Romans 2:1-11

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

November 4, 1998


Paul has been setting up his letter by talking about what has become of the secular world as they have exchanged the truth about God for lies. Mankind is by nature a worshipper, and if he gives up the worship of the True God, then he will worship the next thing that comes around. Man resorts to worshipping the creation rather than the Creator.

When this happens, God "gives up" people over to their sins. Paul gave a huge list of sins that all come from a rejection of God.

Now while he’s pointing his finger at these horrible, pagan Gentiles, the Jew who is reading the letter is nodding his head and saying, "Yes, yes, they are despicable people!"

:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

inexcusableanapologetos – without defense or excuse; that which cannot be defended, inexcusable

judgestkrino – to separate; to approve; to judge

condemnestkatakrino – to give judgment against, to judge worthy of punishment; to condemn

doestprasso – to exercise, practise, to be busy with, carry on

When we judge other people of things that we’re guilty of ourselves, we are without a defense. There’s nothing we can say. When we look down at others, we are slamming the gavel down upon ourselves and judging ourselves as "GUILTY!".


My sins look worst on you.

(Mat 7:1-5 NLT) "Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. {2} For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. {3} And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? {4} How can you think of saying, 'Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? {5} Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.

When I see a splinter in your eye, it’s probably because I have so much of the same material, an entire log, in my own eye.

We become sensitive toward others who struggle with the same things we do. When we’ve been struggling, and we see another person doing it, we get upset. Yet we’re just as guilty.

:2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.

we are sureeido – to see; to know

judgmentkrima – a decree, judgments; judgment

which commitprasso – to exercise, practise, to be busy with, carry on

:3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

thinkestlogizomai – to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over; to reckon inward; by reckoning up all the reasons, to gather or infer. This word deals with reality. If I "logizomai" or reckon that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers to facts not suppositions.

escapeekpheugo – to flee out of, flee away; to seek safety in flight; to escape


Don’t be quick to judge others

When we set ourselves up as judge and jury over people, and yet we too are guilty, we cannot escape God’s judgment.


"Yes, the president should resign. He has lied to the American people, time and time again, and betrayed their trust. Since he has admitted guilt, there is no reason to put the American people through an impeachment. He will serve absolutely no purpose in finishing out his term, the only possible solution is for the president to save some dignity and resign."

- From 12th Congressional District Hopeful William Jefferson Clinton (Bill Clinton) During the Nixon investigations, 1972.

In 1974, a young female attorney helped draw up the rules under which Richard M. Nixon would be tried by the Congress for impeachment.

"Impeachment," she wrote, "does not have to be for criminal offenses, but only for a 'course of conduct' that, while not particularly criminal, might be of such a nature that it destroys trust, discourages allegiance, and demands action by the Congress." She wrote that "The Office of the President is such that it calls for a higher level of conduct than expected from the average citizen in the United States."

This young female attorney who helped write the standard under which Presidents are to be judged by the House of Representatives has a unique perspective about the present situation in the White House. You see, that female attorney who said that an unethical "course of conduct" could overthrow a President is now the First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Source: LA Times, Sept. 8, 1998

Now, lest you hear this and say "Yes, he ought to be impeached!", and though in principle I may not disagree, be careful about being the first one to cry for justice. When you’re caught in your sin, do you want instant judgment or mercy?

:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

richesploutos – riches, wealth; fulness, abundance, plenitude

goodnesschrestotes – moral goodness, integrity; benignity, kindness

forbearanceanoche – toleration, forbearance. From anechomai – to hold up; to hold one's self erect; to sustain, to bear, to endure.

longsufferingmakrothumia – patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance; patience, forbearance, longsuffering, slowness in avenging wrongs

despisestkataphroneo – to contemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of

goodnesschrestos – fit, fit for use, useful, virtuous, good

leadethago – to lead, take with one

repentancemetanoia – a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done

(Rom 2:4 NLT) Don't you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don't you care? Can't you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin?


Don’t be confused with God’s patience.

We may have a hard time when the wicked seem to have it so well. We may not understand why God doesn’t just smash them. In truth, He’s giving them a chance to come.


On Jesus’ last night on earth (John 13), He still kept reaching out to Judas, even though He knew Judas would betray Him. At the dinner table, Jesus offered Judas a sign of friendship, a piece of bread dipped in the sauce. Even to the end He was reaching out to Judas.

Don’t be confused with God’s kindness.

It’s not that He’s letting people get away with evil, it’s that He’s giving them a chance to repent.

(2 Pet 3:9 NLT) The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent.


An Atheist farmer often taunted and made fun of people who believed in God. He wrote the following letter to the editor of a local newspaper: "I plowed on Sunday, planted on Sunday, cultivated on Sunday, and hauled in my crops on Sunday; but I never went to church on Sunday. Yet I harvested more bushels per acre than anyone else, even those who are God-fearing and never miss a service." The editor printed the man's letter and then added this remark: "God doesn't always settle His accounts in October."

In our prayer list, there are several people we have been praying for as a church who have come through and survived horrible accidents. I believe that some of them are either away from the Lord or are not believers. Why did they survive? God’s kindness. One more chance.

But there’s a day when there are no more chances.

:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

hardnesssklerotes – hardness; obstinacy, stubbornness

impenitentametanoetos – admitting no change of mind, unrepented, impenitent

treasurest upthesaurizo – to gather and lay up, to heap up, store up; to accumulate riches

wrathorge – anger; wrath; anger exhibited in punishment, hence used for punishment itself

revelationapokalupsis – laying bear; manifestation, appearance

righteous judgmentdikaiokrisia ("righteous" + "judgment") – righteous judgment

When a person’s hard gets harder and harder, and they refuse to change or turn around, it’s like another coin drops into the piggy bank, storing up judgment for them in heaven.

