Has there ever been a someone in your life who turns you off something because of the way that they do it?
Have you ever thought about how that person sees how you react to them? How often do we think about our impact on others by the way we choose to honor God? Are we actually honoring God?
It’s important to know this, because how we honor God reflects whether our lives are with God or not.
In Romans 2:17-29 Paul is trying to show something to the church. He needs them to know that although they might know a lot about God, his laws and believe that they are living lives that honor God, they are in fact causing the Gentiles to blaspheme about God, to dishonor God.
He shows them that life with God isn’t about the things you do, although it is core to a life with God but the heart in which you do it. And he finishes by showing them that that is not something that they can do by themselves, that it is God who does this work in them and following and obey God is a response to that work.
When we desire to be a part of God’s people, when we seek God here in this church, when we give up our lives to God, it is not the objective following of religion but the heart and it is from God. Yet it is in Jesus that we see the Holy Spirit work in us. When we look at Jesus we understand the sacrifice made for us so that we might have a loving, caring relationship with God, and that reflects itself in wanting to honour God, to live a life which he praises us for living.
So to live a life for God we need to look at Jesus and be convicted everyday of the love he gave to us when he died for us. To remember the height and breadth of our rebellion against God and know that it is only in Jesus, being like Jesus, living for Jesus in which we will know what it means to have the Spirit circumcising us from the world for God.
“20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Believing in Jesus means becoming like Jesus and that is how you have circumcision of the heart. You have a new life in Christ and that includes a new heart in Christ too.
Paul confronted the Romans and so speaks to us:
We need to be living a life for the praise of God. Remembering that it isn’t the big Christian signs which make us a Christian but a life circumcised by the Spirit. We need to be living a life in which others praise and honour God, and to do this we need to look, and trust in Jesus.
After announcing God's wrath is revealed in judgement against the sinful people because the sinful people is guilty of rejecting God in Chapter 1 (18-32) Paul is continuing his argument in chapter 2 but addresses the group of people who pass judgement on others and yet do the same thing. Paul describes the dilemma they face, they too will be judged. But God is patient and holds back His judgement because He is not willing for us to perish.
Verse 4 shows us that God's goodness and forbearance is intended to lead you to repentance. Instead we can see that it's leading people to more contempt. Verse 6 "God will repay each person according to what they have done". Nothing will escape God's sight. Action, intention, motivation all will be called to make an account and all will be accounted for. When God judges it is fair. But most people don't really see God as being good or fair. Most people wonder how God can be so bad to let certain things happen. "How can God allow that?", "God that's not fair." When things don't go our way, we blame God. When disaster struck we blame God. If you have ever think for one moment that God is unjust, you simply reveal how easy it is to abuse the goodness of God.
Lastly in verses 12 to 16 Paul wants to make it clear that there is no special consideration for people when it comes to judgement. It is either you're righteous or you're not. You're either sinless or you have sinned. There is no in between. It is not good enough to say you have some good in you, or to say you have heard or understood the law, or that you have the law. All will be judged by Jesus - who is the only appropriate judge for he is the only one who has met and can keep the standard, Jesus is the only sinless one and is able to judge justly even the secret things of man.
The solution that Paul hints at which is going to be revealed in the rest of Romans and in all scripture, is the gospel of Jesus who is the righteous one of God. Jesus is sinless. None of us have persisted in doing good and seeking God's glory except for Jesus. The reason why Jesus suffered on the cross is because he is taking the judgement of sinners upon himself. The wrath and anger of God for our sins with or without the law are upon Jesus. God is both the judge as well as the justifier. Jesus who know no sins died for our sins. But it didn't just end there, we didn't end up with a dead saviour. By the power of the Holy Spirit He was raised for our justification. For those who believe in him. When God comes to judge us, he will see the righteousness of Christ, and his persistence in doing good even ti death on the cross will be upon us, and that's why we are given eternal life - as a gift.
