THE JUDGMENTS OF MAN AND THE JUDGMENT OF GOD
Outline of the Message
1. 2 kinds of human judgment: the Gentiles endorse others’ sins (1:32); the Jews judge other’s sins, but commit the same sins themselves (chapter 2).
2. 2 aspects of judgment by God: he judges according to truth, with no respect to persons; but God does consider the distinction between those “without the law” and those “under the law.”
Commentary on the Passage: Rom. 2:1-13
The Jews accept Paul’s teaching concerning God’s wrath, but do not consider themselves to be under his wrath. Paul rebukes them harshly (verse 5).
This kind of mentality is not limited to Jews.
God’s judgment is according to truth.
The consequence of God’s judgment is death (2:8-9).
2:1 “Wherefore” (first word in the original verse). “Wherefore” means: this verse gives
the conclusion; the following passage gives the reasons for the conclusion.
(1) You judge the sins committed by others. (2) You also commit the same sins.
(3) Therefore you condemn yourself, without excuse.
The degeneration of Gentiles (1:32): they do not think that their sins deserve condemnation; furthermore, they endorse such sins.
The blindness and hypocrisy of the Jews: not that they condemn others; but rather they condemn others, but at the same time commit the same sins themselves.
They cannot see, that when they condemn others, they condemn themselves.
2:2 Verse 1: The Jews condemn themselves. Verse 2: God condemns the Jews.
“Judge” means condemnatory sentence. “According to truth” – according to the facts of the case (verse 11).
2:4 God’s covenant mercies (3:2; 9:4-5). Cf. Old Testament history of Israel. Even
more: God’s mercy during the New Testament period, when the Jews reject Christ.
The Jews rejected the greatest grace and mercy of God: this becomes the most forceful reason for God’s wrath and punishment.
The Jews are preserved, they still survive due to God’s great mercy.
God postpones judgment and punishment.
“Despise”: (1) underestimate significance of God’s grace. (2) Think lightly of it.
(2) Do not respect it. (4) Scorn it.
“Not knowing”: do not consider the significance. (Not ignorance).
The goal of God’s mercy, and its inevitable consequence: man’s repentance.
2:5 Paul moves from implications (verses 1-4) to direct indictment.
What man does: treasuring up, piling up. What God does: pour out wrath.
God’s wrath is according to the truth. Therefore: God’s wrath does not increase; man’s sins increase, therefore store up God’s wrath.
Literally: “wrath in the day of wrath.”
God powerfully “reveals” his righteous judgment. Reveal: cf. 1:16, 17.
2:6 God’s righteous judgment: (a) It is universal: to each person (cf. verses 9-10);
(b) Its criterion: according to each person’s works. (3) The inevitability of judgment.
The criterion of God’s judgment does not contradict other passages. (Mt. 16:27; 25:31-46; John 5:29; I Cor. 3:11-15; II Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:7-10; Eph. 6:8; Col. 3:23, 24; Eccl. 12:14.)
Paul did not abandon the criteria in his gospel (grace, faith).
It is true that: Paul’s emphasis is: all mankind lies under sin; no “flesh” can be justified by the works (of obeying the law).
It is true that: Paul does not proclaim God’s grace and justification through faith until Rom. 3:21.
But we should remember: Paul has already given the theme of the gospel in 1:3, 4 and 1:16-17.
In Rom. 2:16, Paul appeals to “the doctrine of judgment” in the gospel.
In Rom. 2:28-29 Paul says that circumcision is meaningless outside the gospel.
In Rom. 2:4, he again mentions the mercy God reveals in the gospel.
In verse 16, Paul speaks of not what God would/might do, but what God will do on the last day.
Verses 7-10: The criterion declared in verse 6, is applied to two kinds of people.
2:7 Those who do good. They pursue glory, honor, and immortality. Glory:
transformation of believers (bodies). Honor: what God thinks of them.
Immortality: the hope of resurrection. All three blessings are redemptive, and all are blessings God will give to the believers eschatologically (at the end-time).
Patiently do good: the pursuit of eternal life and doing-good are complementary.
Good works without pursuing eternal life: is dead works.
Pursuing eternal life without good works: is presumptuous.
2:8 “Factious” people: are disobedient to the truth, in unrighteousness.
They openly rebel against God.
Note the relationship between truth and righteousness.
Truth and unrighteousness are opposites.
1:18 Mankind suppress the truth in unrighteousness (unrighteously).
Here (2:8): Truth = redemptive revelation. Broader in scope than in 1:18.
Disobedience: focus on the unbelief of man.
Wrath and indignation: the reward of disobedience. Opposite to patience.
Indignation: God’s intense displeasure.
2:9 Tribulation and anguish: in contrast to wrath and indignation.
Man’s experience, result of God’s wrath and indignation.
To every soul: God’s wrath is upon all mankind.
First the Jews: they are first in privilege and blessing, also first in wrath and indignation.
2:10 The reward for good works: glory, honor, peace. Shalom: the whole of life.
2:11 God is impartial: has no respect of persons. This verse confirms the above, and is an
introduction to what follows.
Relation to above: God’s judgment is impartial (equity).
The criterion of God’s judgment: the character of man’s works.
Jews: first in glory, first in wrath. But there is not more glory/honor/peace for the believing Jew!
2:12 Those who sin without the law, perish without the law…
God is impartial, has no respect for persons: but he considers the different situations people are in: their difference in knowledge of the law.
There are those who are without the law, and those under the law.
The main point is: God’s condemnation/judgment is impartial to both kinds.
Paul does not mean to say at all, that: those who are without the law will receive eternal life.
God’s law: Moses’ law, the Ten Commandments is the summary (Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:1-22).
Moses’ law clearly reveals that: God condemns sinners.
The origin of sin is in our hearts. Our nature is the origin of sin; not the law (Rom. 7:13).
In the human heart, man knows “the works of the law,” because the works of the law are written in our hearts (2:15).
This is because man is created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27).
Man does know the standard for God’s judgment of man’s works.
Therefore: ignorance is not a reasonable excuse.
Sin without the law: without the law=adverb.
Those who are without the law are not totally without law: 14-15: they are their own law to themselves.
(to be continued)
2/16/2006 12:22:00 PM