Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Romans 4
Faith, Works, and Keeping Score

“Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” [Romans 4:8]

I. Does God keep score? [v 8]

A. Sometimes life seems more like Calvinball than chess.

1. Chess is an orderly/complex game with pieces that move the same way for everyone every time.

2. Calvinball is a chaotic game where nothing is the same more than once.

3. Clash of cultures (modernism/chess or postmodernism/Calvinball).

B. We experience life as a struggle.

1. Take Abraham as an example.

a. He was told to leave family and go to an unknown place.
(He was still going there when he died. See Hebrews 11.)

b. He was told he would have a child (promised by God).
(Sarah’s idea was to have him marry Hagar – Ishmael.)

c. He was told to take Isaac, the son God promised, and sacrifice him.

(Sometimes our dreams, even the ones’ God gives us, have to be let go/handed over.)

d. Abraham was not the only one. Take Noah for example.

2. How about us?

a. We struggle to make sense of things we cannot explain.

b. We suspect spiritual dynamics beyond our control.

c. We wonder if God is keeping score, and if He’s being fair.

II. How does God keep score?

A. There are two possible ways (according to theology).

1. The obvious one is by what we do.

a. Judgement is by works (Romans 2:6).

b. We already know that works = wrath (Romans 2:5).

c. Unfortunately we keep score this way (generally against others).

2. The unbelievable one is by a gift.

a. God makes a promise = “covenant.”

b. A contract is something that BOTH sides have to do.

c. A promise/covenant is something that only one side has to do.

B. It is frustrating if:

1. We do not understand the rules and scoring system.

a. Let’s say you saw a chess game were one player was correctly playing a sacrifice. You might think they were losing if you did not see their idea and the next move.

b. We look at life, at times it seems out of control and we don’t understand.

2. We do not improve.

a. We start our spiritual walk, we do what we are told to are the correct things to do BUT we make mistakes, nothing seems to make a difference.

b. Abraham made three distinct mistakes that looked like he did not trust God.

***** The problem is that eventually a suspicion sets in and we ask... *****

III. Is God cheating us?

A. Let’s look at this again.

1. We know that work = wages (v 4) and trust = gift (vv 4, 5)

a. The Bible says “The wages of sin is death...” (Romans 6:23) That means spiritual death – eternal hell.

b. The Bible says “...BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

2. We know that the sign/seal comes AFTER (v 11).

a. In other words, the promise comes before the down payment/fulfillment.

b. But “faith has no value and the promise is worthless” (v 14) if we try to work for it.

c. Growth, fruit, and blessing is the natural result of being in right relationship with God THROUGH the promise/faith.

B. It is encouraging when this “clicks.”

1. It means that it doesn’t matter if life seems like orderly chess or chaotic Calvinball.

a. Some things will not make sense – but they don’t have to.

b. Some things are out of our control – but they don’t have to be in our control.

(Imagine the next time you fly... deciding you should fly the plane instead of the pilot. Imagine someone else wanting to fly the plane. We want to do it personally and we do it in the church.)

2. A simple truth begins to set in: God is at work for His promise and pleasure not ours.

***** Some may then ask.... *****

IV. Is God on our side?

A. There is an answer to that question: Jesus (v 25).

1. Jesus was delivered, handed over to die...

2. BECAUSE of our sins.

a. The only one keeping score against the believer is the devil.

b. Jesus died to erase, permanently, all those marks against us.

3. Jesus was raised to life FOR our justification.

a. As the Message puts it, “conditions were equally hopeless.”

b. There is no difference/margin that the blood of Jesus does not beat.

B. So how do we know? (The same way Abraham knew.)

1. Against all hope (v 18).

a. Sometimes things look bad an hopeless.

b. It’s an opportunity for God to work. Why? So we cannot say that we did it.

2. Face the fact (v 19).

a. We, in our own strength, are seriously messed up.

b. You cannot find a flawless person. They don’t exist. What you can find is a person who is persistent in their faith.

3. Do not decide by unbelief (v 20).

a. In this world we have lots of reasons to waver.

b. However, there is one reason to not waver: nothing else will work.

4. Be fully persuaded (v 21).

a. That God has the ability to do what he’s promised.

b. That is “trust.”

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Romans 3
“Justified Freely”

I. Everyone is under sin. This means HELPLESS [Romans 3:9 – 20].

A. Two truths come with this fact.

1. Sin has consequences.

a. For the believer, it means God’s discipline.

b. For the one who is not a believer it means condemnation and wrath. It will result in eternal hell if the person does not repent and believe in Jesus.

