Summary: What you believe is important. Your philosophy of religion, your doctrine, your firm foundation and stance on Biblical issues is an important matter. Do you know where you stand on the basic, foundational doctrines of the Bible?
Series: Romans – the Line in the Sand
Message Title: Straddling the Line
Scripture: Romans 2:1-16
2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
Augustine said, “If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.”
What you believe is important. Your philosophy of religion, your doctrine, your firm foundation and stance on Biblical issues is an important matter. Do you know where you stand on the basic, foundational doctrines of the Bible?
What is doctrine? Doctrine is a particular subject, principle, position, or policy that is taught or advocated whether personally or corporately. The book of Romans presents several different doctrines for us to study. It covers the doctrine of justification, sanctification, salvation, sin, man, Jesus, God, and several others.
As we move through this first section of Romans, Paul has been making it painfully clear, that all men are sinners, and are aware of it. Yet, that is not the entire point of these beginning chapters of Romans; the main point is that not only are men sinners, but that all men will be subject to the terrible consequences of that very fact.
In the first chapter, Paul told us that all men are without excuse because the truth of God had been written by Him across the face of the universe. In verse 19 of chapter one, Paul doesn’t use a lot of seminary-level learning to get his point across. He says,
19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
Then in verse 31 of chapter one, Paul gives us probably one of the most damning verses in the Bible when he says,
32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
This speaks to the lies that the intellectual, professor, teacher, or student maintains that man is the founder of the standards of morality. Quite the contrary. It tells us that God is responsible for setting the standard of moral right and moral wrong, and it is man’s responsibility to follow that standard.
Yet despite all the warnings, despite all the declarations, despite the innate moral sense of moral right and moral wrong, man still persists in practices deserving of death in God’s sight.
Paul has given us a lot to think about, a lot to digest. Yet, he’s just getting started.
In this second chapter, Paul begins the first verse with a word that we generally regard as bringing everything together for a conclusion. He uses the word therefore, which usually means we should look backward, because he’s about to draw a conclusion about what he’s just talked about. However, that’s not the case in this instance. In this case he’s telling us to look forward; he’s saying ‘for the following reason…’
Therefore, our points today are:
Levels of Civilization?
You, therefore, have no excuse,
In the first chapter, Paul was basically telling us, God is revealed in everything good that is around us. He asks us the question, “Haven’t you ever looked upon nature and seen the work of a Creator?” Then he tells in not so many words, “Since you have, you’re without excuse.”
Now, in chapter 2, Paul is asking us another question. “Have you ever criticized someone?” Then he declares, “If you have, then you are without excuse.”
Why does he do this? Well, criticism comes from the fact that you have a conscience. And that conscience is now seeing and recognizing a sin in someone else. And, since you know and recognize sin, then that is enough to be judged by God. That is why we need to be saved. That is the evidence of our fallen state that we live in. We are without excuse. When Adam ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he opened mankind’s eyes to sin.
Criticizing, judging, condemning, disapproving of, etc., is simply evidence that we are in a fallen condition and are helpless. Your conscience, that makes you aware of an imperfection in someone else or whosoever, finds written on itself the guilt of its own imperfection.
The only judgment that is allowable in the world is scriptural judgment. Scriptural judgment is holding up someone’s actions, words, or deeds in comparison to the Word of God. And, it’s not the person that is holding the Bible that is doing the accusing; what is doing the accusing is the Word of God. It’s God, it’s the Word of God that convicts, not the messenger. Like salvation, in a sense, it’s not the messenger that saves, it’s Jesus.