Chapter 1 tells about God's wrath against sin - if it has not already been judged via Christ's death on the cross. It lists 22 sins like murder and homosexuality and many others. But Paul knew many would say, "I never do those things, therefore I am ok."
That's where chapter 2 comes in. Now he deals with moral people, who, apart from Christ, are still under the wrath and judgment of God. They have the 'good ole boy' mentality, and that's a tough nut to crack. Their good deeds do outweigh their bad deeds in many respects, so they feel ok.
They may live outwardly by a moral code, but are still guilty inwardly. You see, lust is the same as adultery. Hatred is murder. Covetousness is stealing. So, bad people are sinners, and so are good people. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. The worst form of 'badness' is human 'goodness' when used as a substitute for salvation!
The end of chapter 2 is directed to the religious Jews, who were all about outward formalities, but God is looking for inward change. They thought their badge of circumcision was enough, but like baptism, communion, prayers, giving, church attendance, and holy living, it is nothing, not good enough ... it's all hypocrisy and not the real thing.
Paul points out that the religious Jews are hypocrites as well. They aren't perfect, and they need a Savior. God sent them the promised Messiah, but they didn't like or accept Him. He made them feel guilty and sinful, when they boasted of maintaining very high standards. They felt they were more than earning their way to heaven, and Jesus came and said you are not, and must repent in humility to be saved.
Paul knows at this point in his letter to the Romans, the Jews will be livid. They already see him as a turncoat and a traitor to his heritage. He expects they will argue and object to what he is saying.
Here's 4 objections he expects them to make, and he deals with them up front. If you are in sales you are taught to anticipate the objections [the why nots] and deal with them before they even come up.
1. What advantage have the Jews?
They considered themselves to be very special and privileged, and now they were feeling attacked. We all want to feel special.
v. 1-2 'Much every way' - many advantages.
They were God's chosen people. Peculiar, set apart.
Some promises were made only to the Jews, like the land of Palestine.
They are an indestructible race. Satan tried to use the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Romans to destroy them. In modern times some like Hitler and Islam are attempting the same, but it won't work.
But Paul just lists the Word of God as their advantage. He spoke it thru them, and gave the law to them and the prophets. They were special...and so are we. So special Jesus died for us!
2. Will our unbelief cancel God's faithfulness?
v. 3-4 'God forbid.' - strong words in the Greek...an expression of horror. "How can you think God would not live up to His promises?"
Then he quotes Ps. 116:11 - let God be true and every man a liar. God is faithful even when we are not. And our salvation is not us holding out but God holding on!
Next, he quotes Ps. 51:4 - it's a little hard to understand, but basically means that God's Word will be proved true no matter who questions it or disagrees with it. Liberals today try to explain away Bible truths, but to no avail. Science tries to disprove creation, but they fail to win against their Creator! And I don't care if your state’s Supreme Court says that baby isn't alive until birth, that's not what God says...and He's the One Who works the miracle at conception!
Does unbelief undermine God's faithfulness? Absolutely not...if anything, it establishes it!
3. Aren't we doing God a favor?
v. 5-6 Their twisted logic said, if we sin, we make God look righteous by comparison, and He gets glory, so He should be thankful, not judge us. Isn't it wrong for God to punish our sin since ultimately we are making Him look good? This is clever, but warped, self righteous, and totally errant thinking.
ill.--like a thief trying to talk the police out of arresting him, because as long as they chase him, they have job security!
Paul answers in v. 6 w/ 'God forbid...' If your sin glorifies God then so do the sins of the Gentiles...the rest of the world. He uses their own twisted logic against them.
Should God reward Hitler or bin Laden for making Him look good? Get a life!
4. Don't the ends justify the means?
v. 7-8 It's just an amplification of their 3rd objection.
"Hey Paul, your God is just using us, when obviously He made us faulty. He is in the wrong if we are." We are His puppets to make Him look good so He should be satisfied the way we are.
Paul answers in v. 8 that if you follow their argument to its logical conclusion you are saying that the more we sin the more God likes us. And the worse we are the better we make God look. Some were actually accusing Paul in those days of teaching that very thing. They said he taught grace as a license to sin, and the more you sin, the more grace you receive, and the better God looks. Or, it's God's job to forgive, so let's give Him job security by giving Him plenty to forgive. God likes to be forgiving, so let's not rob Him of that pleasure.
What an absurd argument. Paul closes the door on it - 'whose damnation is just.'
The bottom line: God is never unrighteous when He judges sin. The Jews need to consider themselves and stop trying to justify themselves. All must repent and trust in Jesus Christ. That was the crux of their problem. Jesus came unto His own and His own received Him not. They rejected their Messiah.
Ultimately, that's the only sin God judges, is unbelief, not receiving Jesus Christ as Savior. It's the unpardonable sin!
Chapter 1-bad people are sinners
Chapter 2-good people are sinners
Chapter 3-religious people are sinners
3:10 'there is none righteous'
v. 19b 'every mouth be stopped...guilty'
v. 23 'for all have sinned'
Have you ever tried to help someone w/ constructive criticism, but they are always so defensive that you cannot help them? They are never wrong! They are all excuses, and so they cannot learn and grow. They always have an answer.
But v. 19 says every mouth must be stopped. You cannot be saved until you realize you are lost.
It's the 'A' of the ABCs
Until you admit that hell is what you deserve, you'll never find what you don't deserve, which is grace, forgiveness, and heaven.
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