January 30, 2011

Romans 2
Romans 2:1-16

Let me say only a few words to bring us up to chapter 2.

Chapter 1 shows the evil inclinations of the natural man. Those desires can only be changed through Christ.

Paul shows us that what he is presenting is not new, but is spelled out in the Old Testament. At least 18 times, he quotes the Old Testament with it is written.

Paul calls all nations to obedience to the word of God, for obedience is the fruit of faith—the just shall live by faith, 1:17.

1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: (15:18, 16:19)

The just shall live by faith is misunderstood by those who say, the just shall live, that is have eternal life, by faith. That is not at all what Paul is saying. He says that those who have been justified by faith will live a life of faithfulness, or righteousness.

Romans 2:1-8. V. 5 tells us that Paul is dealing with the heart. Paul is dealing with the religious and their false hope in the law, and is showing them that the law condemns them. They will only make it to heaven through faith.

V. 1, Therefor...

The Jews were exalted in their own eyes, and they considered the Gentiles wicked and abandoned by God. In condemning the Gentiles, they considered themselves superior on the ground that they were special in God's eyes because the law had been given to them.

So Paul addresses the Jews, proving they are no less guilty of the things of chapter 1 than are the Gentiles. They needed the same salvation as the Gentiles need.

In chapter 1, Paul pointed out that the Gentiles are without excuse. And now he tells the Jews that because of the greater light they were given through the law, they are more accountable than the Gentiles. They also are clearly without excuse, even more than the Gentiles were without excuse.

O man. Rather than singling out the Jews, he uses a general statement to include them.

Paul says, What makes you think you will escape the judgment you know those evil deeds bring about. The Lord sees the heart, and you are just as guilty.

The Christian will have a lot to answer for, because he not only has the law written in his heart as does the unsaved, but he also has the written law in a completely understandable form, yet he disregards it.

How many hope that God will not judge them according truth but according to their race, their circumcision, their baptism, their church membership, their good works apart from Christ? The list is endless.

Solomon gives us an insight into the situation.

Ecc. 8:11, because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil an hundred times (and gets away with it), and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him.

Paul reminds us that God in his goodness and mercy gives plenty of time to repent, yet because of his patience hoping for repentance, even his people think he has forgotten, or that he has overlooked sin.

Rather than the sins being swept under the rug, wrath and judgement is being stored up.


We took a train trip a few years ago, across country and up the west coast. One of the families we stopped to see, took us to Mt St. Helens.

Remember how it spurred a little and bulged up, waiting to blow? There was an old man who lived at the base of the mountain. The rangers went to him and urged him to move, but he refused saying, "I've lived here for many years and I'm not leaving now. The mountain and I are friends and it wouldn't do anything to hurt me.

He stayed, the mountain "stored up" pressure giving him a chance to move. The old man mistook the putting off of the explosion as a sign that he was right and the mountain would not hurt him.

The mountain could not keep the pressure any longer and the "day of wrath" came and revealed the righteous judgment against the man who got caught in the sin if presumption.

He presumed the mountain wouldn't hurt him because it was holding back, and the mountain buried him under 15 ft of mud.

We are the same way. "I'm in Christ now, I'm saved, God won't hurt me even if I go ahead and do these things that I know are against him and his word."

God in his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering holds back the explosion—his righteous judgment, as long as he can. The hope is that the person will flee, repent and run for his life.

The wrath against all unrighteousness will come, though it may be long delayed.

Vv. 4, 5, man misunderstands and misapplies God's goodness, patience and mercy. He sees those things as God's "understanding" of our failures. But those things store up against the day of judgment.

I had a 'pusher' on the job when I worked out of the Fitters on the Franklin Indiana Hospital. He was about to retire and would tell about putting his money in a savings account. He said, 'the girl at the window will smile just as much for 50 cents as she will for $50.00, so put in even if it's $.50.'

V. 5, notice the problem here. It is the heart, not the actions. The actions were pleasant on the outside, but the heart was heard and unrepentant. Throughout history, God's charge against his people has been over the heart.

Ezekiel 8:7 ¶ And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall. 8 Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. 9 And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. 10 So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about. 11 And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up. 12 Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.

Treasurest... A treasure is something hidden away. Though the thoughts and intents of the heart are hidden away from public view, the Lord says that they are being applied to the sinner's account. That account will be opened in that day of the Lord.

