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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Is Everyone Guilty?

Good morning, valiant Romans explorers!  Thanks for reading through Romans Chapter 1 and discovering the downward spiral of sin.  It's pretty chilling, isn't it?  

Chapter One helped me understand the power of sin and how, without God's help, it can take over our lives.  Without Christ, we can get caught in that downward spiral.  With Christ, we continue this walk, make mistakes, but REPENT and turn BACK to HIM!  This is a process of life. 

Remember, this Book is a letter Paul wrote to believers in Rome.  Someone read this letter to them. The folks listening to Paul may have heard his list of sins and felt a bit smug and self-satisfied: "Well, I'm not THAT bad," they may have said.  "I'm glad I'm not like THOSE people!" THEN -- Paul got to Chapter 2!

Let's look at Chapter 2, verses 1-16.  You can read it below.  Remember to pray for God to reveal to you what He wants you to understand from this.  

You might want to underline the word "repent" every time you see it in this chapter.  We'll talk about Repentance and Judgement after you are done reading! 

God’s Righteous Judgment - Romans, Chapter 2:1-16

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath , when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”[a] To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Take a moment to answer a few questions:

1. What questions does Paul raise in Romans 2:1-4?  
2. Who condemns the self-righteous person (Romans 2:1)?  
3. Memorize Romans 2:4 -- Write it down. 
4. In what way does Paul say God's kindness should help people? (Romans 2:4)

Just because God doesn't bring swift judgment on we "socially accepted sinners" does NOT mean He is pleased with us.  Any delay in God's judgment is evidence of God's mercy, patience and kindness, not of his approval. God wants to give us time to repent.  The advantages God gives us are designed to lead us to repent and surrender our lives to him.

Repentance means more than being sorry.  Repentance means turning from sins.  It means to change one's mind for the better.  This may call for us to run away from the sins that ensnare us.

Bottom line, these verses tell us we are all sinners.  We have no right to judge, especially if we have not repented.

The Key to these verses is a call for self-examination and repentance.  

Do we beat ourselves up?  NO!  We just need to examine our lives - repent for attitudes and activities which are not in line with God, humbly pray and ask for forgiveness and help to TURN away from our sinful ways.

The Bible says anyone who bases his right standing with God on his own morality is in trouble.  The self-righteous man who judges others who sin is guilty of the same things, but on a smaller scale. For example, He may never kill anyone, but ruins another's life and reputation with lies or gossip.  His is a more subtle type of sin, even more deadly.  

Sometimes, good people try to earn their salvation by their own good deeds and good behavior.  Read what Ephesian 2:8-9 says about that: 

Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

God judges us according to reality.  He knows all the facts.  He knows our motives and secrets, as well as our deeds.  He weighs the reasons for our behavior. That's enough for me to ask for forgiveness right now!    

5. Why is the moral, respectable sinner judged? (Romans 2:5,6) 

Morality is not Christianity

All people have the same need for salvation.  God offers all the same way to be saved:  Accept Christ's gift and Ask for forgiveness and help, Believe He died for you, Commit your life to Christ .  

God judges all men righteously.  He shows no partiality, no favoritism.  People everywhere are judged on the basis of their humble belief and commitment to Jesus. 

Next Week:  Romans 2:17-24!

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