ROMANS 2:1-16  


ROMANS 2:1-16
(Operating text from NASB)

Rom. 2:1, Therefore you are without excuse, every man {of you} who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

1. The THEREFORE introduces a rebuke to the MORAL unbeliever who thinks that the sins of the “immoral” person are so specifically WORSE than his, that he will not fall under God’s judgment.

It is certain that Paul is addressing or at least speaking ABOUT the unbeliever in these verses. It can only be supposed that he expects that the Roman assembly contains many individuals from among both Jew and Gentile who have yet to genuinely trust in Christ as Savior.

2. Every man of you who judges: the word is KRINO and means to evaluate, discern and judge. It is a NEUTRAL word in that it is not good or bad. The acceptability or RIGHTNESS of the judgment depends on the nature of the STANDARD one uses in judging. In this case, the moral unbeliever is self-righteous, thinking that he is better than the immoral person because that person’s sins are WORSE.
See Topic: Judging

3. But they are without excuse because the issue is not the SERIOUSNESS of the sin, nor the OVERT obviousness of the sin, but the simple fact that ANY sin (mental, verbal or overt) demonstrates that the person has “sinned and come short of God’s glory,” (Rom. 3:23). Paul states that the moral self-righteous unbeliever is JUST AS GUILTY of violating God’s standards as are the “sinners” listed in chapter one. Guilt and accountability before God are measured NOT by the QUALITY of the sin, but by the FACT of the sin. There is no basis for this “moral” man judging the “immoral” man since they are both equally guilty of violating God’s righteous standards.

4. When the “moral” unbeliever judges the “immoral” person, he is actually condemning himself because he CHARACTERISTICALLY does the same things.
The word for condemn is KATAKRINO, which takes the action of judging, and adds a verdict to it. In judging the immoral person, the self-righteous, moral unbeliever places a verdict upon himself. He thinks that the immoral person comes under God’s judgment because of the seriousness of his overt sins. But Paul makes the point that such a one places the same verdict upon himself in that he TOO PRACTICES them.
The word PRACTICE is PRASSO in the Greek, and indicates a CHARACTERISTIC way of life with emphasis on the OVERT actions, as was seen at Romans 1:32. By the use of the two words “do” and “practice,” Paul is stating that there is no difference in accountability before God, and that any expression of doing is the same as a way of life of OVERTLY practicing.

Rom. 2:2, And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.

Here, Paul states the universal truth that God JUSTLY brings His judgment upon those who practice these things. Thus, the same VERDICT, “the judgment of God,” that falls upon the immoral unbeliever, likewise falls upon the moral unbeliever because the DOING is no different from the PRACTICING.

Rom. 2:3, And do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment upon those who practice such things and do the same {yourself,} that you will escape the judgment of God?

And so, Paul lowers the boom. He equates the PRACTICING and the DOING as BOTH evidence of man’s sinfulness and accountability before God. The judgment of God falls into two categories; that which is meted out in eternity, and that which is meted out in experience, while living here on earth. The unbeliever escapes neither. The believer escapes the former because of salvation forgiveness, and the latter, by maintaining fellowship with God. However, if the believer gets out of fellowship, he can experience God’s TEMPORAL judgment of divine discipline while living here on earth (Hebrews 12:4-11; 1 Cor. 11:27-32).

Rom. 2:4, Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

1. The word OR, continues the rebuke by pointing out the fact that it is God’s grace that provides salvation and not the works of man. Thus, the sins of others, being regarded by these self-righteous people as GREATER than what they do WILL NOT remove them from being recipients of God’s grace provision for salvation. Those whom these people judge are ALL equally recipients of God’s mercy and love, for there is no partiality with God (verse 11). God’s Spirit convicts the entire WORLD of “sin, righteousness and judgment,” and makes His saving grace EQUALLY available to ALL.
2. Think lightly is the word, KATAPHRONEO, which means to think DOWN or AGAINST something. It is a word of dismissal and antagonism.

