Romans 02:13 – 3:18 The Law Does Not Undo Unrighteousness

 

 

Part 3

INTRO: Unrighteousness of Gentiles, Unrighteousness of Jews

So far we have looked at what justification means and showed that the root of just, justified, justification, was the same and often is used interchangeably in the Bible with right, righteous, righteousness

We defined Justification = made righteous; Only God can justify us; It is a gift that has been made available because of the sacrifice of Christ. We cannot make ourselves righteous by keeping the law – this does not undo the unrighteous acts that we have committed BUT the last scripture that we read says Romans 2:13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;

We saw in Psalms and 1 John that God’s commandments are righteousness and we have to practice righteousness to be righteous, just as God is righteous. [Psalm 119:172; 1 John 3:7]

…Realizing that as Galatians and Philippians puts it that it is not our own righteousness but Christ living in us by faith

Continuing now, Paul is still in the middle of showing the Jews their unrighteousness even though they had been given the law:

Romans 2:14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,

Moving the comma [there were no commas in Greek] can make this clearer

for when Gentiles, who do not have the law by nature, do the things in the law…

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind [mind of the flesh; ie not Spirit or Godly] is enmity [an enemy] against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

We read just previously that they were doing the opposite

Romans 1:26 … the natural use for what is against nature.

Ephesians 2:3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

and righteousness like filthy rags

2 Peter 1:4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

They obeyed some things in the law as most do: kill steal etc, some more than others

Because there is a tree of the knowledge of good and evil

There are some things that the entire world by and large should see, but there will continue to be some things that they cannot see (ie Sabbath, sunset to sunset) those Godly things had to be given or revealed.

Romans 2:15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)

Conscience: comes from a word that means to see our self; to understand or become aware, and to be conscious or informed of

Because of this even they were able to judge to a degree what was right and what was wrong.

Romans 2:16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

Romans 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law

Romans 2:16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

Jews ignored law as well as the Gentiles ignored [end of chapter 1]

Judged according to what? It can’t be judged whether God gave you righteousness, He knows whether or not He did that, so that doesn’t need to be done here.

Romans 2:14-16 shows that they will all be judged by the same law

Romans 2:17 Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God,

The audience he is speaking to is confirmed here.

And now Paul begins to address their pride they had in the fact that God have given the law to them

Romans 2:18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law,

Romans 2:19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,

Romans 2:20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law.

 

Prideful attitude in what they KNEW. They felt special and set apart because of this gift God had given to them, this understanding of the laws that were to be kept, an insight into the way God wants us to live, a way that would bring about health and prosperity.

But the problem was as we will now see is that they didn’t DO what they knew to do.

Romans 2:21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal?
Romans 2:22 You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
Romans 2:23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?

The answer is yes and this is another scripture that says we should keep the law otherwise we dishonor God. Said another way: We honor God by keeping the law.

So what good was all this boasting if they didn’t keep the law? Of course it wasn’t good. And if you really understand the law and kept it properly you wouldn’t be acting this any way. But because they continued to act this way and break the law of God Paul writes:

 

Romans 2:24 For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” as it is written. [Isaiah 52:5]

Another quote from Old Testament: Only chapters 5 and 6 don’t have them, not that this is significant, because Romans is technically one letter any way.

How important is our example today?

Romans 2:25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.

 

Circumcision was necessary to be able to take part in specific activities within the congregation of Israel or within Judaism. To not be circumcised was to be cut-off form God

Genesis 17:14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”

For instance: Had to be circumcised to partake of the Passover.

By this means, even outsiders could become a part of the congregation, could partake of the Passover.

But by breaking the law you were cutting yourself from God

Figuratively their circumcision became uncircumcision [which didn’t happen literally when they broke the law], but it made it unprofitable and of no-effect.

 

1 Corinthians 7:18 Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised.
1 Corinthians 7:19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.

keeps the righteous requirements of the law [law not done away], will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?

Keeping the commandments, keeping the law is what matters and Paul is saying that here in Romans 2:25 as well that if you break the law you are as the uncircumcised were and that is “cut-off” from God

Romans 2:26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man [Gentiles]

 

Yes, because now, with the coming of Christ, they/we are under the terms of the New Covenant.