When it’s time for the piggy bank to be opened, and they face the judgment of God, everyone is going to know that God’s judgment was well deserved.

The angels in heaven, who are sitting on the sidelines, will proclaim

(Rev 19:2 KJV) For true and righteous are his judgments …

:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

will renderapodidomi – to deliver; to pay off, discharge what is due

This is going to be the principle of God’s judgment, a principle that is the same across the board to every person.

:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

patient continuancehupomone – steadfastness, constancy, endurance; in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings

wellagathos – of good constitution or nature; useful; good, pleasant, agreeable; upright, honourable

doingergon – business; an act, deed, thing done

seekzeteo – to seek in order to find

immortalityaphtharsia – incorruption, perpetuity; purity, sincerity, incorrupt

"to those who by the patience of good works, are seeking glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life"

It’s to those who are seeking "glory, honor, immortality" and are doing it through showing good works even in the most difficult circumstances, that will be rewarded with eternal life.


Faith that works.

How does this fit with salvation by faith?

It fits perfectly. Paul’s whole point is to show that God will judge every person according to their works, and that those who are going to have eternal life are also those who are going to have good works.

If you have true, saving faith in Jesus Christ, it will be obvious by a change in your life, a change characterized by good works.

(James 2:14-18 NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, what's the use of saying you have faith if you don't prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can't save anyone. {15} Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, {16} and you say, "Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well"--but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? {17} So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn't show itself by good deeds is no faith at all--it is dead and useless. {18} Now someone may argue, "Some people have faith; others have good deeds." I say, "I can't see your faith if you don't have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds."

Does this open up the possibility that someone could be saved through their good works and seeking good things without Jesus Christ?

No. Keep the entire letter in mind. We may just be focusing on a few verses, but Paul wrote the entire letter at once.

Apart from Jesus Christ, there is no seeking after God. He’ll explain that later:

(Rom 3:11 KJV) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

(Rom 3:23 KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

:8-9 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, {9} tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

contentiouseritheia – electioneering or intriguing for office; a desire to put one's self forward, a partisan and fractious spirit which does not disdain low arts; This word is found before NT times only in Aristotle where it denotes a self-seeking pursuit of political office by unfair means. (A&G)

obeyapeitheo – not to allow one's self to be persuaded; to refuse or withhold belief; not to comply with

unrighteousnessadikia – injustice; unrighteousness of heart and life; a deed violating law and justice, act of unrighteousness

tribulationthlipsis – a pressing, pressing together; metaph. oppression, affliction, tribulation,

anguishstenochoria – narrowness of place, a narrow place; affliction as arising from cramping circumstances, dire calamity, extreme affliction

doethkatergazomai – to perform, accomplish, achieve; to work out i.e. to do that from which something results

evilkakos – of a bad nature; base, wrong, wicked; troublesome, injurious, destructive

Keep in mind, this is talking about a final judgment by God in payment for a life of disobedience to Him.

While we’re still on earth, the major rule of thumb is His "kindness" that leads us to repentance.

There are actually people who think they’re going to be able to stand and argue their way past God. They may be able to think that they are somehow able to produce good enough works on their own. Yet they will find …

(Isa 64:6 KJV) But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:


:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

respect of personsprosopolepsia (prosopon "the face" + lambano "to receive") – respect of persons; partiality. To make decisions based on a person’s outward appearance.



James 2:1-9 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. {2} For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; {3} And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: {4} Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? {5} Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? {6} But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? {7} Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? {8} If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: {9} But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

"Poor" doesn’t make a person bad. James is saying that the rich people are often the ones who are oppressing others.

Some have expressed some concern over our possible move to the "Ice House", concerns about crime and safety. We promise we won’t compromise our safety. We’ve checked out the police reports, and frankly though crime occurs in the neighborhood, it’s not that much different than most areas of Fullerton. There are plenty neighborhoods of neighborhoods that are worse. It’s not a bad neighborhood, it’s a poor one.

We need to be careful that we don’t treat people based on what we think their economic condition is.


John Barrier didn't like the way a bank manager in Spokane, WA, looked at him -- like he'd "crawled out from under a rock" because of his dirty construction clothes. So Barrier, who just wanted a parking slip validated, took his money and left -- $1 million at the time. It began when Barrier, 59, went to Old National Bank to cash a $100 check. When he tried to validate the slip to save 60 cents, a receptionist refused, saying he hadn't conducted a transaction. "She said you have to make a deposit," he says. "I told her I'm considered a substantial depositor and she looked at me like... well." He asked to see the manager, who also refused to stamp the ticket. Barrier went to bank headquarters vowing to withdraw his $2 million plus unless the manager apologized. No call came. "So the next day I went over and the first amount I took out was $1 million." "But if you have $100 in a bank or $1 million," he says, "I think they owe you the courtesy of stamping your parking ticket." -- Elisa Tinsley, USA Today

This is one reason why I don’t ever want to know how much money anyone gives to the church. I don’t trust myself. I’m sure that I’d be a little hesitant to offend a "big giver" and I simply don’t want to put myself in that place, nor do I want to open the possibility that someone would accuse me of that.

Think of who it could be:

Mat 25:32-40 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: {33} And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. {34} Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: {35} For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: {36} Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. {37} Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? {38} When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? {39} Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? {40} And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

(Heb 13:2 KJV) Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

The person you could be turning away might be an angel. It might be Jesus.

Yet even then our motives can be out of place. We shouldn’t be doing it because it "might be" someone real important. We should be doing it because in God’s sight, it IS someone real important, even if it’s just what we think of as a poor bum.