• Language:

  • Language:

  • Articles

    Categories

  • LaNuovaRiforma

    Welcome to our website. Peace and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be your abundance and God bless you greatly. We wish to introduce.

    Read More
  • Romans Chapter Two

    3888940

    Second Chapter of the Epistle to the Romans

    Chapter II-The Hypocrisy of the Sinner and the Religious Jew

    Introduction to Chapter II

    Paul begins the second chapter saying therefore; therefore is a conjunction that unites the previous subject, argument and context to the actual one. We must make some introductory premises before we enter in the subjects that Paul is presenting for us here.

    The first premise is something that is always important to remember when we read Scripture. In every epistle or book the chapters and verses did not exist in the original manuscripts. These were much later added to make it simpler to find Bible references and to facilitate finding chapters and verses one is looking for.

    However, we have to say that more often than not, the divisions of the chapters especially do not facilitate the comprehension of a specific subject and the flow of a context becomes interrupted so that psychologically often we believe that a context or an argument is finished when the chapter ends and we think a whole new subject and context or time frame begins, while in many cases it is not so. We need to stay focused and concentrated on what we are reading to properly understand when in actuality the author is changing the content of the passage and therefore the context changes.

    When we find a conjunction such as therefore we realize that although a new chapter has begun the subject, context, argument is connected with the preceding one. So in this case Paul is continuing the preceding context using a connective word, connecting what he was saying to what he is beginning to say; in other words, connecting to verse 32 of the previous chapter.

    The second introductory premise to this second chapter is this, that Paul begins to refer this chapter to the Jews in Rome. The first thing that introduces this concept even if we cannot be 100% sure is the use of the term o man .

    It seems that this term was traditionally used to refer to Israel. However even if Paul might be generally speaking about man as in the human being, the context of Romans 2 further ahead confirms that Paul is speaking to religious Jews. However, the principle of what Paul is communicating can, and has to, be applied to all religious people of all religions.

    We will have the chance to see this concept developed even more in Chapter III. Now Paul is beginning to unite the pagans, the idolaters, he described in Chapter I with the religious, hypocrite Jews who believed to be superior and more righteous than the pagans because of their religious status and their traditions, Paul is building the case that unites religious Jews and pagan Gentiles instead into one category which will be better illustrated for us in Romans Chapter III

    In this Chapter there are Seven Principles of God’s Judgment.

     

    First Principle of Divine Judgment: The Judgment of God According to Truth Verse 2

     

    Second Principle of Divine Judgment: According to the Accumulation of Guilt Verse 5

     

    Third Principle of Divine Judgment: According to Man’s Deeds Verses 6-10

     

    Fourth Principle of Divine Judgment: Without Partiality or Favoritism Verse Verses 11-12

     

    Fifth Principle of Divine Judgment: According to Obedience and not Only Knowledge and Conscience Verses 13-15

     

    Sixth Principle of Divine Judgment: According to the Secrets of the Heart Verse 16

     

    Seventh Principle of Divine Judgment: According to Reality and Not Religion Verses 17-24

    Verse 1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

    Therefore, O man, either Jewish or Gentile is not what matters in the end, rather the fact that Paul now says, therefore, this is in reference to what was previously made present by Paul. In other words,

    Romans 1:32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

    Do you remember what we already said about this?

    Man knows that the moral law of God written in his heart condemns him as a transgressor of the divine law, and man knows this condemnation is for all those who behave in the ways described in Romans I, this condemnation being death. However, still knowing all this they continue to practice all these sins, and therefore, transgress God’s divine law. Not only do they practice these things, but they approve all those who practice the same.

    Now the Jews knew this also; they knew it even more than the pagans.

    We know this to be true just by observing the behavior of people – the way they reason, the way they behave. Usually this happens in a very selective and categorized way, we did mention this even beforehand.

    For example, a homosexual will approve homosexuality while condemning murder, not realizing though that when he or she hates someone or are resentful they still commit murder in their heart. Anyway, they will perhaps approve adultery and other sinful behaviors. The “moral” man instead will not approve adultery but perhaps will approve who like him is greedy or envious, maybe approve who lies because he is a liar, this not hard to be as there are so many different ways to be a liar. Thieves will approve those like them who steal while perhaps condemn other sinful behaviors.

    So what Paul has begun to communicate to us in Romans 1:32 he is now in this chapter deepening our understanding of this kind of hypocritical judgment and connecting it to those who practice a religion with connections to the one and only true God.

    Man approves in others the very sins he commits, but hypocritically speaking man selects some sins which he practices and he approves them and justifies them in other people as well, while he selects the sins he thinks he does not commit and condemns those who practice those. However, he always remains a sinner and proves to be a hypocrite.

    This is the subject Paul exposes in this verse, the hypocrisy of he who judges sins in others while justifying his own and the sins of those who practice the same he does.

    At the end, however, they all approve each others’ sins while they deny the corrupt state of their own wicked and darkened heart, and they condemn others who are in the end exactly like them.

    In fact, the great lie, the deception and trap the human being sets for himself is exactly this. In other words, if he or she commits sins those are justifiable, but when they see others committing them they condemn them. This is hypocrisy because the sinner, even if he is religious and this is Paul’s point, is still a sinner and a hypocrite.

    A hypocrite, word from the Greek hypokrites means an actor, one who portrays a character who is not really who he or she is, the term is used to describe a person who puts on a false appearance especially of virtue or religion, a person who acts contrary to his or her stated beliefs or convictions.

    Let’s remember that for the religious Jew, the one who “practiced” the law of God, sins were such if they were actually committed as acts. Sin in the interior, in other words the condition of their heart ,was never considered sinful by them, by God certainly, not by them.

    Therefore, a person could even hate others, all that was necessary was that they would not murder that person so that by their erroneous interpretation of God’s law they did not commit a sin; they were innocent of murder.

    Even if a person looked at a woman to lust after her, to their interpretation if the act of adultery or fornication was not committed they were justified ,and they were above reproach and according to the law blameless. However, we know (or at least I hope) that for God all this is not true.

    In fact, Jesus totally destroyed their supposed righteousness declaring instead that sin was indeed in the heart and that for God even if the act was not outwardly committed, internally the sinful desire was present and it still was sin, see [Matthew 5:20-28] and [Matthew 15:18-19].

    See also how Paul described the religious practice of Jewish religion that he also had practiced when he considered himself righteous and blameless because of it.

    Philippians 3:3-10 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

    God’s word in James also has warned of this hypocrisy this way:

    James 2:10-11 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

    The pagan sinner and the religious and Jewish sinner after all are the same, right?

    Certainly, because whoever does not admit to be a sinner and tries to justify himself or herself before God through the dead works of a religion is not a born-again person that worships God in the Spirit and that glories in Christ alone and has no confidence in the flesh as Paul said in

    Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, See also [John 3:1-10] and [John 4:21-24]

    This means that their religion is vain and they are still dead in their sins and trespasses, they are living dead, zombies as a figure if speech, temporarily alive physically but spiritually dead, see [John 8:21-24];

    [Ephesians 2:1-3];[John 6:53-54];[John 5:38-40]

    It is this way Paul begins Romans chapter 2, emphasizing the hypocrisy of those who condemn the sin in others without realizing their own sinfulness, believing to be superior and more righteous than others because they practice some dead religious works.

    Paul is saying that these people are condemned by God just the same even if they have a form of godliness while they deny the power of it which is Christ Jesus, the power of God [2 Timothy 3:5].

    Jesus told this story to describe such men:

    Luke 18:9-14 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    In this parable Jesus in other words is saying the same thing Paul is saying in these verses of Romans 2.

    You see some assume to be righteous and they despise others. They are religious and still sinners without the life of God in them, but they think they are righteous and they condemn the sin in others while not considering their own.

    In fact, the Pharisee who was the epitome of religion in those days, as we notice in the parable, does not at all recognize himself as a sinner but righteous, his false righteousness sought through dead religious works.

    Let’s remember what Jesus also taught us regarding the religious of His days but also today’s:

    Matthew 5:20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

    The righteousness of God apart from the law, apart from religious works, we will learn this, is Christ Jesus, the righteousness of God, the only righteousness that God will accept in behalf of a human being,

    see also [2 Corinthians 5:21].

    Paul is then saying, there is no excuse, no justification at all for a sinner through his religion, in this case speaking about the Jew. However it’s the same for any other form of religion, anyone who condemns the sin in others because in action, behavior and desire he or she practices the same and (as we did already make mention) who transgresses only one point of the law is guilty of transgressing all of it. In the previous chapter we have seen how only one violation of one commandment a person commits is inextricably connected to the violation of many others, and in the end inexorably all of God’s law is transgressed.

