Topic: Divine principles of judgment that prove the Jew is equally condemned with the Gentile
Text: Romans 2:12-29
In the previous lesson, we studied that the Jews, in the view of Paul, are equally condemned as sinners before God. We also learnt about two main divine principles of judgment that prove that the Jews are equally condemned with the Gentile. These principles included the fact that God’s judgment is according to truth and God’s Judgment is according to persons deeds. Today’s lesson continues the theme of the Principles of Divine Judgment.
Principles of Divine Judgment
3. God’s Judgment is Impartial (2:12-15)
Romans 2: 12-15 shows that God will judge people according to the light they have received. But never think that the Gentiles (who were unaware of Moses) lived apart from law. For the moral law of God was written on their hearts (see 1:19). Humankind will be judged according to the knowledge of God, which they possess and never according to any higher standard that they do not possess. The Jews hear the Law but refuse to do it, and will be thus judged more severely. The same will happen to those who hear God’s Word today but will not heed it.
It is interesting to observe that Paul in verse 15 notes that Our hearts is the place on which the requirements of the law have been written. Our consciences play the role of prodding and reproving us and our thoughts usually accuse us, although, it sometimes even excuses us.
4. God’s Judgment is According to the Gospel of Christ (2:17-29)
Twice now Paul has mentioned a Day of Judgment (vv. 5 and 16). Three truths about Judgment day – the Day of God’s Wrath (vs. 5):
- God’s judgment will include the hidden areas of our lives. The Judgement will be of the heart, when God will reveal all secrets. God will judge men’s secrets (cf. I Sam. 16:7; Psa. 139:1ff; Jer. 17:10; Luke. 16:15; Heb. 4:12ff.).
- Judgement will take place through Jesus Christ (cf. Jn. 5:22, 27). Christ will be the judge
- And the issue will be: What did you do with the Gospel of Christ.
Some Important Commentary
- The Jews boasted of their racial and religious privileges. Because God had given them His Word, they knew His will and had a finer sense of values. They looked upon the Gentiles as blind, in the dark, fools and babes (vv. 19-20).
- The Jews considered themselves to be God’s exclusive favourites; but what they failed to see was that these very privileges obligated them to live holy lives. They disobeyed the very law they preached to the Gentiles. The result was that even the Gentiles blasphemed God’s name because of the sins of the Jews. Paul is referring perhaps to Isa. 52:5, Ezek. 36:21-11, or Nathan’s words to David in 2 Sam. 12:14. If any people had religion, it was the Jews; yet their religion was a matter of outward ceremony and not inward reality.
- They boasted of their rite of circumcision, a ceremony that identified them with the living God; yet what good is a physical rite if there is no obedience to God’s Word? Paul even goes so far as to say that the uncircumcised Gentile who obeyed God’s Word was better off than the circumcised Jew who disobeyed it (v. 27), and that the circumcised Jew who disobeyed God was looked upon as uncircumcised. For a true Jew, is one who has faith inwardly, whose heart has been changed, and not one who merely follows outward ceremonies in the flesh.
Verse 27 boldly states that the Gentiles who by nature, though uncircumcised, fulfil the Law are going to judge the Jews who transgress God’s standards.
The Gospel of Christ demands an inward change (John 3:7). It is not obedience to religious systems that will allow one to pass the test when Christ judges the secrets of men’s heart. It is the Gospel of Christ that is God’s power unto salvation, both to the Jew and Gentile (Rom. 1:16). If a person has never believed the Gospel and received Christ, then he or she stands condemned. The Jews, with all their religion and legalism, were (and are) just as much under sin as the Gentiles – and more so, because to them were given greater privileges and opportunities to know the truth.
This passage therefore states clearly that God does not judge according to human principles, but according to His Truth, according to our deeds, and according to the Gospel of Christ. Thus, in chapter 1 Paul proves that the Gentiles are without excuse, and here in chapter 2, that the Jews are without excuse, and here in chapter 2, that the Jews are without excuse. In chapter 3, he will prove that the whole world is under sin and condemnation, desperately needing the grace of God.
1. What is the meaning of the moral law of God?
2. Why is it that God’s Judgment is impartial?
3. God’s judgment is according to Jesus Christ and it includes every area of our lives. Do you agree?
4. Have far are you prepared for God’s Judgment?
Rev. John Kwasi Fosu
Pastor in Charge,
Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Hamburg