Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Condemnation of the Moral Man (Part II)

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

The verb we are sure means to know, understand or recognize. Every individual may be certain that God's judgment is never skewed. God's judgment is according to truth. This phrase is describing a relationship. It is an impossibility for God's judgment to be anything but true. No man has the right to look down on another in a spirit of condemnation because all men have the same wicked heart; however, God possesses the right to set the standard and declare condemnation. Judgment is not evil, but it must be made through the proper channel of authority and that authority is Scripture. The phrase "against them which commit such things" is referring back to those spoken of in chapter one. Having the same wicked heart, the moral man may not judge those less scrupulous than himself. This does not free men from having standards and making judgments, but it does declare that all judgment must be based solely upon biblical principle.

"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?" (Romans 2:3)

The verb thinkest means to be convinced or to log something down. Man in his arrogance is fully convinced that he is more righteous than another; however, the text says that the moral man is also committing the same abominations as the heathen. Most people would read the list of sins mentioned in 1:29-32 and think "I don't do such things." Such reasoning is deceptive. For instance, one of the sins mentioned in 1:30 is "haters of God." A man does not have to lead an exceptionally wicked lifestyle in order to be guilty of this sin. Whenever a man chooses to follow his own heart rather than God's commands, he is guilty of this sin. Whenever a man loves something or someone more than he loves God, he is guilty of this sin. The sin of David illustrates this truth. No one would consider David to be a "hater of God," yet when he chose to commit adultery with Bathsheba, God made this statement, "...because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife (II Samuel 12:10)." David's sin started with a choice to despise God and His commandments and do what he wanted to do. When this happened, David was guilty of despising or hating God and His word. All men have been guilty of such feelings and actions. Though not everyone has committed the same sin as David, everyone has made numerous choices to do as they wished and not as God has commanded.

The verb shall escape is intensive. The idea is to clean escape. The self-deceived heart of man is fully convinced that it shall completely get away without God's divine retribution.

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

The word despise is comprised of two separate words which, when combined, mean to look down on or to think against. The proud heart thinks little of God's rich goodness. Forbearance is the act of carrying a heavy load for a long distance without complaint. God has been so patient with man despite all of man's rebellion, yet man in his pride is ready to cast aside without consideration those he deems less worthy than himself. The word longsuffering is also comprised of two words. One means long, far away, or distant and the other means passion, anger or wrath. When combined, they literally mean distant in anger, which would indicate a condition of being even-tempered and not quickly angered.  God does not act in unrighteous anger. When God takes up His wrath, He does so in complete holiness. Men are quick to anger. Men are quick to condemn in a spirit of hatred, but such are not God's ways. God's judgments are always directed toward restoration. Man's judgments are always directed toward hateful condemnation. The text says that God's goodness is designed to lead a man to repentance. The proud moral man sits back and makes judgments for the purpose of satisfying his own lusts while God remains ever focused on the redemption of people. The word repentance is built upon two words. One means after and the other means thought or mind. Together, they give the beautiful picture of an after-thought or a change of mind. God's longsuffering character is not to be abused. He demands that all men change their minds toward their sin and the Savior, as declared in Isaiah 55:7, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." This change of thought indisputably leads to some change in behavior. A man cannot be convinced of something without having his attitude affected in some way. God's goodness is purposed to bring about a changed heart in mankind.


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