    First Principle of Divine Judgment: The Judgment of God According to Truth

    Verses 2-3 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?

    Yes. Paul is saying that we know that God’s judgment is according to truth. How? Simple, it is what Paul already told us in

    Romans 1:18-19 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

    So that the judgment of God is according to the truth that first of all He “manifested in every human being”, but not only and exclusively that truth only.

    The truth of God that is revealed through what we previously studied, the General Revelation of God , the image and likeness of God in the human being, the conscience, the intellect and the spirit and the nature that surrounds him.

    There was once a dialogue in regard to what the truth really was. In this passage we can find as we say the God’s honest truth.

    John 18:37-38 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”

    Even today Pilate’s question is repeatedly asked and the answer that the world gives is that truth is subjective, the world declares that truth is not absolute. The world declares that truth is whatever you want it to be, what is your truth is truth.

    After all even for Pilate most likely it was like this, but in reality it is not at all like this.

    Pilate was a pagan and Paul described these idolatrous pagans, as we read in Romans I.

    They suffocate the truth that the Creator manifested to them and in them with their unrighteousness, and the Gentiles, as it is described in several passages, were darkened in the futility of their minds and given to all kinds of sinful behavior and idolatry [Ephesians 4:17-19],[1 Peter 4:3]. So even Pilate, by the declaration of Scripture, should have known and recognized the truth instead he asks Jesus what is truth?

    Romans 1:18-32 explains that he knew it and suppressed it, just like the rest of the world does, including the religious Jew [John 5:38-47].

    Perhaps Pilate should have heard Jesus’ declaration the night before, he would have heard with his own ears what, or should we say, who the truth really is,

    John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

    Meanwhile, truth was standing right before his very eyes and even then he suppressed it with unrighteousness, Pilate suppressed Jesus the truth and helped the Jews suppress the truth, Jesus Himself, God’s word, the truth of God [John1:1-14],[John 8:31-32], [John 17:17].

    After all, Jesus is the logos of God, God’s word who became man [John1:1-14], He is God’s truth revealed to the world and now He is the highest and last form of God’s revelation, truth in it’s most absolute form revealed to man [Hebrews 1:1-2].

    He is the fulfillment and the completion of God’s revelation, He is truth and He who guides us into all of the truth of God.

    The rejection of this ultimate truth will be subjected to the most severe judgment, more severe than the truth revealed in Romans I, more severe still than the judgment against those who reject and transgress the written law of God without the knowledge of Christ.

    Hebrews 10:26-29 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

    This passage is talking about rejecting Christ. The willful sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth speaks about rejecting Christ.

    It’s the Gospel, it is not loosing one’s salvation as many erroneously think, it’s rejecting Christ and continuing in unbelief, continuing in dead religion, missing God’s grace completely and so in that case there is absolutely no other sacrifice for sin. This is spoken in context to Jews who put their trust and hope in the law of Moses and the sacrifices of animals and not in the grace of God through faith in Christ.

    So both Gentiles and Jews reject God’s truth, the very truth that will judge them. There is then absolute truth, the absolute and only truth is God, His word [John 17:17], Jesus [John 8:31-32] and His Spirit, the Spirit of truth [John 16:13].

    God will judge the hypocrite that Paul is mentioning in this chapter according to His truth, according to the truth of His word and His Son, while the hypocrite lies, he is a liar there is no truth in him.

    He lies to others and he also lies to himself presenting himself as something when he is something else instead. He does this because he does not walk in truth. We read that he suppresses the truth, he suffocates God’s truth, all of God’s revealed truth burying it under his unrighteousness and injustice.

    However, it is useless for the hypocrite to hide behind his lies because God sees beyond his lies. God reads the heart and the mind of man, he knows what we will say even before we say it. How can we hide from the truth of God?

    Psalms 139:1-12 LORD, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. 5 You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. 7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; 12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day

    God will judge the idolatrous pagan as we have seen in Romans I and will judge the religious hypocrite, the religious sinner that continues to behave like an idolatrous pagan while condemning the pagan believing himself to be righteous. God will judge the hypocrite, He will judge him rightly according to His truth.

    In addition, everyone will be judged according to the level of truth revealed to them. Any ulterior level of truth a person receives knowledge of increases the level of responsibility of how a person is required to answer to the truth revealed, and it increases the subsequent judgment when that truth is rejected.

    In other words, in chapter one is described the very first level of revealed truth that God has revealed to every single human being. Everybody would at least be judged according to this amount of truth revealed.

    After all, God is truth and His judgment is based upon that fact, and He can only judge according to truth.

    Practically who practices sin according to God’s truth, His law and His word and judges others reveals that he or she is as the others are unrighteous and condemned, this is what God’s truth says:

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. See also [Ephesians 5:5-6].

    The religious person is still dead in their sins, does not have the life of God in them, and therefore, is not justified before God. If he or she is not justified they will be condemned and this is according to the truth of God’s word, which will condemn him in his or hers final judgment if they do not repent and become born-again.

    John 5:38-47 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive honor from men. 42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you–Moses, in whom you trust (law, religion). 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

    Verses 4-5 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

    As we have seen in the last passage, we read [John 5:38-47] the religious Jew despised and despises God’s goodness, forbearance and patience of God. They truly despise the grace of God and His love displayed in Jesus Christ, the love of God which leads them to repentance and they continue to commit idolatry even as the pagans do, doing so they will run right into God’s judgment in the end. Why? They retain themselves righteous and justified because of their dead religious works instead of running to the mercy and love of God who desires they repent and be saved.

    This was Jesus’ agony because of those who were trying to obtain the righteousness of God through the religious practice and the observance of the law, their way. However, in the law there is absolutely no grace and no mercy, the law is described differently in the NT.

    1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

    Not something you want to live by.

    Galatians 2:16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

    In fact, the law is righteous but true righteousness cannot be obtained by the practice of the law nor can a person be justified before God by its practice. In fact, the law for man is a curse not a blessing, so it is described in the NT although the law is holy and righteous.

    See [Romans 7:7-25] and [Galatians 3:13-25].

    This is why Jesus would become angry with the religious Jews, because in the hardness of their hearts they did not want to admit to be sinners. They believed to be righteous instead by their observing the requirements of the law and even putting their traditions above the commandments of God.

    Mark 7:5-13 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?” 6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 8 “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men–the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” 9 And He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”–‘ (that is, a gift to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

    They would interpret the law in such a way so that they would disobey it and still deceive themselves into thinking themselves righteous and erroneously thinking they were obeying it.

    The context of Chapter II is just this, the religious hypocrites believe to be righteous, more righteous than others, because they think that by their dead religious works, their version of the law, they can be righteous. They are sinners who do not want to admit their sins and judge others who they see sinning, while they never repent.

    This was also John the Baptist’s cry against the religious:

    Matthew 3:6-10 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

    That which Paul describes here in Romans 2:4-5 is exactly what Jesus and John were saying – the religious, the hypocrites, those who thought they were righteous but were not. They put their trust completely in their own religious works, their traditions and their past heritage – past history and heritage that in the end did not really bear good witness to them [Matthew 23:29-36], condemning others they despised them while they despised as they do even today God’s only and true grace and mercy through faith in Christ alone, the only thing that can save and justify.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

    We find in verse five the

    Second Principle of Divine Judgment: According to the Accumulation of Guilt

    Exactly because of the hardness of their impenitent hearts all that we have read until now is confirmed, it is exactly what Jesus said about the religious of His days and even today.

    Religion in the end falls into the category of idolatry and it becomes doctrine of demons, it anesthetizes and it hardens the conscience and the heart of man as they both are connected see [Matthew 13:14-15];

    [1 Timothy 4:1-5].

    The human heart even if religious is an unregenerate heart, it is hard and deceptive, but God knows it very well and He will judge, repay man according to his or her actions and deeds.

    Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? 10 I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.

    This passage confirms that which is written in these two verses [Romans 2:4-5]. In other words, the hardness of a desperately wicked heart produces sin and sin produces God’s judgment, which is exactly an accumulation of guilt for the day of judgment, a judgment of guilt that accumulates like the balance on a credit card that can never get paid off, a balance that continues to accumulate and where a payment is never rendered or one cannot sufficiently paid it. It remains always due and the interest also compounds month after month, day after day for a lifetime. The only sufficient payment for the balance of man’s sins is eternal damnation.

    Such are the sins of an un-redeemed, religious person, of any person who is still dead in their sins and trespasses. One day God will require the full payment of that balance, balance no man can ever pay, and the payment for that balance is as we said eternal punishment in accordance with every unrighteous deed, word and thought of the person.

