Week 7 9/6 Ern Baxter's Exposition of Romans by Dr. Bill Peters
Updated: Sep 13
Thank you for joining us as we continue our study of Romans.
I. RIGHTEOUSNESS NEEDED BY SINFUL MAN pages 6-39
II. RIGHTEOUSNESS PROVIDED BY GOD pages 40-52
III. RIGHTEOUSNESS RECEIVED THROUGH FAITH pages 53-67
IV. RIGHTEOUSNESS EXPERIENCED IN LIFE pages 68-
I. RIGHTEOUSNESS NEEDED BY SINFUL MAN:
k) “Backbiters" · "Open slanderer."
l) "Haters of God". "Hateful to God."
m) "Despiteful" . "Insolent."
n) "Proud" · "Haughty, arrogant."
o) "Boasters". The empty pretender who prates of that which he does
p) "Inventors of Evil Things”. “They invent new kinds of mischief" (NEB).
q) “Without Obedience To Parents". "Not compliant to parent's wishes."
r) "Without Understanding" - "Spiritual stupidity and lack of right
s) "Covenant Breakers". "Without good faith."
t) 'Without Natural Affection" - "Heartless."
u) "Unmerciful" . ''Without pity, positive cruelty."
Paul concludes this terrible picture by reminding us again that men are not without knowledge of God. They know their sins deserve judgment. But in spite of this they continue to "commit such things". But that is not all, they applaud others who also engage in such wick edness. The awful condition of these degenerate, abandoned creatures is seen in their corporate rebellion against God and righteousness even while knowing the things they are doing are "worthy of death".
Only the power of the Gospel can arrest men on their way to perdition and ruin and "convert" or "turn them around" and restore them to God through the grace of Christ. God would rather "lift them up" by His redeeming love and seat them with Christ in the heavenlies, than "give them up" to their "own way" resulting in the destruction of "death".
2. THE MORALIST SINNER (2:1-16)
Paul now delivers a sweeping indictment against all self-righteous impenitents who pass judgment on their fellow-sinners. It is the clear teaching of the Word of God and a fact of experience, that apart from the saving grace of God, all men engage in some form of sin as catalogued in chapter one. This is a common and popular form of excusing one's own sin. By judging another man for his particular sin, which sin I don't commit, I think this excuses me from committing the particular sin or sins I do commit. Such is "the deceitfulness of sin" (Heb. 3:13). However, as the man who fails to see God in His creation and providence are without excuse" (1:20), so those who try to cover their sins by self righteous condemnation of others are "inexcusable".
All of the things listed in chapter one are found in seed form in the human heart and every Christ-rejector is capable of doing any or all of them. While one sinner may do one thing and his fellow another, they are doing "the same things" in essence. In condemning another for his actions, he condemns himself. First, because he knows that what the other is doing is wrong and so establishes his ability to recognize sin as something that should be condemned. Secondly, be cause he is himself "doing the same things' in kind, even though manifested differently in expression. Let it be established as a fact of divine revelation, that no man outside of Christ is without sin, and for one sinner to adopt an attitude of self-righteous superiority toward another sinner is "inexcusable" before God.
Vs. 1 (JBP) - "Now if you feel inclined to set yourself up as a judge of those who sin, let me assure you, whoever you are, that you are in no position to do so. For at whatever point you condemn others you automatically condemn yourself, since you, the judge, commit the the same sins."
In the process of arraigning the moralist, Paul shows the principles by which God will judge men in 'the day of wrath"; principles which leave the gross sinner, the moralist sinner, and the religious hypocrite, without a "hiding place". In chapter one, Paul showed the wrath of God as it operated in time, giving men up to experience the "recompence of their error" in life. Now he declares the rules that will govern in "the day of wrath" at the end of time, when men come to the final judgment. They are:
a. Truth (vs. 2-5)
b. Works (vs. 6-10)
c. Impartiality (vs. 11)
d. Revealed law (vs. 12-15)
e. Motives (vs. 16)
a. Truth (2-5)
vs. 2 - "But we are sure that the judgment of God is ACCORDING TO TRUTH against them which commit such things."
Moff. - "We know the doom of God falls JUSTLY upon those who practice such vices."
Way. -"IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EVIDENCE"
The judgment of God will be "according to the facts, the realities which are known to Him". Truth has been defined as "the actual state of affairs as contrasted with rumour or false report or mythology". In the judgment, God will be the God that He is and not the God we have created to accommodate our sins, and the evidence that will be presented will be "the actual state of affairs" and not the "rumours and false reports" we would like to present about ourselves and others. The judgment will be "in accordance with the facts of the case".
Paul says this is something "we know" and about which ''we are sure". He is declaring that a future judgment is something that is universally believed.
"You may go where you will among the tribes and nations of the earth and you may read their religions and their mythologies and will realize that there is a universal dread of an inevitable judgment-day."
