Hello friend!

Shhh! We are not allowed to talk about certain topics anymore. Since certain topics may offend others, it is better to remain silent on these
topics, right? May it never be! When you approach God’s Word chapter by chapter and verse by verse, you will run into topics that are sure to offend someone. Whether it be some of the hot topics of the day like marriage, sexual sin, tithing and even God’s judgement, you cannot skip over those verses because they are uncomfortable. In 1998 an anonymous donor contributed more than 15 million dollars to an organization called God Speaks to start a billboard campaign. One of the signs read, “I had to make you uncomfortable; otherwise, you would’ve never moved!” Paul, in Romans two, brings up one of those topics we’re supposed to tiptoe around because it might offend some, but we can’t do it; it’s right in front of us, so we must address it — God’s judgement. First, let me remind you where we have been in our previous letters on Romans.

Romans 1:1-17 The Gospel is the righteousness of God revealed for salvation to all who believe.
Romans 1:18-32 The wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness. Humans are without excuse, as God has revealed His character and attributes since creation.

Let’s approach Romans 2 in three simple sections.

1. God’s judgement is according to Truth (2:1-5)

It seems Paul is repeating himself when he continues in chapter two with a term of conclusion, “You have no excuse” (2:1). If the Jewish members of the church were reading chapter one, they would look back and have said,

“Bunch of heathens, serves them right for the way they live. Thankfully I am not in their shoes!” The Jewish reader wouldn’t get too far into the second chapter before they would read, “Everyone of you who passes judgement, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things” (2:1). Paul makes it clear that God’s judgement is not based on things like gossip, hearsay or our own opinions and evaluations. One scholar addressed this topic: “Self-righteousness exists because of two deadly errors. First is minimalizing God’s moral standard by emphasizing externals (visible acts seen by others), and the second is underestimating the depth of one’s own sinfulness (looking at what is in the heart).” This attitude is not just seen in the Pharisees of Jesus’ day; it remains a statement still made today — “I am better than others; I am a good person; I don’t need Jesus.” This mindset does not align with Biblical truth. The truth is that God’s judgement is based on His Word. In verse two, Paul says, “And we know that the judgement of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.” We can translate Romans 2:2 by saying, “The judgement of God is according to the truth.” Psalm 145:17, “The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds.” In verse four of this same chapter Paul, addressing the Jewish believers in the church, asks, “Or do you think lightly, do you underestimate

or treat God with contempt. In Romans 1, we learned that God hates all sin. Romans 2:1 shows that the Jews had a knowledge of right and wrong. This is how they judged the Gentiles; yet even with that knowledge, they were full of sin. We’ll see this expressed further in chapter three. These first five verses show that God’s judgement is based on truth.

2. God’s judgement is according to a person’s deeds (2:6-16)

“God will render to each person according to their deeds” (2:6). Paul starts
this section by contrasting people. “To those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (2:7). They
are compared to the selfishly ambitious who “do not obey the truth but
obey unrighteousness, wrath, and indignation” (2:8). Paul says the path of unrighteousness leads to tribulation and distress for both Jew and Gentile (2:9). It is important to note that throughout Scripture we are taught that salvation

is not based on our deeds. Yet, the Bible does teach that judgement is always based on our deeds. The contrast shows the deeds of those who are saved against those who are not. The deeds of those who are saved prove that they are saved. Although sin is still evident in the believers’ life, they are not a slave to sin, and there is clear evidence of righteousness in their lives.

Paul wraps up this section by bringing the Law into the picture. It’s one thing to hear the Law but another to be a doer of the Law. The Jewish people had a greater knowledge of God’s Word yet did not obey. The Gentiles did not have the Law but had the evidence of God within them and around them to instinctively hold to God’s moral law.

This is best summed up as “they knew right and wrong.” This is where the lines blur in our culture today. That internal conscience of knowing what is right and wrong is being skewed. The things we know are wrong are now considered right, and the things that are right are now wrong. All of this goes against God’s moral law, and God will look not only into the hearts of man but also base His judgement on how we act in the world.

3. Judgement is according to the Gospel (2:17-29)

The Jews lived an external life; they boasted in the works of the Law, the privilege they had as God’s chosen people. They had the advantage of the Law, the relationship they had with God, but they chose too not to be obedient. They looked at the Gentiles as the ones who were blind, living in darkness, foolish, and immature (2:19-20). The outward religious Jews were rotten inside, full
of sin and quick to judge. Paul points out to the Jewish reader that external religious practice does nothing for your salvation. One scholar wrote, “Their religion was a matter of outward ceremony and not inward reality.” The Gospel demands inward change.
John 3:7 says, “You must be born again.” Twice, Paul referred to a day of wrath where judgement is coming based on one’s deeds.

This judgment is right and true. At the beginning of Paul’s letter, he set the standard for avoiding this coming day. Romans 1:16 states, “The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”

A day is coming when all will bow before God, and He will judge. He will see those who the blood of Christ has transformed, but He will also see those who have lived an unrighteous life. Now is the time to share the truth of Jesus, the reality of God’s judgement. We cannot stay silent any longer. How many people do you know that have a skewed opinion of God? Do they think they will be judged by their own opinion of how they lived or according to their good deeds? Perhaps by their status or their religion?

A day is coming, a day of judgement based on God’s righteousness; we’ll stand before God and account for how we lived our lives. The Gospel is the only way to salvation. Share it with others, disciple in truth. It’s a matter of life and death.

Thank you for your support of Precept Ministries Canada. Your donations are used to engage students nationwide by offering free training workshops, leader mentoring groups, online classes, bi-weekly podcasts, translations, and so much more. None of these things are possible without your financial support. Prayerfully consider supporting Precept through monthly giving or a one-time gift. Our hope and prayer is that those engaged in Precept are ready for the Lord’s return.


Serving Him and you,

Mark Sheldrake, National Director

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