2. Sin is not open to human interpretation.

a. God has defined “sin.” The church has not defined sin, a preacher has not defined sin, the individual can not define sin.

(Ill.) That was part of the temptation in the Garden of Eden. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." [The devil speaking to Eve in Genesis 3:5] The lie was that they already KNEW good (obeying God) and evil (disobeying God). The lie was that we could define good and evil.

b. The interpretation of sin is not subject to what the culture or society says.

***** Right is right if no one is doing it. Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. *****

B. Religious/Ethnic affiliation is irrelevant (does not matter).

1. [v 10] Fact: No religious practice works (to save).

a. “Righteousness” apart from Jesus is impossible.

b. Isaiah 64:6 “our righteous acts are like filthy rags.”

2. [v 11] Fact: There is no true seeking God.

a. People APPEAR to seek after God, but not on God’s terms. What happens is we create God in our own image.

b. The Bible says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:12]

3. [v 12] Fact: There are no good works that save.

a. People do a lot of good things (hospitals, police, schools, etc...) but we are talking about spiritual matters. In other words, from the view of EARNING salvation, it’s all meaningless.

b. Our good works are tainted because we can never truly be obedient to God in our own understanding and power.

***** As Americans it is too easy for us to believe that we earn or deserve what we have. Historically, we have worked hard. You might say we have been driven. We value the driven. Which makes it hard for us to understand that spiritually it does not work that way. *****

C. All are accountable to God. [“all have sinned...” Romans 3:23]

1. [Romans 1:20] We are all without excuse.

a. Even the “pagans.”

b. Even those ignorant (never heard) of the truth.

2. [Romans 2:1 – 5] Our polished philosophies are worthless.

a. The Greeks saw themselves as “moral” and distinguished themselves from the barbarians.

b. The Romans had the rule of law and their culture to separate themselves from others.

c. These things are incomplete without Jesus.

3. [Romans 3:1 – 3] Our religious ritual and practice is empty.

a. The Jews had the Scriptures, the temple and the sacrificial system.

b. They could quote Scripture and all the scholars, but they missed Jesus.

***** It is impossible for anyone, under any conditions or circumstances to be declared righteous EXCEPT FOR THE BLOOD OF JESUS. The trouble is that as American we do not want to be accountable to anyone except ourselves (as individuals, not society or a group). *****

II. Since we are helpless under sin, God stepped into the situation [Romans 3:21 – 31].

A. God provides a righteousness apart from the law [v 21].

1. [v 22] Righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ.

a. Romans 1:17 tells us it is a “gift.”

b. This righteousness is based on God’s character [Romans 3:5, 25, 27].

2. [v 24] Justification (being declared free from God’s wrath) comes freely by God’s grace (through Jesus).

a. This is the state of being accounted righteous before God.

b. The problem is that if this is true than we are no different than anyone else. If you work for something (earn it) it distinguishes you from others. If it is a gift then anyone and everyone has the right to it (even those we may want to fear and hate).

3. What do you have to do to get a gift?

a. Nothing.

b. You do have to receive it.

***** Freedom from the eternal consequences and present control and guilty of sin is through Jesus. *****

(Ill.) The hymn “Solid Rock” says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name.”

B. God provides a sacrifice of atonement (covering, payment, satisfaction).

1. [v 25] Thus, we have salvation through faith in Jesus’ blood (the payment to cover our sins and satisfy the wrath of God).

2. [v 25] There is the issue of “justice” (fairness). God demonstrated justice by:

a. Allowing Jesus to die in our place. [Sound fair? Not for someone (Jesus) who is innocent.]

b. Allowing Jesus to go to hell in our place. [Sound fair? Not for someone (Jesus) who is innocent.]

The Bible says: “...the punishment that brought us peace was upon him...” [Isaiah 53:5]

3. [v 25] There is the issue of “forbearance” (patience).

a. God withheld justice.

b. The Bible says: “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” [Psalm 103:10]

c. The Bible says: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” [1 Peter 3:9]

III. The choice is now your, you must respond.

A. If you think you heard this sermon say “God is good, you are not, try harder” you have missed the point.

1. There is no try in “faith.”

2. There is only trust.

B. [v 28] Be justified by faith.

1. [v 24] The idea of “freely” emphasizes the absence of any cause or action in the person who is the object of the action. That’s the core of “grace.” God WANTS TO do this for those who are helpless, undeserving, etc...