3. NOT KNOWING is a present participle of AGNOEO, and means to be unknowing or ignorant. This would be the CONDITION of the soul that would lead to having a negative attitude toward God’s grace plan. Could it be that these people are actually UNAWARE that God’s grace extends to them and to all members of the human race - EVEN to those who are so flagrantly, overtly sinful? Thus they distort His grace and follow a works system for salvation rather than salvation, “freely by His grace (Rom.3:24).” By doing this, they keep themselves away from salvation and only dig a deeper hole of debt for themselves (Romans 4:4).

4. The wealth of His grace provision is the object of this negative attitude. But more importantly, it is that very plan that is the source of providing salvation to all men. The word, WEALTH, communicates value and utility. KINDNESS, is the Greek, chrestotes, which refers to the ACTIONS or PLAN that comes FREELY from God’s LOVE. It is more than just mercy or kindness, but embraces ALL the details of what God does in order to provide deliverance from the penalty of sin and unrighteousness APART FROM any merit or works from man. It is this plan of God that comes from His desire for all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) and revolves around Christ giving his soul as a ransom for ALL (1 Tim. 2:6; Mat. 20:28) so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

5. The word, LEADS, refers to what God does in order to make known His plan to the human race. Because of His desire for all to be saved, and for all to come to a change of mind, God’s very character moves Him to make the provision available to all men. This is called CONVICTION (John 16:8-11) and ENLIGHTENMENT (John 1:9) and DRAWING (John 6:44; 12:32).
It is because of God’s ACTIVE wooing of the unbeliever through conviction, enlightenment and drawing, that he receives the information necessary to come to a change of mind (repentance) about God and to make a decision to trust in Christ as Savior.

6. The category of unbeliever represented by “O man” in this passage is arrogantly antagonistic to God’s grace plan and thus is unrepentant toward Him.

Rom. 2:5, But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

1. BUT BECAUSE: Actually, this is KATA, which means ACCORDING TO THE STANDARD OF. It indicates the unbelieving status of this category of person, and indicates the REASON they TOO come under the judgment of God that they self-righteously assign to the “sinners.”

2. Their condition is described by two words:
(A) Hardness: This is the noun, sklerotes, which indicates a conscience that has been molded by previous negative decisions toward God. The more times that a soul says “no” to God, the more scarred and calloused it becomes. Unbelievers, living in the midst of a group of believers would have heard the gospel of grace many times. Paul is aware that such as these are present in the church at Rome, and he writes with the intent to one more time, and perhaps the final time, pierce through the arrogant resistance that keeps these people from turning to Christ.
(B) that is, (and) unrepentant heart: The word, ametanoetos plus kardia, is used to describe what constitutes their HARDNESS. Hardness is the condition of resisting a change of mind toward God’s grace plan of salvation. It is probably best to see this as a further amplification of the word, hardness. thus, “according to the standard of your hardness, that is, unchanging heart.”
See Topic: hardness of Heart

3. You are storing up for yourself: The word is thesauridzo, and does NOT indicate any kind of DEGREE. The point Paul is making is that no matter how GOOD these people try to be or think they are, all they are doing is building toward ONE result - divine wrath at the last judgment.
Later, at Romans 4:4, Paul describes this as going deeper into debt. The only result or WAGE that one acquires by being in a works system for salvation, is the perpetuation of debt in God’s eyes. Man’s righteousness will always comes short of God’s perfect standard of righteousness, thus he will always be in debt and OWE GOD perfect righteousness. Of course, the only way to pay that debt is to have God’s own righteousness credited to the unbeliever’s account. This is done through the act of justification which occurs at the very instant that one trusts in Christ.

4. As long as the debt of righteousness remains unpaid, the result can only be wrath from God at the last judgment. Rev. 20:15-21.
See Topic: Justification


This is the universal principle upon which divine justice will be meted out. Job 34:10-12; Psalm 62:12; Jeremiah 17:10, 32:19; Ezek. 33:20; Mat. 16:27; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:12, 22:12.

