Book of Romans Chapter 4

Part 2

Paul has opened chapter 4 by establishing that Abraham was made righteous in the same way we are today. He now backs it up with a reference from a second great man of Jewish stature – David.

Romans 4:6-8
6 So also David speaks of the blessedness of those to whom God reckons righteousness irrespective of works:
7 ‘Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
8 blessed is the one against whom the Lord will not reckon sin.’

Remember when Paul said that the law and prophets testified that the righteousness of God would be delivered apart from law? Well Abraham was an example of the Law, in that his story is contained in the Torah. And now Paul uses David as an example of the Prophets, the part of the Old Testament that follows the Torah. David lived in a time following the giving of the Mosaic Law. Yet Paul says it was just as with David – no different, “Blessed” are those who God forgives – indeed. Then in verse 8, David suggests that there is a way that God will not take into account our sin, and again, the Law and prophets both taught the same way to salvation – grace.

Now Paul spends the rest of chapter 4 exhausting all the implications from Abraham’s life.

Romans 4: 9-13
9 Is this blessedness, then, pronounced only on the circumcised, or also on the uncircumcised? We say, ‘Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.’
10 How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.
11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the ancestor of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them,
12 and likewise the ancestor of the circumcised who are not only circumcised but who also follow the example of the faith that our ancestor Abraham had before he was circumcised.
13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

Paul asks is God’s blessing for Jew or Gentile also? Some Jews might think that God has two systems for salvation. For the Gentile, God intended a system of faith, but for the Jew the system was to be works through the Law. Well, Paul says, let’s consider when Abraham received his affirmation of righteousness, was it before or after circumcision? Abraham was not the first Jew born, that was Isaac. Abraham was a gentile when God called him and granted him the promise of a nation, and that promise led to his circumcision, which marked his entry into the new designation of Hebrews. So clearly, God’s plan for salvation by grace can’t be limited to Jews through the law, Abraham received that designation while still a Gentile and before the Law. So Abraham becomes a symbol for both the uncircumcised to come to faith and the circumcised who imitate his faith.

Looking at Abraham’s faith even deeper.

Romans 4: 14-17
14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.
15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.
16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us,
17 as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

So if God had ever planned to make a set of laws – rules – that we were to keep so that we could please Him, then any promise of salvation would have been void.
so if I promise my daughter 50 dollars for her birthday, then later I came back and said that she can have the 50 if she clean her room. The birthday money is no longer in effect only obeying my rules became the only way to receive that money, it’s no longer a gift but a wage.
That’s the difference between works and grace.


Book of Romans Chapter 4

Part 1

Romans 4: 1-3
1 What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh?
2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
3 For what does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’

Paul’s opening lines could be read in this way: what did Abraham, our patriarch, discover on this topic? Well, if Abraham had been justified by works, then he would have been famous for that achievement. He would have no doubt boasted over such a great accomplishment. But Abraham never boasted like that before God. In fact, the scriptures tell us exactly how Abraham received his declaration of righteousness from God. Abraham believed God and it, his faith, was credited to him as righteousness.

Genesis 15: 1-6
1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’
2 But Abram said, ‘O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’
3 And Abram said, ‘You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.’
4 But the word of the Lord came to him, ‘This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.’
5 He brought him outside and said, ‘Look towards heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’
6 And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Abraham is childless, he and his wife are in their 70’s and are past child bearing years. I do believe they hope for a child, but in reality they couldn’t see how this was a possibility. Then God appeared to Abraham and made a promise, He said you will have descendants so numerous they will be like the stars in the sky. And based solely on the promise of God’s word Abraham believed God and God constituted Abraham righteous. So Abraham was declared righteous the same way that we are today – by faith in God’s promise.

Romans 4: 4-5
4 Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due.
5 But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.

Paul tells his readers that God reckoned faith as righteousness and that He didn’t credit righteousness on the basis of work. If He had pointed to Abraham’s work, then righteousness is something men can earn, like wages for our work. But God said that the righteousness was credited, not earned and given as a wage. Notice that the content of the promise was different for Abraham, but the object of faith is always the same. The content of the promise he received was a promise that he would have descendants. By comparison, the content of the promise that Noah received centuries earlier was a promise that God was preparing to destroy the world with a flood. God was prepared to spare Noah and his family if he obeyed his directions to build an ark. Noah believed God’s promise and acted accordingly, Noah found favor or grace, because of his faith in God’s word.

Genesis 6: 6-8; 17-18; 22
6 And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
7 So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’
8 But Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord.
17 For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.
18 But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.
22 Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.