Revelation 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

There is indignation against sin being stored up. Just a little bit, 50 cents, adds up when it is not covered by the blood of Christ.

The wrath of God against sinners is many times concealed in the prosperity and success of sinners, but when that great day comes, it will be revealed for all to see. Everything will be set right, and the heavens will declare his righteousness.

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

V. 6, each person, saved and unsaved, will be rewarded according to his deeds.

Vv. 7, 10, God delights in mercy.

Well doing... worketh good...

It is not enough to know well, speak well, profess well, promise well, or have good intentions. We must do well. Christianity results in Christian actions.

Continuance in well doing... How many start off with grand and great ideas and deeds, yet they soon fizzle out. Perseverance in good works will win the praise of well done thou good and faithful servant.

Patient continuance. That means not only sticking with the well doing, but it implies a difficult road, with many oppositions and hardships.

Glory, honor and peace... The joys of heaven. Obviously well doing does not earn heaven, and Paul will make that very clear. But it does result in rewards in that day.

Vv. 8, 9. Contentious and do not obey the truth... Wilful sin contends or strives with our Maker, Isaiah 45:9. It is rebellion against the light that shines in every man.

Obeys unrighteousness... Rather than obeying truth, they obey unrighteousness.

We see all around us that those who refuse to be servants of truth soon become slaves of unrighteousness.

Most of the time, God's wages of sin are indignation, wrath, tribulation and anguish in this life, and certainly in the life to come. Everlasting tribulation and anguish in the lake of fire.

Vv. 9, 10, to the Jew first. The Jews expected greater privilege before God, but Paul tells them they are sadly mistaken. They will be judged on the same grounds as will be the Gentiles. They are all on equal footing before God.

V. 11. God's respect is concerning the spiritual condition of a person. His respect has nothing to do with Jew or Gentile, which is the problem being dealt with by Paul here. Men respect wealth and the power wealth brings, or political power. But God counts those things as nothing.

God is no respecter of persons. Sin is sin, whether openly or hidden in the heart. There is wrath against sin in this life and in the life to come. Christ can free us from the root of sin and the eternal results of sin, but he does not free us from the results of sin that come to pass in this life.

Vv. 12-16.

Now Paul explains his position that Jews and Gentiles are equally guilty under the law.

V. 13 cannot mean justified for salvation. Paul is speaking to those who pride themselves in knowing the law, yet do not do it. So he is pointing out that God's approval is not based in Jew or Gentile, but in those who do what is contained in the law.

First, the Gentiles have the light of nature, by which they will be judged.

For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law:

V. 15. The unbelieving Gentiles had no other guide except their built in conscience. Though they were not given the law of Moses, their conscience told them that women with women was wrong, as well as the other evils mentioned in chapter 1.

They sinned without the law, though the law was not delivered to them by Moses. Their own "built in" law condemns them as sinners.

Not having the law of Moses, as did the Jews, their judgment will not be as harsh as the judgment against those who have the law.

V. 15, they had the work of the law. They did not have the obedience that leads to live. Rather, they had their conscience that dirrectred their works according to what the law says. They did by nature the things contained in the law; they had a sense of justice, equality, honour, purity and love.

I have known many men who had never made a profession nor even been in Church, yet they had a better understanding of how the law worked than most of the Christians I have known. They did by nature the things contained in the law, never knowing the law, nor the Lawgiver.


There was a retired Air Force man in Louisiana, Tom Stewart. Providence brought him to the church, and he was converted. However, as we got to know him, we found that even as an unconverted and unchurched man, he had lived and raised his children in strict obedience to the law of God. They were probably the best example of a Christian family in the church, though he never knew about the law of God, and how it worked out in the family.

He was unchurched with no religious background, but he certainly had a military background, so how could they be such a good example of Christianity?

Paul tells us here that he knew in his heart what was right to do and he set out to do it even as an unsaved man. The Lord revealed to him that he could not do all that was required by God for eternal life.

If he had died and stood before God even before he was saved and not knowing what the written word of God demanded of him, he would still have had to admit he was a sinner without any reference to the law of Moses at all.

The conscience is called the candle of the Lord, and man must work at keeping it put out.