In the light of this principle of "truth" Paul asks the moralist sinner in verse 3, "do you imagine - you who pass judgment on the guilty while committing the same crimes yourself - do you imagine that you, any more than they, will escape the judgment of God?" (NEB). The moralist sinner, whether he be the gentile philosopher or the religious hypocrite, thinks he will "escape the judgment of God" because he occupies a place of self appointed privilege, Furthermore, he seems to be getting away with it. Nothing is happening to him. In his delusion he may even think that God is in agreement with his duplicity and hypocrisy. Paul attacks and demolishes this delusion in verses 4 and 5.
Vs. 4 (JBP) - "Are you, perhaps, misinterpreting God's generosity and patient mercy toward you as weakness on his part? Don't you realize that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?"
The word "despises" which Phillips translates "misinterpret" means to "form such a wrong estimate of the goodness of God, as to suppose that it gives them a license to sin; and imagine that he will not punish, either because he long forbears, or because his good ness toward us is so great that we shall escape, though others perish." God's "goodness and forbearance and long suffering" do not indicate indifference or disinterest. This blessed combination of divine attitudes is intended to give men time to repent. When they refuse to use these gifts of grace and repent and live the godly life, the precious time afforded them is used to accumulate an awful deposit of wrath.
Vs. 5 (Way) - "Are you determined, in the callousness and stubborn impenitence of your heart, to hoard up for yourself a grim treasure of wrath, which shall blast you in the Day of the Wrath of God, when He unveils the terrors of His righteous judgment?"
Let none be deluded. These are the facts. And men are going to be judged "according to the truth" or "in accordance with the facts of the case".
b. Works (6-10)
Vs. 6 - "Who will render to every man ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS."
Paul is not speaking here of the way of salvation but of a principle of final judgment. This principle is true in the case of both saved and unsaved. The sinner, of whatever sort, will be judged and condemned to punishment be cause of the testimony of his works which show him to be an impenitent rejector of God's grace and one who by his own will chose to "do evil". The true believer who has obeyed the Gospel and has denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, living soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Tit. 2:12), having received the forgiveness of his sins through faith in Christ, will be judged according to his works to determine the "reward" which will be his. Paul shows in the remaining verses of this section that there is a
difference between the penitent and the impenitent, the obedient and the dis obedient, and the evil-doer and the man that "worketh good". Paul describes:
TWO CLASSES 7-10
In describing the righteous man in these verses, Paul does not speak of HOW he became righteous, but rather about the nature of righteousness and the destiny of the righteous man. How a man is made righteous is dealt with further on in the epistle. Here we are dealing with principles of judgment.
The man who has obeyed the Gospel is referred to as one who "patiently continues in well doing". This is ever the character of a true believer, The goal of the believer's life is summed up in the words, "glory, honor, and immortality". "Glory' is present and ultimate likeness to our Lord Jesus. "Honor" is the present and ultimate approbation of God, the "well done" both now and then. "Immortality" or "incorruptibility" is the desire for total indestructible wholeness which every believer ''seeks" now and looks forward to in that day.
The end of the road of the righteous is "eternal life". "Eternal life" has both a present and future meaning in the New Testament. It is that which the believer has now as the gift of God, and that into which he enters following the judgment.
The God-rejector is "contentious". Literally it means "those who are of contention" in the same way Paul speaks of "those who are of faith" (Gal. 3:7). The next phrase tells us what it is against which "contentious" contend. They "do not obey the truth". They are in revolt against God. They not only refuse to obey the truth but are actively engaged in fighting it. Since they "do not obey the truth" it follows that they "obey unrighteousness". There is no neutral ground. A person does one or the other.
The punishment for the God-rejector is described as "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish": "Indignation and wrath" are similar words and may be "used for the sake of intensity", although it is possible that "wrath" refers to the permanent attitude of God to "ungodliness and unrighteousness" while "indignation" has to do with the specific outburst of final judgment. "Wrath and indignation" describe God's attitude and action. "Tribulation and anguish" describe what man experiences in the awful judgment of God. "Tribulation" describes the punishment and 'anguish" is "the wringing of the heart which the punishment produces”.
"Every soul of man which doeth evil" shall experience this judgment. None are exempted whether they be Jew or Gentile.
The same all inclusiveness is used of them that "work good". "Every man" whether he be Jew or Gentile "that worketh good" shall experience "glory, honor, and peace".
c. Impartiality (11)
vs. 11 - "For there is no respect of persons with God."
JBP. “For there is no preferential treatment with God."
RSV - "For God shows no partiality."
The word "respect" means "to pay regard to the external appearance, to lift up, or accept the face of anyone, that is, to be favourable to him". It is usually used in a bad sense in the Bible and means to afford an unfair advan tage to one or deliver a judgment not based on impartiality. Such partiality was forbidden under the Mosaic code, God himself being the Israelite's example.