    Only a heart transplant can save a person, a new heart that can beat with God’s love and life and this can only occur if a person is regenerated by God [Romans 5:1-5], a person whose sins are forgiven, a person who is justified by God’s grace through faith and these things are not of man or from the law, they are a gift of God through the work of His Spirit that applies what Christ did to the life of those who are chosen, the elect of God to salvation.

    In this case only, the person who is regenerated by God is not required any longer to pay the balance of the accumulation of his or her sin because Jesus paid it all for them and He has redeemed them completely, justified them [Romans 8:28-39], because as we said man has in himself no resource whatsoever to be able to make payment on his own for the guilt of his accumulated sins.

    This is, in fact, what Jesus is explaining to Nicodemus [John 3:1-19], a thing Nicodemus should have known and understood, God’s work of salvation because it was written in the Scriptures of the OT

    [Ezekiel 36:25-27].

    The observance of the law cannot change the heart and the desires of a person, only the life of God, the nature of God can change these things [2 Peter 1:3-4]. This as we have already seen can occur only when a person is regenerated and by consequence this leads to repentance. Without this divine intervention, repentance and the life of God are not present in a person and a religious hardened heart can do nothing but accumulate guilt upon guilt, and this God will judge.

    For this reason exactly Jesus would get angry with the religious self-righteous Jews, this was a righteous anger generated by His love for God’s righteousness, love for His word and love for them, because He desired that they would repent and believe in Him so they could have God’s life. It is humanly impossible for religious people to admit they are sinners and to admit they only need God’s grace and mercy to be saved, see [John 5:38-47].

    Yes, and it’s because God loves humanity that His love constantly pushes people to repentance, He calls continuously, He actually commands continuously to repent and to have faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, He commands to become obedient to the Gospel. Such things Paul declared to the Greek idolaters, they were religious yes, but idolatrous, this is also a principle for the religious Jews:

    Acts 17:22 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious;

    Acts 17:30-31 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

    The love of God leads to repentance, it leads to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the only forgiveness for sins and the only valid justification for mankind, that is faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ [Romans 4:20-25].

    The religious of those times, especially the Jews, despised the love of God toward them, love which was leading them to repent, [John 3:16-20] while instead they continued to seek righteousness through the law [Romans 9:30-33]. After all, as the religious of today still do, it is for the hardness of their hearts, they accumulate God’s judgment upon themselves.

    Third Principle of Divine Judgment: According to Man’s Deeds

    Verses 6-10 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness–indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

    We do not need to take these verses individually as they are one whole subject. The first thing that God’s word tells us, and that we have seen previously several times although explained to us with different words is this, God will repay man for his sins. In other words, He will judge and recompense people according to their deeds.

    Oh, but wait” someone will say, “are we then condemned and justified by works or deeds, if God judges based on this principle?” Well, the answer is yes and no.

    Yes, God will judge man based upon man’s deeds and works. However, we must specify what this means. Until now we have understood from what the Lord taught us in His word that His righteous anger or wrath, His judgment, is revealed from heaven against every unrighteousness and injustice of man, which suppresses the truth of God with his unrighteous works [Romans 1:18-19].

    We have also understood that mankind rejects God, worships and serves the creature instead of the creator, creatures including himself, and therefore, he or she is an idolater and in every possible way completely corrupt and full of every unrighteousness [Romans 1:20-32].

    We have seen that mankind finds pleasure in practicing unrighteousness and approves those who practice sin. We have seen that even those who profess to have the knowledge of the one and only God and that know His written law are only religious hypocrites and totally incapable of being justified before God as the practice of the law cannot at all justify them.

    We have seen that even the Jews, as the pagans, have a hardened heart and do not want to admit to be unrighteous sinners and they do not want to repent, they do not want to believe and accept the grace of God by faith in the work and virtues and merits of Christ only.

    So after having seen this summary of the condition of the human heart and nature, pagan and religious, the question we must ask is this one, if God judges based upon works and deeds, does this mean that people are justified by works?

    In effect, reading these verses one may get the impression that if a person commits wicked and unrighteous deeds God will judge them and will condemn such, if a person commits or practices good works or good deeds God will justify them.

    Yes, it is true, we have this impression, in reality it is not like that. So far we have understood one thing – every human being can be and wants to be only and continuously unrighteous, because the human being is a sinner, they have a completely corrupt nature and this nature is completely enslaved to sin. We have already seen this passage and we have examined it, but we will do well to examine it again.

    By the way, we will be seeing this particular passage often in our study of Romans.

    Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? 10 I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.

    Even here we understand that man’s heart is desperately wicked, it’s incurable of its sinfulness. There is no human resource to find a cure for the sinfulness of man’s heart. There is no medicine, there is no psychology, there is no psychiatry, there is no philosophy, there is nothing human, scientific and brace yourself, there is nothing religious that can cure man’s corrupt, deceitful and desperately wicked heart, nothing at all. So this means that the human being has a very serious problem that is not humanly or religiously resolvable.

    In fact, even in the passage we just read in Jeremiah 17:9-10 God declares that He will give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings, whatever a man sows that he will also reap [Galatians 6:7-8].

    Based on these truths we have seen so far now with this last declaration from God’s word, this fact becomes absolutely devastating to man, because if mankind can only produce sinfulness and unrighteousness he or she can never be justified before God, in other words, be considered without fault. Sinners will be justly judged and condemned by God according to their unrighteous deeds and according to the fruit of their works.

    So if all this is true, and it is, because Scripture has shown us all this to be so, who are the persons that Paul describes when he says: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality?

    If no one is righteous and no man seeks after these things and no man can be righteous and justified before God even by good works, who are these people? Who seeks to do good, who seeks glory and honor and immortality?

    It seems saying here that eternal life is a reward for those who persevere patiently doing good and seeking glory, honor and immortality.

    First of all, this is an explanation that is simpler than one would imagine, it is not a contradiction and no, God will not give salvation and will not justify any person based on works of righteousness that anyone performs.

    In fact, this verse does not at all say that eternal life is given to those who deserve it because of the works they performed. It says eternal life will be given to those whose fruit is seeking glory, honor and immortality and who persevere in doing good.

    God’s word explains to us what all this means.

    In John 6 we find the answer to this, first of all Jesus explains to us what man must do to perform God’s works, or the works of God.

    John 6:28-29 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

    Therefore, what is the work God requires from man? Faith!

    Faith is the only thing that will give access to man’s justification and the only thing that gives access to the grace of God [Romans 5:1-2].

    However, even if faith was originated in man and by his nature, which is impossible and we have seen it, even faith would have to be be considered a human righteous work and if a human work then God would not, could not accept it as a base of justification.

    We need to look at this subject biblically and do it well well so that it really penetrates inside of us because it is essential to properly understand this subject.

    God’s word explains to us that both faith and grace are gifts of God and they are not at all found or generated by man, they are given by God as a gift to those who are predestined, chosen, elected to salvation.

    They are a gift of God, not deserved rewards based on human qualities or virtues or abilities.

    For the majority of Christians today, unfortunately, this idea of election or predestination or that God has chosen some to be saved while leaving others to their own devices, is considered a heresy at worse and bad doctrine at best. These believers, however, think this because they have not studied Scripture without the influence of personally biased opinions that are actually energized by human pride.

    To want to have at all costs something personally to do with our salvation is pride and it is glorying in something other than God alone. It is a false kind of humility born out of pride. It’s also dangerous because it leads to the work-based salvation mentality which makes a person think they are saved because they were somehow better than someone else and that it was they who accepted and did not reject God’s gift when they were offered it, while others instead reject it.

    It makes for the mentality I am better than you, I was able to choose God’s salvation and you did not and for that decision I was rewarded with eternal life. There is a great flaw in this thought, that it is somehow who decides for Christ is deserving salvation because they chose God while others, who according to their doctrine, were given the same exact grace and possibility refused it and rejected God.

    This becomes a salvation given as a reward based on something a human being did, in other words a human work.

    Instead Scripture is clear by grace faith is given onto salvation it does not come from anything human, not of any human work, so no one can boast, not even of having had faith. No, folks, man can have nothing to boast about, salvation is of the Lord and it has to be entirely done by Him. God does, however, account faith and righteousness to the person who believes. After all, the person actually does exercise the faith but only after God regenerates them and gives them the supernatural faith to believe, thence the human responsibility of believing is actually accounted to each person.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. See also [Hebrew 12:2].

    That faith is a gift of God and it’s a selective gift is evident from Scripture.

    Jesus several times and in different occasions has confirmed that faith is a gift of God, when one believes faith is generated by God, let us proceed to look in John 6.

    John 6:36-40 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    Everything is becoming more clear now, there are those who do not believe, but Jesus says: “ALL that the Father gives to Him will go to Him and He will by no means cast them out. (Assurance of Salvation)”

    This is a parallel passage to [John 10:25-30]. This means that all those who go to Jesus by faith have that faith because the Father gives them the faith to believe and are in fact assured of eternal life.