V. 15, One another. The same light and law of nature that witnesses against sin in the Gentiles, witnesses against sin in others. The Gentiles are left without excuse, and God is justified in condemning them. Neither the Gentiles, nor the Jews, can plead ignorance.

Second, the light of the law. The Jews had the law of Moses. They not only sinned having the law, but sinned in the law. They were surrounded by the law; they lived in a society that was built on Moses. Therefore, their judgment will be much harsher.

Matthew 11:16 ¶ But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. 20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: 21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

More tolerable... Many stripes, vs. few stripes... I do not know how these two percepts play out in the end, but that is what the Lord said.

The Jews prided themselves in having, hearing and knowing the law. The Jewish doctors assured their followers that all Jews, no matter how bad they lived here, had a place in the world to come.

According to Charles Hodge, here is what Paul confronted:

It is obvious that the Jews regarded circumcision as in some way securing their salvation. That they did so regard it, may be proved not only from such passages of the New Testament where the sentiment is implied, but also by the direct assertion of their own writers. Such assertions have been gathered in abundance from their works by Eisenmenger, Schoettgen, and others. For example, the Rabbi Menachem, in his Commentary on the Books of Moses, Fol. 43, col. 3, says, "Our Rabbins have said, that no circumcised man will see hell." In the Jalkut Rubeni, num, 1. it is taught, "Circumcision saves from hell." In the Medrasch Tillim, fol. 7, col 2, it is said, "God swore to Abraham, that no one who was circumcised should be sent to hell." In the book Akedath Jizehak, fol. 54, col. 2, it is taught that "Abraham sits before the gate of hell, and does not allow that any circumcised Israelite should enter there." The apostle considers circumcision under two different aspects. First, as a rite supposed to possess some inherent virtue or merit of its own; and secondly, as a sign and seal of God s covenant. (A Commentary on Romans, p 63. 1853. 1973 reprint by Banner of Truth Trust, PO Box 652, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. This writer has dealt thoroughly with circumcision in his book, "Padobaptism and the Word of God.")

We know there was a very strong public attitude among the Jews in Paul's day toward false assurance about keeping the Jewish law, particularly the law concerning circumcision. Paul had to confront this attitude in all his books. He is especially bold in Galatians and in Romans.

Though the Jews had great privilege with the law, Paul assures them that that privilege was not a saving privilege. Regardless of their attitudes and even actions according to Moses, they were just as lost as were the Gentiles without repentance and conversion.

V. 16, Paul assures those who were proud of Moses that there is a day coming when all secrets of all men will be brought to light. Those secrets will be judged by the Lord and Savour Jesus Christ according to the gospel presented through Paul.


In this section, we have a description of those who know exactly how others should act. They seem to think that their God-given gift is correcting others, and telling them how they should live. They see their responsibility is to remove the mote from the eye of others.

Often that mote is seen in the preacher, and there is a responsibility to straighten out the preacher–a responsibility they gladly take on.

Throughout Scripture, we are warned against harshness against others over the same things we are guilty of in our own hearts.

Luke 6:42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

I like to cut my own wood. Though I have safety glasses, there are times when a piece of that saw dust may get in my eye. As a young teenager, I worked on farms. It was not unusual at all for a piece of dust or chaff to get in my eye. That piece of dust defines a mote. I have found that if I maybe wipe my eye and not rub it, the tears will wash that mote away. It will sort of take care of itself.

Beam has a more detailed meaning. It means beam. A beam supports a heavy load of some kind. At about 9 years old, I remember my dad on his dad's farm putting up hay. He put it up loose, and had to stack it in the hay loft in a barn. The way they got it up was with hooks. The hooks were on ropes, which dropped the hooks down and allowed the hooks to grab a good bit of hay. A tractor was be tied to the other end of the rope that traveled through the barn on the ridge beam. When the tractor pulled pull the rope, the hooks would grab the hay, lift the hay up to what they called the trolley. The hooks would catch in the trolley, and the trolley would travel a track to the back of the barn until another rope was pulled, and the load was dropped in the stack. I drove the tractor.

Beam defines the ridge beam that supported the roof of the barn, and upon which the hay trolley traveled.

Let me quickly mention this:

There is a basic problem shown to us in this passage. That is, we evaluate others based on our strong points. We judge others based on their weak points. We compare their weaknesses to our strengths, and conclude, "They aren't as good as I am, so they need my help".

