Romans Chapter Two

In Chapter two Paul continues to bring before us the all encompassing greatness of the ‘Being’ of God and of God’s universally fair and just dealings with mankind. He has already told us in chapter one to what depths of depravity mankind can sink, and he now introduces the heights to which we can soar if we respond to God’s heart of love. Paul is intensely aware of how man has painted God as a God of judgment, and how man tries to outdo God in the very exercise of judgment. Paul is showing God to us as a God of love. Part of God’s love is His justice – and part of His justice is His judgment – it’s as simple as that. All you have to do then is put the parts together in the right proportions.

Paul attacks that very mindset of human nature – judging other people for their wrongs and in so doing, turn a blind eye to their own wrongs and so justify themselves. Paul makes the case for individual accountability based on a person’s conscience. He confronts us with the fact that God has created a conscience within each individual – the scales of moral justice. Paul also unveils the mysterious and heart warming revelation of a God who can supernaturally change our stubborn and obstinate mindsets by lavishing His goodness upon us.

His main argument though, is against the danger of becoming arrogant just because you might be privileged enough to have a set of life principles and commandments given to you by God Himself and placed into your hands for safekeeping. Paul is talking here about his fellow Jews who had been, at the time Paul was writing, the custodians of God’s Law – The Commandments - for the previous 1500 years. But this custodianship was a temporary era – one that was now passing away – to usher in the era of Faith. This is a tough message for the Jewish Religion – but it is The Plan of God, so Paul wades into it.

His conclusion is that this arrogance will stand in judgment against people who have the privilege of knowing first hand of God’s ways, but who do not live up to this hefty responsibility, because that causes Gods name to be dishonored by everybody else who is watching. We are left with the sobering challenge that our religious observances may not impress God at all, and they really don’t seem to impress anybody else either. So what’s left? Well Paul is leading up to some very vital matters of Faith – and here he finishes with a comma, not a full stop, saying that God is concerned with the inner heart motivation of a person, in their sincere desire to honor and please a living, loving God.

Chapter 2

1 None of us can judge another person for doing some of these things,  and not be judging ourselves – because none of us are completely innocent regarding our behavior

2 But we know that God is fair and just in His dealings with people who live those lifestyles habitually.

3 And do we think that if we live lives like that, that He won’t deal with us as well – whoever we are?

4 Or do you have an attitude that ignores the great kindness and mercy and love of God towards you, unaware of the fact that this very goodness of God is working on you, patiently waiting for you to change that attitude?

5 But because of that obstinate and inflexible attitude that mankind possesses he is investing in his own judgment that will come on the day of judgment, when God is finally going to be plainly seen by everybody.

6 Who will give everybody what they truly deserve.

7 For those who persevere in living a life that wants to please and honor God, they will continue to share a life in harmony with Him and His eternal values.

8 But for those who talk against God and dissent by putting their individuality before God, they will get the full blast of His indignation.

9 Distress and grief for every person that lives a destructive and unkind life. First He is dealing with the Nation of Israel, whom He first chose to specially reveal Himself, and also to the rest of mankind, to whom He has now revealed Himself.

10 But dignity and honor and peace to every person who lives in harmony with His values, again, He began with Israel and now is including all of humanity.

11 For there is no favoritism with God.

12 From the very beginning, as many as have determined to do wrong without having been instructed in God’s ways and principles will be penalized without having had that instruction, and those who have been instructed will be judged according to the penalties of that instruction.

13 For just being instructed in God’s principles doesn’t validate a person, but living out the principles does.

14 For when anybody at all, who has not been trained in God’s principles does out of their own heart the things that are aligned with God’s principles they are living out of their own integrity.

15 This shows that the principles of God are graphically inscribed on peoples’ hearts, and their conscience is the evidence to them of this. Their instinctive sense of morality will either make them feel accused or excused.

16 But there is coming a day when the innermost motives of every person’s heart will be judged by Jesus Christ. This is in line with the amazing truth about God’s eternal plan that he has for humanity – the gospel.

17 So! Your religion is Judaism, and you are relaxed because you have all the principles and precedents in your sacred writings, so you think you are endorsed by God,

18 And you are totally aware of His purposes and you examine the finer points of debate about the precedents and principles, as expert scholars.

19 You are confident that you are able to tell everybody else who is stumbling blindly through life. You can tell them all there is to know about everything.

20 You are a life coach for ignorant humanity, a school teacher for the kindergarten of the world, and you know all the formulas for success.

21 Well then, if you can teach everybody everything, why don’t you also teach yourself? – If you tell people they should not steal is it still alright if you steal?

22 If you preach to people that they should not commit adultery – do you commit adultery? If you say you would never worship anything else but God, do you make a god out of money and influence and possessions?

23 Anyone who makes their religious distinctive the fact that they are experts in the Word of God, and then disobeys the Word of God, don’t they dishonor God?

24 The name of God is used as a swear word in all of society because of this kind of hypocrisy.

25 A religious ritual like circumcision can be useful if it results in your living in harmony with God’s ways and principles, but if you break those principles then you had better do without the ritual, because it becomes useless.

26 Which means that those living without the ritual who still live in harmony with God’s ways and principles live more spiritually fruitful lives without the ritual than with the ritual.

27 And won’t this ritual, which legally, according to your religious rules, has to be performed, be the very thing that brings you down on judgment day because you signed off on the contract and then broke it.

28 For your Jewish religion is not a ‘God’ religion if it is only an external performance, neither is the ritual of any use if it is simply conformity to clauses in a contract.

29 But the true Jew, or the true ‘God’ religion is one that is sincere on the inside, in the heart, in the spirit, not because of written rules, regulations and contracts. These things only impress man, they don’t please God anymore!