Roman 2 – Beyond Religion and Works
Verse 1 – 4: – You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?[NLT]
Reflections: – But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done [MSG]. Chap. 1 explored the practice of hidden lustful desires. While Paul was writing about it, he had to remind the Romans especially the holier than thou who were quick to expose other people’s sins that they weren’t better off. I remember writing a post on the jail term issued by Nigerian lawmakers, and I said if they wanted to institute laws from the Bible or Koran they should go the whole nine yards. Let us not be selective in picking our laws. How often have we been quick to cast stones on others when God’s mercy has kept us from been stoned by others as a result of our sinful nature. God’s mercy is given to cause us to turn away from sin.
Verse 5 – 10: –But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness. There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.[NLT]
Reflections: – While we are taking that mercy for granted, a time will come when we’ll be judged based on what we’ve done on earth. A set of people were mentioned – self-seeking, those who live for themselves. Remember the people in the previous chapter who refused to acknowledge God even when the whole creations points to Him. We have been redeemed at a price by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the life we live is no longer ours but we live for God. Have we yielded totally to God or are we still in control?
Verse 12 – 16: – When the Gentiles sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews, who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight. Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.[NLT]
Reflections: – I have often wondered what would happen to those who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. Vs 12 says those who sinned without the law will perish without the law. How then will they know they’ve sinned if there was no law? Vs 14-15 explains it by saying though they don’t know the law, they naturally obeyed it without even hearing it by following their conscience and thoughts which either accused them or assured them they were on the right path. This throws light on Cain when he killed his brother Abel, Joseph when he decided not to sleep with Potiphar’s wife. The law wasn’t given by then. What is the state of our conscience? Do we still listen to the promptings on the inside? Or do we have a lot of clutter that we can’t hear anymore? Who are you when the door is closed behind you? Although no one sees and may never know what is done in secret, God sees and we all will be judged by Jesus Christ for the secret life we lived either good or bad.
Verse 17 – 24: – You who call yourselves Jews are relying on God’s law, and you boast about your special relationship with him. You know what he wants; you know what is right because you have been taught his law. You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a light for people who are lost in darkness. You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that God’s law gives you complete knowledge and truth. Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples? You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”[NLT]
Reflections: – Let’s rephrase vs. 17 You who call yourself ____(fill in the blank spaces, I could help with some suggestions) Altar boy, Prayer group leader, Choir leader, Baptized Christian, Knight, Lady, Dame, Born Again, Christian Blogger, Bishop, Pope… the list is inexhaustible. You boast in these titles and your assumed relationship. This reminds me of the lyrics of the song Give Me by Kirk Franklin and Mali Music “Everybody’s got a title but do you know your name”. When we stand before God, do these titles still exist? I’m afraid No vs 20b says you are certain that God’s law gives you complete knowledge and truth but Kirk answers the question by saying we should humble ourselves and fall on our faces. Have we become so bloated with knowing the law that in the midst of it we’ve taken God for granted causing others (Non-Christians) to blaspheme against God? In simpler terms, have we misused the grace God has given us thereby living in sin?
Verse 25 – 27: – The Jewish ceremony of circumcision has value only if you obey God’s law. But if you don’t obey God’s law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile. And if the Gentiles obey God’s law, won’t God declare them to be his own people? In fact, uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God’s law will condemn you Jews who are circumcised and possess God’s law but don’t obey it. [NLT]
Reflections: – I was baptised at three months, confirmed and received the Holy Communion, became born again in my early 20’s, was Asst Sec Gen of a fellowship, taught bible class for teenagers. All of these things amount to nothing if i’m not yielded totally to God and i’m not better than some other person who hasn’t done any of these things but obeys God from their conscience. Let me illustrate it better. While i was undergoing my one year mandatory Youth Service, this truth stared me in the face. During one of our meetings, a friend who couldn’t make it asked me to write his name in the attendance register. This was totally wrong but everyone does it, besides it’s not a major thing. Meanwhile another giy in my group came dressed in the wrong attire and was asked not to write his name in the register. To my greatest shock he didn’t try to get his name on the list even when most of us who had been earlier warned did otherwise. When i found out, i was partly surprised and amused and I struck up a conversation with him. I assumed he was a Muslim cos of his name and maybe he was fasting cos it was the Ramadan period but he said he wasn’t a Muslim neither was he a Christian. He just did what was right. I’ll just leave it there.
Verse 28 – 29: – For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people. [NLT]
Reflections: – I am not a Christian cos of my bullet point of works or accolades rather I’m one who has peace on the inside with God as a result of God’s Spirit at work in me. This daily change on the inside isn’t dependent on the praises or admiration of men, neither do I desire to be in the good books of men at the expense of my relationship with God. Rather I daily seek to please God and go to bed everyday knowing He’s proud of me. Have we gotten to this experience?
Loads of Love