Everything that man does is added into the formula. But NOT everything is specifically instrumental in determining man’s eternal destiny. There are only two destinies God has designed for the human race; eternal life or eternal separation from God. God determines what destinies are available and He determines the TERMS for entrance into them. God’s plan cannot be thwarted or replaced so any OTHER policy postulated by man, no matter how widely believed and followed, cannot nullify the terms and conditions that God has established - not only for salvation, but also for living the Christian life.

1. Works are evaluated throughout one’s earthly life to determine the experiential administration of God’s justice upon both the believer and the unbeliever. Job 34:10-27; Jeremiah 17:5-10; 32:17-19; Ezek. 33:10-20

2. Works of the unbeliever are evaluated at the last judgment to demonstrate that man’s personal righteousness ever comes short of God’s own righteousness, thus showing that man needs something else to attain to eternal life. Mat. 16:27; Rev. 20:15-21; Isaiah 66:6;

3. Works done by Christians while on earth are evaluated at the second coming of Christ, to determine the nature of reward for service. 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:10; Romans 14:10-12

4. The doing of good works is the EXPECTED way of life for the Christian.
Ephesians 2:8-10; James 2:14-26.

5. Thus, Christians are basically CHARACTERIZED by the doing of good works as both an evidence of their salvation and the means of representing the light system in the world.
James 1:27; Col. 3:12-17; Philip 2:12-16; 1 Peter 2:11-15; 1 John 3:4-24

This universal principle has been distorted throughout history resulting in various forms and degrees of a “works for salvation” belief system; a belief system that thinks man’s destiny is based on good works. Judaism at the time of Christ had taken this to an extreme, thinking not only that personal works carried merit in attaining to eternal life, but that the very fact of being of Jewish descent secured them eternal life. The Gentiles, then, who sought eternal life were required to be “law keepers” since their physical heritage would not bring them eternal life.

Paul will first explain the principle as it relates to eternal life, and then expose and refute the distortions that had infiltrated the Christian church, and which remain today as a major area of false doctrine.

Rom. 2:7, to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality - eternal life;

1. Paul first describes the Christian by that which does or SHOULD characterize his way of life. Although this sounds like a “works for salvation” formula, the context clearly affirms otherwise. The main verb here is SEEK. This is the main focus of their life. They are seeking that which will please God and give them the promised benefit as well. Peter mentions this at 1 Peter 1:7 where we learn that the REWARD or BENEFIT from our FAITH being found approved after testing, is praise, GLORY and HONOR at the second coming of Jesus.
PRAISE refers to general accolades from God such as “well done, good and faithful servant.” (Mat. 10:32-33; 25:14-23; 2Tim. 2:11-13 cf. 1Jn. 2:28)

GLORY refers to a share in Christ’s STATUS as the KING of the universe, by reigning with Him in a resurrection body. Mat. 25:20-23; Lk. 19:12-27; 1Tim. 2:12; Rev. 2:26

HONOR refers to the three crowns that recognize the production of divine good. 1 Pet. 5:2-4; 2 Tim. 4:7-8; Rev. 2:10; James 1:12

By the believer’s FAITHFULNESS here on earth, he demonstrates the genuineness of his SALVATION FAITH and acquires reward and recognition from the Father as well. Accordingly, it is THROUGH his endurance in maintaining faithfulness, that he is SEEKING the promised rewards. One of those promises is GUARANTEED. Immortality, which refers to the possession of a resurrection body is a guaranteed promise for those who trust in Christ as Savior (John 6:39-40). The IMMORTAL resurrection body is the MODE in which the believer will live throughout eternity, enjoying ETERNAL LIFE. From the perspective of God’s plan, it is a completed factor of our salvation. Thus, at Romans 8:30, “those whom He justified, these He also GLORIFIED.” That glorification is the possession of the resurrection body, which is described in verse 8:29 as “conformed to the image of His son.”

What Paul is saying is - FOR THE ONE who (as a believer) is characterized by seeking the promised benefits of salvation (both in time and eternity) through faithful ENDURANCE in accomplishing the good works that God has designed for him to do (Eph. 2:10), God will grant the destiny of ETERNAL LIFE.