    This is evident also in Peter’s declaration of faith in:

    Matthew 16:16-17 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

    See also [John 1:12-13],[John 6:68-70], believers are chosen by the Father and given to Christ, chosen by Christ as well in accordance with the Father’s will and purpose and not man’s.

    Nothing human had revealed to Peter who Jesus was. Peter’s faith was therefore generated and given to him by the Father, the Father gifted Peter of this faith and allowed Peter to go to Jesus and all this is continuing to parallel and be confirmed in what Jesus kept teaching in John 6.

    John 6:44-45 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

    This was exactly what happened to Peter in Matthew 16, he heard and learned something from the Father, he received the faith to believe in Christ, this is the gift of the Father to Peter, (and all elect believers) and has given them (the church) as a gift to His Son.

    See also [John 10:29];[John 17:2];[John 17:6];[John 17:9];[John 17:11].

    No one goes to Jesus, in other words no one can exercise true faith unless the Father gives them the faith, but everyone to whom the Father has given faith goes to Jesus. Therefore, no one whom God has not enabled with faith goes to Christ while all that go to Christ God has enabled to go by faith to Him. To go to Christ we have to be drawn and enabled to believe by the Father, this is the description in other words of election and regeneration.

    John 6:63-66 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

    This passage is the cherry on top of the cake so to speak, it’s the culmination of this whole subject we are studying. In other words, Jesus is confirming here that we have to be born-again of the Spirit of God and that the flesh and religiosity profit nothing. In fact, some of His followers did not believe,” they followed Him but they did not believe. That is why Jesus confirmed and declared that no one can follow Jesus, be His disciple, that in the end means having been born from above. if it is not granted by the Father. This means that there are people to whom it has not been granted to go to Jesus. This means that they cannot exercise real faith in Christ and be saved. They will remain religious but they will not have the life of God in them and sooner or later they will walk away from Jesus, but these are not true elected believers who have truly believed and later on lost their salvation or have fallen from grace. It is obvious from the text it is not so.

    So, why did we have to say all this? To understand a very important thing, that is this, the good work that those who seek for glory, honor and immortality persevere in, are not their own works of righteousness but they are the work of Christ that is fulfilled in the lives of those who truly have been enabled by the Father to go to Jesus and to be born again, regenerated and saved by grace through faith given them by the Father, to place their entire trust in the work and virtues of Christ only.

    In fact, this is the continuance of what we read before of grace and faith being given by God as a gift.

    Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

    Also,

    Philippians 2:12b-13 work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

    So the word of God instructs us that it is God who chooses us, not us Him. He regenerates us by giving us the faith to believe by His grace. He draws and grants us to go to Christ and all this is the life of God generated in the elect to salvation. These are not religious works nor are they human works. In other words, not generated by human nature or ability, but generated by the Holy Spirit and divine nature of God, the Spirit who lives within the believer so that the works that those people persevere in are not their own works, but also those works are of God, the works, virtues and life of Christ, those are rewarded with eternal life.

    So that these verses here in Romans 2 are not saying that God rewards man according to his good works. God rewards that man or woman which brings forth the fruit of His salvation, given them by His grace through faith in the workmanship and virtues of Christ and this with eternal life, glory, honor and peace to these who do good, the Jew first and then the Gentile.

    Who does good? Who is righteous? Is he or she who are in Christ, the Jew and the Gentile alike.

    The others, which are the rest of humanity that was not elected for salvation, those who are pagans and religious both Jews and Gentiles, to them God will repay according to their deeds, thoughts and words which are only and always wicked, to these who

    are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness–indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek;

    Here Paul describes in a few words the unrighteous, the wicked, the sinner, the religious hypocrites that he also had described in [Romans 1:29-32], but the few words he uses here are so specific, so descriptive that they do make us reflect upon what Paul had already said.

    These are the contentious, those who are rebels to the authority of God, they disobey at every level of revealed divine truth, the general revelation of the truth, the written law and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead because they are enslaved to sin and unrighteousness and to their sinful nature, they only obey these. These people God will repay them, reward them the punishment due for their wicked and unrighteous deeds, indignation, wrath and tribulation upon every soul of man who does evil,the Jew and the Gentile alike

    2 Thessalonians 1:5-9.

    This concept in its contrast is exposed to us by Paul in another form in

    Romans 6:15-23 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Romans Chapter II Verses IX to XVI

    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 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

    Fourth Principle of Divine Judgment: Without Partiality or Favoritism

    Verses 11-12 For there is no partiality with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law.

    One of the most unknown attributes of God is probably impartiality. God is impartial as far as any human being is concerned, in other words He is without any kind of favoritism in the execution of His justice and equity.

    Already in some previous verses we have begun to see this concept, in fact in Romans 1:16-17 in regard to the Gospel Paul has begun to show that this Gospel is equally given to the Jews and to the Gentiles.

    Given to whomever God has chosen to believe by faith, as the righteous will live by faith and this for the Jew as well as the Gentile, this is without distinction.

    Now, the only reason why Paul uses the expression of the Jew first and then to the Gentile is because chronologically in time and by divine choice as Israel was chose first, the Gospel was offered first to the Jew and then after to the Gentiles, this was the order in which the Gospel had to be preached, Jesus Himself gave this order in

    Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

    In fact, it was as Jesus said in that order, we can observe the advancement of the Gospel and the birth of the church. The Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost and salvation began with the Jews

    [Acts 2:1-47], then gradually to other people, the Samaritans [Acts 8:12-17] and then the Gentiles from

    [Acts 10:1-48] forward.

    It is obvious that from the very beginning God had already chosen that salvation would come from the Jews [John 4:22], but not that salvation would be exclusively for Israel [John 4:23-24], the Jews believed instead that it was only and exclusively for them and that a Gentile to be saved had to first become a Jew. It was for this very reason that Jesus told Nicodemus that God so loved the world that He had come into the world to bring salvation to the elect from the whole world and not only to Israel [John 3:16-17];[Matthew 28:19-20];[Titus 2:11].

    Even among the Apostles in the beginning of the church’s birth there pervaded this attitude, that salvation was through Christ but that it was exclusive for the Jews and that any other person to be saved had to become Jewish first and then receive Christ’s atonement [Acts 11:18];[Acts 15:1-29], but this was not and is not so.

    Instead the word of God teaches us this:

    Colossians 3:10-11 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

    Ephesians 2:11-20 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh–who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

    We see that even in OT times God’s intention was to use Israel to bring the nations to the knowledge of the LORD and His salvation, see [2 Chronicles 6:33],[Psalms 67:1-6],[Psalms 96:1-3].

    So we see that God although had chosen Israel out of all the other nations, had chosen Israel to be His people and to bring His salvation through them. However, God always desired to save all people, the elect from every nation of the world and not only from Israel.

    Genesis 12:2-3 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

    Even in this passage we see that from the beginning God’s intention was to save the nations through the promise He made to Abraham. In fact this is then mentioned by Paul in:

    Galatians 3:6-14 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

    This subject is clearer as well when we see the description of the redeemed in the presence of God:

    Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

    Revelation 7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.

    The Bible also is filled with passages that declare the impartiality of God, let’s look at one in particular:

    Deuteronomy 10:17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.

    It is interesting that out of all of God’s attributes that could possibly be mentioned, Moses has chosen to include the fact that God is impartial, He has no personal regard for any man, see also [2 Chronicles 19:7],[Job 34:19],[Acts 10:34],[Galatians 2:6],[Ephesians 6:9].

    1 Peter 1:17And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear.

    God does not favor any social status, God does not respect man the way the world does. God does not respect or favor the rich over the poor, the educated over the non educated, God does not favor any man, He is impartial, no one in His judgment will be treated any differently from the other, His law truly is equal for all and so His verdict will be also, according to each one’s works.

    Even Jesus’ enemies recognized this attribute of God in Him

    The fact that God is impartial is an aspect that really needs to be inculcated in our hearts and minds. Especially in the church we cannot favor people because of their status or position or ministry position. We cannot favor anyone more than others and we must love all in the same way. We must try at all costs to eliminate and eradicate favoritism based on personality or any other thing.

    Matthew 22:15-16 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. 16 And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men.

    In fact, God has provided His salvation for the elect of the whole world and out of every possible condition of culture, status and education, without favoring any particular one. It is certain that in the law of averages more poor than rich exist, more simple people than highly educated ones, so it seems to the human eye that God favors the poor and the simple in His election, but this is only a numerical average factor, not favoritism, this is logic.

