Romans:Road to Righteousness


Romans 2:1-16

Jerry A. Collins




  • How is the judgment of God a righteous judgment?
  • Will God judge us according to what we did or wanted to do?
  • Will Godís judgment be without prejudice?


We can always believe we are better than we really are by who it is we choose to compare ourselves too. If I compare myself to Billy Graham, I might think less of myself. However, what will I think of myself if I compare myself to Saddam Hussein? I might conclude that I am not as bad as he is so I am in awfully good shape. But what about what God says about us? It is possible for someone to conclude that they are an exception to Godís condemnation of sinful mankind in 1:18-32. Since they are moral or religious people, they cannot be as bad off as God says mankind was and is because of sin. Some were attempting to say that very thing and Paul addresses these people in 2:1-16. People do not agree with God that they are condemned sinners. Their status, their success, their wealth, their philanthropy, their heritage, their morality, excuses them from this condemnation. What makes the gospel good news? The fact that there is bad news. The bad news is that everyone stands condemned as sinners before God no matter who they are. The backdrop to the gospel is a sinners condemnation before God and the judgment they will receive because of it. Only the gospel can deliver someone from this but they have to understand the bad news to appreciate the good news. So before revealing the guilt of moral and religious people before God in greater detail, we learn of the principles by which God will judge everyone. This serves as a warning to those who think they are exempt!


Vs 1 ĎThereforeí connects us with what was said previously. You might think you are free from Godís wrath because you are not guilty of practicing the sins mentioned earlier but nothing could be farther from the truth. You are without excuse he says. You are not off the hook. The fact is, that while you are passing judgment against others, at whatever point you are doing that, you are also condemning yourself. The reason is because you are practicing the same things. The self-righteous person wants to judge degrees of sin and by doing so think he is better off than others and free from guilt before God. They have a superficial view of sin. Everyone has turned away from God and commits sin even tho there are differences of frequency, extent and degree. In vs 2, then, God judges on the basis of what really exists not what merely appears to be. It corresponds to reality. Consequently, those practicing same sin, tho not in same ways, should not think they will escape judgment vs 3. Rather than acting as judges of the immoral they should view selves as sinners who will by judged by God. They should avoid two things: (1) They should not think they will escape judgment vs 3. No immediate judgment does not preclude no future judgment. Donít misinterpret this. (2) Realize God simply giving you time to repent vs 4. But whatever you think, donít think you are alright with God! God does not wink at your sin. And quit telling people they are. I am sick of hearing said, Ďcome to Jesus and He will take care of your problems or He will be your friend, or He will provide you comfort----come to Him and He will forgive you of your sin before God and remove the guilt and condemnation that will send you to hell forever.í God has provided that for you in Christ and that is the good news of the gospel!


The fact is, Godís wrath is increasing against sinners while He waits to bring judgment vs 5. Each day the self-righteous persists in his self-righteousness, God adds more guilt to his record. God will judge him one day and the books will be opened to detail the guilt he has accumulated Rev 20:11-15. Stubbornness and unrepentance will only invite the pouring out of Godís wrath on every sinner and in that day people will perceive Godís judgment as righteous! It will be righteous because it will deal with what every person actually did vs 6. Rev 20:12 ĎAnd I saw the dead the great and the small standing before the throne and the books were opened and another boom was opened which is of life and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books according to their deeds.í Not what you wished you had done, or wanted to do or hoped to get to. The same is true for believers who also will be judged by works 1 Cor 3:12-15. The basis of judgment is always works whether for believerís rewards or unbelievers condemnation. For those who persevere doing good store up something that will come on them in the future as glory, honor and immortality vs 7. For thosewho are self-seeking and continually rejecting the truth but on other hand continually evil store up something that will come on them in the future as wrath and indignation vs 8. This principle is now applied to the entire human race 9-10. Wrath to those who do evil vs 9 and glory, honor, praise to those who do good. This will be applied to the Jew first and then everyone else. The reason is because Jew received special revelation first along with the natural. So God chooses to begin judgment there. God will not let anyone off the hook. There will be no injustice in His judgment. Never can be accused of discrimination vs 11. His judgment will be impartial.


Gentiles do not have Law of Moses to live by and so will not be judged by that Law. The Jews in Paulís day did have it and God would judge them by it vs 12. One is not saved by the light he has but is judged by the light he has. Noone is excused from Godís judgment but they will be judged according to the standard that was given to them. We should then progress from vs 12 to vs 16. However we have a parenthesis with 13-15. It is not hearing the law that makes a person acceptable to God but doing what it commands vs 13. Even Gentiles without this Law know instinctively that they should do things that are right and not do things that are wrong vs 14. One is responsible for what he knows with or without the law. In addition to this sense of morality Gentiles have a conscience that both accuses us when we do wrong and defends us when we know we are in the right. By this, we have shown an inner kind of law not written on stone tablets but on our hearts. Donít violate your conscience because you can harden it if you do. It can be corrupted Tit 1:15; weak 1 Cor 8:7; seared 1 Tim 4:2. Hold fast to a good conscience 1 Tim 1:5, 19; 3:9. Godís judgment is sure to take place vs 16. It will include secret thots as well as overt acts (vs 6). According to the gospel means that message of judgment is part of it. It is Jesus Christ who is the agent of this judgment. He will sift thru the thots, motives, and deeds to determine justice for everyone and noone can escape this.

(1) Donít think you can sin and get away with it. You are accountable to God for it.

(2) Donít think that because you are a good guy/gal that God will be lenient.

(3) Donít think you can ignore what God has revealed about Himself/His standard and be judged on one of your own.