Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Adult Bible Study on Romans 2:1-16

Romans 2:1-16

 (New International Version)


You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?


But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.


12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.



1. At the end of Romans 1, Paul taught that since God has revealed Himself to all of humanity through His creation, people have no excuse not to acknowledge and worship Him. In this chapter, he challenges people who acknowledge God but don’t obey Him.


What causes people to know God’s commands but not follow them?


John 14:23-24 - Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.


I used to interpret this verse as saying we will show our love to Jesus by doing what He says. But that’s not how the verse reads. The proper understanding is that if we love Jesus first, then we will obey. The obedience follows love.


People may acknowledge God but not love Him. And when they don’t love Him, they won’t be motivated to obey Him. Instead, they may get prideful because they know the truth of God but be hypocritical because they don’t love Him enough to act on the truth they know.


Our goal is to love Jesus so much that we want to obey Him.



2. Compare Romans 2:1-3 with Matthew 7:1-5:


“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.


What do these two passages teach us about judging others?


While we are to discern between right and wrong, we are not to “pass judgment” on anyone in the sense that we condemn them. When we judge someone in this way, we’re raising ourselves above them and acting as if they can never improve. We have found them guilty and sentenced them.


But because we’re all sinners, and God is the only one who has never sinned, He’s the only one who has the right to pass judgment on someone. In fact, He’s the only one whose judgment is accurate. We need to practice humility and not put ourselves in the place of God.



3. In verse 4, Paul tells us that God’s kindness, forbearance, and patience is meant to lead us toward repentance. How does understanding how kind and patient and slow to punish God is lead us to repentance?


First, God doesn’t destroy us and sentence us the moment we sin; He gives us time to repent.


Second, when we realize how much we’ve sinned against such a kind and patient God, it moves us to want to repent and live righteously so that we can please Him.



4. How does remembering God’s kindness, forbearance, and patience toward us help us not to judge others?


If God has been so good to us when we have sinned and do sin, we should be patient with others. Even when they sin, we should be kind, rather than wrathful, to them, hoping they will repent.



5. Verse 7 reads, “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” Many Christians get this backward. They think going to Heaven (gaining eternal life) is our goal. According to this verse, eternal life isn’t our goal but our reward. Our goal – what we should be seeking – is glory, honor, and immortality.


Before we go any further with this thought, think about this question: What is the difference between immortality and eternal life?


Immortality is to live forever from your beginning forward. You were born, but you will never die. In the Christian understanding, we know that we will die, but we will not remain dead. We will experience death, but death will not hold us captive.


Eternal life, on the other hand, is to live forever without beginning and without end. It’s to be outside of beginnings and endings completely. Only God is eternal. When He gives us eternal life, it means He will bring us into His state of being: Heaven.



6. What does it mean to seek glory, and honor, and immortality rather than eternal life?


Seeking eternal life seems to be wanting the good life, wanting to rest, wanting all of this striving in life to be over. Seeking glory and honor and a way to defeat death takes being active and striving to be great in this life. It’s active vs. passive. It’s accomplishing vs. waiting for Jesus to do it all.


Don’t get me wrong; Jesus paid for our salvation. But now that we’re members of God’s family, children of the King and co-heirs with Christ, we are not to be passive in this life. We are to actively persist in doing good so that God will give us glory, honor, immortality, and bring us into His life.


Also, notice in verse 10, Paul adds peace to the list of what God will give us.



7. What do verses 12-16 tell us about the fate of those who never heard about the true God?


First, remember in chapter 1 how Paul said no one is without excuse for not acknowledging God. All must understand there is a Divine Creator. But not everyone knows the specifics of what God is like or what He has done for us. They don’t or didn’t have the Scriptures we do.


So, instead of being judged based on whether they worshiped God correctly or trusted Jesus as their savior, God will judge them based on their conscience. Along with creation, this is the second witness He has given to every person. Everyone can experience the evidence of creation and feel the image of God within themselves in the form of their conscience.


We do not know the specifics of how strictly God will judge them, but we read that their thoughts will not completely condemn them; their thoughts will even defend them!


Paul wants us to understand there is hope for those who do not have the Scriptures, just as much as there is stricter judgment for those who do have the Scriptures and don’t follow them.



What to DO after reading this passage

Paul says that if we are seeking glory, honor, and immortality, we need to be persistent in doing good. Spend a moment in prayer asking God to call to mind the good He’s told you to do, then resolve to accomplish it.




Do you have another insight into this passage? Please share below!





No comments:

Post a Comment