2. Faith means trust. It means to trust what Jesus has done for you.

a. It is an absolute trust.

b. It is an absolute dependence on God.

3. This means you will have to stop trusting yourself and the things you do.

C. Believe Jesus.

1. Accept that gift... open it. Make it the principle that you live your life by.

2. Now celebrate! God’s grace, Jesus’ blood makes all the difference in the world... in eternity.

Friday, July 14, 2006

July 14, 2006 Note to readers

My ISP has been down this week, which has made it difficult to post. Please excuse the inconvenience. Hopefully things will be up and running on schedule next week. I have finally managed to post last week's sermon. Thank you for being patient.
Roman’s 2:17 – 21
Circumcision of the Heart.

[From Wesley’s sermon #17]

I. The current situation.

A. The spiritual-state of reality.

1. If someone preachers on a basic or essential duty it is misunderstood.

2. It is hard for people to accept the difference between the spirit of the world and the Spirit of Christ.

3. REALITY CHECK: If you are in Christ and if Christ is risen, you OUGHT to die to the world and live wholly for God.

B. The “natural” – vs – The spiritual.

1. The “natural” (meaning those who are still in their sin) person is “alive” to the world but “dead” to God.

2. Spiritual things are perceivable only by a spiritual sense that the natural does not have BECAUSE the natural is not awakened.

(Ill.) A person who is asleep... the alarm goes off, someone nudges them awake. There is for some (those who are not morning people) that moment of not being awake and not being asleep. They are conscious but not yet moving. If they do not get moving they go back to sleep.
This is a spiritual illustration. When we are in our natural state we are asleep, unaware of God and unable to respond to God. The Holy Spirit awakens us. Now we can choose to wake up or go back to sleep.

3. The “natural” rejects both the wisdom and power of God.

C. Three distinguishing marks of a true follower of Christ:

1. There is a state of acceptance with God. They accept what God has done for them through the blood of Jesus.

2. They have the “mind of Christ” and are being renewed in the image of God (see Romans 12:2 and 1 Corinthians 2:16).

3. They have the “circumcision of the heart.”

II. What is it and what does it do?

A. Definition:

1. Wesley: “that habitual disposition of soul... termed holiness, and which directly implies being cleansed from sin.”

2. Implies – humility, faith, hope, and charity.

a. Humility – a right judgement of ourselves.

1.) This is not a “hung-dog” attitude.

2.) It recognizes all sin and pride and understands that confusion, ignorance, and error reign over understanding.

b. Wesley: “unreasonable, earthly, sensual, devilish passions usurp authority over our will.”

c. Without the Spirit of God, we can do nothing but add sin to sin.

B. The effect:

1. “Self-esteem” supposes some excellency in us and that is a fatal error.

2. The circumcision of the heart does not desire or value these (the things of the world) things.

3. The goal is to follow Jesus’ example.

4. The “strongholds” are torn down.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” [2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV]

KJV “casting down “casting down imaginations.”
– prejudices of corrupt reason.
– false maxims.
– evil customs and habits.
– dead works.

5. There is a strong hope.

a. Hope is an anchor in the midst of the waves of this troubled world.

b. Hope is the good soldier that endures hardship and finds courage in impossible circumstances.

There is deep humility, steadfast faith, lively hope, cleansing of the heart, and...

6. Love

a. Love for God implies love for others.

b. Love for God does NOT forbid taking pleasure in anything but God. Joy and pleasure are found in the one who knows God.

II. What does this mean to us now?

A. You can not praise God until you have a proper perspective of yourself.

1. True praise is the result of believing that someone other than yourself is “God.”

2. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father.

3. We err when we base ideas on “fitness” and “excellence.”

B. You are not led by the Spirit unless the Spirit bears witness.

1. There is joy (along side of the other fruit).

2. There is certainty.

“Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.” [1 Corinthians 9:26 NIV]

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

What God has Done for America
Psalm 33:12

[Please note that the historical information is from secondary sources.]

A Brief history of Christianity in America:

***** Jamestown, Virginia’s first community building was a church.

***** Puritans first act at Plymouth Rock was to kneel, praise and dedicate the new colony. The purpose of their journey was religious freedom.

