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Monday, June 27, 2022

2022.06.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 2:1–5

Read Romans 2:1–5

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Romans 2:1 call the man it addresses? What has this man done to another? But what, then, has he done to himself? Why? Whose judgement is against all (Romans 2:2)? With what does this judgement accord? What question does Romans 2:3 ask? What point does the question restate about the man whom it is asking? What is the expected answer to the question? What does Romans 2:4 ask him if he is despising? How much goodness? What two other things? What should the goodness of God bring a sinner to? In accordance with what two things are the self-excusers acting (Romans 2:5)? What are their actions treasuring/storing up? Against the day of what two things?

What does a judgmental attitude toward others reveal about us?  Romans 2:1–5 looks forward to the this week’s midweek sermon. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that though all men deserve God’s righteous judgment, He is showing us mercy not that we might think ourselves better than others, but that we would turn to Him in repentance. 

What judging others shows about ourselves: God’s judgment against our own sin (not just theirs) is righteous (Romans 2:1)! If I see someone whose behavior appears more blameworthy than mine, it is tempting to think that seeing this makes me safer from God’s judgment than they are. 

But there are at least two problems with this thinking. The first problem is that I can’t see all of my own sin, or all of their sin. So the verse warns us “you who judge practice the same things.” As Jesus taught in His discussions of the moral law (e.g., Matthew 5:17–48), we are all guilty of transgressing all of God’s law in our hearts. 

The second problem is that our idea that someone else is guilty just reminds us that guilt is a reality. “In whatever you judge another you condemn yourself.” This should not lead us to feel safer in ourselves; it should confirm for us that we are guilty before God!

God’s judgment is faithful—and therefore frightful and sure (Romans 2:2-3). God’s judgment is “according to truth.” He does not judge on a curve, as if appearing better than someone else makes us safe. All of our sins have been against His glory. How frightful, then, is the punishment that these sins deserve! It will be no comfort to someone that his suffering is a “smaller” infinity than his neighbor’s. And can God deny His own glory? Of course not. Which is the same answer for the question, “Do you think that you will escape the judgment of God?” When we judge, it reminds us that God truly—fully and surely, frightfully and surely. When we see another’s guilt, it should warn us about how great and sure is the judgment that we need to escape.

We ought to respond to God’s patience by repentance, not arrogance toward others or false security about ourselves (Romans 2:4). So, if God has not punished us yet, it is not because we are not very guilty or because His wrath is not very great. If God has not punished us yet, it is because He is showing “the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering.” He continues to give us the opportunity to turn from our sin in repentance and trust in Jesus Christ in faith. So, how are we responding to such rich goodness? Do we count such a God all the more worthy of our worship, of our repentance, and of our faith? Or are we deceived into thinking that He is somehow as tolerant of our sin as we are?

An unrepentant man stores up wrath against himself (Romans 2:5). The “day of wrath” is set. On it, “the righteous judgment of God” will be revealed. It is no less frightful or less certain just for our not yet seeing it. So, either we are turning to Him in faith, or we are increasing the amount of wrath that will fall upon us when the day comes. 

An “impenitent heart” has at least two problems. One is that it is “treasuring up” wrath. It is increasing what it will suffer. The other problem is that the unrepenting heart does this “in accordance with your hardness.” That is to say: it is getting worse. You must not think that you will be able to take advantage of your chance to sin for a while, and then later you will repent. Can you hear how hard and stubborn this reasoning already is? Do you think that after continuing to think this way, you will be able to repent later? No. You must not think this way. God’s Word forbids it.

Whom are you tempted to judge? What should this remind you of about yourself? How have you been responding to God’s patiently not yet casting you into Hell? What are you storing up for yourself for the last day? What are you currently doing to your heart by the way that you think/live?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are righteous when You speak against us and blameless when You judge us. We praise You for the riches of Your goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering. Stir up our hearts to respond to Your goodness with repentance and faith. Forgive us our sins, and make us holy, in Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP51A “God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH51C “God, Be Merciful to Me”

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