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BIBLE STUDY on the book of Romans

Chapter 2

In this chapter Paul is showing that God WILL judge self-righteous and religious people. The hurdle to meet the demands of God is just as high on top of the hill with the rich, as it is at the bottom of the hill with the poor. The only difference is that the man at the bottom of the hill will probably see his need sooner than the man at the top of the hill. Self-righteous people and so-called 'good' people need a Saviour. In chapter 2 Paul sets down certain principles by which God is going to judge "good" people. Chapter 1 reveals the unrighteousness of man, and chapter 2 reveals the self-righteousness of man.

God’s Righteous Judgment . . . Romans 2:1-16

Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. [KJV]

God will judge self-righteous and ‘religious’ people. Paul is not speaking about salvation here, but about sin and the basis on which God will judge ALL mankind. Chapter 1 revealed the unrighteousness of mankind; chapter 2 reveals the self-righteousness of mankind. We will see five great ‘standards of judgment’ in this chapter; the basis of how God will judge unbelievers. I surely would not want to be judged by them! I thank God for my Saviour as my only means of obtaining eternal life. Rejecting Jesus will immediately bring a person under the condemnation of God (John 3:18, 36).

Romans 2:2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. [KJV]

The FIRST standard of judgment is: God will judge according to reality; the true and actual state of that person. Anyone who is unthankful, rebellious, ungodly and unrighteous; no matter what nation, age, or description, will be judged by God according to their true character. Because in every willful sin, there is hate and contempt for the purity and goodness of God.

Romans 2:3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? [KJV]

A person who breaks human laws could possibly escape judgment, but there is NO way a person can ever escape the judgment of God! Your offences will be discovered and brought to light (Numbers 32:23). NO one will ever go out of God’s jurisdiction, no matter their power or wealth. There will never be any mistrial. You CANNOT escape God’s judgment!

Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? [KJV]

God’s love and goodness should bring all people down on their knees before Him; but instead, it turns people away from Him! God’s kindness holds back His judgment, giving people time to repent. God’s patience is not approval of sin. Evaluate your conduct; and let God tell you where you need to change. 1 Cor. 11:31-32 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (KJV)

Romans 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; [KJV]

If you keep on with sinful doings, you are “treasuring up wrath.” If you think God won’t judge you, you are wrong! You CANNOT escape God’s “righteous judgment.”

Romans 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: [KJV]

The SECOND standard of judgment is that every unbeliever shall be judged according to what they have done. Every deed shall be revealed in God’s holy light, be it good or bad. No one without Christ will escape that final encounter with the Great Judge. Judgment according to works: Job 34:11; Ps.28:4; 62:12; Pro.24:12,29; Jer.32:19; Lam.3:64: Mat.16:27; 2 Cor.11:15; 1 Pet.1:17.

Romans 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: [KJV]

Those who ‘do good’ will be judged by what they do, but remember, eternal life is NOT a reward for your efforts of well doing. It is a GIFT given by God to all who trust and believe in Christ. Your name must be in the “book of life” (Rev.20:15) or you will NEVER enter Heaven, and only Jesus can place your name in that book!

Romans 2:8-9 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, [9] Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; [KJV]

Some people are selfish; rejecting what is right, following what is wrong. On these, God will pour out His fury. There will be suffering and pain for all those who do what is evil, for ALL peoples.

Romans 2:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: [KJV]

Working good” in God’s eyes is believing Him and accepting His Son in faith, to save you (1 John 5:10-13). Then comes glory, honor and peace!

Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God. [KJV]

This is the THIRD standard of judgment. It does not matter if you are a Jew or Gentile; red, yellow, black or white. If you are in Christ (Gal.3:26-29), you are God's child. If you are NOT in Christ, you are a child of the devil (1 John 3:10). God has no favorites. ALL persons are alike before Him! The all important issue is: do you have Jesus in your life? Have you accepted Christ as your Saviour? God is NO respector of persons: 2 Chron.19:7; Col.3:25; Acts 10:34. 

Romans 2:12-13 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; [13] (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. [KJV]

The FORTH standard of judgment: those who have never seen a Bible still know right from wrong. They’ll be judged because they did not listen to their own conscience. People break even their own rules. People are not saved by the light they have; they are judged by the light they have.

Romans 2:14-15 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) (KJV)

Even when Gentiles, who do not have God's written law, follow what the law says, they show that they know right from wrong. They really are showing that God's law is written in their hearts, for their consciences either accuses them or tells them they are doing what is right (Rom.1:20).

This is the FIFTH standard of judgment: Gentiles (non-Jews), did not have the written law; but they had their conscience within them, directing them to do things by the light of nature. Conscience is our witness, keeping or breaking these natural laws. Our consciences either acquit or condemn us. If you travel around the world, you would see evidence in every society and culture of God’s moral law. All cultures prohibit murder; yet in all societies that law is broken. We belong to a very stubborn race. We know what is right, but we insist on doing what is wrong. People must live by the light they have within them. God will judge unbelievers on this basis.