***** Roger Williams (Baptist minister) founded Rhode Island.

***** Lord Baltimore held church service in establishing Maryland.

***** William Penn founded Pennsylvania seeking a safe haven for Quakers.

Historical Perspective of Christianity in America:

***** Twelve of the original 13 colonies incorporated the entire Ten Commandments into their civil and criminal codes.

***** President John Adams stated, "The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal code as well as a moral and religious code. These are laws essential to the existence of men in society and most of which have been enacted by every Nation which ever professed any code of laws. Vain indeed would be the search among the writings of secular history to find so broad, so complete and so solid a basis of morality as the Ten Commandments lay down."

***** The American Bible Society was started by an act of Congress. John Adams, our second president, served as its first leader.

***** Supreme Court building, built 1935, features a Moses and Ten Commandments.

***** In the House of Representatives, across from the speakers’ seat, is a sculpture of Moses.

***** William Penn, in writing government policies for Pennsylvania, made sure “all treasurers, judges, and all elected officials professed faith in Christ.”

***** President George Washington said, "It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, our religion and morality are indispensable supporters."

***** 1/3 of George Washington’s inaugural address was dedicated to asking God for help.

***** Henry Laurens, fourth president of the Continental Congress, stated, "I had the honor of being one who framed the Constitution. In order effectually to accomplish these great constitutional ends, it is especially the duty of those who bear rule to promote and encourage respect for God and virtue."

***** Patrick Henry, first governor of Virginia and a member of the Continental Congress, stated, "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

***** French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, after visiting America in 1831, said, "I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests--and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning--and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution--and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!”

***** Our nation’s motto: “In God we trust”

Christianity in the courts:

***** In 1853 a group petitioned congress for the separation of Christian principles from government, a “separation of church and state.” For nearly one year the Senate and House Judiciary committees reviewed and studied the petition to see if it would be possible to separate Christian principles from our civil government. Both returned almost identical reports.

The House Judiciary Committee report on March 27, 1854, said, "Had the (founding fathers), during the revolution, a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle.... At the time of the adoption of the constitution and its amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, but not any one sect (denomination)."

It also said, "In this age, there is no substitute for Christianity... That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants."

Two months later, the Senate Judiciary Committee added this declaration, "The great vital and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrine and the divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

***** At one point the Supreme Court ruled that America was a Christian nation.

***** In 1878 in a case called Reynolds vs. the United States, a group tried to take Jefferson’s “separation of church and state” statement to prove a separation of Christianity and government. In it’s response, the court quoted a lengthy section of the Jefferson letter and used it as a basis to prove that it was permissible to retain Christian values, practices and principles as official policies of the government. Jefferson’s letter was used to prove the inclusion of Christian practice and religion in government. When these debates had been settled the letter went basically unused for the next 75 years until 1947.

***** In the case of Everson vs. the Board of Education the court, for the first time, did not sight Jefferson’s letter in its entirety but instead they selected eight words from the Jefferson letter, "a wall of separation between church and state" and then declared “that wall must kept high and impregnable,” and used it, for the first time, against Christianity.

This started a redefinition of what “church” meant. It became common to think that "separation of Church and State" applied to any religious activity. This definition is now assumed, without attempting to understand the shift in meaning. Dr. William James (father of modern psychology and father of modern education), echoing Carl Marx might explain it this way: "there is nothing so absurd but that if you repeat it often enough people will believe it"

***** It got so bad that in 1958 in a case called Baer vs. Kolmorgen a dissenting judge warned that continuing to talk about the "Separation of church and state" would make people think it was part of the constitution.

***** In June 25, 1962 the case, Engel vs. Vitale was based on the misrepresentation of that phrase, the Supreme Court for the first time separated Christian principles from education when it struck down a prayer in schools. [The prayer was: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country.”]

The court went so far as to determine what percent of the population believed in God. The court itself reported that 97% of the nation believed in religion and in God. Only 3% did not, in effect they made the philosophy of the few the binding (and blinding) guide for the many.

A brief history of Christianity in Education:

***** The New England Primer was the first textbook ever printed in America. It was introduced in Boston in 1690, and for the next 210 years it was THE textbook in our schools. If you went to school in America, you learned to read from the New England Primer.

It was a simple book that taught alphabet, and after the alphabet was learned it went back and attached sentences to those letters to be memorized. These are the phrases that were memorized in our schools for over 200 years.

