Romans Chapter Two

God's Judgment And The Self-righteous

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In our study Romans chapter two, we will look at God's righteous judgment and the self-righteous man. A self-righteous man is one that is overly proud (even boastful) of their own right relationship with God. They are those that are quick to point out the sin of others but forget that they sin against God themselves.

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Romans 2:1

Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, passing judgment; for when you judge someone else, you are passing judgment against yourself; since you who are judging do the same things he does.

The first thing that we have to understand in this chapter is that the judgment that is being spoken of is not the judgment of salvation. Salvation is a personal thing between a person and God and the only way to be saved is through faith in Yeshua Messiah. When you are truly saved, you are a child of God and a co-heir of Yeshua. That does not change and Yeshua is the judge not man. This judgment is talking about the recognition of sin as what it is (disobedience to God). We have the ability to recognize sin because of the very word of God which he has given us but we tend to see the sin in others while ignoring our own. In chapter one, we saw how people turned away from God's word and so became filled with sin. Paul wrote this letter to the believers in Rome to remind them that, instead of just pointing the finger at the sinners, they needed to tell them about Yeshua and give them the power to overcome sin. This is the same thing that Yeshua was talking about, in Luke 11:46, when he was talking to the self-righteous religious leaders. This verse also says that we are condemning ourselves when we judge the sins of others because you "do the same things". We may quickly jump up to say that we are not guilty of the sins that were listed in the first chapter but this is not talking about doing the same type of sin but is talking about the fact that we are all sinners. Most people tend to rank sin based on our own view of one sin being worse than another but this is not of God. In Matthew 7:1-5, we see Yeshua's own words on this subject and he reminds us to deal with our own sin and then we can help others.

Romans 2:2

We know that God's judgment lands impartially on those who do such things;

God's judgment is based on his Word. We are not to try to be the judge and condemn people but we are called to proclaim his word. That means we stand up and identify sin but we do so understanding that we all require God's mercy.

Romans 2:3 & 4

do you think that you, a mere man passing judgment on others who do such things, yet doing them yourself, will escape the judgment of God? Or perhaps you despise the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience; because you don't realize that God's kindness is intended to lead you to turn from your sins.

We are not in the business of judging people (that's God's right as he created them and owns them). We are to lovingly share the word of God with people and let God do his thing in their lives. Sharing the word will point out sin and bring people to repentance because that is the job of the Law.

Romans 2:5

But by your stubbornness, by your unrepentant heart, you are storing up anger for yourself on the Day of Anger, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed;

In the previous verses we saw that we are not to judge people but, as we see here, God will judge. Repentance is a changing of our minds and our direction to be conformed to the mind of God. Without this change, we will be judged by God.

Romans 2:6

for he will pay back each one according to his deeds.

Paul is using the words of David (from Psalm 62:12) and Solomon (from Proverbs 24:12) to remind the Roman Christians (and us as well) that God will judge all people including his saints. This is what Peter was also saying in 1 Peter 4:17 when he explained that judgment will begin with "the family of God". This is also shown to us by John in Revelation chapter 20 when the books are opened. The judgment that they all are talking about is not a judgment of salvation but a judgment of what we have done with the new life that God has given us. In Ephesians chapter two, we are told that God has prepared works "in advance for us to do" and this judgment is going to give us rewards based on how we did on the works that God prepared for us.

Romans 2:7 & 8

To those who seek glory, honor and immortality by perseverance in doing good, he will pay back eternal life. But to those who are self-seeking, who disobey the truth and obey evil, he will pay back wrath and anger.

These verses present two groups of people: The first group are God's children and we know so because of their "persistence in doing good". This "persistence" is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22) and we know that the Holy Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing what is to come which is eternal life. This group is walking the talk and are focused on the things of God. The second group might include some of God's children that are not obeying him and not listening to the Holy spirit. We cannot tell whether they are his children or not because they are not acting like it. They are focused on the temporary things of this world and, just as God is the ultimate parent, he is not happy with his disobedient children.

Romans 2:9-11

Yes, he will pay back misery and anguish to every human being who does evil, to the Jew first, then to the Gentile; but glory and honor and shalom to everyone who keeps doing what is good, to the Jew first, then to the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.

This passage expands on the previous verses and describes how God is an impartial judge. We see that even the Jews, which are God's chosen people, are not immune and getting a free pass. There are many today that try to look like more than they are by hanging around important people. We see here that it does not matter who your family or friends are because we are each going to be judged individually on our own actions. You cannot "ride on the coat tails" of someone else's faith. Ours is an individual walk with God.

Romans 2:12

All who have sinned outside the framework of Torah will die outside the framework of Torah; and all who have sinned within the framework of Torah will be judged by Torah.

You may have heard the old saying "ignorance is no excuse", well that is what is being said here.