Paul is saying, will not his [physical] uncircumcision be counted as [spiritual] circumcision

Paul is distinguishing between the physical law of circumcision and the rest of God’s spiritual law. There were some temporary laws like this and sacrifices that were done away with because of Jesus Christ coming. Paul goes on to explain this in more detail with the rest of the chapter.

Paul is pulling the rug out from under them, getting rid of their false foundation. This is a large part of their prideful attitude. See we are missing our foreskin – see how great we are? Sounds a bit silly when you say it this way. But this is what Paul is telling them that this is not what really matters and thereby is bringing them down a notch…showing their unrighteousness — which is the theme of this chapter.

 

Romans 2:27 And will not the physically uncircumcised [Gentile], if he fulfills the [spiritual] law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law?

(KJV) 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?

nature phusis phusikos (physical)

 

This would have been difficult at the very least for the Jews to accept.

Those who keep the Law will judge those who break the Law [in the short term; long term in the judgment]

Now we get to the heart of the matter so to speak:

Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh;
Romans 2:29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

Conversion is a change of heart, this is what the Jews were missing here.

Interestingly this is not a New Testament idea

Deuteronomy 10:16 Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.

With Christ came the ability to have a circumcision of the heart

 

Deuteronomy 30:6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

Holy Spirit enabled to write

Romans 2:5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart

2 Corinthians 3:3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

2 Corinthians 3:4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God.

 

ROMANS 3

Romans 3:1 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision?

Romans 3:2 Much in every way! [Still working with physical Jews today] Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.

Utterances of God, the divine words of God.

Responsible for keeping the scriptures and calendar and Sabbath?

They were very COMMITTED, set up checks and balances

If we don’t believe this that it was given to the Jews to do this then everyone will do what is right in their own eyes

 

Romans 3:3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?

God said He would do it, so what are the odds that He will make sure that this happens?

Romans 3:4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND MAY OVERCOME WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED.”

Romans 3:5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) [Paul not speaking as himself]

 

An issue at the time that Paul felt that he had to address, some of the same issues that exist to this day and comes in cycles.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

Romans 2:5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
Romans 2:6 who “WILL RENDER TO EACH ONE ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS”: Romans 2:8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath,

Romans 3:6 Certainly not! [He answers the question for clarity just in case you don’t know] For then how will God judge the world?

 

Romans 3:7 For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am I also still judged as a sinner?

Because we are Romans 3:23

for every man is a liar“, Romans 3:4, as he says, “I speak as a man“, Romans 3:5; wicked man,

“let God be true”

Romans 3:8 And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”?—as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just.

Seriously? Some said that Paul was saying this. He puts them in their place. Paul will address this again later. And we will too.

Romans 3:9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.

 

Paul now shifts gears a little

Gentiles + Jews is everyone any way

But now he begins to make no differentiation and addresses ALL mankind

Paul flips it around and puts it in perspective, not only are they not better, they’re not good

Paul says that everyone is equally bad:

All under sin and its curse; its penalty which is death.

As we go through :10-18 Paul is quoting the Old Testament Psalms, Proverbs, and Isaiah continues to show the value of the Old Testament and its application to our lives even in the New Testament times

And we see/know that God is not a respecter of persons

Romans 2:11 For there is no partiality with God.

 

Romans 3:10 As it is written: “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE; [Psalm 14, Psalm 53] Romans 3:11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS; THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS AFTER GOD. [Psalm 14, Psalm 53] Romans 3:12 THEY HAVE ALL TURNED ASIDE; THEY HAVE TOGETHER BECOME UNPROFITABLE; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, NO, NOT ONE.” [Psalm 14, Psalm 53] Romans 3:13 “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN TOMB; WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY HAVE PRACTICED DECEIT”[ Psalm 5:9]; “THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS”; [Psalm 140:3] Romans 3:14 “WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS.” [Psalm 10:7, Psalm 59:12] Romans 3:15 “THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD; [Proverbs 1:16; Isaiah 59:7-8] Romans 3:16 DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR WAYS; [Isaiah 59:7-8] Romans 3:17 AND THE WAY OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.” [Isaiah 59:7-8] Romans 3:18 “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.” [Psalm 36:1]