A Fresh Look At The Book Of Romans Chapter 2
Romans Chapter Two
After praising the church in Rome for their faith (1:8), sharing his desire to visit them (1:11) and then declaring that he is not ashamed of the gospel of salvation in Christ, Paul warns them about God’s coming judgement. In a Rome that was famous for its immorality, Paul calls for Christians to abstain from any form of unrighteousness.
In chapter two he turns to an issue that was a problem in the early church and continues to be a problem even today. People judge others by a different standard than that which they set for themselves. We tend to have two sets of rules, one for others and another for ourselves. As long as we can find someone else to pick on then we can feel good and even ignore our own problems. It is God who judges “in accordance with the truth” (2:2). Often we need to leave it to God to judge others and spend more time taking a careful look at our own lives.
Paul warns the Christians in Rome, and we can apply it to today, that many are “treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath” (2:5). Truth is truth and there is no partiality with God, and so where sin has taken place those guilty stand accused and condemned. In these early chapters, Paul is making certain that there is no place to hide for the sinner when facing judgement. As the letter unfolds, the solution to sin will become clear, but at this stage Paul is showing clearly that there is no one who is righteous, removing the self-righteous attitude that often prevails in human minds.
Paul then makes the interesting statement that God’s law is, in fact, written on the hearts of everyone and so that leaves no one with the excuse of saying “I did not know what I was doing”. In our legal system, ignorance of the law is not an excuse. In God’s court of eternal judgement the same rule applies.
One of the problems in the early church was that the Jewish Christians often tried to impose the Old Law on Gentile converts. So here, as in the Galatian Letter (Galatians 2 and 3), Paul is making it quite clear that circumcision, which was important under the Old Law, no longer applied. Since Christ came the new dispensation required a “circumcision of the heart” (Romans2:29). It is by the Holy Spirit that salvation comes to the Christian, as Peter so clearly taught on the day of Pentecost when the Church was established (Acts 2:38): “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”.
The early Church was not without its challenges and in this important letter, Paul is setting out some important principles, many that still apply today. Any person who is looking for a better life than this world with its corruption, greed, hate, violence and immorality needs to carefully read the book of Romans as if it is written to them personally. Such is the power of God’s Word are revealed to His Apostles that it still speaks and will continue to speak to those who open their hearts and their minds to the “Good News” (Gospel), that is “the power of God to salvation”. (Romans 1:16)
References: Scriptures taken from New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Barclay, W. The Letter to the Romans. Daily Study Bible. The Saint Andrews Press.
Bruce, F.F. Romans. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries
Malherbe, Abe, The world of the New Testament. Sweet publications