Romans 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. [KJV]

A false teaching today is that if you live a good, moral life, you will go to Heaven. The day will come when God, by Jesus Christ, will judge everyone's secret life. Nothing brings more terror to sinners, and more comfort to saints, than that Christ Jesus shall be the Judge. Secret services to Him shall be well rewarded, and ALL secret sins (even dirty thoughts) shall then be punished, and brought to light.

The Jews and the Law . . . Romans 2:17-29

Romans 2:17-18 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, 18And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; [KJV]

After describing the fate of the unbelieving, pagan Gentiles, Paul moves to the Jews. Jews: #1. Bear the name of a Jew. #2. Rested in the law. #3. Boast in God. #4. Know the will of God. #5. Know right from wrong.

BUT . . . despite their knowledge of God’s will, they too are guilty, because they refused to live by what they knew was right; they refused to believe, obey and fellowship with God.

Romans 2:19-20 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. [KJV]

The Jews were convinced they could be a guide for the blind and a beacon light for people who were lost in darkness. They thought they could instruct the uneducated and teach children the ways of God. They felt sure they had complete knowledge and truth in the law. They had been born and raised with the Mosaic Law; they knew it inside out! Yet they themselves were deep in darkness.

Romans 2:21-22 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 22Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? [KJV]

Paul told the Jews that they needed to teach themselves, not others! They knew the law so well that they had learned how to excuse their own actions while criticizing others. But the law is more than legal requirements . . . it is a guideline for living according to God’s will. It also reminds us that we cannot please God without a proper relationship to Him. Jesus taught that to even withhold what rightfully belongs to someone else is stealing (Mark 7:9-13), and looking on another person with lustful, adulterous intent is adultery (Matthew 5:27-28). Before we accuse someone else, we must look at ourselves and see if that sin, in any form, exists within us.

Romans 2:23-24 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. [KJV]

Spiritual pride is hypocritical and very dangerous. It dishonors God and ‘religion,’ by their not living according to what they profess. Those who know to do right and refuse to do it will be punished more severely. These verses are a sharp criticism of hypocrisy. It is so much easier to tell others how to behave than to behave properly ourselves. It is much easier to say the right words than to do right deeds in our lives. We should always make sure that our actions match our words.

Romans 2:25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. [KJV]

Circumcision was the symbol of a person believing in the Mosiac Law. The rite had absolutely NO merit in itself. The Jewish ceremony of circumcision is only worth something if you are obedient to God's law. But if Jews do NOT obey God's law, they are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile.

Romans 2:26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? [KJV]

If Gentiles, who are not circumcised, obey the commands of God, will not God consider him as though he were circumcised?

Romans 2:27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? [KJV]

In fact, uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God's law will be much better off than the Jews who are circumcised and know so much about God's law, but do not obey it.

Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: [KJV]

A person is not a true Jew (according to God) just because they were born of Jewish parents or because they have gone through the Jewish ceremony of circumcision. NO forms or ordinances can benefit us, without the renewing grace of God; which always leads to our seeking the righteousness of God by faith. For we are no more a Christian today, than he was really a Jew of old, who is one only on the outside.

Neither is baptism, an outward ceremony in the flesh. Neither circumcision or outward baptism can save us! A true Christian is someone who is inwardly (in the heart) a true believer, and carries out an obedient faith.

True baptism too, is of the heart; by the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Ghost; bringing to us a spiritual frame of mind, and a willingness to follow the truth and its holy ways. Let us pray that we may be made true Christians, not on the outside, but on the inside; in the heart and soul; baptized, not only with water, but with the Holy Ghost; and let our praise be, not of men, but of God.

Paul makes it quite clear that membership in God’s family is based on internal, not external, qualities. All whose hearts are right with God are real Jews . . . that is, part of God’s family. The real children of Abraham are all those who put their faith in God. (Galatians 3:7).

Attending church, being baptized, confirmed, or having your name on a church role, is NOT enough, just as submitting to circumcision was not enough for the Jews. God desires and demands our heartfelt devotion and obedience. A humble and thankful glorying in God by believers, is the basis and total sum of all worship.

Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. [KJV]

God had already stated that circumcision must be of the heart and ears (Deut. 10:16; Jer.4:4; 6:10). When we come to Christ, we are "circumcised," but not by a physical procedure. It’s a spiritual procedure, or cutting away your old sinful nature, that is performed by none other than God Himself! We (Jews OR Gentiles) who worship God in the Spirit are the only ones who are truly circumcised. We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done for us. In our new life, it doesn't matter if we are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all true believers (Gal.3:26-29; Col.3:11).

The Book of Romans

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