Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the book of Romans. Tonight is study #1 of Romans 2, and we will be reading Romans 2:1-4:
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. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 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? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Chapter 2 starts out with the word “therefore.” I used to have a pastor years ago in the late 80s/early 90s at Tenth Street Presbyterian Church, Pastor James Boice. He had a style of preaching that I really did not get much out of, but one thing I remember him saying had to do with the word “therefore,” and it could have been in the book of Romans because he did a study in Romans. But he said, “Whenever you see the word ‘therefore,’ you need to ask what it is there for.” It sounds very simple, but it is a good thing to keep in mind when you come across this word and, in this case, chapter 2 is starting off with “therefore,” so we have to look back at the previous chapter, and when we do, we see that long list of sins – 23 ugly, dirty, rotten sins were listed by God. Remember, it said in the last verse in Romans 1:32:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
We looked at the word “pleasure,” and we saw it was better understood as “with consent” or “with agreement,” meaning that you not only do the same, but you are in agreement with them that do them. Then it says in chapter 2: “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man…” So God is addressing mankind in general.
And by the way, we see the letter “O,” and it is just a letter in the Greek. It is Omega, the last letter of the Greek alphabet, and it is found 16 times in the New Testament, and in at least nine of those 16 times, it is used as an expression of reproof, as we see it used here in Romans 2:1:
Therefore thou art inexcusable, man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself.
God is accusing mankind.
And it is also used in Romans 2:3:
And thinkest thou this, man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
It is very clearly a form of reproof.
It says in Romans 9:18-20:
Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
Here, someone is disputing the idea that God is sovereign and that He can have mercy on whom He will have mercy. It is just like today when many people dispute that God has an election program, and they insist on free will.
We will just look at a couple more. It says in Galatians 3:1:
foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
It is a very strong reproof here.
Let us look at one last place in James 2:20:
But wilt thou know, vain man, that faith without works is dead?
So it is fairly typical in its use, as far as God uses it in most cases, although it is used in another way in a positive sense, but it is certainly used to highlight a statement. Rather than just saying, “Foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?” He says, “O foolish Galatians,” and “O vain man.”
I mentioned that it is the Greek letter Omega, but it is the same as when we read in Revelation 1:8:
I am Alpha and , the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
I think this declaration is made at least four times, where Jesus declares, “I am Alpha and Omega.” They are the first letter and the last letter of the Greek alphabet. Actually, by saying He is the beginning and the ending, He is saying that very thing. He says in Revelation 1:11:
Saying, I am , the first and the last…
He is repeating that truth. So Omega is a name for Christ Himself, and when we read “Omega,” that is not just the letter Omega standing by itself, but is a name, and it is spelled “O-m-e-g-a,” but in Greek letters. So it is different than this word that is simply the Greek last letter of the alphabet.
Going back, it says in 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.
You know, we have to ask a question. Why is God telling us this at this point, after going through chapter 1, especially since God said He had given man up to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not convenient? Then He lists 23 filthy sins. And now we, God’s people living at the time of the end, recognize that the number “23” is a number of “tribulation” or “judgment.” And we know we live at a time when the Holy Spirit that had restrained sin in the lives of mankind has lifted His hand of restraint and, as a result, man’s condition of having a desperately wicked heart has come to the surface. It is becoming evident for all to see this truth of the Word of God, the Bible, regarding how dirty and filthy mankind is in his fallen condition. Iniquity is abounding across the face of the earth, and evil is spreading far and wide, with the grossest possible evils and wickedness. The most awful and terrible deeds are being done, not just in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, but in every city. And it is not just in North America, but in Europe, in South America, in Australia and in Africa, and so forth. People are doing these awful, ugly, sinful things across the face of the earth, and it is part of God’s program for the time of the end. How is it put in 2Thessalonians 2? It is always better to use the Biblical language. We read in 2Thessalonians 2:6:
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he (the Holy Spirit) who now letteth (withholdeth) will let, until he be taken out of the way.
God has taken His Holy Spirit out of the way. The “mystery of iniquity” had always been that if man was so desperately wicked, according to Jeremiah 17:9, then why did he do many basically decent, moral things? How did he conduct himself in a relatively good manner? And the answer the Bible would give is because the Holy Spirit was “holding back” that deceitful and terribly wicked heart until the time of the end. So the Holy Spirit was restraining (sin) until He was taken out of the way. And now there is no longer a “mystery” regarding sin, because now when we read Jeremiah 17:9, we almost never hear anyone say, “Well, that is not true that man has a desperately wicked and deceitful heart above all things.” I will not say, “Never,” but rarely do we find someone blind enough to try to offer a defense for the character of mankind: “Oh, man is not desperately wicked. Man is good, deep down.” We just do not hear that now. We used to hear that, and back then man would take (credit) to himself the fact that God was withholding his sinful nature, and man would credit himself with being a decent, moral, good person.
Actually, God would allow that kind of “credit” to go to an individual, because we have the example of a king in the book of Genesis, where the kind did not commit adultery with Sarah, and he said (to God), “…in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.” I think the king was Abimelech. Then God agreed, and said, “Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; .” So there was an element in which God permitted man to have some of the credit.