    The fact that God is impartial is an aspect that really needs to be inculcated in our hearts and minds. Especially in the church we cannot favor people because of their status or position or ministry position. We cannot favor anyone more than others and we must love all in the same way. We must try at all costs to eliminate and eradicate favoritism based on personality or any other thing.

    James 2:1-10 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called? 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

    1 Timothy 5:17-20 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” 19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. 20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

    Honor and respect has to be given to those who lead and serve wellin the church, but this is really not favoritism, it is obedience to Biblical instruction. No one not even the leaders have to have privileged treatment above any other member of the church.

    Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

    So we understand that honor, respect, obedience and submission are required toward the leaders who serve well. However, the rules pertaining conduct and sin apply to all, to the congregation as well as the elders and pastors, they are no different. Compare [Matthew 18:15-20] with [1Timothy 5:17-20].

    We who are believers must mirror God’s nature and character, if God is impartial we must also be. I know it is difficult because in our humaness we are used to having special liking for certain people and dislikes as well, based on personality, looks etc. In the church we MUST exercise the love of God, this love MUST be without favoritism at all.

    God loves ALL His children the same way,there is absolutely nothing we can do or not do that will increase or decrease the love that God has for His children.

    So it will be with judgment, God will judge with impartiality and without any special treatment, based on the deeds of every person, of every nation, of any social status, rich or poor, sin will be judged for ALL in the SAME WAY. The same way salvation and justification will be the exact same for all who placed their faith in Christ and have confessed Him as Lord, see the parable in [Matthew 20:1-16].

    Paul continues saying that ALL will be equally judged by God, it does not matter if some of humanity knows God’s written law or the word of God or even if they never heard the Gospel, all will be judged according to their deeds they performed in their lifetime.

    After all, we have seen previously that every human being is inexcusable before God because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

    These are those who will perish even without the knowledge of the written law of God. Those who know it as Paul says, the Jews, will be judged without partiality based upon what he has knowledge of, in other words, God’s written law.

    Let’s remember that the punishment will be greater for them who have a greater knowledge of the truth. The Jew, in this case, will receive a greater punishment because he has a greater knowledge of God’s revelation and truth, as the Jew has the same knowledge God has given every human being according to the internal witness, conscience and the external witness we have seen delineated in Romans I.In addition, the Jew knows the written law which together with the law written in their hearts and the conscience bearing witness, has the written law as a witness against him also. The Jew, therefore, has a greater responsibility to obey God.

    Luke 12:47-48 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

    Anyhow, both the pagan and the Jew will be equally and impartially judged by God based on every wicked and unrighteous deed they committed [Revelation 20:11-15] because the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord [Romans 6:23].

    Fifth Principle of Divine Judgment: According to Obedience and Conscience not Only Knowledge

    Verses 13-15 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them).

    It is not enough to have knowledge of God’s law, God requires total and perfect obedience to His law. It is not enough to be hearers of God’s law and word [James 1:22-27].

    Paul, in fact, says that only those who would be obedient to the entire law would be justified, if it were possible.

    This is very bad news for mankind, the Gentile and the Jew alike, very bad news because God’s word clearly teaches us this:

    Galatians 2:16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

    If it were possible for man to obey the entire law of God and obey it always without ever failing there could be a possibility to be justified by the law, but no human being can ever perfectly and continuously fulfill and obey God’s law.

    In fact, both Jew and Gentile are described as unrighteous by the standards of the law of God

    [Romans 3:9-18], they fall short of the glory of God because they all have sinned [Romans 3:19-23].

    Therefore, God will judge based upon the obedience, or should we say in the human being’s case on the disobedience of His law. This is great trouble for mankind, because even if the law is holy and perfect it is not a blessing for man, it’s actually a curse.

    The law of God is that which condemns man, it condemns man showing him or her that they are transgressors of it and that they are not capable at all to obey it [Romans 7:1-25];[Romans 8:3-4].

    There are many passages that help us understand that God’s law is good, holy and perfect but it is not at all possible to obey it perfectly, this renders mankind, every man and woman on the face of the earth a transgressor of the divine law and for this reason guilty and for this required by God to pay the price for having transgressed His law, the price is DEATH.

    We are talking about physical death and eventually spiritual death as well, yes because the wages of sin, the reward for sin which is the transgression of God’s law, is death, physical and eternal [Romans 6:23].

    Galatians 3:10-14 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

    Colossians 2:13-14 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

    In these two passages we can see that the law although holy and good for us human beings is in reality a curse. The commandments of God are contrary and hostile to us, they condemn us not justify us, they have absolutely no power to save us and justify us.

    The Bible in fact says, that when we transgress only one commandment of God’s law we have transgressed ALL of God’s law, not only one commandment but ALL of them. We are guilty of having transgressed all of the law, in this case we could not never, by partial obedience, think to fulfill the whole law because in reality we are continuously transgressing it.

    James 2:10-11 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

    So man cannot be justified by the works of the law. The bad news then is that in God’s law there is no salvation, no grace, no mercy for mankind, only condemnation.

    Thanks be to God however, God is merciful and gracious toward humanity and has provided the forgiveness for man’s guilt, He has provided the remedy for the curse of the law and we have begun to read what and who the remedy for this curse is.

    His name is Jesus, yes, the only begotten Son of God. He is the fulfillment of the law of God in man’s behalf [Matthew 5:17];[Romans 10:4]. He is also the full payment for man’s sin and man’s guilt, He is man’s justification, He is man’s only hope.

    Only the man Jesus has perfectly obeyed the entire law of God, not only, but He fulfilled it in Himself, he fulfilled it in every aspect.

    This will be examined in greater detail in chapter 3 and the following chapters. It suffices to say for now to remember that it is He, Jesus the man and God incarnate ,who has obeyed God’s law perfectly and for this reason for His obedience He is the One who justifies those who put their trust in Him.

    Jesus has eliminated the curse of the law, that was only His doing [Romans 8:1-4],[1 Corinthians 15:56-57],[Ephesians 2:15-16], [Galatians 3:13-14],[Colossians 2:13-14].

    Romans 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

    Paul now continues saying that when the Gentiles, the pagans, the non Jews who do not have the written law, when they fulfill by nature the requirements of the law, they, who have no written law, are a law unto themselves; they demonstrate that what the law commands is written in their hearts and their conscience bearing witness so that their thoughts either accuse them or excuse them in regard to God’s law.

    Once more we can go back in chapter one to revisit what God has manifest in man’s heart, remember?

    He manifested internally all that can be known in regard to the existence of God and His moral law, because having God created the human being in His image and likeness has written on man’s heart, in his inner man, His holy and righteous law. Because of this the conscience of man confirms to man that God’s law is actually written in his or her heart and condemns or absolves one from having transgressed this law. As we have been able to clearly see, God has rendered mankind inexcusable and guilty of transgressing His law.

    The conscience is that mechanism that is inside man and confirms to him when he or she has transgressed God’s law, which is written on man’s heart. The moral light that the creator has placed inside man is His law and the conscience confirms it. We will see that the conscience of man began to work immediately when mankind received the knowledge of good and evil and fell into transgression of God’s commandment.

    Genesis 3:7-11 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?

    We see clearly that the conscience confirms the guilt of transgressing God’s commandments. This happened before the written law was in circulation, and in fact, it is as it says in

    Romans 5:13-14 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

    This passage, which we will revisit when we will get to chapter 5, basically says that which is written here in Romans 2:14-15. In other words, that sin was in the world before the written law defined what sin was, details of which God gave to Moses.

    Here is written that sin is not taken into account when there is no law. What does this mean? The written law was not made known, and therefore, sin would be judged based upon what? The conscience, the identical judgment for those who even today because of their location or religion do not have the knowledge of the written law of God. This passage does not mean that God did not or will not judge sin without the knowledge of the written law, not at all, as we see God has judged and destroyed wicked sinners because of their wickedness even before the written law. In addition, this is exactly what Romans 1:18-32 confirms about God’s judgment and the people who do not have the written law but know God’s righteous judgments because of what is manifest by God to them.

    Genesis 6:5-8 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

    See also [Genesis 18:21-21] and [Genesis 19:13].

    The wages of sin is always death even if the written law is not known. In fact, remember what [Romans 1:32] taught us in regard to those who do not know God’s written law, they know it says God’s righteous decrees and that their unrighteous and wicked behavior is worthy of death.

    Therefore, every man yesterday and today that has never known the written law of God and never heard the Gospel, because of the law of God written in his heart, his conscience bearing witness to this law in the heart,because of the invisible attributes of God that can be clearly seen not only within man but also in the creation around him, man knows to be guilty of transgressing God’s law.

    So, again it needs to be repeated, no man or woman, wherever they live, in cities, jungles, deserts, mountains, islands, no matter what ethnic background, culture, no matter what social status one has, pagan or Jew are all guilty of being transgressors of God’s law and they know it.