A - A wise son maketh a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
B - Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith
C - Come unto Christ all ye that labor and are heavy laden and He will give you rest.
D - Do not the abominable thing which I hate saith the Lord.

[Did you notice these are all from the bible?]

***** In 1782, the U.S. Congress voted in favor of a resolution recommending and approving the Bible for use in the schools.

A History lesson from Judah:

[32] The people of Israel and Judah have provoked me by all the evil they have done--they, their kings and officials, their priests and prophets, the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem. [33] They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline. [34] They set up their abominable idols in the house that bears my Name and defiled it. [35] They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin. [Jeremiah 32:32 – 35]

What was the worship of Baal:

Baal is geographically identified with Palestine. He is the local god. Archaeological evidence puts Baal worship predating Abraham. Literary evidence both in the Bible and in outside sources indicate that Baal worship has been around “indefinitely.” The modern word Belezebub, a synonym for Satan or the Devil, is actually a form of Baal-zebub.

It was believed that Baal died every winter and then was born every spring. With his birth comes the spring harvest and blossoms. Then he thrives through summer and ages in fall only to die in winter. It was believed that public and perverted sex would bring his rebirth every spring. Baal worship included female and male prostitutes along with homosexual acts.

Baal worship also emphasized the environment. Many tenants of modern environmentalism trace back to the worship of Baal.

Baal was tangible. One could taste the crops yielded. People could feel the pleasure of sex. It felt like the right thing to do.

What was the worship of Molech:

He is probably Phoenicians. You’ll remember the Phoenicians from your world history because of their two famous wars. The Trojan wars with Greece and three wars with Rome. The great military strategists Hannibal was from Phoenicia. Their great city was named Carthage.

The Romans hated the worship of Molech. Most of our information about Molech comes from them. The name of Molech appears early in the Bible. He is in the book of Leviticus as worship to him is strictly forbidden. This means that he was in Canaan before the Exodus. Molech was a fire god who demanded human sacrifice. Moloch had a human shape with a bull’s head. His arms were outstretched and a fire was built within the idol to a great heat. Then the parents would come with their baby and place the baby on the outstretched arms of Moloch and watch: they had to watch without emotion or tear to convince this angry demon god that sacrificing their baby was voluntary.

The worship of Molech, in the valley of Hinnom included priest that tossed infants back and forth across fires until the children roasted to death. It was the same valley Jesus referred to as a picture of hell. It is suspected that these two false gods were once considered the same god.

The real problem was that they were worshiped along-side of the one true God. In other words, the same people that indulged in sexual orgies and sacrificed their children in fires would also observe in Passover.


Ask yourself, could this be happening today? We would like to think not... Why do 1/3 of all children in America die in abortion chambers? Is that not a sacrifice for our own benefit? Why is suicide and homicide leading causes of death among America’s children?

Can we not find, even in a small town like ours awful sexual perversions? If you don’t believe me walk down Ashmun street toward Portage avenue. Do you know were our city has set up a real idol? I’ll give you a hint, it’s beside the locks.

What about our church? Do we have idols such as control and gossip? Do we try to hold on to the things of God and the things of this world.

There is a scene in the film “Master and Commander” where the captain proposes a toast. He holds his glass in the air and says with all appropriate seriousness, “To our wives and our sweethearts.” All the men at the table, the officers say dutifully, “here, here.” Then Crowe says, “may they never meet!” Possibly we also have divided our love between the world and the Lord. Possibly we hope that one will not interfere with the other.

Today we have a choice. On one side is the blessing of Almighty God, while on the other side judgement. It pains us to see our country sliding into moral chaos and into a religious free fall. Some say we do not need a Savior but God hears the cries of need every day. Will we begin to see our lives and our world through our proclaimed Heavenly Father’s eyes? All that needed to happen for Judah to slide down it’s path was for true believers to be silent, to NOT bear witness, to NOT be involved. Each day, by its own behavior, our country forges it’s chains of tyranny and slavery to sin.
The Judgement of God
Romans 2:1 – 16

What is the basis for God’s judgement?

It is according to the truth, to mercy, to works, to the Law, to the gospel.

“Judgement gives value to life.”

– It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgement – Hebrews 9:27

I. According to the truth [vv 1 – 3].

A. As opposed to our hypocrisy.

1. You judge others for certain things. Ever wonder why you notice the things you notice? It is called “projection” where you read yourself into the things other people do.

