“In Need of a Savior”
This post goes along with the Free Romans Lessons posted at the end of this writing.
As the indictments of Romans 1 are read, I can just hear some of the people say, maybe not out loud but in their mind, “Serves them right.” Read what the Pharisees were saying in Luke 18:10-12
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.”
Have you ever thought that about yourself, only for God to show you somewhere else in your life where you are sinning. You may have ended up doing the very thing you condemn someone else for! I know I have, and the Holy Spirit was quick to remind me! This very thing is what Paul is addressing in Romans chapter 2.
Thinking more of yourself than you should.
“Do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?” Romans 2:3
Paul starts this section of scripture with the word “therefore”. The “Therefore” is pointing us back to the indictments that were laid out for the Gentiles in chapter 1. Yes, the Jew would be included in these indictments; however, I believe Paul has separated the groups between chapters. Gentile (Chapter 1) and Jew (Chapter 2) but will in chapters 2&3 bring them both together, and like a judge in a court room declare them all guilty.
Paul addresses the Moralistic, Legalistic Person
“Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” Romans 2:1-2
We learn 4 things about this person from this passage:
- They pass judgment on others.
- They practice the very same things.
- They condemn themselves.
- They are without excuse.
In the context of these verses this person(a Pharisee) would be thinking that they are ok in their own sin because they have kept some external Law. Ok, I am going to be transparent here. There was a time that I sat in the pew of a church building and thought to myself, “Well, I do not do drugs, and I am not an alcoholic; I did not have sex before marriage.” We could go on, but I think you get the point. I sounded like the Pharisee in Luke, and that is exactly what I was! Any time we, the Jew, the legalist, or the moralists think this way, we are relying on external works. If I do these things, then I am a righteous person. I have prestige because I was born into a certain nation (Jewish) for example. I am not picking on Jews but I believe Paul is calling them out in these next two chapters. Here are some other examples of external works:
- Going to church every Sunday morning, every Sunday night, and every Wednesday! Does this make one righteous?
- Fasting and tithing. Does this make one righteous?
- We were given the law; therefore, we are exempt. does this make one righteous?
When I pass judgment and do the same thing I condemn myself
According to what Paul is saying, when I pass judgment on someone else and practice the same thing, then I condemn myself.
What does he mean when he says, “I practice the same things?”
- I know that homosexuality is wrong,
- I know that greed is wrong,
- I know that gossip is wrong.
The moralist will say, “I do not practice those things”! We may not practice lying or gossiping, but we do practice sin. We do sin daily! Sinning is our nature because we are sinners (Romans 5). This is the point being made. James says that if you keep the whole Law, yet stumble in one point you have broken the whole law. No external work is going to save you! Salvation is not by works, but by faith. It is in believing and knowing you are a sinner, and that Jesus Christ took away your sins. he bears them, you bear them no more!
“It was for freedom you have been set free; therefore, keep standing and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
Externals are slavery, and they condemn you.
Paul says, “For in that which you judge another you condemn yourself.” What he is saying is that you know what the law says; you know what is right and what is wrong morally; therefore, when you judge and do the same things, you are condemning yourself. Because you know that it is wrong!
You know the ordinance of God and those that practice such things are worthy of death. Romans 1:32
You have no excuses! In your heart of hearts you know you are worthy of death, yet you suppress the truth. In this case you do not give hearty approval to others, but you do give hearty approval to yourself! You condemn them for doing the very same things you do yourself!
The Holy Spirit is saying: