Monday, December 2, 2013

The Condemnation of the Moral Man (Part IV)

"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 first, and also of the Gentile;" (Romans 2:8-9)

On the other hand, there are those who reject the ways of righteousness and have not known the salvation of God. These people are referred to as "them that are contentious." The text says that they "do not obey the truth." The verb for do not obey is a word that means not persuaded. It has the idea of not obeying because of not believing. The text goes on to say that they do "obey unrighteousness." The verb form here is very similar except that it means to be persuaded. It carries with it the idea of obeying because of believing. These individuals are not persuaded concerning the way of repentance, but they are persuaded concerning the ways of unrighteousness. Disbelief is not an inability. It is a sin. With some, it is more blatant. With others, it is more subtle. Some are less aware of their choice to disbelieve; however, all disbelief towards God's word is sin. Every person believes in something. Disbelief in God's promises is a choice to lean upon one's own understanding. Such disbelief is promised the reward of indignation, wrath, tribulation, and anguish. This indignation is the seething hot anger of God. An individual does not have to be the worst sinner to be under this wrath. Everyone outside of belief in Christ is in danger of immediate judgment. The word for anguish is interesting. It consists of two words which, when combined, form the meaning of narrowness. The result of this basic meaning gives birth to the idea of anguish and trouble. When a person chooses to reject the straight and narrow path of belief, he places himself in a narrow place of destruction. The road funnels down to the final destination of judgment in hellfire. These fearful judgments are directed toward the "soul of man." Ultimately, this is the most fearful judgment. The body can be afflicted, causing great anguish, but the most frightening judgment is the condemnation of the soul. The hypocrite who rejects the way of godly fear brings damnation to his soul.
The verb for doeth means to work out or produce. A man is known by his fruit. The unbeliever is characterized by continuously producing that which is against God's interest.

"But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God." (Romans 2:10-11)

In similar fashion, the one who is in Christ is characterized by working that which is good. This text is not claiming good works as a means of salvation but as a fruit of salvation. God's righteous judgment will ensure that all unbelief is punished and that all belief is rewarded. He is does not respect the faces of people. Respect of persons consists of two words. One means face, and the other means receiving or credit. God gives credit to no man's face. He is not impressed with the self-righteous countenance; He is only impressed by the broken countenance, for thus saith the LORD, "...but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word (Isaiah 66:2)."

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