Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 2:16-25
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 2:16
v16: Some day when Gentile believers in Jesus stand before God their record will show that they fulfilled His Law (the moral portion of the Law, not the ritual) not only because they possessed the righteousness of faith, but because they truly loved Him and their neighbor as themselves (Lk 10:25-28). This is possible because even those who were prevented from hearing or reading His written Word because of the circumstances of their lives (remote location, culture, language, family hostility, illiteracy, etc.) had the inner voice of the Holy Spirit to guide and correct them.

Monday: Romans 2:16
v16 (continued): At times God would “grieve” the Gentile believer’s spirit over a sinful thought or action, at others, He would encourage them, and since they genuinely loved Him and people, they stopped doing those things that made them feel guilty and started doing things they sensed pleased Him. Paul’s purpose in describing how the Spirit can “sanctify” people who don’t have access to a Bible is to show self-righteous people how God determines who is really righteous. On that future day when God judges us all even the hidden, private areas of our lives will be disclosed and there will be many surprises. There will be those we thought were righteous, who aren’t, and those we thought were not righteous, who are. God will be totally impartial. Real change, not religious knowledge will be what matters.

Tuesday: Romans 2:17-20
vs17-20: Any ambiguity about who Paul is talking about in chapter two disappears at this verse. In chapter one he repeatedly used the third person plural pronoun “they” to refer to godless Gentiles, but here in chapter two he repeatedly uses the second person singular pronoun “you” and then identifies the Jews by name. He names them and then points to their spiritual pride using the following list of characteristics: “but if you bear the name ‘Jew’ and rely on the Law for your righteousness and boast that you are part of a nation chosen by God, to whom He has revealed His will in Scripture, and because of your great knowledge of Scripture, consider yourself able to discern right from wrong, and have persuaded yourself that you are a guide to the spiritually blind and a light to those in darkness, an instructor who can correct those who are foolish and a teacher to those who are ignorant babes, possessing in the Law the embodiment of all knowledge and truth…” (my paraphrase).

Wednesday: Romans 2:21, 22
vs21, 22: Paul then challenges those who pride themselves in their knowledge of the Bible to face the fact that if they are honest with themselves, they will have to admit they are hypocrites. They condemn the behavior of others while ignoring their own failures. They tell others not to steal or commit adultery or worship idols but in one form or another they violate the same commandments. Undoubtedly there were Jews in Paul’s time who secretly kept pagan idols in their homes in addition to their worship of Israel’s God. This had been a problem for Israel throughout its history (e.g. Ge 31:19). But by asking the question here, “…do you rob temples?” (v22) Paul certainly doesn’t mean to suggest that every self-righteous Jew was burglarizing temples in order to practice idolatry, or that they were sleeping with someone else’s spouse or engaged in blatant thievery.

Thursday: Romans 2:21, 22
vs21, 22 (continued): Rather, Paul is pointing to the deeper truth that from God’s perspective each of us constantly violates the intent of God’s laws, because God not only applies them to our outward behaviors but to our deepest inward motives as well. Jesus made this very point in His Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:17-48). A hateful thought is just as murderous as killing someone (Mt 5:21, 22). An adulterous look is just as much a violation as an adulterous act (Mt 5:27-30). Failure to see this distinction was what He condemned in the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Lk 18:10-14). The Pharisee assumed that because he hadn’t physically committed certain acts he was righteous so he felt no need to call on God for mercy, and as a result remained under God’s condemnation. Paul is saying the same thing. He warns all who self-righteously examine others to see themselves from God’s perspective. If they do, they will realize they too have fallen short of His standards.

Friday: Romans 2:23, 24
vs23, 24: Paul says the lack of integrity between what Jews were saying they believed and their behavior was so obvious to their pagan neighbors it had become scandalous. Their hypocrisy gave support to those who wished to discredit Israel’s God. By quoting from Isaiah, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Isa 52:5), Paul points to the fact that this had been a long-standing problem. The hypocrisy of saying one thing and doing another had undermined Israel’s credibility for centuries, just as those who are self-righteous and judgmental undermine the cause of Christ today.

Saturday: Romans 2:25
v25: Circumcision was a very foundational part of the Law of God, but it did not begin with Moses. It was a law God gave Abraham over 500 years earlier (Ge 17:10-14). It was a physical surgery marking every one of Abraham’s male descendants, and it meant they would inherit his promises (Ge 12:1-3; 15:18-21; 17:1-8). But when God later gave the Law at Sinai He made it clear the blessings of Abraham and most of those spelled out in the Law of Moses (Dt 18:1-14, etc.) were conditional, meaning they would only be given if the commandments of the Law were obeyed—all of them. Anyone who failed lost their claim to them and ended up in the same position before God as an unbelieving Gentile (the “uncircumcision”). There are great benefits for the Jew who keeps the Law, but not for the one who doesn’t. That person receives no benefit at all.

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