2018-08-01 / Religion

God’s word will be the eternal standard

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Romans 2:1-16

When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the church at Rome, he had not visited that city. However, he was acquainted with some of the members of that congregation. As he began this letter, he identified himself as “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated (to make off by bounds) unto the gospel of God.” Romans 1:1.

His theme is stated (“Which he [God] had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord...” Romans 1:2,3. In order that there would be no question regarding Jesus, Paul wrote, “which was made of the seed (offspring) of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead...” Romans 1:3b, 4.

The “targeted audience” is identified “To all that (1) be in Rome, (2) beloved of God, (3) called to be saints (holy ones).” Romans 1:7a. His personal greeting is quite clear — “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:7b.

He continued his greeting with a declaration of personal thanksgiving regarding the witness of this congregation — “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” Romans 1:8.

The Apostle wanted his readers to understand his personal position regarding his relationship with Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He declared, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (gentile).” Romans 1:16.

He gave his reason for this personal declaration — “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed (uncovered; unveiled) from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17; see Habakkuk 2:4.

A warning was given to all who would listen —“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” Romans 1:18. One can “hold the truth in unrighteousness” by knowing the divine message, and, yet, not applying the principles in daily living.

This attitude results in many different kinds of ungodly actions. Hypocrisy can show itself in many different forms. The result of this attitude is that these “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools) to become or act the simpleton).” Romans 1:22

This self-professed “spiritual superiority” has resulted in the introduction of many gods. These false deities are represented by many different idols. Romans 1:23. These worshippers have “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 1:25.

This attitude has resulted among other things in the practice of homosexuality and lesbianism, Romans 1:26. 27. For those who do not, personally, practice these specific sins, yet “have pleasure in them that do them.” Romans 1:32c.

For believers, the Apostle makes a direct declaration, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou are that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself: for thou that judgest doest the same thing.” Romans 2:1. The old adage, “Clean up around your own door, first” becomes an important principle for each person.

Human judgment is always based on incomplete information. The divine judgment does not suffer from this limitation. “But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them that do such things (the sins mentioned earlier).” Romans 2:2.

Self-righteousness has plagued the human heart since the entrance of sin into the human race. Paul addressed this thought, by asking a question “And thinkest thou this, O man (human), that judgest them which do such things, And doest the same that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?” Romans 2:3.

Even though the Apostle Paul was not, personally, familiar with all the members of the congregation that would first read this letter, the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21) knew the problems that plagued the group.

However, the same Holy Spirit knew the answer to the problems in that church. By asking another question, the former Pharisee wrote, “Or despisest (to think down upon) thou the riches of his (God’s) goodness and forbearance (holding back; to delay punishment) and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Romans 2:4.

There are those in our day who interpret the longsuffering of God as his condoning of the sin. This attitude was not true in the past, nor even, today!

The apostle goes directly to the “heart of the problem.” “But after the hardness and impenitent (without change of mind) hear treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render (to give up or back) to every man (each) according to his deeds.” Romans 2:5, 6. The divine standard will not be that of society, nor any man-made system. The eternal, revealed word of God will be the eternal standard!

The divine contrast is clear, “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 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 to the Gentile.” Romans 2:7-9. The “flip side of the coin” is quite clear “But glory, honour, and peace, to every man (soul) that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons (i.e., partiality) with God.” Romans 2:10, 11.

The Gentile believers knew little or nothing concerning the Mosaic Law. The Jews attempted to claim salvation from the eternal consequences of sin based on their Law. Paul declared, “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.” Romans 2:12.

Our sins are forgiven by accepting forgiveness through the redemption provided by Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Please ask him to be your Savior, today. John 3:16.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_ james@ yahoo. c om

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