    Therefore, no one is innocent, all are guilty. Very bad news for mankind, on the other hand no one can boast to be better of another person because, in fact, the impartiality and justice of God places every body on the same level before Him. No one will ever be able to boast before God of their human qualities or achievements. None of these things will be able to be a cause for favor before God, neither will the attempt to work the divine law.

    Paul tells us here, that both those who know God’s written law the Jew, and he or she who do not know His written law, the Gentile are both condemned as transgressors of the same law. The Jew knows the written law both by conscience [John 8:9] and writing. The pagan, Gentile, knows the divine law by conscience. The conclusion of this matter is this, as we repeat what we said previously, the conscience is the instrument that enables man to know that he transgressed God’s law that is written in his inner person. However, the conscience is neutral, in other words it confirms the guilt or the excuse but has absolutely no power to render man obedient to God’s law [Romans 7:18-19],[Romans 8:3].

    Sixth Principle of Divine Judgment: According to the Secrets of the Heart

    Verse 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

    As we have been able to already see, the Lord knows every secret of man. God is omniscient (knows all things) this is a serious problem for mankind, is it not? Yes, because for God there is absolutely no secret.

    Easily man can have secrets that other human beings will never know, but with God is not like this. God is so immense that nothing can be hidden from Him. He knows the thoughts and the intents of every single man, they are all exposed, they are naked before Him.

    Psalms 44:20-21 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, 21 would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?

    Psalms 139:1-12 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. 5 You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

    This last passage describes in detail the fact that nothing or no one can be hidden from God’s scrutiny. No deed, no thought, no intent, this is a reality not only for David who wrote this Psalm, not only for believers rather for every single human being.

    Jesus often used this attribute of His divine nature and thus demonstrated to be God:

    Matthew 9: 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?

    Luke 6:7-8 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 8 But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Get up and stand in front of everyone.” So he got up and stood there.

    Luke 11:17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.

    We see that these verses are a confirmation of that which Paul is saying, Jesus exposed the secrets of their hearts and shamed them publicly. In this very same way men and women will be judged, all of their secret agendas, thoughts and sins will be exposed by Jesus Christ on Judgment Day.

    Let’s go back to remember:

    Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? 10 “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to his deeds.

    Once again this passage is confirmation of what Paul is saying, it’s the exact parallel of Romans 2:16

    God knows the heart and tests the mind, he knows them and He will judge them. The sad reality of man’s spiritual ignorance is just this; that he or she thinks in their foolishness, as we saw previously, they say within themselves God is not, He does not see, He does not know, and they deceive themselves thinking to be safe.

    In his foolishness and arrogance the human being deludes himself and thinks that all that he or she does and thinks will pass unobserved and remain secret [Psalms 73:11],[Psalms 94:7-10],[Isaiah 29:15-16].

    Unfortunately, for them it is not like that at all. God exists ( we saw that man knows this), and God will judge every thought and deed, even if man does not think it is so, see [Psalms 69:5], [Proverbs 24:12].

    In fact, God is recording every single thing every individual does publicly or hidden, every word and every thought is written down and will be judged according to the truth of God’s word.

    Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

    Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

    Even Jesus in His own words declared this fact:

    Luke 8:17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.

    All will be judged by Jesus Christ on the day of judgment, every thing done in public and in secret will be judged, then Paul adds this in the end of verse 16, according to my Gospel.

    This is an interesting declaration, what does Paul mean by his Gospel? Why not the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Paul used this term not to diminish the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not at all. Paul instead calls this his Gospel because truthfully it is, it is of his own property, it belongs to Paul, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ but it belongs to Paul.

    It also belongs to every child of God, every born-again of the Spirit believer can also make this declaration without shame. After all the Gospel is a piece of the believer’s armor of God [Ephesians 6:15], it therefore belongs by right and by privilege to every child of God.

    This fact, that the Gospel belongs to the believer is evidenced very well in Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians and it is a subject presented from the very beginning, chapter 1 and it follows a thread that arrives described in its fullness in chapters 3 and 4, Christ in us the hope of glory, the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Gospel, we belong to Christ and Christ belongs to us.

    Let’s take a look at the sequence of this.

    2 Corinthians 1:19-22 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you (the Gospel) by me and Silas and Timothy, was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

    2 Corinthians 3:3-6 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry,(the Gospel) written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    2 Corinthians 4:5-7 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord,(the Gospel) and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

    We have this treasure, what treasure? The Gospel and its fruit, as we read in these passages,this belongs to Paul as it belongs to us because all that belongs to Christ now belongs also to us.

    All of God’s promises of God in Jesus Christ we read are yes and amen and they are promises which are part of the eternal covenant, which God the Father made with His Son and therefore also with EVERY person who is in Christ Jesus.

    Being, therefore, children of God we have all the privileges and rights that children have and all that belongs to God is ours, we are co-heirs with Christ [John 20:17], [Romans 8:15-17],[Galatians 4:5-7],

    [Ephesians 1:3-6],[Hebrews 2:10-13].

    The Gospel is our Gospel, the Gospel is Paul’s Gospel also because it is the Gospel Paul preached, there is only one, true and unique Gospel [Galatians 1:6-12],[2 Corinthians 11:4], and so Paul associated himself personally to this one and only true Gospel, this is the Gospel he preached, the Gospel he lived for, the Gospel he got persecuted for and died for. Jesus Christ being his and he being Christ’s makes the Gospel his Gospel and it is of all who belong to Jesus and live it and preach it.

    In addition, Paul was appointed as the Apostle of Christ’s Gospel to the Gentiles, his Apostleship was unique and so the preaching of the Gospel was his responsibility and privilege [Acts 22:21],[Galatians 2:1-9].

    It’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it’s Paul’s Gospel, it’s our Gospel, the one and only Gospel.

    Romans Chapter II Verses XVII to XXIV

    Verses 17-24 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God;18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth-21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal?22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?23 You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

    Seventh Principle of Divine Judgment: According to God’s Reality and Not Religion

    Verses 17-24

    Let us study this part as a section rather than verse by verse,

    In this section of the chapter we have the final confirmation that this section of the letter is addressed to the Jews. There were many Jews that for some time took part in the Christian assemblies but who had not yet made the final step of true faith in Christ, they had not yet exercised true faith that saves, they were sitting on the fence about Jesus. These were wavering between two opinions, the grace and faith of God and the law, the religion and the traditions.

    There are many people even non Jews who today are in this same exact spiritual condition, the churches I believe are filled with people like this. This is why when these people leave the church to go back into the world, and many will, many others think these to actually be true believers who have fallen from grace or have lost their salvation. However, these are not in reality true believers in the sense God considers one to be a born-again believer and so one cannot fall from what he or she never accessed and one cannot lose what one never had. Perhaps some people may actually be saved but they are in a back-slidden condition yet these who are will eventually go back to Christ.

    We remember Peter for example, he truly believed Jesus was the Son of God Matthew 16:16-17. Yet later on he back-slid by denouncing Christ publicly. Now that is a pretty serious sin and yet that was not really what was in his heart at all, he repented and Jesus had already forgiven him as even before the denouncement Jesus told him a very important fact that we all must remember for ourselves, Jesus told Peter, that He prayed for him that his faith may not fail, Luke 22:31 and it did not fail because if Jesus intercedes for us His prayer always works and is answered, God will answer God’s prayer, so when Paul tell us in Romans 8:34-39 that Jesus is interceding for us and nothing can separates us from Him that’s a fact as it was for Peter, our faith is secure. It may waver at times but it will not fail. Judas on the other hand betrayed Jesus but Judas was apostate meaning that he was unbelieving, he was not a true believer John 6:64. He was always a thief John 12:6. He was chosen not to be a believer but to betray the Son of God and Jesus called him a devil John 6:70.

    Jesus calls Judas the son of perdition John 17:12 , the same title the Antichrist has 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

    This was always a great problem for the Jews because the Jews trusted and even today trust in the working of the law, in their religion and traditions, much like the Roman Catholics and also Orthodox do.

    It was very difficult for a Jew as it is still today, to abandon their own religion and to stop trusting the flesh and confide only in the grace of God by faith in Christ, it was exactly for this reason that the Epistle to the Hebrews was written. I invite you to read and study it because I truly believe that there are too many doctrinal errors and misunderstandings and issues that are erroneously interpreted in regard to this mentioned letter. These erroneous doctrines have created too much confusion and error in the minds of believers today, especially in the issue that a true born-again believer can fall from God’s grace and lose their salvation.