2. What is meant by good works? This basically refers to following God’s system of MORALITY; a set of absolute standards that reside NATURALLY in the soul of every person, and which is FORMALIZED in the Ten Commandments of the Mosaic law. Therefore, the term, “works of the law” refers to observing God’s moral standards. However, man’s sinful nature produces only failure in the keeping of God’s moral law, with the result that man is always found deficient of righteousness (Rom. 3:23) and cannot find acceptance before God on the terms of trying to keep the law. Instead, the law constantly exposes man’s shortcomings and reveals his need for a more dependable solution. Since man is unable to PRODUCE a righteousness that is acceptable to God (Helpless, Rom. 5:6), he must rely on someone who IS acceptable to God.

3. Jesus Christ is the only one who has ever kept the law perfectly. Accordingly, only Jesus has righteousness that is acceptable to God the Father. Only Jesus is qualified to REPRESENT the human race and provide the solution not only to man’s sinfulness, but also to his deficiency of righteousness. Accordingly, when someone trusts in Christ as Savior, that person (1) receives forgiveness of all personal sins and (2) is given the very righteousness of God so that God now sees him as perfectly righteous. THIS is salvation - “saved” from the penalty for sins (because they have ALL been forgiven) and saved from the judgment on unrighteousness (because God now sees the person as RIGHTEOUS).

4. In order to “be saved” man must accept the provision of Christ as Savior. He must OBEY the gospel message, which basically commands, “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved,” (Acts 16:31).
This issue of OBEDIENCE to the gospel was previously mentioned at Romans 1:5. There are many other passages that employ this language of “obedience” in referring to “faith in Christ.”
(John 3:36; Acts 5:32; 6:7; 14:2; Rom. 6:17; 2 Thes. 1:8; Heb. 5:9; 1 Pet. 2:8; 4:17).
In addition, the term, THE TRUTH refers several times to the gospel message and would therefore be the object of faith-obedience in order to be saved.
Galatians 2:10 and 12, “the truth of the gospel.”
2 Thes. 2:10, “did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.”
2 Thes. 2:12, “who did not believe the truth.”

5. The second category of person that Paul mentions here is the one who has NOT trusted in the truth of the gospel; has not obeyed the truth.
Instead, such a one is motivated by his arrogant independence from God and rejection of God’s terms for both salvation and moral living.
Such a one might not be simply an IMMORAL person, but it would be ANYONE who rejects God’s terms for salvation and holds to his own system for justification; finding righteousness before God.
John summed up man’s terms for finding acceptance before God at John 1:13, when he states that our salvation (being “born again” as a child of God) is NOT from
(1) blood: genetic heredity (usually claimed by the Jews)
(2) the will of the flesh: individual, personal systems for seeking justification before God.
(3) the will of man: Collective or group systems for seeking justification.

ONLY acceptance of God’s policy for salvation can provide deliverance from the wrath of divine justice. Therefore, those who “do not obey the truth” receive only the destiny of wrath and indignation separated from God in the lake of fire. 2 Thes. 1:8-9; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:15-21