Romans 2:13

For it is not merely the hearers of Torah whom God considers righteous; rather, it is the doers of what Torah says who will be made righteous in God's sight.

Paul is explaining to the people that having the law (being God's chosen people) didn't mean that you were righteous. Yeshua said that none come to the Father except through him and that includes the Jews.

Romans 2:14 & 15

For whenever Gentiles, who have no Torah, do naturally what the Torah requires, then these, even though they don't have Torah, for themselves are Torah! For their lives show that the conduct the Torah dictates is written in their hearts. Their consciences also bear witness to this, for their conflicting thoughts sometimes accuse them and sometimes defend them

Paul goes on to explain here that Gentiles (those that weren't the chosen people) were actually obeying the law that they didn't even have. This is a reminder to us that God has placed inside each and every one of us something that governs our actions (a conscience). Therefore, even though we may not have all of the word in our hearts, we have a sense of what is right and wrong. As Christians, we study God's word so that we know his standard for everything. Our consciences are then conformed to the mind of God and can be used by the Holy Spirit to guide and correct our every action. That, my friends, is what is meant by walking in the Spirit.

Romans 2:16

on a day when God passes judgment on people's inmost secrets. (According to the Good News as I proclaim it, he does this through the Messiah Yeshua.)

Paul reminds the believers that it is Yeshua Messiah that has been appointed to judge the actions of his people. We can point out what God's Word (the Law) says but we do not have the authority to condemn people in Yeshua's name. Yeshua gave us an example and it is recorded in John 8:1-11. Here, a bunch of so-called experts in the Law brought a woman that they wanted to punish but Yeshua gave them a lesson in pointing their fingers.

Romans 2:17 & 18

But if you call yourself a Jew and rest on Torah and boast about God and know his will and give your approval to what is right, because you have been instructed from the Torah;

Salvation is a personal relationship with Yeshua Messiah and Paul is reminding the people that it is not a group thing. This not only goes for the Jews but for all of us as there are many people who attend a "church" because their family always has and assume that they are then automatically Christians. That is like attending a soccer match and then saying you are automatically a professional football player. God's will for our lives and everything else is for Yeshua to be the head and in control. (see Ephesians 1) As the head, Yeshua is in control of every part of our lives. What he desires for each part of our lives is found in the word of God as this passage says that the law is superior to our own wants and will.

Romans 2:19-21a

and if you have persuaded yourself that you are a guide to the blind, a light in the darkness, an instructor for the spiritually unaware and a teacher of children, since in the Torah you have the embodiment of knowledge and truth; then, you who teach others, don't you teach yourself?

Now, Paul is basically asking the Jews if they know it all just because they have the law. There are many that act as if, just because they know a few verses of the Bible, they are Bible scholars. Paul is reminding them as well as us that we don't know it all no matter how much we think we know about God's word. We never stop learning more about God and much of the learning comes through study of the word.

Romans 2:21b-24

Preaching, "Thou shalt not steal," do you steal? Saying, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," do you commit adultery? Detesting idols, do you commit idolatrous acts? You who take such pride in Torah, do you, by disobeying the Torah, dishonor God? - as it says in the Tanakh, "For it is because of you that God's name is blasphemed by the Goyim."

God is not honored only by talk; our actions need to match. If they don't match, then others are not brought to worship the name of God and that is our goal.

Romans 2:25

For circumcision is indeed of value if you do what Torah says. But if you are a transgressor of Torah, your circumcision has become uncircumcision!

Paul is reminding them that, if you put your hope in obedience to the law, you must keep all of the law perfectly. They could not pick and choose what they wanted to follow. We do not have to keep the law to be saved but when we obey God's commands it demonstrates our love and glorifies his name.

Romans 2:26

Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the Torah, won't his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?

Paul is reminding them that the Gentiles ("those who are not circumcised") are God's people too. Because of their relationship with God, through Yeshua Messiah, they are listening and following him. Because of this, God will treat them as if they were Jews (God's people, the circumcised).

Romans 2:27

Indeed, the man who is physically uncircumcised but obeys the Torah will stand as a judgment on you who have had a b'rit-milah and have Torah written out but violate it!

These are strong words for the Jew but they apply to us today as well. If we rely on our rituals, rules, and traditions, then we are missing the point of grace and mercy. Obedience to the law, demonstrates our love for God but salvation is a gift.

Romans 2:28 & 29

For the real Jew is not merely Jewish outwardly: true circumcision is not only external and physical. On the contrary, the real Jew is one inwardly; and true circumcision is of the heart, spiritual not literal; so that his praise comes not from other people but from God.

Paul is summing it up by explaining that being a child of God (being a Jew) is not because of physical actions or birth. He tells us that we are God's children when our hearts are changed by the working of the Holy Spirit.

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