There are only 2 ways to face judgement. Either you face judgement by yourself or face judgement in Jesus Christ. If you reject Jesus as Lord and Savior, chooses not to acknowledge God and remain unrepentant you'll be judged in accordance with the full knowledge of God's law. God is very fair, you're destined for hell. You will be judged, You will perish. If you believe and you receive Christ, He gives you the capacity to produce righteous deeds. And when the day comes God will see the record of a righteous life and know that such a life could only be the product of the indwelling presence of the living Christ and grant you eternal life.
Elder Lawrence Yong
Each strike and you’re out.
The wrath of God is the personal response of His holiness to wickedness and rebellion. For the wrath of God is being revealed, (‘being revealed’ in the present participle indicate that it is happening in the present) from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who supress the truth by their wickedness (v18) :-
1) Because they have exchanged the glory of the immortal God for idols (v23) therefore God gave them over to sexual impurity (v24). In turning our backs towards God, we turn away from the One who gives us value, meaning, significance and seek to fill the void with things that do not satisfy nor last. The process of degradation begins.
2) Because they have exchanged the truth of God for a lie (v25) therefore God gave them over to shameful lusts (v26). Natural boundaries are no longer indistinguishable in the pursuit of shameful pleasure.
3) Because they did not see fit to retain the knowledge of God (v28a) therefore God gave them over to a depraved (unfit) mind (v28b). The process of depravation continues. To the philosopher of the world today who does not acknowledge God, God calls that person a fool, a moron. To the one whose life has the appearance of happiness without God, earth is the closest they will get to experience heaven, thereafter the eternal punishment of hell awaits them (Ps 73).
One strike and you’re in.
You may die for a selected few but you will never die for all. Christ, who knew no sin, took all the sins of every man and woman and became sin. He says, My life for yours! God struck Christ at the cross. The wrath of God was poured on Christ. Extinguished, the wrath of God was satisfied. For the righteousness of God is being revealed through Christ, it is available to be received in exchange for the Wrath of God. It can only be exchanged through faith (v17).
The Glorious Exchange,
Christ’s righteousness for the wrath of God.
Romans - considered as one of the most powerful and influential books ever written. Many renowned Christian scholars like Augustine, Luther, Bunyan, Wesley and Barth were inspired & transformed by this book.
The first seventeen verses of Chapter 1 are Paul’s summary of the book focussing on the importance of knowing who you believe.
The challenge facing the church since the 1st Century AD is the dilution of the Gospel of Christ, subtly being contaminated by our intellectual, cultural and social biases.
To Paul, God’s Gospel is all about Christ as BOTH Lord and Saviour.
It is about living out our faith in total obedience to our Lord & Master who has conferred God’s righteousness on us because of Christ’s death & resurrection on the Cross.
Using the analogy of a bond slave (v1), Paul issued a strong reminder to the Church, that their allegiance now belongs to Christ alone.
With Paul, his call was to be an apostle, but for us today our calling is to serve and minister to those He has sent us to, so that Christ’s name is magnified and glorified.
Paul was not preaching a new Gospel. This Gospel was initiated and promised by God - beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures. Christ is both the divine Son of God and the promised Messiah - who will come through the line of David. Christ’s death and resurrection were both prophesied in the Old Testament.
Christ resurrection paved the way for us to receive the gift of Grace for Salvation and the gift of Ministry; characterised by a thankful, concerned, willing, submissive, loving and humble spirit and pointing people to the obedience that comes from faith.
Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. Despite the humiliation & suffering he had endured, he had experienced how the power of God has transformed him from been the Persecutor to becoming the Preacher. And he had observed the same transformation in the lives of many of his converts.
The good news for us - no matter how sinful, how broken or ashamed of our past, we can be righteous, and it is by faith, and not by works. Our righteousness is based on God and his gift of Jesus’ righteousness to us by His death and resurrection and not based on our efforts to be a good and sinless person. And this is the message of the Gospel of Christ!