Rom. 2:8, but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

The ones who reject the gospel of truth are described by three terms. The first term, is translated in the NASB as “selfishly ambitious.” The word is, eritheia, and it means arrogant contention or antagonism. The idea of AMBITION does not really fit well in the other places this word is used. The issue is NOT ambition, but rather RESISTANCE and ANTAGONISM.
Notice at Philip. 1:17, that there are some who proclaim the gospel out of “selfish ambition” (NASB), “thinking to cause me distress.” This also is not an AMBITION issue, but a CONTENTION and ANTAGONISM issue. It is better to read it as arrogant contention.
It is different from simple STRIFE (the word, eris) for the two words occur together at 2 Corinthians 12:20 and Gal. 5:20. Although ALL STRIFE certainly carries with it an air of selfishness, the word eritheia seems to be more intense in its uses as it speaks of an arrogant antagonism and contention. The arrogance results in insistence on one’s own policy for moral and spiritual living. The strife aspect results in an intense rejection of the policy of others. See this word at James 3:14.
At Philippians 2:3, it is translated as simply, selfishness, but it seems that here also there is room for an intensity of arrogance that places one’s own policy for Christian living above the virtues of love.
Accordingly, here at Romans 2:8, clearly an arrogant and antagonistic rejection of God’s policy for salvation is a valid understanding of what Paul is referring to.
It is in fact, this arrogant independence from God and antagonism toward His policy that leads to the second term used to describe these who reject the truth of the gospel.
The verb for “do not obey” is apeitheo which indicates that they are not PERSUADED by the value of the policy of God and so are disobedient to it.
The object of their disobedience is THE TRUTH, which in this case refers to the gospel of salvation.
They are too caught up in their assertion of independence from God and the pseudo value of their own policy to accept the grace of God’s salvation gift. Instead, they are persuaded by the pseudo value of UNRIGHTEOUSNESS and OBEY its dictates to the soul through the sin nature. Living contrary to God’s standards of righteousness (morality) and being persuaded by the deceptive attractiveness of personal anarchy (doing anything you want) results in receiving judgment from God. This judgment is described by two words; wrath and indignation.
WRATH is the word orge, and refers to the objective, JUDICIAL wrath of God that comes upon those who are unrighteous. We see it as a consequence of not trusting in Christ in some key passages.
John 3:36, “but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Revelation 14:10, “he also will drink the wine of the wrath of God.”
INDIGNATION is the word thumos, and refers to a very intense, “angry” expression. When the two words occur together, the best way to see them is that ORGE refers to a an “neutral” administration of justice, and THUMOS is the intense displeasure expressed toward the unrighteous.
Wrath represent God’s JUSTICE.
Indignation shows God’s FEELINGS of displeasure, as He is angered by the rejection of His creatures whom He loves. One could argue that this is simply an anthropopathic issue, but I think too much is made of that “escape valve.” God DOES have feelings and it does not detract from His deity in any way. God is indeed a PERSONAL God and a personal God will have feelings of approval and disapproval - and He will show His feelings in various ways.
The primary focus here, is on the everlasting judgment of God that comes upon the death of the unbeliever in two parts. (1) initially, when the unbeliever is placed in torments as is described at Luke 16:19-31, and (2) the second death which is placement in the lake of fire as described at Revelation 20:15-21.

Now for emphasis, Paul is going to restate the two destinies with focus on the EXPERIENCE of those destinies.

Verses 9 states the negative experience of the unbeliever’s destiny, and verse 10 states the same thing for the believer.

Rom. 2:9, {There will be} tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek,

The word, “tribulation,” refers to severe PHYSICAL PRESSURE or pain.
This would be the TORMENT by fire and brimstone that affects the “resurrection” body of the unbeliever, as described at Rev. 14:10.
The word, “distress” refers to INTERNAL pressure; anguish and misery.
Described at Rev. 14 as “no rest day or night.”

The recipients of this pain and misery are described as ones who do evil.
The Greek says the one who expresses or “works outward” THE EVIL.
The verb is KATERGADZOMAI and refers to the outward working from within the expressions of one’s character or value system. The word for “evil” is kakos. It has the definite article and should be rendered as THE EVIL or THE WRONG. This word refers to that which is contrary to God’s policy, whether it be the policy for salvation, or the policy for living morally here on earth. The translation, EVIL, is often too intense. Better to render it as simply WRONG. They live out the fact of their rejection of God’s policy for salvation by living contrary to God’s system of morality. DOING THE WRONG is not only that which characterizes the unbeliever’s life, but also that which demonstrates the certainty of his destiny.