Today, the content of the promise for those who would be saved by faith was that the man Jesus was our Messiah who died for our salvation. But in all these situations, the object of our faith is the same. We have faith in God’s promise.

Hebrew 11:11
11 By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised.

Faith is defined in scripture not by the content of a promise but by our confidence in the One Who is faithful to keep His promise.

As we’ve learned already, God can be just to credit us with righteousness through faith because a ransom has been paid for our sins. Christ death on the cross grants God to credit us with righteousness that is not our own, but remember faith is the passage through which God delivers righteousness to men. And though earlier men didn’t really know all the details for how God planned to save them, they knew enough that by trusting in God’s promises, they would receive His mercy. Today, God’s Revelation is complete regarding salvation, so in our age, we are called to trust in the Messiah.

Book of Romans Chapter 3 Part 3

Romans 3:27-30
27 Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith.
28 For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.
29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,
30 since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.

Paul ends chapter 3 with a defense of justification by faith alone. Paul probably more than likely anticipated the negative reaction his message would have with many in his audience, but especially the Jew. Because the Jews had been conditioned to believe that redemption depended on some inherent qualification or status among those who were saved. The same problem still exists today. People still approach this topic with assumptions about what’s required to enter heaven, whether it’s certain works or qualifications.

So Paul launches a preemptive strike here with – where there us boasting? Paul ask is there any room in God’s plan for mans pride or boasting of self? He didn’t say it’s not necessary – it was clearly shut out by God. Paul ask what kind of law can declare men righteous but do so in such a way that it excludes boasting by men? It must be a law or principle other than a law of works – it’s a law of faith. God has established a law that leads men into righteousness, and this law is a law with only one requirement – faith in Christ. And remember that faith is a gift, leaving men nothing to boast about. Now talking to the Jewish foundation and leadership of this church, Paul clearly says that we maintain theat men are justified apart from the works of the Law and only by faith. For God is working in all mankind through the same means.

Romans 3:31
31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

A powerful verse. Did God’s use of a law of faith, nullify – abolished Old Testament bring to an end – the Mosaic Law? No, not at all, on the contrary, we establish it. The Law is to be understood as a picture of God’s righteousness, mainly His plan to redeem men. So as men obey the law of faith and are justified, the Law’s purpose is being met in that moment. Secondly, the Law stands as a model of righteousness lived out. So when we are saved by faith, the law’s two purposes are established; salvation by atonement is accomplished, and righteous living becomes possible. The great connecting tread of the Old Testament vs. New Testament in that the Old Testament demands a solution to sin that only the New Testament can fulfill.

Book of Romans Chapter 3 Part 2

Part 2

Romans 3: 9-18
9 What then? Are we any better off?  No, not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, 10as it is written:‘There is no one who is righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who has understanding, there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned aside, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, there is not even one.’
13 ‘Their throats are opened graves; they use their tongues to deceive.’ ‘The venom of vipers is under their lips.’
14 ‘Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.’
15 ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery are in their paths,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.’
18 ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’

All men — Jews and Greeks — are under a charge of sin. Not even one man can stand on his own before God and expect to be called righteous, verse 11 – no man even understands his own predicament. Paul refers to Psalms 14 & 53. These two Psalms form a ultimate argument, scripture’s own testimony concerning the reality of man’s unrighteousness. The very nature of men is such that not only so they sin habitually, but they are enslaved to sin. The message of scripture – not just of Paul – is one of man’s hopelessness and heedlessness.

Romans 3: 19-20
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.
20 For ‘no human being will be justified in his sight’ by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

Paul begins to shift back to righteousness and appears to be returning to a discussion of the Jew, since Paul mentions the Law, but not necessarily so. Paul is describing the effects of laws, rules, and standards. Whatever law say, it says it to those who are under the law. Looking at the wording, “Whatever a Law “says” – means its impact or the limit of its reaches. It speaks ti those under or in the law, so that every mouth will be closed and all the world becomes accountable. The idea here is that laws don’t produce righteousness, they only reveal unrighteousness. So God used law to demonstrate our collective unrighteousness. And our efforts to work our way out of the hole we’re in we’ll never accomplish, because our only response to our predicament is to try and perform works in keeping with God’s Law. Paul says by the works of law, no flesh shall be declared righteous before Him, the law merely reveals sin.

Now Paul joins the unrighteousness of man with God’s plan for righteousness.

Romans 3: 21-26
21 But now, irrespective of law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets,
22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction,
23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;
24 they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
25 whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed;
26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.

This is perhaps the most elegant statement of God’s plan of salvation ever written.

