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Romans Two

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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.

Romans 2:2 But we are sure that the judgment 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?

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

Romans 2:5 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;

Romans 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

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

well doing. Superficially this verse seems to suggest that by “patient continuance in well doing,” one could obtain eternal life, without regard to one's relation to Christ. While this may be true hypothetically, the apostle goes on in the next chapter to explain that “there is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10). Nevertheless anyone can receive imputed righteousness through Jesus Christ, simply by faith in Him (Romans 3:25-26).

Romans 2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

Romans 2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

the Jew first. The Jews, as God's chosen people, were given the first opportunity to hear the gospel, and Paul always sought to apply this principle. By the same token, they were to receive the first and most severe judgment, because of the greater light they had received (Luke 12:47, 48) when they rejected the gospel.

Romans 2:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

respect of persons. This important principle is stressed repeatedly in Scripture—first in Leviticus 19:15, last in 1 Peter 1:17, plus about eleven other times in words like these.

Romans 2:12 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;

without law. Even though God had a chosen nation, “there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11). Since all have sinned, both Jews and Gentiles, all are under condemnation. The Jews had knowledge of God's written law and had covenanted to keep the law, so they must be judged by the law, for “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). But God has written at least the intuitive knowledge of His law internally in the human conscience (Romans 2:15), and no Gentile has been able to live up even to this knowledge. Furthermore, they have ample evidence of God in the external creation, so that they are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20). “Inexcusable” in Romans 2:1, is the same word (anapologetos) in the Greek.

Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Romans 2:14 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:

Romans 2:15 Which show 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;)

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

Romans 2:17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,

called a Jew. Even though the epistle was addressed specifically to the Christian believers at Rome (Romans 1:7), Paul has constructed it as a long doctrinal and apologetic tract, which could be used both to convert unbelievers (whether Jew or Gentile) and also to instruct believers in the basic doctrinal truths and practical consequences of their faith. In this particular section, he is primarily addressing non-Christians, especially Jews, while keeping in mind that both God-fearing Gentiles and pagan Gentiles, as well as Christian believers, might well be reading it or hearing it. However, He is immediately showing the self-righteous Jews, boasting in their status as God's chosen people, that just being a Jew is not sufficient for salvation.

Romans 2:18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;

Romans 2:19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,

Romans 2:20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.

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

Romans 2:22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?

Romans 2:23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?

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

Romans 2:25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.

circumcision verily profiteth. Circumcision was the original sign of God's covenant as given to Abraham (Genesis 17:9-14) and confirmed again through Moses specifically to the children of Israel (Leviticus 12:1-3). As a seal and symbol of the covenant, circumcision was profitable, reminding all Israelite men that they and their sons were supposed to be separated unto God, keeping and obeying His law, as given to them through Moses on Mount Sinai. But if they broke the law (and thus the covenant—note Exodus 19:3-8), then the mere fact that they had been circumcised would count for nothing. They would be the same as though they were uncircumcised Gentiles. In fact, it is “circumcision ... of the heart” (Romans 2:29) that really counts with God, indicating the separation of the whole person to God.

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

Romans 2:27 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?

Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew, 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.