    Instead, the very subject and context was, that in the midst of these early churches, these assemblies, there were many semi-believers; in other words, yet not fully converted, not fully convinced. Perhaps in their mind everything about Jesus even made sense, all that they heard and saw sounded really good, they had become partakers of the work of the Holy Spirit , they had tasted the good things of God, but yet they had not fully surrendered themselves to trust Christ only by faith alone.

    This is the context in which the author of Hebrews, for example, exposes some passages where it appears that he is talking about a true believer who then decides to abandon the faith. Instead, he is talking about those Jews who were yet trusting in their flesh, the law of Moses and that for so many reasons were afraid to abandon their dead religion or if they had momentarily left it aside they wanted to go back to it, this is the context of [Hebrews 6:4-6],[Hebrews 10:26-29].

    Many of these Jews intellectually believed in Jesus as Messiah. They did not, however, have the faith to abandon the law and this my dear friends does not lead to real salvation, it keeps a person enslaved into legalism and of the law and this as we have seen and will see cannot give salvation. In fact, it is a curse. What did Paul say in this regard in Philippians 3? Let’s read it together, I do not think that there will be need to further comment that which Paul is saying.

    Philippians 3:2-11 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh (The Jews). 3 For it is we who are the true circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh (The Born-Again Believer)- 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. 7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

    If a person does not wholly surrender to the grace of God through faith in Christ only but tries in every way to add Christ to his or her religion, this will never give salvation to that person. The true faith is therefore not exercised, and it is possible to intellectually believe in Jesus Christ while entirely missing the grace of God and therefore salvation.

    This was the problem of the Jews, many were in this spiritual condition lacking the grace of God while they kept believing that their religion was the true spring of their spirituality. The scary thing is that whoever finds themselves in this spiritual condition is in great danger. They have a foot in salvation and a foot in eternal damnation, in reality though spiritually this person is still dead in their sins and in reality completely damned.

    This reality is not only a danger for the Jews of those days but even for many persons that are in church today. Many today “believe” in Jesus, although intellectually or for convenience, but still they have not profoundly and completely placed faith in Him, and they believe that the measure of their spirituality are the church activities they take part in, all the emotional experiences they have, all the church reunions, their prayer meetings and all the sermons they hear, all the Bible studies, but in the end these are of those who Paul described, ever learning but never attaining the knowledge of truth, which is true faith and love that they should demonstrate in obedience to the word of God. The practice of their works is the measure of their spirituality while instead the character of Christ being formed in them should be the measure of their spirituality but it is not.

    The fruit of the Spirit, true love for the brethren, unfortunately, in the western church is very superficial in the best of cases, if not almost completely lacking. We hear talking about unity and brotherly love of which they have not the faintest idea what it means to sacrifice their own life for others. These continuously run to and fro wasting all their time seeking for emotional experiences and passing their time trying to “self-edify” themselves, which is a biblical contradiction, see [1 Corinthians 14:12] and [1 Corinthians 14:26], so they do not have the necessary time to be of help and support to the needs of others.

    So Paul is writing in this context. We see this in many places in the NT how so many Jews went around fighting against the purity of the Gospel with false teachings that in any event if a person wanted to believe in Jesus had to first become circumcised in the flesh, in other words had to become a Jew before they could believe in Christ and obtain salvation and even after they had believed had to continue to observe all of the law.

    This is not the real Gospel and it was something that Paul fought against and condemned continually. There are many passages that describe this problem and too many to list them all. It is sufficient to say that the entire epistle of Galatians has as subject this context, this very problem with which they had been tempted by the legalistic Jews.

    This is really in part the context that we are reading in these verses of [Romans 2:17-24].

    Paul now is talking to them, the religious Jews who were yet not saved but who were part of the Christians assembly of Rome, Paul explains to them the hypocrisy with which they practiced their religiosity. Paul exposes their false notion they had in regard to their own religion, tradition, and the law and their belonging to the faith of the patriarchs was sufficient for their salvation.

    In reality God will judge their hypocrisy based upon the reality of the true condition of their spirit and heart.

    That God does not accept tradition and religion of any person was evidenced also by John the Baptist:

    Matthew 3:7-10 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

    This that John the Baptist is saying is practically what Paul is also saying. In other words, this is the Jew who glories or boasts in the law of God and in the fact that he knows the true God, he who declares to know His will and distinguish the important spiritual truths because he knows the divine law, he who is convinced to be the guide of them who are spiritually blind and live in darkness, who claims Abraham as father, who claims all this but does not live it.

    This description is truly disturbing because if we are honest with ourselves we can see the same description of the church at large. In other words, even those who profess to be Christians declare the same things about themselves that these self-righteous Jews did.

    This section would not be worrisome if the Jew or the professing Christian truly behaved as described, it could even be a positive thing. Paul, however, paints a different picture especially where the religious Jews were concerned and perhaps we can add the religious “Christian” to as well, the Jew who placed his or her confidence in the law for righteousness. Paul declares them hypocrites and false, he declares that with their behavior they demonstrated not to know or to be all that they claimed. They proved instead to be transgressors of God’s law and that they did not obey it in reality. They boasted in their righteousness that they based upon their religious performance of the law rather than only the grace of God and faith.

    Inside they were dead and unredeemed, just as Jesus describe them to be [Matthew 23:1-36]. Eight times Jesus refers to them as hypocrites. In fact, in a verse Jesus echoes what Paul has written. Paul wrote that they thought to be guides of the spiritual blind, while Jesus accuses them to be themselves blind guides and the blind they try to guide. It’s the same thing in the end that Paul is saying.

    Matthew 23:24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

    In the same way Jesus accused them:

    Matthew 15:13-14 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

    In these two verses Jesus is even more harsh in describing the spiritual bankruptcy of the religious hypocrites, He declares them plants which God had not at all planted. In other words, not elected to salvation and in that state of deadness they would only be uprooted. John the Baptist before called them trees that did not bear good fruit and that God would cut down and throw into the fire. Jesus is evidencing the hypocrites who are actually as blind as the ones they call blind, they are in the same exact situation of the blind. They are blind but think they see, in reality they are in the same spiritual condition but they remain guilty because they claim they can see [John 9:39-41]. It is in this context that Jesus preaches this next passage as well.

    Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    That which the Jew condemned in the pagan, those same things the Jew would practice – he stole, he committed adultery, and he practiced idolatry. How was it then that he could declare himself more righteous than the pagan only by the status of his religion, his traditions, boasting in the flesh, his circumcision that was the symbol of his belonging to God but only in the flesh.

    In fact, Paul accuses the religious and hypocrite Jew who claims to be the guide to God and who boasts in the law who with his hypocrisy dishonors God and breaks the law. For this Paul quotes most likely OT [Isaiah 52:5] and possibly [Ezekiel 36:22-23],

    As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

    What a terrible accusation and there is a last consideration to make before we Christians can accuse the hypocrite religious Jews and think that we are superior to them.

    The consideration is this, how are we living? How are we behaving? Are we also religious as these Jews? Do we boast about and measure ourselves against each other based upon our spiritual works, the activities we attend in while we do not produce the character of Christ Jesus, while we do not obey His word and we also live in hypocrisy?

    If we are living like this, then it would be good to really mediate and think deeply about what we have studied and read so far, because we, as the religious Jew, can cause the name of God to be blasphemed among the pagans and to incur severe judgment from God based upon the reality of the actual spiritual condition.

    Even if God will retain personally responsible and severely judge those who blaspheme His holy name [Exodus 20:7]; [Leviticus 24:11-16], we really do not want to be those who cause the blasphemy of His word because Jesus said,

    Matthew 18:7 “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!

    In addition, who lives in hypocrisy is in great danger of judgment. They prove themselves to be religious and to boast not in the grace of God through faith in Christ and His righteousness, rather boasts in his own works and righteousness based upon his or her religious performance. All this has already happened through the centuries and is still happening today, when the false church, the religious hypocrites have caused God’s name to be blasphemed amongst the pagans. Why do you think that the vast majority of people today are distancing themselves from Christianity while embracing other religions? A great part and responsibility of this is because of the hypocrisy and the wicked and lying deeds of those who wrongly represented God and did so many wicked things bearing His holy name, therefore, shaming that name and causing many to blaspheme the name of God. Those who falsely represent God and committed adultery with the world and committing wicked deed upon wicked deed and taught and teach a false Gospel, the Roman Catholic “church”, hypocritical religion. However, many because of the religious hypocrisy even of the Protestant “churches”who followed suit, have blasphemed and blaspheme the holy name of God.

    Romans Chapter II Verses from XXV to XXIX

    The True Circumcision of the Jews-The Circumcision that God Desires

    25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26 If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker. 28 A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

    Once again we will study this section as a block rather than individual verses one by one.

