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.
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.
A. OF THE RIGHTEOUS... [v 7]
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.
B. OF THE UNRIGHTEOUS... [v 8]
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).