Summary: The 5th in the series on Paul’s letter to Rome.
Romans – God’s Glorious Gospel
Understanding the Judgment of God
* It was on a Monday in 1994 that I first heard the news. Actually, that Monday was my Mom and Dad’s anniversary (June 13). From the news on the radio I heard, “Last night in Los Angeles the x-wife of O. J. Simpson and a friend were found murdered outside of her apartment.” Believe this or not, my first thought was this, “wonder if O. J. had anything to do with it?” Already most of us are rolling our eyes as we recall the 150 witnesses, the 134 days of televised testimony, and the long protracted trial. One of the sad outcomes of O.J.’s trial is this; while the jury acquitted him, most of those who watched came to an entirely different conclusion. Many, if not most, believe he got away with murder. Let me put this in terms which help us understand why I even mention this story: O.J. stood before a judge, the evidence was laid forth, a verdict was rendered, and (popular opinion seems to be) he beat the system.
* Although the message today from God’s word is not a popular one, here it is; Hebrews 9:27, “it is appoint for people to die once – after this, judgment.” Romans 14 and 2 Corinthians 5 speaks to every born again child of God and says, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” Revelation 20 speaks of a “Great White Throne” judgment where all those outside of Christ will be judged. The Bible teaches us that EVERY PERSON who has ever lived, one day, will be judged.
* If I’m going to be judged, I want to KNOW what the standard will be. One of the reasons that I have little interest in International travel is because I do not know the legal system of other countries, so were I to do some-thing which was illegal, I would have little defense.
* Today we come to Romans 2, please turn there. Many of the translators call these first 16 verses “God’s Righteous Judgment.” After reading literally hours of commentary on this passage, I was to offer you a message entitled “Understanding the Judgment of God.” I believe when we understand, it will impact our lives.
* (Read Text) Hebrews 4:12-13 says; “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart. 13 No creature is hidden from Him, but all things are naked & exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account.
* Please do not miss this truth; every person will indeed give an account of their lives. This means that no one is exempt, no one can “plead” their way out, and most importantly, no one can fool the judge.
* John McArthur offers 6 principles of judgment, however, with a great deal of respect for a great man of God; I offer you 7 principles of God’s judgment.
1. The first principle which is apparent in this text is KNOWLEDGE – God will judge us on the basis of the knowledge which He has given to us. Verse one begins with the word “therefore.” In my first preaching class, Dr. Bob Greene taught us that when we see the “therefore” in scripture; find out what it is “there” “for”. In this case we are called to remember many truths already spoken in chapter one. John Piper preached 22 messages on Romans 1. Let’s review;
* The Righteousness of God has been revealed & already explained. It was said that the righteous believer lives by faith, in faith, and to faith. He began His journey with faith in Christ, faith for forgiveness, cleansing, healing, and life. Additionally, his life is on a journey of faith to follow the teachings and will of Christ which leads to everlasting life in a place called the “New Jerusalem.”
* Next, the Wrath of God has been revealed from Heaven & has been fully explained. It comes from Heaven and opposes all the ungodliness and unrighteous of people who suppress the truth. For you see, people who suppress the truth of God invite consequences which are far beyond our imagination. Verse 29-31 reveals a virtual laundry list of qualities which fill their lives and we are told that “God will turn them over” to the evil they love.
* But it gets worse. People who resist, reject, or replace God cannot plead ignorance, because God has shown to all of us what we need to come to Him (read 1:19-20). Did you hear this? Wicked people are without excuse.
* It’s worth noting at this point that many believe Paul wrote this section to the “Gentile world,” that would have been those whom the Jews would have called “dogs.”