Romans 2

 

Romans 2:1
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

Whenever you read the word therefore in the bible, you have to stop and ask yourself the question what is the therefore there for? Therefore is a very important word and we must learn to recognise it and not just skim past it and ignore it. Therefore is a conjunction that tells us that what has just been said is important to understanding what follows.

All chapters and verses in the bible have been added by translators. They help us to find scriptures quickly, but we must always remember that they are not God-breathed, they were not in the original texts. Therefore [see how the word works?] we must always ignore chapters and verses when making sense of the scriptures.

This word therefore in verse 1 of chapter 2 tells us that what has come before is important to our understanding of what follows. There should never have been a chapter break here as the logic of the narrative flows from chapter 1 into chapter 2. We are in the middle of a thought here, therefore we must allow the narrative of chapter 1 to flow with what follows in chapter 2.

Romans 2:1
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

What is the therefore there for? And who is this O man the verse is addressing? It is of paramount importance that we keep the narrative in context, and that context is clearly set in chapter 1. This is addressing all those people with vile affections, those who worship and serve the creation rather than the creator, all those filled with unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, the whisperers, the backbiters, the haters of God, those who are despiteful proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, those who are disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, the implacable and the unmerciful, the cruel.

These were the people Paul was addressing, but why would he do that? Well, because those were the people who were going to their home churches. When new people come to our home churches this is the worldly garbage they will bring with them and we will need to deal with it just as Paul had to deal with it. When new people come to our home churches they will not be disciples, they will be all those people with vile affections and all the rest of it.

See, this is easy to understand, and we as home church leaders need to be prepared to help these people. Paul is addressing men and women who have not yet been born again, men and women who were coming out of the world and who were going to home churches hoping to find a way to escape from the shit they were in and find a better life.

Paul doesn't handle the new birth until Romans chapter 10. Think about that. Why doesn't he start with the new birth right here in chapter 1? It's a good question, but not an easy one to answer. The best way I can illustrate this is with a building that needs renovating. You can't start rebuilding until you first demolish the garbage and clean up the site. Romans starts with what needs to be demolished and cleaned up before the rebuilding can begin, and that's the best way I can explain it.

Romans 2:1
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

The people who were going to their home churches were not perfect people, and the people who come to our home churches will not be perfect people either. In other words, we will have gangsters, homos, crooks, liars, robbers, lesbians, politicians, swindlers, thieves, murderers, worshippers of Baal, those who sacrifice babies to Lucifer, the arrogant, those who devise evil things, malicious, malignant covenant breakers, the implacable and the cruel coming to our home churches. These are the people who need our help and we have to learn to be there for them. We can't be like the pharisees and condemn them as sinners and waggle our fingers at them, we have to help them. Jesus Christ was there for them and we have to be there for them as well.

Matthew 9:10-13
And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Back to Romans.

Romans 2:1
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

What exactly was Paul confronting here then? What was happening was the gangsters were judging the homos, the lesbians were bitching about the politicians, the worshippers of Baal were bad mouthing the robbers and the thieves, the cruel were waggling their fingers at the implacable, and the arrogant and proud were looking down their noses at the swindlers and fraudsters. The new people at their home churches didn't like each other and were bitching about everyone else.

Listen, I was a washed up dope smoking drunken bum who should have been dead in 1977. and I can relate to a few of the things Paul mentions here. We all came out of the world, and we all have our little things in life that we need to clean up. Who am I to judge you? Who are you to judge me? See, none of us can waggle our fingers or bitch about anyone. Hey, Paul wrote the book of Romans and he was a murdering religious bastard before he was born again. He imprisoned, tortured and put to death men and women who were going to home churches. Then he got born again and started running home churches himself. He would have been teaching the bible to people whose friends and family he had tortured and put to death. We have to stop judging each other. We were all guilty of death. That's why we all needed a man like Jesus Christ to put his hand up and volunteer to die in our place. None of us have any right to judge anyone.

Romans 2:2
But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.

Now remember, he is addressing people here who were going to home churches, but who were not born again as yet. He doesn't handle the new birth until Romans chapter 10, so the people he is confronting did not have holy spirit, they were not God's children. So yes, if someone is not born again, they had better watch out and start cleaning up their lives because the judgement of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.

Romans 2:3
And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

Men of body and soul, without spirit, are dead until they get born again. If they don't get born again, they are not going to escape the judgement of God. Once we are born again, we are children of God, we have holy spirit, we are forgiven and we have eternal life. Paul is trying to help these people and is teaching them, preparing them to receive holy spirit which he gets to in chapter 10. If people don't stop bitching about people and spend their whole time with their minds in turmoil they are never going to hear and receive the things of God.

Romans 2:4-6
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

Yes, everyone on earth will be judged by God, no one is getting away with anything. The only way to escape what's coming is to be born again and receive the gift of holy spirit. When someone becomes a child of God they are forgiven, but until then they are most definitely not forgiven for anything. When folks come to our home churches, that doesn't mean we smile inanely at them and ignore all their evil, we have to deal with stuff and confront them so they can change. We can see this with Jesus Christ and the woman taken in adultery.

John 8:3-6
And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him [Jesus] a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

Here we see a typical religious attitude towards sinners. If we want to help people, we will have to learn to be there for them just as Jesus Christ was there for them and not be like those pharisees.

An interesting point here is that these religious leaders were technically right. Moses does state in the old testament law that such women should be stoned. Those scribes and pharisees were quoting accurate scripture and it was in context. Jesus knew that and he knew that to contradict them would be to contradict the bible. That's what those religious leaders were hoping he would do so they could level the charge of blasphemy at him. However, we need to look at this from the perspective of forgiveness so we can help people. Forgiveness has always been available. Even Adam and Eve were forgiven and went on to live full lives in fellowship with God. Forgiveness was available to people who broke old testament law. David was forgiven after his affair with Bathsheba. Forgiveness has always been available, it is available today, and it will continue to remain available. The word must be understood in that light. It does not matter to God where a person has been, or even what they did yesterday, he is only interested in where they are now and where they want to be tomorrow.