We can say here that Paul is writing to the outward Jew (the church member) saying, "It's easy to look down your nose at the heathen but you are doing the same thing in your heart. You are just as guilty".

Here we see Christians pointing the finger of harsh condemnation at those outside of the covenant of Grace and saying, "Look how wicked they are". Yet they completely overlook their own evil hearts.

Those whom Paul describes in these first verses are not living in a loose manner as described in chapter 1. Yet when they confront those who are living a loose life, they make a speciality of harshly condemning them.

Yet they never stop to think that in harshly condemnation of others, they are condemning themselves, for they have the same things in their own hearts.

Paul says, "Don't think you can escape the judgment of God that you are harshly condemning others with, when you have the same sort of sins in your own heart".

Remember the woman caught in the very act of adultery, John 8:1-11. When the Lord answered in v. 7,

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.


They all left, for they all knew that they were not guiltless.

Certainly, none of us are guiltless, but that must not prevent us from confronting the sinner with his sin. But it must be done remembering that we are sinners, and guilty of the same things in our own heart.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Again, those who are harsh against the sins of others, though they live an upright and moral life, are guilty of the same things in their hearts. Sinners must be confronted over their sins, but that confrontation must be done remembering that in that day "when God will judge the secrets of men," we will not escape the judgment of God for the thoughts and intents of our own hearts. V. 16.

That is why Paul said in Galatians 6:1,

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Paul warns many times against hypocrisy.

Vv. 4-8.

Here we have the other view of the matter. There is the mercy of God which is given by God to bring the sinner to repentance.

In God's goodness, forbearance and longsuffering, he did not want us to continue on the road to ruin. So he met us, and showed us we were sinning, and on our way to everlasting destruction. Our conscience was made alive, and we acknowledged that God's judgment was righteous, and would strike us. We saw ourselves as God sees us, and humbled ourselves under the mighty hand of God, repented and turned to his righteousness alone through Christ Jesus.

In and by God's mercy, we were given a new life, and we desire to learn more and more about him and how to please him.

Then there are those with heard and unrepentant hearts. They are confident that their deeds will allow them to appear before the righteous judge in his day of wrath.

God gives eternal life according to what each has done with Christ. And Scripture is clear; faith results in righteous deeds.

God wrath is upon those who follow the natural desires of their hard and impenitent hearts.

In both situations, vv. 7, 8, each person reveals his heart by what he pursues in life. Christ is revealed by well doing, but well doing is useless before God without Christ.

Vv. 9-16

Paul continues with the topic, showing that before God, the Jews and Gentiles are equally sinners.

Today. There are those who have grown up in Christian homes, and those who have not. Regardless, God does not show partiality or favoritism to either in the future judgment. The wrong-doer will receive tribulation and anguish from God. Those who live a righteous life will receive glory, honour and peace.

The difference is not whether one grew up in a Christian home or not, but whether his doings were good or bad.

Those who have never been exposed to the God of the Bible still know it is wrong to steal, though they have never been told. Stealing results in a troubled conscience, as it speaks to them. The result is that they show the work of the law as written in their hearts, Thou shall not steal.

God looks past the deeds to the source of the deeds. We can mislead others with our deeds, but we cannot mislead God.



February 6, 2011

Romans #5

Romans 2:17-29

Now Paul addresses the Jews. He makes it clear to them that they also need God's gospel. He first sums up a number of things in which the Jews boasted. They boasted that they were in connection with God. They were confident they could be leaders, lights, instructors and teachers in divine things because they thought they knew God's will through the law. They imagined others were inferior: blind, in darkness, foolish and babes. They felt superior and elevated above other people. And God had revealed His will to them in the law. What they didn't realize was that first of all they had to obey it. (Commentary on Romans, M.G. de Koning)

The Roman General, Pompey the Great, 106 BC-46 BC, intervened in a Jewish civil war between the Pharisees and the Sadducees in the first century BC. As a result, Pompey sent to Rome a great number of Jewish prisoners to be sold as slaves. The Jews proved to be so determined to continue in their Jewish rites and rituals, that the Romans chose to set them free in order to keep a reasonable peace in the city. Rome assigned to them a place close to the city. Josephus tells us that 4000 were banished from Rome at one time, and even a greater number were punished who refused to become Roman soldiers.

