Romans Chapter 2
Let us continue our journey through the book of Romans. I want to thank you for the significant and positive response to our study. I pray that these emails are beneficial to your walk with the Lord and help you on your journey.
Read: Romans 2
There is considerable debate amongst theologians who the intended audience of chapter 2 is to. Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin conclude that Paul is writing to the Jewish believers in the Church of Rome. While scholars like D.A. Carson and R.C. Sproul argue that he is writing to all the believers, I tend to agree with Carson and Sproul. While later in Romans, Paul does address the Jews directly, here it seems to address a human trait, not just a Jewish tendency. I believe that I have struggled with these issues, as I am sure that many others have as well. With that, let’s dive into God’s Word together.
1. God’s Judgement (1-11): It seems that in this chapter that Paul is repeating himself. While this is an excellent tactic in teaching, Paul is switching his audience from all mankind to speaking directly to his readers. In the previous chapter, he condemns all of humanity to living in sin. That the fact that we are able to take another breath is because of the wonderful grace and mercy of God, here Paul is addressing those in the church. In chapter 1, Paul did not menace his words in confronting the sinfulness of humanity. It would be easy for many to try and excuse themselves from this description. “Well, that’s not me…” Paul seeming to head us off at our internal debate confront us head-on. We say to ourselves, “I am not like those pagans that worship false idols.” Are we? Do you put other things on the throne of your heart? “I’ve never killed anyone!” Have you hated anyone in your heart? We tend to excuse our sin in the sight of others, yet the standard of living is not others, it’s perfection. Paul’s point is that we fail even our own judgments, our own standards. Therefore, Paul presents two paths before his readers. The way of the righteous and the way of the sinner.
The way of the righteous is seen as one that does the right thing. v.7, 9-10. Glory, honor, and immortality. To the one that always chooses to do the right thing. That they live an authentic life of holiness and godliness, only one issue for us; none of us do that. So what is the second way?
The way of the sinner. The ones that choose to do what they want to do, the ones that choose the way of their nature, we saw this way described in chapter one. Without the divine intervention of the Lord, this is the path in which we all choose. This is the path that we are all going towards—the path to eternal judgement.
2. God’s Judgement and the Law (12-29). In this section, we come across a challenging passage. One that I hope to give you some understanding, though I confess my feebleness at this endeavor. In this section, there are many different aspects to which we hope to understand and begin to grasp. So let us take this little by little.
A. Law Written on their hearts. (12-16) Paul writes that man is judged according to the Law of God. That according to the Law and our doing of the Law, we are judged. But the Gentiles were not given the Law to live by, therefore, how can one be judged by that Law? Paul says that they had the Law of God written on their hearts. They have their own conscience that they did not live by and obey that the Law that is written on their hearts accuses them of their sin apart even from the written Law.
B. The Law of God. (17-24) To the Jew that says, “I have the Law of God.” The ones that say that they live by that Law. Paul points to them the Law to which they seem to find their hope in morality is the very same Law that points back at them in their wickedness. We will see Jesus doing this very same argument in John 7 this weekend. The ones that look to the Law for their hope and justification should see their condemnation.
C. Circumcision of the heart. (25-29) To those who brag of their heritage and their tradition. “We have circumcision; we are God’s chosen people,” Paul states that it is of great value if you live out those commands entirely. But if you break the Law, then what value is it to you? You have failed to live up your end of the deal. The purpose of the Law was not for one to find salvation. The purpose of the Law was to be that of a mirror. To reveal to people that they could not live out the Law. Instead, they should look to the sacrifice of God. In the final verse of chapter 2, Paul gives us a look into that clue. That circumcision that matters is that of the heart, and that is performed not by human hands, but by the Spirit of God. When the Spirit changes one, his praise is not that of man, but of God. This is the reason that the book of Romans is so hard for so many. The book of Romans does not sugar coat the sinfulness of humanity. We like to think that we are not that bad. We have some good about us; we are just sick. Paul will let us know that we are not just sick; we are wretched people. Everything that we do is tainted by sin. There is no hope in and of yourself, none. The only hope that you can find is that of Christ Jesus.
I understand that I may have raised more questions than answers. I hope so. My goal is not to be a commentary for you, rather be one that gets you to dive deeper into the Word of God. I truly love you all, and I miss you.
I look forward to the day we worship together again.