When I study the book of Romans, I find that the first seventeen verses introduce the thoughts that are contained in the rest of the book. In fact, verse 17 is the thesis statement. If I want to know what the book of Romans is all about, verse 17 is where I go. In this verse, Paul writes…
This verse which serves as the thesis statement makes two points.
In identifying who the righteous are and how one become righteous, the apostle Paul begins by bring to our attention the problem of sin, and how we need to be made right with God. We need the gospel.
He begins by talking about the Gentiles. In Romans 1, Paul writes that the Gentiles need to be made right with God because the Gentiles were guilty of sin. These Gentiles could know that God exists and they knew what kind of God exists. Instead of recognizing God and acting accordingly, they chose not the think about God. They changed God into something that they wanted Him to be so that they could justify their own immoral behavior. The Gentiles needed to gospel because of their sins.
When you come to chapter 2, the apostle Paul turns his attention to the Jews and talks about how the Jews also need to be made right with God through the gospel because the Jews are just as guilty as the Gentiles. The Jews were joining Paul in condemning the Gentiles. In chapter 2, Paul turns to the Jews and condemns them for doing the same things that the Gentiles were doing. Both the Jews and the Gentiles are in need of the gospel because both Jews and Gentiles are guilty of sin.
In the first 11 verses of chapter 2, the writer shows that it does not matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile. There is no partiality with God.
Let’s break this down and see what the Jews were doing.
Don’t miss this first word because it gives us context. In Romans chapter 1, the Gentiles had rejected God, changed God, and were now living immoral lives. As a result, God gave up on them.
If you back up to Romans 1.20, Paul characterizes the Gentiles as those who were without excuse. There was no excuse for the way that they lived because they knew that God existed, and they knew that God was powerful.
Now Paul turns his attention to the Jews and tells them that they are also inexcusable. Imagine the Jews picking up this letter and reading the first chapter. How do you suppose the Jews are reacting to chapter 1? No doubt they are in agreement with what Paul says. Yes, the Gentiles should know better. Yes, there is no excuse for their immorality. But then, Paul turns to the Jews and says they are also without excuse. Why?
Here are the Gentiles condemned for their behavior, and the author writes to the Jews and says that they are also changing their concept of God. They are also rejecting the truth of who God really is. They are also living an immoral lifestyle. The fact that they were condemning the Gentiles indicates that they knew what the Gentiles were doing was wrong. Therefore, the Jews were without excuse because they were doing the same things.
God’s judgment is not going to be subject to a double standard. God’s judgment is going to be based on truth. What is the truth? Jesus said to God, “Your word is truth” (John 17.17).
Do you see the concept of no partiality? God will not judge the Jews differently than the Gentiles. There will be no double standard. He will judge everyone according to His word. The Gentiles are condemned because of their sins. The Jews are also condemned because they are practicing the same things. Both Jews and Gentiles are in need of the gospel.
God’s judgment is according to truth, and it does not matter who you are, Jew or Gentile, you will not escape the judgment of God. I need to remember that!
When you keep reading, you will find how the judgment of God works. He will take His truth, the word of God and use it as a measuring stick. He will then take our deeds, the way that we have lived our lives, and compare our deeds to this measuring stick.
Those who live sinful lives will not escape the judgment of God, but the gospel is God’s power to save. What will lead us to change the way we live?
God is being patient, but instead of repenting, these Jews were being stubborn and unrepentant. The result is that they were treasuring up wrath for themselves which come upon them on the Day of Judgment.
When that day of judgment comes, how is God going to judge us?
On the day of judgment, God will look at the way that you have lived your life, and He will compare your life with the Bible. (Rev. 20.11-13). I need to remember that I will not get away with sin. It does not matter who you are, there will not be any partiality with God. If you are guilty of sin, you will not escape the judgment of God.
When we keep reading, we find that there are two results of God’s judgment depending on the kind of life we have lived. There is no partiality with God. Everyone will be judged by the same standard. When I live the life God expects of me, there is eternal life waiting for me. When I live differently that the way God wants me to live, then I have eternal condemnation waiting for me. This is true regardless of whether you are a Jew or a Gentile because there is no partiality with God.