So there was very large Jewish population at Rome. The gospel had made its way back to Rome from Peter's sermon in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. The gospel worked its power among both the Jews and the Gentiles, and the church there became known for its faithfulness to what it knew of the gospel.

It is evident that the church at Rome was made up of Jews and Gentiles, but seemed to be dominated by Jews. The Jews were proud of their heritage, and held the Gentiles as second class Christians, so the church basically had two camps.

Paul deals with their pride, proving that both Jews and Gentiles are equal before God.

We should note that there are no Jews today as Paul dealt with in this book.

A reason for this book was to reconcile the two factions into one united body. It appears that the two parties were trying to defend their particular opinions.

When we think of "the church", we think of a local congregation. However, "church" is used as a general statement to include all believers. By that, I mean that the church at Rome was made up of many groups that were meeting in the name of Christ. So it is possible that the two "factions", were meeting separately—one group for the Jews and one group for the Gentiles.

The problem Paul is dealing with was probably like the one addressed by Paul in Galatians2:

13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

In other words, though Peter saw the vision that joined the Jews and Gentiles in the faith, he still had a problem with dissimulation, or hypocrisy.

I find the opening of this book somewhat confusing. Paul started this letter highly complementing this church. Now he speaks quite strongly against divisions between the Jews and the Gentiles. It almost makes on think he is writing to a different group that what he complements in his greeting. In fact, his words get so strong that he seems to be addressing the Jews who are completely outside the faith.

From Paul's words, we see that the Jews were exalting themselves over the Gentiles. They had been special in God's eyes, and had even been given the Law by which God will judge the world through Christ Jesus. So Paul starts his letter with some general statements:

First, proves that all men are natural sinners.

Second, all men have the written law of God–Gentiles in their hearts, and Jews in both their hearts and in the revealed commandments, making the Jews more accountable before God.

Third, God is no respecter of persons, Jew of Gentile.

Paul's progression here is interesting.

1. Pleasant toward the church

2. Identifies the downward trend of all mankind

3. More specific in condemning all professed Christians for their hypocracy

4. More specific in condemning the Jews for their haughty spirit

5. More specific, v. 17ff., in condemning these Jews at Rome for their pride over the Gentiles.

6. More specific, v. 29, as he "cuts off" the proud Jews from being Jews, and replaces them with those with the circumcised heart.

In v 17, Paul starts directly addressing the Jews, showing that regardless of their high sounding regard for the law, they were no better than the Gentiles. Under the influence of the Spirit, Paul shows that though he had never met them, he was not ignorant of the attitudes of their heart. He was speaking with knowledge.

He tells the Jews that they were a peculiar people. The Jews had been set apart from the nations of the world to receive the written revelation of God, and to have his presence among them.

Thou art called a Jew, particularly by religion rather than by birth. It was to be an honorable title, for salvation was of the Jews, and they were proud of that fact. Though they were to be set apart for the glory of God, they were among the most wicked of men.

There were many evil practices under the name Jew:

Many of the synagogue of Satan were Jews, Revelation 2:9: I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

In Matthew 3:7-9, John the Baptist called them a generation of vipers:

Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

And today, there are many evil practices under the best name, Christian. And the world delights in shining the light of public knowledge on such Christians.

restest... They rested in the fact that the law was among them, and they were the people of the law. It was in their books, and in their synagogues. They were puffed up with their privilege, and considered it enough to bring them to heaven.

But Paul points out all the law was to them was a source of pride. They rested their souls in the speical privilage of the law, yet were far from their eternal secutity.

It is a dangerous thing to rest in whatever external privileges we might think we have.

boast... Spiritual pride is destructive. I cannot count those who when they found I was a pastor would tell me how much they loved the Lord, yet their works did not correspond with their profession.

Christians also can boast like this about knowing the Bible. They tell others how to behave, but they have never seen themselves in the light of the Bible. They only know it for others. They may condemn stealing if someone else does it, but if they do it, they call it taking something to which they have a right. Similarly, they say it's wrong to commit adultery, but they forget the Lord Jesus said that "whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." They know an idol is an abomination, but they do not mind using their time, strength, property, intelligence, etc. for themselves instead of for God. So, if someone is boasting of knowing the will of God, but is not obeying it in his life, he then dishonors God. Isn't it true that God's name is blasphemed because people go to some religious meeting on Sunday, but during the rest of the week they try to enrich themselves as much as possible at the expense of others?

