Summary: A sermon on Romans 2. Designed to be a brief overview of Chapter 2. (Material adapted from WIERSBE’S EXPOSITORY OUTLINES ON THE NEW TESTAMENT and Dr. Jack Cottrell's commentary on Romans)
A woman looked out of her window every morning and commented on the dirty laundry on her neighbor’s line. One day she noticed it was sparkling clean: “Maybe she’s using a new detergent,” she said. “No,” said her husband, “I got up early and cleaned our windows.”
Last Sunday night we talked about the Gentiles and their depravity from Romans 1:18-32. They will be condemned as sinners without the gospel of Jesus Christ.
From 2:1 to 3:8, Paul turns the spotlight on his own people, the Jews, and shows that they are equally condemned as sinners before God. In 1:20 he states that the Gentiles are without excuse, and in 2:1 he states that the Jews are without excuse. This news was a shock to the Jews! Surely God would deal with them, they thought, differently from the Gentiles! No, states Paul; the Jews are under the condemnation and wrath of God because God’s principles of judgment are fair.
Without the gospel, the way of grace, we are under the law system or way of salvation. No one will be saved without Jesus Christ.
Thesis: In ch. 2 Paul points out three principles of judgment that prove the Jew is equally condemned with the Gentile.
Judgment is According to God’s Truth (2:1-5)
As the Jew read Paul’s talk of the “heathen Gentiles” in the first chapter, he must have smiled and said, “Serves them right!” Their attitude would have been that of the Pharisee in Luke 18:11 —“God, I thank you that I am not like other men!” One of the easiest things to do is to be self-righteous. We can always find someone we consider not as well behaved as we are. We then compare ourselves to that person, and feel that compared to that person, we are doing just fine!
But Paul turns the Jew’s judgment of the Gentile right back upon him: “You do the same things the Gentiles do, so you are just as guilty!” God’s judgment of men is not according to hearsay, gossip, our own good opinions, or man’s evaluations; it is “according to truth” (v. 2 ). Someone has said, “We hate our own faults, especially when we see them in others.” How easy it is for people today, as in Paul’s day, to condemn others, yet have the very same sins in their own lives.
But the Jew may have argued back: “Surely God wouldn’t judge us with the same truth He applies to the Gentiles! Why, see how good God has been to Israel!” But they were ignorant of the purpose God had in mind when He poured out His goodness on Israel and waited so patiently for His people to obey: His goodness was supposed to lead them to repentance.
God treats us kindly in every way possible. We neglect to pray; he gives us health, life, food, clothes and friends. We forsake the church; God’s gifts still come. We curse and scream and fight; God’s mercy flows on. We rob, steal, and kill; the sun still shines, the rain still falls. Not everyone will be brought to repentance, but all who are, will come by this means- “the kindness of God”. 2 Peter 3:9: He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Instead, they hardened their hearts and thus stored up more wrath for that day when Christ will judge the lost.
These same two “excuses” that the Jews used in Paul’s day are still heard today: (1) “I am better than others, so I don’t need Christ”; (2) “God has been good to me and will certainly never condemn me.” But God’s final judgment will not be according to men’s opinions and evaluations; it will be according to truth.
Because judgment hasn’t come, they take this as proof that God will not punish their sins or that God is indifferent toward their sins.
Judgment Is According to a Person’s Deeds (2:6-16)
The Jews thought they held the highest “status” among God’s people, not realizing that it is one thing to be a hearer of the Law, and quite another to be a doer (v. 13 ). Keep in mind that these verses are talking about the law way of salvation, the law gate. They describe how God judges mankind according to the deeds performed in the course of life. No one persistently or consistently does vs. 7, we all do vs. 8.
Vs. 8- First for the Jew and then for the Gentile. The judgment of God falls equally on both Jews and Gentiles. This is true and to drive home the point, God will actually pour out his wrath on the “Jew first.”
Luke 12:48: From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.