Everyone will be judged according to his deed. To those who do the right thing and live the right way, there is eternal life. Who are the ones who will have eternal life?
The word for “patient continuance” is the Greek word “hupomeno.” Literally it means to remain faithful even under hardship. It is referring to those who experience hardship in life, who are persecuted, and who are tempted, and still remain faithful. Those who endure.
Do you remain faithful when things get hard? Do you remain faithful even when it means giving up the things that you important to you? Do you remain faithful in spite of what people say to you at work. Do you remain faithful in spite of how you are treated by friends and family? If you do, then eternal life is promised to you.
Yes, this is in your Bible. The Bible tells me that I have to do something. I have to obey the commands of God. If you are one who remains faithful and always does the good that God wants you to do, then eternal life is for you.
Skip down to verse 10 where those who receive eternal life are further described.
To whom is the hope of heaven available? It is available to the Jews first and also to the Greek. It isn’t just to the Jews. It is to the Jews first and also to the Greeks. Eternal life is for everyone who is obedient to God.
To those who are self-seeking, to those who do not obey, there is eternal condemnation. This eternal condemnation is presented from two perspectives.
God’s perspective of condemnation is characterized by the words “indignation and wrath.” Those who are self-seeking and are not obedient will know the indignation and wrath of God. They will see God’s anger. They will see God’s vengefulness that they have been treasuring up. That’s God’s standpoint.
Man’s perspective is characterized by the words “tribulation and anguish.” The word “tribulation” literally means, “pressure.” The word “anguish” literally means “narrowness of room.” Have you ever felt the pressures of life? Tribulation is to suffer because of the pressures of your circumstances. It means to be stressed. Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by the pressures of life that you felt as if there is no way out? It is as if your problems are suffocating you.
You will know pressure, and you will feel like you are suffocating in Hell because of God’s wrath and vengeance on the day of judgement as a result of your being self-seeking and not obeying the truth.
So you have eternal life to those who do good described in verses 7 and 10. Then you have eternal condemnation to those who do evil described in verses 8,9. Who is subject to the wrath of God? To the Jews first and also to the Greek.
SUMMARY: Watch what we just read. There were Jews who were condemning the Gentiles for their immorality but were themselves doing the same thing. The Holy Spirit guides the pen of the apostle Paul to write that the Jews would not escape the judgment of God because God is going to judge everyone the same way. Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, God will judge you by taking your life and comparing it to His word. If you remain faithful to God and obedient to His word, then eternal life will be given you to regardless of who you are, Jew or Gentile. If you are self-seeking and do not obey God, then you will be eternally condemned regardless of who you are, Jew or Gentile. Why? Because…
This means that it does not matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, God does not judge a person who his appearance. He does not judge a person by the size of his bank account. He does not judge a person by his race or ethnicity. He judges everyone the same.
This is the concept expressed in verses 1-11. It is then explained in greater detail in the rest of the chapter. As a Jew, you do not have a ticket to heaven. It doesn’t matter who you are, God will treat you just as He treats everyone else. You will have the same blessings given to everyone who comes to Him through Jesus. You will have the same condemnation as everyone who transgresses His laws.
Christians have the tendency to see themselves the same way the Jews saw themselves. Because one was raised in a good Christian home and go to church every Sunday, he thinks that he has a ticket to heaven.
If we are not careful, we will see ourselves as better than someone who has never heard of the gospel, or someone who lives an immoral life. If someone lives a life of homosexuality, gets drunk every weekend, has an affair and commits adultery, we might think that we are better because, after all, we have been Christians for decades. But if I am doing something that I am not supposed to do, then I am just as lost as the person who is living an immoral life.
If someone who has lived an immoral life comes to know Jesus through the gospel, becomes a Christian, and lives their lives by faith, they are just as saved and have just as much hope of heaven as those who have been raised in the church.
There is no partiality with God. God does not accept anyone or condemn anyone because of their appearance. As you read this, you are going to be judged by the same standard as everyone else. That is the concept that is taught in the first 11 verses. The Jews who were sinning the same as the Gentiles needed to know that everyone needs to be made right with God because the Jews and the Gentiles are condemned alike.
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