Illustration: Some time ago, a man visited from Cumberland. He got here early, and while waiting for us to start, was telling how much he loved the Lord and the word of God. The message that day concerned divorce. He had been divorced and remarried, and never came back.

Christians also can boast like this about knowing the Bible. They tell others how to behave, but they have never seen themselves in the light of the Bible. They only know it for others. They may condemn stealing if someone else does it, but if they do it, they call it taking something to which they have a right. Similarly, they say it's wrong to commit adultery, but they forget the Lord Jesus said that "whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." { #Mt 5:27-28} They know an idol is an abomination, but they do not mind using their time, strength, property, intelligence, etc. for themselves instead of for God. So, if someone is boasting of knowing the will of God, but is not obeying it in his life, he then dishonors God. Isn't it true that God's name is blasphemed because people go to some religious meeting on Sunday, but during the rest of the week they try to enrich themselves as much as possible at the expense of others? (de Koning)

V. 18, knowest his will... They knew the will of God, not only knew it, but approved those things found in his law that were more excellent.

Though Paul is speaking to the Jews who knew and even taught the law, it applies very well to the hypocrite. He knows and understands the truth of God, the will of God, and will approve what he knows. He is able to discern things that differ. That is, he can distinguish between good and evil, though they may at times lie so close together that it is difficult to separate the two.

He can reason very well, yet is a bad Christian. He may be well skilled and understand Scriptural controversies, yet be a stranger to the power of godliness.

He not only understands the truth of God's word and God's will, he is confident he has the qualities needed to teach others who he considered less learned then himself.

Yet he is doing what he is trying to instruct others not to do.

Thus the hypocrite can have great knowledge and understanding of the law, and even approve it, but he will not do it. How many good men can teach the deep and wonderful things of the Word of God, yet their lives outside of their teaching role are anything but what they teach.

Being instructed... The Jews took great pain in theaching their children when they were young. All their lessons were out of the law. They had all the knowledge, but that knowledge had made no impression on the heart.

V. 20. Paul tells them that they only have a form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. He tells the hypocrite that he should be teaching himself what he is trying to teach others.

2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

An all too sad example today is the home education movement, Christian schools and colleges. They turn out man and women who know the truth of God's word, and how that truth is to be applied into life. The college graduates especially feel they are now qualified to teach others, though they are not doing what they know they should do.

Sadly, modern Christian Colleges are probably experts in turning out hypocrites as described by Paul here in Romans.

Isaiah 5:21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

V. 19, darkness...

Isaiah 42:6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

Though Isaiah is speaking of Christ, Paul sounds like the Jews to whom he is speaking considered themselves the answer to Isaiah's prophecy. They were confident they had the corner on the truth, even the truth of the Gospel, and that all other nations must come to them for schooling in the gospel. They were the ones who have the law-word of God.

2:1, they felt that they were the ones who were qualified to judge others.

V. 21, the Jews sinned against their knowledge of God's word and their profession of Christ. They were doing themselves what they were teaching others to avoid.

Matthew 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

They pulled down with their lives what they built up with words. How can we expect others to believe what we do not believe enough to live out in our actions?

Examples will govern more than rules. The greatest obstacle to our success in the Kingdom work is our lives that do not match our profession.

Thou that sayest.

Hypocrites can talk of religion, as if their tongues did run upon pattens, they are fair professors, but foul sinners; as was that carnal cardinal Cremensis, the pope's envoy, sent hither, A. D. 1114, to interdict [or censure a Roman] priests' marriages, and being taken in the act with a common strumpet [promiscuous or disreputable woman], he excused it by saying he was no priest himself, but a correcter of them. (Trapp)

Paul lists 3 sins:

1. Stealing.

Psalms 50:16 ¶ But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? 18 When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.

The Lord charged the Pharisees with devouring widows' houses:

Matthew 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

2. Adultery. Again Psalms 50:18.

In spite of their strict moral laws in the commandments and in their moral codes, their lax divorce practices permitted adultery. According to the Talmud, some of there most celebrated rabbis were guilty of this sin.