The scribes and pharisees pestered him until he eventually stood up and turned in their direction. Note that he didn't hit them with his more usual response, it is written, and then quote scriptures. He didn't have any scriptures on this occasion because there were none. Instead, he went for their conscience.

John 8:7-11
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

See, God does not care about our past, he only cares about where we are now and where we want to be tomorrow. The woman obviously wanted to change. She wasn't hardhearted and calloused. She didn't have an attitude. She didn't strut around the temple screaming at Jesus, or calling God names. Here you can see God's love, forgiveness, and mercy. God understands us, he's on our side, and he's there for us when we come back to him regardless of anything we've done. That's why we have to stop judging each other in our home churches. Sure, a woman might come to your home church who slept with your husband. Sure a man might come to church who slept with your wife. We have to learn to forgive and help them to change. At the same time we don't put up with their evil habits, we confront them with the word and help them to change. Those pharisees wanted to stone that woman, but when Jesus Christ told them to stone her only if they were without sin themselves, they all walked away one by one with their heads down in shame. None of us are guiltless, we have to learn to forgive and help people, not judge and condemn them.

Romans 2:7-11
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew [Judean] first, and also of the Gentile;

But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew [Judean] first, and also to the Gentile:

For there is no respect of persons with God.

In addition to all this, there was also a problem of Judeans judging Gentiles at the home churches, so Paul had to deal with that as well. It doesn't matter to God who anyone is, what they have done, or what nationality, or skin colour or religion they are, everyone is now welcome in the family of God. All these new believers were bickering and bitching and judging and condemning other new believers at the home churches. Folks, it has to stop. Why are you judging people? Are you so pure and clean and holy yourself? I don't think so. Jesus Christ died for everyone, not just you.

John 3:16,17
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Now Paul handles some of the garbage causing contention and friction between the Judeans and the Gentiles in the home churches. In the following verses law refers to the Old Testament laws which the Judeans considered to be the only way to get to God. The only problem with that logic was that none of the Judeans kept the law perfectly and they were all guilty of breaking it in one area or another so they were just as guilty of breaking the law as the Gentiles they were condemning.

Romans 2:12-15
For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

He then goes on to show that if a Gentile kept the law, he was more righteous than a Judean who broke it. He confronts those self righteous religious nuts and shows them that they were all guilty of breaking the law at one point or another and so they had no right to judge anyone else for breaking it.

Romans 2:16-20
In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Behold, thou art called a Jew [Judean], and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,

And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;

And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,

An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.

Folks when new people come to our home churches this is the kind of stuff we are going to have to deal with. We have to learn to love people and help them, not condemn them and judge them. Today it wouldn't necessarily be a conflict between Judeans and Gentiles, it might be a conflict between Roman Catholics and Protestants, Anglicans and Baptists, Pentecostals and Jehovahs Witnesses, Muslims and Infidels, see how this works? Deal with it.

Romans 2:21-23
Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?

Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?

Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?

We could spend a whole chapter on each of these verses, but I just don't have time. Take stealing for example. Sure, you may frown and condemn someone for shop lifting, but do you steal? What about fare dodging? What about pirated movies? What about taking stuff home from work that doesn't belong to you? What about buying stolen goods? What about pirated software? What about poaching salmon? It's all stealing.

Romans 2:24,25
For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.

Circumcised and uncircumcised are cultural religious references to Judeans and Gentiles.

Romans 2:26-29
Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?

And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?

For he is not a Jew [Judean], which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

But he is a Jew [Judean], which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

As home church leaders we have to understand that people don't come to our churches with a knowledge of God and perfect lives, rather they come to us in a mess. That woman taken in adultery and dragged to the temple was in a mess. More than likely, they had set her up so they could drag her out of bed. Why do I think that? Well, the bastards didn't drag the man taken in adultery to the temple to be stoned, did they? No, just the woman, and that's why I think they set her up. There she was standing in the local synagogue facing public death by stoning. Put yourself in her shoes. Does life get any messier? Yet Christ forgave her and saved her life. That's what we have to do for people whose lives are in a mess. We have to help them and not be like those pharisees.

Of course, if people don't want to change, or refuse to change, there's nothing we can do for them. They are the ones who have to do the changing. If homos come to our churches we don't condemn them, but they have to change, they have to sin no more. If gangsters, crooks, liars, robbers, lesbians, politicians, swindlers, thieves, murderers, worshippers of Baal, those who sacrifice babies to Lucifer, the arrogant, those who devise evil things, malicious, malignant covenant breakers, the implacable and the cruel come to our home churches we don't condemn them, we teach them God's word and help them to change their ways. We have to take people from darkness to light.

Acts 26:18
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

We should be opening our home churches to everyone, regardless of who they are or what they've done. How else could we possibly open folk's eyes and turn them from darkness to light? People don't come to our home churches full of light, they come full of darkness looking for the light so let's forgive them and show them how to do it and love them while they change.

I find it intriguing that this is the first thing Paul deals with in the book of Romans. For God to kick off Romans with this, it must be important. When messed up people and religious nuts first walk through our doors it is likely they will see people they don't want to be around and we have to deal with it. We don't shout at anyone, we don't kick anyone out of our home churches, we don't publicly ridicule anyone, we don't make anyone feel bad, and we certainly do not judge anyone. We work with people kindly, teach them Romans and help them to change. We turn them from darkness to light. That's what Paul did and it's a good example to follow.