Consider where Paul has left the Roman church. If they followed his arguments from chapter 1 & 2 to the mid point of 3 they have been on the verge of panic; all men are sinful, there is no hope, and all is lost. Paul then unfolds God’s solution – this is the unique, distinguishing feature of Christianity.

Point 1 – The Disclaimer
Apart from the Law, which means separately from or independent from. Remember we’re talking about law, not necessarily the Law. So point #1 is God’s plan for saving men is a plan that is independent of any law, any rules of human action or behavior, it is not by works.

Point 2 – The Gospel is about God’s Righteousness – Not Our Righteousness
The righteousness of God has been manifested, God solves the problems of our unrighteousness by manifesting His righteousness. The word manifested means disclosed or made visible. So God made His righteousness visible to a world that previously only knew unrighteousness.


Point 3 – The Gospel is a Promised Fulfilled
This righteousness of God was witnessed or testified to by the Law, the Mosaic Law, and the Prophets.

Point 4 – Faith is the Means of Manifesting God’s Righteousness
The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Notice he didn’t say because of our faith in Jesus Christ. God manifested His righteousness through our faith not because of it.

Point 5 – The Recipients
For all who believe, for there is no distinction, all have fallen short. All men are saved the same way – there is no second was to be saved, God has one plan for salvation.

Point 6 – The Result
Being justified as a gift by this grace. The word justified is one of the most important in the Bible, it means to be declared righteous, acquitted, vindicated, and it’s the outcome of a judging process. Believers are justified, God declares the believers righteous, and innocent. Justification is an act, not a process, and it is something God does, not man. God’s decision to bring us to this result was purely a gift, His grace.

Point 7 – The Price
The price, through redemption of Jesus Christ. This redemption is a payment made on our behalf by Jesus Christ, so our justification was made possible because we were ransomed.

Point 8 –
Jesus’ ransom permits God to declare us righteous because it is a propitiation. Paul describes what he means by clarifying that God displayed Jesus publically as an atoning sacrifice, and through a faith in that sacrifice, that ransom, our debt is paid. Paul goes further to explain how God’s own righteousness was demonstrated in the process of ransoming men by His Son’s death. First at the moment of the cross, God demonstrated righteousness by crushing His Son. Paul says because of God’s tolerance, or delaying in dealing with the sin of mankind. Justice was required cause sin had occurred, yet God had not yet brought His wrath against the sin committed among all men. Remember Luke 16 – Sheol, so as God crushes His Son, He remains true to His own righteousness by demanding a price be paid for sin. But having placed His wrath on Jesus, God now can be just and also be justifier of the one who has faith in His Sons blood atonement.

Book of Romans Chapter 3 part 1

Romans 3:1-2
1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?
2 Much, in every way. For in the first place the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.

Paul is walking a fine line here, on one hand he must not tolerate a Jewish view of self that was exaggerated – Jews were not saved merely because they were Jew. On the other hand, Paul can’t let the Gentiles think that God had forsaken His chosen people. So in chapters 3 and 4 and we’ll see again in chapter 9-11, Paul will deal with the question of the Jewish nations place and purpose in God’s plan to redemption. For right now Paul will address a question of advantage. First, Jews were entrusted with the Word of God. This was a privilege that the Jewish nation was granted, which led to many Jews knowing God’s mercy. But what about those who didn’t believe and weren’t faithful to God?

Romans 3:3-4
3 What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?
4 By no means! Although everyone is a liar, let God be proved true, as it is written,
‘So that you may be justified in your words, and prevail in your judging.’

Since there are some who turn against Him does it mean that God was unfaithful? Paul says of course not, every man is a liar, but God remains true. Paul is essentially saying the same thing here that he says in 2 Timothy later.

2 Timothy 2:13
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself.

God had made promises to the nation of Israel that He would keep. To prove the point Paul quotes from a great case study of unfaithfulness. A man to whom God made great promises of a future kingdom and an eternal throne and yet this man was unfaithful at times to God.

Psalm 51:2-4
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgement.

Paul quotes David’s words to point out that even this great Jew had to acknowledge his unfaithfulness before God. So we can’t claim that God is unfaithful simply because an individual Jew is unbelieving or unfaithful.

Romans 3: 5-6

5 But if our injustice serves to confirm the justice of God, what should we say? That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)
6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world?

So there are advantage to being Jew, they have the Word of God. And in that word were promises to the nation of Israel, even though the Jews were unrighteous, His righteousness shines through as He keeps His promises. Like David … we can see God’s mercy and grace and faithfulness all the more because of David’s failings. So shouldn’t we expect God to overlook the sins of all Jews so that God’s righteousness might be magnified all the more? And of course Paul gives us the logical answer. First, he makes sure that no one thinks he agrees with this line of reasoning by making a by the way comment, this is a human argument, not something a godly person would suggest. Then Paul deals with it, if God were to overlook the sins of the Jewish people without cause, how could He judge the world? If He were to ignore the sins of Jewish men, God would be showing partiality. So God will judge the sinning Jew without partiality.