Lev. 19:15 - "Ye shall do NO UNRIGHTEOUSNESS IN JUDGMENT: thou shalt not RESPECT the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour."
Deut. 10:17 . "For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which REGARDETH NOT PERSONS, nor taketh reward."
The divine impartiality is also emphasized in the New Testament.
Eph. 6:9 - "... knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there RESPECT OF PERSONS With him.'
Col. 3:25 - "But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is NO RESPECT OF PERSONS."
Jas. 2:1. "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with RESPECT OF PERSONS."
JBP - "Don't ever attempt, my brothers, to combine snobbery with faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ!"
No one will "pull rank" in the judgment. All will be impartially dealt with according to the principles of divine righteousness.
d. Revealed Law (12-15)
Under the principle of "works" Paul had pointed out that God would "render to every man according to his deeds" (vs. 6), making it clear that this applied to both Jew and Gentile (vs. 9). This twofold division of the human race not only pertains to race but revelation. The Jews had the special revelation of "the oracles of God" (3:2), and the Gentiles the general revelation of nature and conscience. The special revelation granted to the Jews is stated to be an "advantage" (3:1). It is therefore necessary for Paul to show clearly that the Gentile will not be judged by the same code as the Jews.
vs. 12 (NEB) - "Those who have sinned outside the pale of the Law of Moses will perish outside its pale, and all who have sinned under that law will be judged by the law."
Paul is not here speaking of salvation, but of judgment. He is referring to those who have "sinned" and must be judged for their sin. There is no question of the "lostness' of both Jew and Gentile apart from the saving grace of God, but there is a question of the particular code of law by which they will be judged. The Jew will be judged by the Law of Moses and the Gentiles by the revelation of God in their moral consciousness. "Men are to be judged by the light they have severally enjoyed. The ground of judgment is their works; the rule of judgment is their knowledge." We have some intimation of this principle in our Lord's words in:
Luke 12:47,48 - "The servant which knew his Lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes."
There is no question here as to all being punished. The question is degree of punishment based on knowledge. The one "KNEW his Lord's will" (special revelation) and the other "KNEW NOT" (did not have special revela tion). The Gentiles will perish "without law", condemned by the law of moral consciousness, while the Jews will be judged by the special revelation of the Law of Moses. He now proceeds to further develop this principle by showing the way in which Jews and Gentiles alike stand condemned in relation to the law which governs them.
Vs. 13 - "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified."
JBP: "It is not familiarity with the Law that justifies a man in the sight of God, but obedience to it."
Jews who "rest in the law" (vs. 17), and think that it is enough to know it without obeying it, are in for a rude awakening. God is going to judge them for their OBEDIENCE to the law and not just their KNOWLEDGE of it. The phrase "before God" is important here. Men have a way of disobeying God's law and making it acceptable to themselves and others. But, "before God" only "the doers of the law shall be justified". Paul makes it very clear later on, that "by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified IN HIS SIGHT" (3:20). Men are not justified by "doing the law". However, if a Jew puts himself in the position of seeking to be right with God by obedience to the law, let it be abundantly clear that it is not enough to know it, he must do it.
Now Paul shows, that while the Gentiles do not have the special revelation of the Law given through Moses, they nevertheless have the law of moral con sciousness, and stand condemned before God for breaking it.
Vs. 14,15 (JBP) - "When the Gentiles, who have no knowledge of the Law, act in accordance with it by the light of nature, they show that they have a law in themselves, for they demonstrate the effect of a law operating in their own hearts. Their own conscience endorses the existence of such a law, for there is something which condemns or excuses their actions."
The Gentiles do not have the Law as given through Moses. However, the Law of Moses in its moral declarations, expresses the universal moral requirements of God. This moral consciousness is possessed by all men. This is shown by the fact that the Gentiles have laws to govern their individual lives and their corporate society which Paul calls "a law operating in their own hearts". "Men generally, not some men, but all men, show by their acts that they have a knowledge of right and wrong."
This knowledge of right and wrong is a very part of man's nature. The Mosaic moral commandments only spelled out what man knows to be true "by nature". Not only does he know what is right and wrong, such know ledge being a part of the human constitution, but he also has a "conscience" which monitors his conduct and either "condemns or excuses his actions".
"The heathen are not to be judged by a revelation of which they never heard. But as they enjoy a revelation of the divine character in the works of creation (1:20), and of the rule of duty in their own hearts (2:14,15), they are inexcusable. They can no more abide the test by which they are to be tried, than we can stand the application of the severer rule by which we are to be judged. Both classes, therefore, need a Savior."
e. Motives (16)
Vs. 16 (JBP) - "We may be sure that all this will be taken into account in the day of true judgment, when God will judge men's secret lives by Christ Jesus, as my gospel plainly states."