But now at the time of the end, God has lifted His hand of restraint and we are seeing the sinner as he is, and it is not a pretty picture, is it? It is not a pretty picture when we see the sinner’s heart being exposed. It is certainly not a pretty picture in the least bit. It just testifies and witnesses to the truth of the Bible. And, you know, it is only the Bible, as other religions try to flatter man and appeal to man’s nature, and speak nice things to him. “Just believe in our religion, and that is all you need to get to heaven.” But it is only the Bible that condemns man and judges man and pronounces him as dirty, rotten, filthy, wicked, and degenerate. It says of mankind that he is crooked and perverse, and there are so many other awful descriptions that God applies to the sinner that has rebelled against Him. It is no wonder that natural-minded people shun away from the Bible. They do not want to hear these things. They want to think well of themselves and their fellow man, and of their children and families and, yet, God does not hold back. He tells us the true situation with mankind.
For those that He has drawn, we cannot run away (because God will not allow us to run away), and we see our sin, and we can be in a state of grievousness for quite some time because we do recognize, like the Apostle Paul, in Romans 7:24:
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
And Paul was saved at the time that God led him to make that declaration. He had a new, born again soul, but he was still in the flesh (the body), and the body is just as desperately wicked as the unsaved heart.
But, back in Romans 2, it says in Romans 2:1:
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man…
And every one of us is being addressed – every person, every human being. We are all being addressed. We cannot think, “Oh, that does not apply to me.” Someone might say, “Well, that applied to me before I became saved.” No – we cannot say that. We just read about the Apostle Paul after he became saved, and he identified himself as a wretched man: “O wretched man that I am!” So God is speaking to all of us, just as He does in the next chapter, in Romans 3:10-12:
As it is written, : There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; .
And just to reinforce the truth that after salvation, a saved person is not in a situation where he can then “sit in judgment” and he can look at unsaved mankind and he can point the finger. None can do that – not even the elect. God declares in Ecclesiastes 7:20:
For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
There is not a just man anywhere. And the only men who can be considered “just” are those that have been made righteous by the obedience of One, not by their own obedience. And these are the “few,” the remnant out of the whole of mankind. So that means that the vast majority of men are not “just,” as they remain filthy in their sins. And when we look at the tiny remnant, compared to the whole of mankind, God says there is not a just man among them in the earth that doeth good, and sinneth not. Everyone is still sinning against God, even the elect. The elect sin in their bodies: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” The physical bodies of God’s elect have not been redeemed or translated. The body not been saved, so it continues to sin, and that is why we read in 1John 1:10:
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
All have sinned. All continue to sin – every human being in all the earth – and this renders every human being as unfit to judge. We are not qualified to judge our fellow man because we are sinners. First, we have done as bad (or worse) in our lives prior to salvation. And after salvation, we continue to sin, so there is no one qualified on the earth to sit in the judgment seat, and to look out upon anyone else, even if it is the worst possible sinner you can imagine. Actually the worst sinner, if we are reading the Bible and looking in the mirror of the Word of God, would be ourselves, as the Apostle Paul realized: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Of that group of sinners, Paul said, “I am chief.” That is, he is first, the greatest sinner. And that is no compliment. He is the worst sinner out of all that Christ came to save, and this saying is “worthy of all acceptation” for you and I. So how can you or I or any person worthy to accept the saying of “chief of sinners” dare to sit in judgment of anyone else?
And it is precisely because the world is abounding in iniquity that God is making this point in the context of where He has placed it (in our time), so that none of us can look out at the world, scoffing and giving a look of wrath and anger: “Oh, these people out there are doing these (evil) things, and it is vexing my soul, and I am mad at them!” We cannot act like a wrathful God as judge – that is not our role. We have to see ourselves as among them and as guilty as they. We must see ourselves as saved only by the grace and mercy of God, undeserved and unmerited. We do not deserve the new heart. We do not deserve the hope of a new resurrected body. We do not deserve eternal life. We have offended and transgressed the Law of God. We are deserving of death. We should have died, except for the grace of God. So we must watch that it never be said of us that we have looked at our fellow man in judgment.
We read in James 4:10-12:
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. : but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. ?
There is one Lawgiver, and one Judge, and that Judge can save, as well as destroy. There is a reason that the Bible says: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” The Lord will repay. The Lord will exact vengeance. He is the offended party. He is the Man, in jealous rage, who will take vengeance on the adulterous woman (mankind). God will get Himself satisfaction. He will be honored upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians, or upon Satan and the unsaved inhabitants of the earth. He does not need our help in that, and He does not need us trying to share the judgment throne with Him, and trying to take our seat as if we are the ruler and the lawgiver, and as if we are the ones that have been offended and must exact judgment on our fellow man.
Yes – the saints will judge the world, but not in that way. Christ has come with “ten thousands of his saints,” but He sits on the throne alone. None of the saints of God judge, in that sense, by pointing the finger and condemning any other person. We do not do that. God’s people do participate, but our role in the judgment process is simply to share the things the Bible says, the truths of the Word of God. And we share them with kindness, gentleness, love, compassion, and with sorrow for our fellowman that has come under the wrath of God. It is the same wrath that we were once children of, except for the grace of God.