-Chapter two begins with the fact that man is without excuse in his judgments. It harkens back to Jesus’ teaching on taking the log out of one’s own eye before making assumptions and calling out our brother in judgment (Matthew 7:1-5). This was of particular interest to the sin of the Jews in not accepting the Christ, which is more than likely Paul’s theological argument throughout this passage and possibly the entire letter. They could not sit in a place to correct others because they were involved in the same sins they were denouncing (Romans 2:2-3, 17-24). Paul’s point through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is that it is God’s kindness that is meant to lead us to repentance, and we are never to presume upon (take lightly, scorn, despise, look down on) those riches that He bestows on us through His mercy (Romans 2:4). The hard and impenitent heart will do these evil things, which stores up God’s punishment rather than releasing His joy upon us. *Application* God is our righteous judge and will be corrected by no one. His kindness, patience, and forbearance are the only hope we have as people who have naturally fallen from His grace through our indwelling sin, which was bestowed through Adam (Hosea 6:7, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22). Jesus Christ is the only answer for our salvation and He is the only One worthy to judge us. The good news is that He doesn’t want to judge us, but forgive us if we accept and receive His sacrifice on the cross. Even though we don’t deserve it and could never earn it, God loves us that much to offer it to us freely.
-The next main thought in this chapter deals with the impartiality of God. He plays no favorites! Each man will be judged according to his own works and will be held accountable. Here in lies a huge problem for us as depraved human beings that no doubt have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We are on the side of evil coming into this world and bent on it in every way. To do good on our own accord proves futile in the end because we prove over and over again to be miserable failures at it. God, who is rich in grace, mercy, and forgiveness, relents (changes His mind, takes pity on us) when we turn to Him in faith and gives us a new birth through His Son (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is the power to do good as we seek what Paul talks about here in glory, honor, peace and immortality with eternal life. Notice that the author says that those who are self-seeking, disobedient, and unrighteous will in fact incur God’s just wrath and fury. For these, there will be eternal tribulation and distress both Jewish and Greek (Romans 2:8-9). *Application* It is our opportunity to take the righteousness of Christ because He makes it abundantly available to all. To reject this offer means doom and perishing of our own doing. Turn to God and receive His glory, honor, peace, and eternal life!
-“It is not the hearers of the Law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the Law who will be justified (Romans 2:13).” Paul and James actually do have the same theology don’t they (James 1:22; 2:18-26)? The question for us becomes: 1. What is the Law? 2. And how can we do the Law? To answer the first question, think of Jesus’ answer when asked which commandment was greatest. Love God and love people was His response, correct? How can we accomplish that? By turning completely to Jesus in faith and dying to ourselves. It is just that simple. When we turn to God, His righteousness can indwell us through His Holy Spirit and we are made new. This is God’s graceful act of mercy that produces permanent life change. It is a free gift that will produce deep-affectionate love resulting in continual good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). This is what sanctification, in the growing sense, is all about. *Application* Be a doer, not just a hearer.
-Lastly, we see an inward focus here in Paul’s theological treatise. Outward conformity to forms of religion (he talks of circumcision here) is not sufficient for transformation of the spirit of man. This comes only through the Holy Spirit of God, not by the letter of the Law (Romans 2:29). This leaves no glory for man and his doings, but only praise from, through, and to God (Romans 11:36)! *Application* Where does your hope and salvation come from? You or the Lord? Think about the meaning of the Name Jesus (it means God saves).
Verse to Memorize- Romans 2:4