Summary: It seems that this passage describes God’s indictment of all hypocrites, regardless of race or religion, culture or creed. Both Jews and Gentiles are included in this discussion, but the Gentile often appears in a better light than the Jew.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:
Despite the mind-numbing brutality of the Joseph Stalin regime in the Soviet Union, his propaganda machine did its job well. Many Russians hailed him as a hero and a savior, including a young school girl who was chosen on one occasion to greet Stalin. Years later, this woman recalled Stalin taking her onto his lap, smiling like a loving father. She was starry-eyed, and she cherished the moment for many years. Only later did she learn that during this period, Stalin had her parents arrested and sent to the labor camps, never to be seen again. (Today in the Word, October, 1997, p. 36.)
It seems that this passage describes God’s indictment of all hypocrites, regardless of race or religion, culture or creed. Both Jews and Gentiles are included in this discussion, but the Gentile often appears in a better light than the Jew. Verse five points out the fact that the wrath of God is cumulative. If He waits to punish, and a man despises waiting, then he has added to the cause of wrath. It is very important that we realize that God has a reason for His delay.
We also find out what the hypocrite faces, and that is certain judgment. When the judgment of God comes we can be sure that it will be righteous judgment. This judgment will be according to His works. On the surface verses 7-10 may seem to be teaching that salvation is by works, and that eternal life can be earned by doing good things. However, based on other Scripture we know this is not true.
We must bear in mind that this passage has to do with the basis of God’s judgment. Throughout the Bible we find that judgment is according to our works, while salvation is by faith. Paul is not discussing how a person is saved, but how he will be judged: "according to his deeds" (v. 6).
1. The reasons for a person’s behavior (verses 7-8).
2. The results of a person’s behavior (verses 9-10).
The expression "to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile" highlights the fact that the more we know, the more responsibility we have. The hypocrite’s portion will be worse than the heathen’s, for the simple reason that his opportunities have been so much greater.
The Lord has privileged me to know much about Himself and about His Word. I must remember that the more I know, the more I will be held accountable.