Romans 3: 7-8
7 But if through my falsehood God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?
8 And why not say (as some people slander us by saying that we say), ‘Let us do evil so that good may come’? Their condemnation is deserved!

So … isn’t the sinning of a Jew actually helping God by giving Him more opportunity to show His glory in mercy? Paul answers their question with a sarcastic question of his own. If you’re going to say that, then why not live according to the motto that some have accused Paul of teaching elsewhere. In other words, if you really believe this kind of absurd logic, then why are you striving to do anything good. And Paul leaves the argument sitting there unaddressed so as not to dignify it. So now the Jewish reader comes to the same point as before; though there are promise made to the Jewish nation, individual Jews must stand the same judgment that all men face.

Book of Romans Chapter 2

Chapter 2 part 2

Scripture taken from the NRSV translation

Paul has established two central truths……
1. All mankind did engage in and continues to engage in rebellion and depravity.
2. Gentiles are clearly guilty of disobeying the truth.
We need to remember that Paul’s key audience are the Jewish leaders of this church and they must begin to see themselves under the same condemnation of sin as the Gentiles.

Romans 2: 17-24
17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of your relation to God
18 and know his will and determine what is best because you are instructed in the law,
19 and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,
20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth,
21 you, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?
22 You that forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhor idols, do you rob temples?
23 You that boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?
24 For, as it is written, ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’

We need to remember that not all members of this church were Jews, but there is still a Jewish factor in the church. Now Paul very carefully attacks that key factor of Jewish self-righteousness. We get a sense of what Paul’s dealing with here, we should look at the discussion between Jesus and Pharisees in John’s gospel. The Pharisees were unbelieving men, even though they thought of themselves to be very righteous men. They clung to their heritage as their basis for salvation, after all they would be saved just because they were Jew, descended from Abraham.

John 8: 31-44
31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’
33 They answered him, ‘We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, “You will be made free”?’

34 Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.
35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there for ever.
36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word.
38 I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.’
39 They answered him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did,
40 but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.
41 You are indeed doing what your father does.’ They said to him, ‘We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.’
42 Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me.
43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word.
44 You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Jesus is telling them that they are not who they think they are; they are not God’s children, but in fact, they are slaves of sin, and are condemned by their sin. Jesus calls them out repeatedly for their hypocrisy, even as they declare their innocence. The Pharisees are dismayed at Jesus accusation, since they see themselves as the height of righteousness after all they are born of Abraham, they bear the name Jew, as Paul says in Romans, and as such, they are saved and automatically going to heaven. Jesus clearly contradicts that logic, saying that their physical birth gives them no automatic place in heaven. And so Paul says that if you bear the name Jew, you better not rest on that alone. Have you noticed that we still do this today, but in a Christian version of the same error.

We already talked about the name Jew, those who relied on their birth heritage from Abraham. Now Paul moves through a list of assumed advantages of being a Jew, they rely upon law, they boast in God, they know His will, and approve the things that are essential. And with these advantages, the Jews secured a superior attitude. They were the ones leading the blind Gentile nation into the truth, and they can correct the foolish and disciple the immature concerning how to please God, and based on their having access to a form of God’s knowledge of truth. In these statements, Paul simply repeats the prevailing attitudes and beliefs common to the Jewish culture. Even though Paul gave careful argument for how all men are corrupt by nature and under condemnation, the Jews still didn’t get it.

Paul asked them to consider the various ways in which they fall short of the very rules and standards they claim are their advantage. As Jews, they claim to be an authority on righteousness for others. Paul ask them a list of questions, do Jews steal, do they commit adultery, do the take idols from temples for their own use? So the Jews are breaking the very Law that they brag about. How is this an honor to God? Then Paul quotes Isaiah 52:5 to them, through a Jewish prophet, God spoke to them saying that he behavior of the Jewish nation didn’t reflect righteousness. It shamed the name of God among the Gentile nations.

Romans 2: 25-29
25 Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
26 So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?
27 Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you that have the written code and circumcision but break the law.
28 For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical.
29 Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart—it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.

Paul now introduces the final, and perhaps the most personal symbol of righteousness within the Jewish culture – circumcision. Circumcision was an outward sign given to the Jewish of the Abraham Covenant. Paul says that if the sign was going to signify righteousness, it would only be because the person was completely obedient to the Law. But if someone has a label of uncircumcised, but they were to live according to the Law, so it’s the ones who are actually righteous who wear the label of righteousness.

That last verse does shed some insight on where Paul is headed in his letter. True circumcision was never meant to be an act in the flesh of the human body. God gave men the physical circumcision to observe a covenant and to point to a redeemer. But the Jews came to think that circumcision automatically gave them righteousness and eternal security. But Paul says that there is a kind of circumcision that does grant righteousness. There is circumcision of the heart, given by the Spirit.

Book of Romans Chapter 2

Chapter 2     Part 1
Scripture taken from the NRSV translation

So Paul finishes his introduction on unrighteousness, now he will add fuel to the fire. Does being a Gentile or being a Jew give either one an advantage in the question of who is righteous?

Romans 2: 1-4
1 Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgement on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.
2 You say, ‘We know that God’s judgement on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.’
3 Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgement of God?
4 Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Man has no excuse for their sin before God. And Paul says that we who pass judgment on others condemn ourselves, so when we point fingers at who deserves God’s punishment for the things that they have done, we are also pointing fingers at ourselves. What might a person say if someone tells them that they might face God’s wrath for their sin. Some would say, as Paul repeats verse 3, that somehow it won’t apply to me, that I have improved a lot plus I know people who are a lot worse than me. God will understand, He will see me for who I tried to be and He will overlook my failures. As Paul says, do you suppose that we will escape God’s judgment? Maybe we assume that everything will work out because we think “so far, so good.” Paul says that we are thinking lightly of God’s kindness, tolerance and patience. Are we taking something for granted? We have an opportunity to repent of our sin.

2 Peter 3: 8-10
8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.
9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

Peter repeats Paul’s words. As the world waits for God’s judgment to happen as promised it hasn’t minimized God’s plan to carry it through. Judgment day hasn’t arrived yet, plus we shouldn’t take some comfort in the fact the we haven’t faced our own personal reckoning, both are coming. You could say that God’s delay is his patience and kindness towards sinners.

Romans 2: 5-8
5 But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed.
6 For he will repay according to each one’s deeds:
7 to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;
8 while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.

The time God has given us to repent of our disobedience and rebellion actually becomes our opportunity to increase God’s wrath, His anger against us. God renders to each according to their deeds (Psalm 62:12). God doesn’t show favoritism, and He doesn’t change the rules, you could say we each will get what we deserve. For those who seek to do good and glory and honor, they will receive eternal life. For those who seek for themselves, those who obey unrighteousness will receive God’s wrath. This moment is described in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 20: 11-15
11 Then I saw a great white throne and the one who sat on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them.
12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books.
13 And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what they had done.
14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire;
15 and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

On one hand in verse 8 Paul says all men are guilty and are under the same sentence of condemnation. But then Paul just said that God deals with people according to their deeds. Well the answer is found in those verses in Revelation. So in Revelation for those who were not found in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire, in other words eternal punishment, and all those who are in the book of life, survive. So Paul says God is fair to judge men according to their deeds, and so He does.

Now Paul is ready to deal with the issue of Gentile vs Jew.

Romans 2: 9-13
9 There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,
10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.
11 For God shows no partiality.
12 All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from 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 righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

Paul says that judgment falls equally for the Jews as to the Gentiles, God does not play favorites. We want to see this from a positive perspective of God being an equal opportunity savior. But Paul is speaking from a negative perspective of God being an equal opportunity punisher. Whether reward or punishment it does not matter if you are Jew or Gentile, Gentile or Jew.

Then Paul begins a comparison between what the Jews knew and received from God in terms of knowledge, as compared to the Gentiles and what they received and knew. For example, the Jews received instructions from God called the Law. But the Gentiles received no such instructions. Because of this Law does this make the Jews more guilty and the Gentiles less guilty? Or maybe it works the opposite way. Paul explores those possibilities and he begins with the Gentiles. Paul says that all who have sinned without the Law also perish without the Law, so those without the Law are Gentiles. Those under the Law, Jews, will find themselves judged by the Law, they will be held accountable for their inability to keep the Law. What about if the Gentiles play the “claim of ignorance” card?

Romans 2: 14-16
14 When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves.
15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them
16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.

Our conscience betrays us. As Gentiles, we still have a sense of right and wrong. Paul suggest that when the Gentile is doing the work of the Law, then they show evidence that God’s expectations have been revealed to them, and that the Gentile are showing obedience to God in their action. Paul’s saying that God reveals Himself to men apart from the Law given through Moses. So when the Gentiles feel a sense of guilt over their mistakes, they are bearing witness to the fact that they knew better.

To be continued