Romans 2:12-29

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Romans 2:12-29
What is something people have that sets them apart something that imparts special ability or privilege? - An example would be a private jet. If you have a private jet you don't have to go through the regular airport security line with everyone else, you get your own entrance. What else?
Romans 2:12–16
12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.
Sometimes the points Paul makes don’t make sense when you first read it. What’s he trying to say here? It seems like there a possible advantage to one party but depending on how you read that it could go either way, is that his point? No, the point is reinforcing our previous verse. All have sinned, that’s a given for both camps of humanity. The ones without the law still die in the end, the ones who have the law are still dead and judged by the law. Verse 11 would have been a shocking and divisive thing to say to Jews. But this ties right in to where things left off in Verse 11 There is no partiality with God! No one gets out of this picture justified and alive.
13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.
Here is the real distinction. The Jews presumed, actually, they outright said, “we have the law” as if that in and of itself was their righteousness. They were counting on merely being the chosen people.
14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.
We have to keep track of the use of the word ‘law’ Paul uses this all over Romans, and he doesn’t always mean THE Law of Moses. He starts talking about new ‘law’ a law of the mind, a law of sin and death, etc. so just keep that tidbit in your mind as we move through Romans. When you see ‘law’ you need make a mental note to check the context. What law is he talking about. Here he says the Gentiles - when they fulfill the “mosaic” law - they ARE a law to themselves - EVEN THOUGH they are not the chosen people, they aren’t the ones who were given the law, they aren’t the official “hearers of the law” like verse 13 talked about.
15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them
Don’t forget the natural law all are accountable to that we talked about back in Chapter 1 two weeks ago. How on earth could someone fulfill the law that they don’t know? This isn’t talking about ceremonial and civil law but moral. Morality is external and objective. We might not have 100% clarity on it but it exists. In us we have a conscience that is generally aligned to convict us of sin. Circumstances and our own choices can certainly burn or sear that conscience up. This is mentioned in 1 Tim 4:2 “through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,” a seared conscience implies it’s burned up and no longer functioning. But maybe we became Christians late in life, or we know those people who have seared their conscience already is there hope, can you undo a well done conscience? YES! Heb 9:11-14 “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” Yes, the blood of Jesus purifies our conscience from death to life.
16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
God will judge people by Christ Jesus. I really think when the unsaved people get to Judgement that God won’t tell them which of God’s laws they failed, I think he’ll point out where their failed their own law. Everyone has a moral law of their own. It probably isn’t exactly the one they say they follow but the one they have secretly. When they fail even their own standards and are judged lacking I think it will hit home far more that the higher standard of perfection. But, in the end all men are judged for whether they are in Christ or not.
Romans 2:17–24 (ESV)
17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God
18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law;
19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,
uh oh this is starting to sound like a trap...
20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, this language btw was what they would call the proselytes who converted, we find out from the 4th century St John Chrysostom in his commentary on Romans we find that Paul was spitting their own words back at them. having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—
21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?
yeah the ball dropped.. do you not teach yourself!?
While you preach against stealing, do you steal?
Here we start our list of hypocrisies. There is a dutch saying “Wat je zegt ben je zelf Met je kop door de helft” What you say is what your are with half a head.
22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? The first two seem to make sense as directly opposed don’t they? What about the last one? I think, and we see some ancient commentaries and language from other Jewish historians that this “robbing temples” is a highly sacrilegious act. In Acts 19.37 “For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess.” We see it’s up there along side blaspheme as a good reason for a riot to start. So this is like saying do you oppose sacrilege while committing sacrilege?
23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.
You have claimed one thing but done another.
24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
Now we’re getting serious, one of the things people do that upsets me the most is misrepresenting a group I’m part of. I don’t mean an outsider misrepresenting me, I mean someone IN my group that goes out and behaves in a way that reflects on me because I’m also part of the same group. Can you image how much more upsetting that would be for a president if an ambassador made our country look bad through their actions? What about God? That’s disturbing. This is not a new accusation either. Isa 52.5 “Now therefore what have I here,” declares the Lord, “seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail,” declares the Lord, “and continually all the day my name is despised.” Ezek 36.20 “But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they had to go out of his land.’” Ezek 36.23 “And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.”
25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.
We’ve addressed now being ethnically Jewish, a teacher of the law, and now even circumcised which are all outward things that we might think would make you Jewish but it’s an inward attitude of reverence and humility; that seeks righteousness not for appearance but for it’s own sake that pleases God.
Romans 2:26–29 (ESV)
26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?
27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law.
28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.
29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.
Being aligned with God is not related to all the external stuff. It’s a heart matter. Paul deals with the lie of ethnic salvation, then the lie of teacher superiority, then the outward sign. Now we see the doer of the law is more in line with God than someone who is ethnically, or teaching, or has the sign of Jewishness. Has your heart been cut, circumcised, by the Spirit?
So what if we’ve just gone through this whole thing and pointed out all the things that don’t seem to matter, do they not matter at all? Is there any reason for it in the first place? - We’ll tackle that next week in chapter 3.
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