2. You do the same things.... We judge others by our sins.

3. You condemn yourself and are without excuse. Condemnation is different than judgement.

B. Based on actuality.

1. God is the one worthy to judge. It is not our place.

2. God judges on truth not on a projection/interpretation.

C. Application.

1. V 3 is an rhetorical question, it implies an emphatic negative answer.

2. Jesus said, “BUT if you do not forgive men their sins, you Father WILL NOT forgive your sins.” [Matthew 6:15, emphasis is mine]

II. According to mercy [vv 4 – 5].

A. God’s design for us is based on His riches – abundance – magnitude.

1. It is called goodness (which includes forbearance and longsuffering).

2. It is called kindness (which includes our idea of patience).
“despise” – to underestimate the significance of something; scorn; contemp.

B. It’s purpose.

1. [v 4] “not knowing” – failure to understand/realize is inexcusable because God’s goodness was so patience with us.

2. [v 5] wrath and punishment (righteous judgement) reflects on the kindness, tolerance, and patience of God.

C. It’s key is repentance.

1. Repentance means to change the mind – transformation of where our lives, minds, and feelings turn from sin and God.

2. Repentance means to change the behavior – transformation of how our lives are lived and our feelings are used.

III. According to works [vv 6 – 11].

***** There is certainty (“will render”), universality (“to each one”), criteria (“works”) of judgement.


1. Those who seek “glory.”

a. “glory” refers to the believer’s expectation.

b. “glory” points to the transformation that is effected when believers are conformed to the image of God’s son.

2. Those who seek “honor.”

a. This is the reward God gives believers.

b. Not talking about selfish things.

3. Those who seek “immortality” (KJV = “incorruption”)

a. This is the eternal life God promised.

b. This is finalized at the resurrection. (Matthew 24:13, Hebrews 3:14)

***** Works without redemption is dead: redemption without follow through is presumption.


1. Those who are contentious (self-seeking).

a. This is active rebellion against God.

b. Contention comes from pride. [see Proverbs 13:10]

2. Those who choose unrighteousness (see 1:18 )

a. This is active disobedience in unbelief.

b. Unrighteousness comes from the deliberate rejection of truth.

3. Wrath and indignation/anger is the result.

a. The difference between “punish” and “retribution:”

1.) Punishment involves correction.

2.) Retribution is “pay back” (no redemptive/corrective value).

IV. According to the Law [vv 12 – 15]

A. The Law’s presence:

1. It demands good works. [v 13]

a. “doers shall be justified.” (Paul has already stated that the just shall live by faith.)

b. The criteria is DOING not HEARING (or saying).

2. Obviously this is impossible, which is why we need the gospel (see chapter 3).

B. The Law’s absence: (the Law/Old Testament was “special revelation.”)

1. God is not a respecter of persons (all will be judged equally). [v 11]

2. Judgment is exercised according what knowledge/law is possessed. [v 14]

a. Knowledge of the law is NOT a precondition to sin. [v 12]

b. Those “ignorant” sinners will perish just like enlightened/educated sinners will. [v 12]

3. Nature (internal as contrasted to external sources) demand obedience to God.

a. Man is a “law unto himself.” (Moral code = v 14]

b. The law (moral code) is written in their hearts. [v 15]

c. The conscience of the person functions in the area of moral discrimination (it is a witness of the law in the heart).

V. According to the gospel.

***** How can Paul teach a judgement according to works that is compatible with salvation by grace? *****

A. Judgement outside “special revelation.” must be according to works.

1. There is a universal knowledge of God [1:20].

2. When a person acts correctly, they are a law unto themselves [vv 14, 15].

3. Thus, they prove there is something within their hearts.

4. At issue us the existence of conscious (internal moral compass). Yet all these add up to a “guilty” verdict.

B. Judgement of those who have the special revelation.

1. There is a universal law.

2. There is a special law (Old Testament).

3. There is the gospel (New Testament).

C. What’s the answer?

1. The idea that if we are judged by works then we will be saved by works is contrary to the gospel Paul preached. No work/s is good enough or possible to gain salvation (see Romans 3:10, 23).

2. Believers are justified through FAITH alone, and saved by GRACE alone.

a. We are never justified by a faith that is empty, a grace that is cheap, a profession that has no life change.

b. Salvation itself means we are saved TO as well as saved FROM.

3. “Good works” are the natural progression of faith (and proof of faith).