The phrase, “for the Jew first and also to the Greek (Gentile),” refers to both a priority and a time factor in the revelation of the gospel of Christ. The Savior came FROM the Jews and TO the Jews before he reached out to the Gentiles. Rom. 1:3; 1:16; 3:1-2; 9:4-5 Jn 4:22; Acts 2:26

Rom. 2:10, but glory and honor and peace to every man who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

This verdict promises the experiential benefit of the believer’s eternal destiny. The BELIEVER is once again characterized as one who does THE GOOD. Paul changes the verb from “working OUT” (expressing to the outside, what is inside), to simply “working” or “expressing” (Greek -ergadzomai). The only reason I can suggest for this change is that Paul is simply abbreviating, knowing that the two words are basically identical. The use of KATergadzomai indicates the outworking of ones character to one’s way of life. The “abbreviated” form (without the preposition) still perpetuates the same idea.

The Greek word for GOOD is agathos with the definite article, and refers to that which is consistent with God’s policy for His creatures. The believer FIRST does THE GOOD by accepting God’s policy for salvation. He is then left here on earth to follow God’s policy for reflecting the light system in this world of spiritual darkness. His eternal destiny is secured by faith in Christ. The overt evidence of that would be consistency in living out the standards of God’s system of morality as summarized by the 15 virtues of love (Romans 13:8-10; 1 Cor. 13:4-8).

Again, to the Jew first and then to the Gentile focuses on the priority and time factors for the revelation of the gospel of Christ. It also establishes the universality of the salvation provision.

Rom. 2:11, For there is no partiality with God.

God provides access to salvation equally to all members of the human race. The Jews have a priority from a time factor only.
Peter says at Acts 10:34-35, “I most certainly understand that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who reverences Him and works (moral) righteousness, is welcome to Him.”

Likewise, all will be equally judged by the righteous standards of God whether they have knowledge of the FORMAL (Mosaic) law or not.

Rom. 2:12, For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;

This is referring to unbelievers. The “sinning” in view goes back to verses 8 and 9 (“obey unrighteousness” and “who does the wrong”), and refers to the “characteristic” way of life of the one who has not trusted in Christ.
“Perish” and “judged” are referring to the same thing. We see them equated at John 3:16-18, and know that the meting out of the judgment takes place at the great white throne of Rev. 20:15-21.
To complete the thought, we need to skip the parenthesis of verses 13-15 and read verse 16 after verse 12.

Rom. 2:16, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

This DAY refers to the specific time of the LAST JUDGMENT.
It is referring to judgment on unbelievers and not believers, for the issue is the WHY of PERISHING - not WHETHER to perish, and that will never be an issue for the one who has trusted in Christ (John 3:16, 5:24).
See Topic: Salvation Security

It is the ACTUAL day that the Great White Throne takes play, and not the period of time designated as the Day of the Lord.
It is described at Revelation 20:15-21 but is mentioned several other places. Acts 17:31; Mat. 7:21-23; 10:15; 11:20-24; 12:36-37; Luke 11:29-32; Heb. 10:25; 2 Peter 2:9
Sometimes the day of judgment is mentioned in connection with the second coming of Christ even though it does not occur immediately AT THAT TIME. Mat. 16:27
See Topic: Judgment: Great White Throne

The last judgment needs to be distinguished from the Reward Seat of Christ, which is for believers only and occurs very shortly after Christ returns.
See Topic: Judgment seat of Christ

Verses 13-15 are parenthetical. This is clear by its content as well as the observation made by many interpreters; Wuest, Godet, Denney, to mention only a few.
The purpose of the parenthesis is to show that the Gentiles, who do not have the FORMAL law, are still found to be deficient of the righteousness of the law because they have the basic standards of the law’s MORALITY in their minds (hearts) by nature. It shows that the Gentiles are just as guilty before God as the Jews which Paul will state more plainly at verses 3:9 and 23, after he exposes the sin of the Jews.

Notice that the STANDARD for judgment is said to be MY GOSPEL.
Of course, this is the Gospel Of Christ, which Paul has simply personalized because of his personal fervency in promoting it.
He uses the term only three times: Here, Romans 16:25 and 2 Tim. 2:8.
The basic standard for judgment of THE gospel is:
(1) He who does not believe has been judged already, John 3:18.
(2) He who does not obey (is not persuaded by) the Son shall not see life
but the wrath of God abides on him, John 5:24.
(3) retribution on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ, 2 Thes. 2:8.