    Paul now gives a lesson of what it means to be truly circumcised. Why did the Jew have to be circumcised? What did circumcision mean for the Jew? Certainly circumcision was an external sign or symbol, a symbol on the Jew’s flesh that represented the Hebrew faith, faith in the one and only God, Jehovah, YAHWEH. It was a symbol of the covenant God had established with Abraham

    Genesis 17:9-11 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.

    The Hebrew faith, however, was to be true faith in God, as Abraham had [Genesis 15:6];[Romans 4:3]. It was not supposed to be a religion where one would trust the flesh, because Abraham, to whom was given the outer symbol of circumcision, was justified by faith in what God has promised and so it should have been for the Jews [Romans 4:1-25].

    Unfortunately the sign of the Hebrew faith, circumcision of the flesh became lifted up above the condition of the heart of the Jews and it became a sign with which a Jew was declared righteous and belonging to God and His promises and covenants.

    So the outer sign, the circumcision of the flesh for God was only valid when faith was exercised. Even in the OT God always required faith and obedience, which are twin sisters, to His word and promises. God required that the true righteousness of the Jew would be based upon Him and His promises and not on the works of the flesh and by the working out of the law.

    What was God’s desire? His intention for the Jew?

    Deuteronomy 10:16-17 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.

    It is for this exact reason that Paul himself declares in regard to the Jews, that to be circumcised in the flesh and to be in violation of God’s law it was as if the Jew was truly uncircumcised.

    Paul is saying that religion and hypocrisy nullifies the circumcision, the Jew who does not live by faith and obedience and transgresses the law although circumcised is the same as a pagan, uncircumcised.

    In fact, Paul confirms what the Lord says, the true Jew is the one with a circumcised heart, and by the way this is spiritual circumcision, the one of the heart which has two specific qualities.

    The first one; both Jew and Gentile can have this one, in other words it is not exclusively available to the Jews only.

    Philippians 3:3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh

    Colossians 2:11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,

    The second is; God Himself performs this circumcision of the heart through faith in Christ. In fact, this is called regeneration, salvation that is generated by God and not by works of the flesh or in the Jew’s case by the works of the law.

    Colossians 2:11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,

    Deuteronomy 30:6 The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.

    In Colossians 2:11 it mentions the putting off of the sinful nature. This is repentance and sanctification which are part of the work of regeneration that God performs in the life of the believer. You see Jesus performs this circumcision and also this we find here in Colossians, in respect to the circumcision, is practically the same thing John the Baptist was saying to the Jews of his days, especially the Pharisees and Sadducees and the same thing Paul is talking about in these verses in Romans.

    Matthew 3:7-10 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

    That the circumcision of the heart is the work of regeneration of God is confirmed all the more regarding the religious in what Jesus Himself said, practically in the same context of verse 10 of Matthew 3.

    Matthew 15:7-9 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,

    but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men (Religion).'”

    Matthew 15:12-13 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” 13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.

    The religious, the circumcised only in the flesh, those who boast in their self-righteousness and in the works of the law, get offended when the word of God convicts them about their sinfulness and they do not want to repent.

    However, this is also the work of God, the word of God is a double edged-sword after all. It has two purposes, it has the power to what [Hebrews 4:12] says but this has two consequences it either converts or it hardens. God does harden already hard hearts [Zechariah 7:11-12] or converts and regenerates [Ezekiel 11:19-20]. In the majority of cases with the religious Jews, the Lord has caused their hearts to be hardened, this also so that the Gospel could be the fount of Gentile salvation [Romans 11:25]. The Gentiles, a people who did not boast in the law of God and did not know God, rather found God’s true righteousness through the work of God and the circumcision of their hearts done by God through the faith and not by the hands of man [Romans 9:30-33].

    There is a beautiful example that Paul brings to the Corinthians’ attention that we find in 2 Corinthians 3 in regard to this subject, that which the Spirit of God does through the ministry of the word of God, of the Gospel, that which the ministry of the law cannot do.

    2 Corinthians 3:3-11 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant-not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

    In this passage there are some very wonderful truths and words that are also symbolic which are, however, confirmed by the word of God. We have seen previously that the law of God written on the stony hearts of sinners is a reality [Romans 2:14-15], but we also have seen that the human being although has this law of God written on their heart has a darkened and wicked heart. In fact, the Bible compares, no, declares this heart to be of stone. This is also why symbolically God has written His law, the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone which do represent the stoney hearts of sinners, in this case of the Jews.

    God declares that He will write His law upon hearts of living flesh, regenerated hearts, circumcised hearts. He Himself will circumcise the hearts through the work of salvation in Christ Jesus and His Holy Spirit which gives life. Compare [John 6:63] with [2 Corinthians 3:6].

    To confirm what we have read in the passage above do compare these passages [Romans 2:14-15] with [Ezekiel 11:19-20] and [Ezekiel 36:25-27] with [2 Corinthians 3:3] and [Hebrews 8:10].

    Therefore, not only the Jews have a heart of stone but the Gentiles also and so it is that the ministry of death is written on tablets of stone which are the hearts of men and this ministry produces death through the law which condemns [Romans 7:1-25]. It is also true that the ministry of the righteousness of God and of the Spirit gives life and salvation through the Gospel of Christ.

    This is the circumcision of the heart done by the Spirit of God of which Paul is talking about, circumcision made with the hands of God. This gives life, salvation and justification both to the Jew and the Gentile, and it is what God requires to enter into the Kingdom of God [John 3:1-19].

    In the context of the Jews, only those who received such circumcision are considered true Jews by God.

    Those, in fact, who are made to be new creatures in Christ as Paul describes as the circumcision of the heart, in the spirit and not of the letter (the law).

    You can compare this with Philippians 3:3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh-

    Let’s get something really straight – the letter and the Spirit Paul is referring to in 2 Corinthians 3 as well as in Romans signify this. The letter is the law and not the NT word of God. The word of God has been compared to life not death when it is applied by the Holy Spirit to the inner man and so the Spirit of Jesus Christ who is the life of God gives life through the word of God [John 6:63]. The letter Paul mentions instead is in reference to the OT law, the commandments of the law of God which condemn us and are hostile toward us but that Jesus has taken out of the way nailing them on the cross in His flesh [Colossians 2:11-14].

    So that which the law was impotent to do, Jesus did fulfilling God’s entire law for us so that through faith in Him we who are in Christ have also fulfilled the requirements of the law in Him [Romans 8:1-4].

    So once again, the true circumcision, Paul is saying, is the one done by God by His Spirit through regeneration and sanctification, repentance, the putting off of the old man, the flesh, to walk and live in the Spirit, in newness of life. It is a divine workmanship as that is what those who are circumcised in the inner man, in the heart are, God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus [Ephesians 2:10], not outwardly but inwardly, not religiously but spiritually.

    Paul then concludes this chapter 2 of Romans saying Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

    This is just a short little verse but filled with truth that the word of God reveals to us. It really means this, those who are the real circumcised, circumcised in the heart, in the spirit and not by the law. These are those who are born-again and regenerated by the power of God, His grace through faith which God has gifted them with. These are those who boast and glory in God alone, who boast in Christ alone and not in their vain attempts to fulfill the law through their own efforts. Therefore, they are those whose only glory is the righteousness of Jesus Christ and not their own. In fact, for that Jew or man, the praise comes from God and not from man.

    The religious seek the praise of man. In fact, during Jesus’ ministry He often brought to the light the fact that the hypocrites and the religious sought the praise of other men, they wanted to be seen by man and wanted man’s praise. They had substituted the praise that God gives to those who glory only in Him, with the vain and empty reward of human praise, useless and vain glory.

    The Bible has many references to this subject.

    John 5:41-44 “I do not accept praise from men, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?

    John 12:42-43 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

    Let’s remember that believing intellectually in Christ is really not exhibiting true faith. In fact, the word of God tells us that to be saved we must believe in our hearts and confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord [Romans 10:4-13].

    It seems evident then that true faith, the real belief that saves, real faith in Jesus Christ, is inclusive of the confession that He is the Lord and that if this last is not present then it is evident that true faith has not been exercised and therefore at that stage there is no salvation. Let us be careful to understand what the word believe in the true biblical sense really is, as even demons believe and tremble [James 2:19].

    No, those who truly believe in Jesus as Lord do not seek the praise of man but they give praise and glory to God. The religious instead glory in their religious works trying to fulfill the law and they seek the praise of man and they are thieves, they steal the glory that only belongs to God.

    Matthew 23:5-7 “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’

    See also [Proverbs 25:27],[Matthew 6:1-5];[Matthew 6:16-18].

    Even for this Jesus condemns them, for stealing the glory that belongs to God and applying it to others in reality is idolatry [Isaiah 42:8];[Isaiah 48:11].