Matthew 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

3. Sacrilege, or rob temples.

Since their Babylonian captivity, the Jews avoided idols. However, though they professed hatred for the idols in obedience to their laws, they made a good income by supporting the pagan temple traffic.

Illustration: It is like a Christian who says he hates drunkenness, yet owns a bar that promotes drunkenness.

They were proud of their knowledge and understanding of what the Law said. They taught it, and condemned others for not following the law. Yet they ignored the law in their own lives. Doing so, dishonored God, and caused God to be blasphemed, or spoken evil of.

Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: 2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Here we see pastors and Bible teachers who pride themselves in knowing and understanding the law. The know and understand what God's word says, yet they fail to preach against career women. They will preach against theft and adultery, yet not against sacrilege ; that is, against women in the work force. We are clearly told by Paul that such women cause God to be evil spoken of, and bring shame upon the teachers.

See, http://www.biblicalexaminer.org/B-WomanYoung%20ladies.html#Teaching%20Daughters

V. 24, For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you,

As it is written... Though he does not quote the Old Testament law he refers to, there are several:

Isaiah 52:5 Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.

Ezekiel 36:20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land. 21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. 22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.

Though we might praise God with our lips, even lifting our hands toward heaven as we sing praises, if our actions do not line up with the word of God, we blaspheme his holy name.

The world says, "I know how he acts when he is not around other Christians, or his actions do not correspond to his words of praise."

Vv. 25-29

Paul then mentions circumcision. You can read about its establishment in Ge 17. In the Old Testament, circumcision was the external sign that someone belonged to God's people, Israel. So you might expect a circumcised person to respect God's will, but if someone didn't obey God, his circumcision would mean nothing. The external sign of circumcision was only valid if the desire in the heart was to behave like a member of God's people. This desire found its expression in doing God's will. This even meant that an uncircumcised person (someone who didn't belong to Israel, but who respected the rights of the law) was owned by God as a member of His people. The result of this was eventual judgment on those who were only circumcised externally and not with the heart. The conclusion of this is seen in the last two verses. It deals with circumcision of the heart that leads us to the real meaning of circumcision. (de Koning)

This passage is avoided by those who want to baptize their babies. With no scriptural justification, they say that baptism replaced the Old Testament circumcision. That is not at all what Paul says here.

This section clearly states that circumcision has nothing to do with baptism. Rather, it refers to the heart.

The passage pretty well is self-explanitory:

The Jews were proud of their physical circumcision, even beliveing it would save them from the wrath of God.

1. Physical circumcision only profited if one kept the law.

2. Law breaking voided any profit that might have been in physical circumcision.

3. Law breaking counted as uncircumcision before God.

4. The Gentiles, whom were despised by the Jews, were counted as circumcised before God if they fulfilled the law.

5. The Gentiles who were physically uncircumcised and kept the law would judge those who were physically circumcised, the Jews, for not keeping the law.

V. 27, judge thee—that is, add to their condemnation because they did by nature what the Jews refused to do by law.

Matthew 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Thus, the men of Nineveh were counted as circumcised while disobedient Israel was not. The men of Nineveh were the true Jews in that case.

6. The message of Romans 2 and of Galatians 5 is clear. Even in the Old Testament law, the true circumcision was circumcision of the heart.

Deuteronomy 30:6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Colossians 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

The context shows that true circumcision refers to Christ's death on the cross when He died under God's judgment for sin. Someone who believes this with his heart is "circumcised of the heart." He who is a real Jew speaks of one who praises God. Belonging to God's people only externally attracts human honor. Man likes the visible side of religion because it makes him more important, but God looks at the heart. The external has only value for Him if it is a sincere representation of the attitude of the heart. God praises those in whom He finds "truth in the inward parts." Ps 51:6 This is what counts with God. (de Koning)

7. I will not take time to prove this statement, but from the very first, the true Jew are those whose heart has been circumcised by the Spirt of God.

I have a book on the subject, if you want further information.


Fair pretenses and a plausible profession may deceive men: but God cannot be so deceived; he sees through shows to realities. He is not a Christian who is one outwardly, nor is the true baptism outward in the flesh. Rather, he is a Christian who is one inwardly, and the true baptism is that of the heart. It is in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men but of God.