all of humanity is stacking together a law unto themselves.
  • Therefore, the God of Scripture says, “Okay, you don’t have to believe Me, you don’t have to believe the Scriptures, I will just hold you accountable to the standards you give to others.”
  • That’s what the Apostle Paul means in verse 5 when he writes, “Storing up the wrath of God for yourself.” You can be defensive or dismissive, it doesn’t matter, but all of humanity is standing under the wrath of God, and we all fall short.

Romans 2:28-29, “28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.”

  • Circumcision is the act of removing flesh, and circumcision is commanded by God in Genesis 17:10 as a sign of the covenant relationship with Abraham in the Old Testament where the Lord says, “I want us to make a covenant to one another that Abraham would walk blamelessly before the Lord, and if Abraham should break that covenant then Abraham, and Abraham’s descendents would be cut off from the Lord.”
  • But, in verses 28-29 the Apostle Paul is making the point, “Abraham wasn’t blameless!” All we have to do is look at Abraham’s life to see Abraham fails, Isaac fails, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, or David all fall short, so that circumcision was never intended to be the means by which we are justified before the holy and righteous God of Scripture.
  • This is what makes the gospel so sweet! It is only the righteousness of God revealed from heaven in Jesus that can justify any human before the holy and righteous God of Scripture.
  • That’s what the Apostle Paul means when he writes verse 29, “A circumcision that is of the heart.” The God of Scripture says to Abraham, “Lets make a covenant of circumcision and if you fail to walk blamelessly before me all the days of your life I will cut you off forever.” And then Jesus stands in Abraham’s place, and it is Jesus who is cut off from the Father.