Summary: Legalism is "Any attempt to gain or maintain the favor of God based upon what I do." Paul gives us four reasons to let go of the false hope of "fixing" our own lives, in order that God accept us.

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Outline for CBF June 14, 2009 AM Romans 2:1-16

"Sorry Mr. Goody Two-Shoes!"

Intro. Tell story of a boy when he ratted on his sister for not having her eyes closed when we were saying grace.

- Definition of legalism: "Any attempt to gain or maintain the favor of God based upon what I do."

- One of the essential characteristics of the legalist, is what we see in today’s text:

the dependence upon human comparison. Explain.

- This is probably one of the main stumbling blocks religious people face in coming

to Jesus! Hence, Paul deals with this here, as a good part of his audience were


TS. In Romans 2:1-16 Paul gives four truths to free us from the bane of legalism.

We find the first of these truths in vv. 1 & 3.

A. One of the strategies of the flesh/ legalist, is to divert attention from self by pointing out someone who is supposedly worse.

B. Jesus Himself warned against this when He said:

"Judge not, that you be not judged. 2"For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." Mt 7:1-2

TS. Paul, here, tells us that...¦

I. God judges us according to our own standards, 1, 3

C. Beware of measuring others by means of the Law of God!

1. This is akin to attempting to vanquish an enemy by pushing the red button on an atomic bomb. (You’re going to get it too!)

2. This is not the means of assessment the Lord would have for us: see 2Cor 5:14-17.

TS. Which brings us to the second truth from this passage:

II. God judges according to truth, 2.

A. Judging by comparison only blinds us to the truth!

William Newell on Romans comments here: "Every man is naturally blind to his own state and sins."

B. Judging by comparison draws attention to our own failures! V. 1 C

TS. Let’s read vv. 3 & 11

TS. Our third truth this morning is:

III. God’s judgment is impartial.

A. He judges everyone by the same criteria!

B. That criteria has nothing to do with physical lineage or knowledge of God’s Word.

1.This was the common error of the Jew.

2. It is often our own error.

"Of course, I’m a Christian."

"My grandfather was a preacher"

"I’m from Oklahoma"

"My parents raised me in the faith," etc.

"I can explain the Bible better than you can!"

TS. So what is that criteria by which God judges all? That’s the fourth truth given here, to free us from the bane of legalism. Whoa! How’s that?

Well, let’s get into this and we’ll see!

IV. God judges according to works, 4-10

TS. Let’s jump down to v. 13

A. Justification with God is only achieved by fulfilling the Law, 13.

B. God measures everyone by the same standard, 6-15

1. Ignorance is no excuse, 12a

vv. 14-15 God has written His law upon every person’s heart; enough to condemn them when they do not obey (and they don’t)

2. Knowing the standard doesn’t fulfill it! 12b-13

TS. There is no advantage in knowing, if one doesn’t do. And the Scripture makes it abundantly clear that no one does.

Romans 3:9-12 (read it)

James 2:10 (quote it)

TS. So, how do we resolve this dilemma? Let’s look at vv. 4 & 16

C. No one can or should depend upon their own works but rather those of Jesus Christ!

1. "Repentance," v. 4 refers to repentance in regards to Jesus the Savior!

2. v. 16 God will judge by Jesus Christ...


To make Jesus your only standard for righteousness ("rightness")

And then, logically, place all your confidence in Him!

"8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;" Colossians 2:8-9

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