There is no validity as some have claimed that Paul’s “my” gospel is different from the gospel of Christ that was given to the disciples.
The interchanging of terms used by Paul, just in Romans alone, is proof enough to dispel this false doctrine.
1:1 an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
1:9 the {preaching of the} gospel of His Son,
1:15 am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are at Rome
1:16 am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God
2:16 when, according to my gospel, God will judge the world
11:28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies
15:16 ministering as a priest the gospel of God
15:19 as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
15:20 I aspired to preach the gospel
16:25 establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus

(Rom. 2:13, for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

The righteous standard of the law is that which shows man to be a sinner because it exposes his guilt by holding forth a standard that CANNOT be kept. However, the statement remains valid - the doers of the law; the ones who keep the law perfectly, without offending in even ONE POINT (James 2:10) - it is these who will be justified before God. However, since this cannot be done, everyone stands condemned before God unless they claim the forgiveness that is in Christ.

The Jews have the formal (Mosaic) law and stand condemned by its exposure of their sinfulness. And the Gentiles who don’t have the formal law still stand condemned because they have the same basic moral standards within their soul as a design placed there by God.

To explain the EQUAL accountability from the standpoint of God’s righteous standards, Paul explains that the Gentiles have a moral design within their soul that fulfills the same thing that the FORMAL law does in exposing man’s sinfulness through failure to keep those standards.

Rom. 2:14, For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,

The statement that they do not have the law refers to the FORMAL moral law as presented in the ten commandments. The phrase “do instinctively” refers to the NATURAL design that God has placed in the soul of every person. Although this design is present, the sin nature hinders consistent obedience. This is what demonstrates the presence of that sin nature and therefore man’s sinfulness and accountability to God’s righteousness and justice.
Solomon explains this at Ecc. 7:29.
1. God made men UPRIGHT: The Hebrew, yashar, is used consistently to refer to MORAL character. God MADE man with this moral PATTERN within the soul; an inherent (by nature) awareness of what is right and wrong when it comes to basic interrelationships with other members of the human race.
2. But they have sought out many devices: the verb, sought out, refers to the INCLINATION from the sin nature that influences the soul to express a self-centered independence from God and pursuit of personal welfare and benefit regardless of what moral standards are violated.
These INDEPENDENT pursuits are indicted by the Hebrew word, chishabhon, in the plural. It comes from the verb, chashabh, which means to think, reason or calculate. The noun then refers to PERSONAL attitudes, viewpoints and reasonings. When set up in contrast to that which is UPRIGHT, the reasoning becomes a rationalization that ignores the moral design within the soul in order to promote what SELF wants.
The NASB translation, devices, works OK, but I think that the word, RATIONALIZATIONS works better. This word communicates the rationalizing that takes place in order to resist and reject the moral design that God placed in the soul.

Every person starts out with this MORAL DESIGN present in the soul. It is then the responsibility of parents to cultivate it and teach children the value of morality; freedom, respect for others, and the ideology of “do no harm to others.”
If the moral design is not cultivated, then the sin nature will very soon dominate the child’s life and eventually, as this pattern of failure is followed, society as a whole will become less moral, and freedoms will be lost.
See Topic: Morality

The evidence of this moral design is seen as man NATURALLY excuses or approves of one another based on the standards that are COMMONLY understood and accepted as MORAL.

Rom. 2:15, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them)

Paul makes it perfectly clear that this MORAL DESIGN is WRITTEN in the hearts of people and it is referenced as they relate to one another during the normal course of human affairs.
There is no society that views theft, and murder, and lying as acceptable behavior. Some of the other standards are more easily rationalized, but in all cases, there will be in INTERNAL conviction that recognizes a violation of what is FELT and UNDERSTOOD as being right and proper behavior.
Such CONVICTION, whether is comes from the moral design or the FORMAL law, is not enough to prevent disobedience. Violations in various degrees are inevitable. It is such violations of one or more of these standards that demonstrate the existence of the sin nature and the consequent guilt before God.


Questions and comments are always welcome

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