Monday, April 17, 2017, 2:11 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Bless This House.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 1:18-2:16 (Select vv. NASB).
Hypocritical Judging (2:1-4)
Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
The letter to the Romans is written to all who are loved by God and called to be saints. In other words, this is written to those who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives. This is written to us Christians.
We are not to judge others with hypocritical judging. This is not saying that all judging is wrong, for we are told in scripture that we, who are walking in the Spirit (who are spiritual), are to judge sin in our fellow believers for the purpose to restore them back to a walk of faith (of purity). If anyone among us, i.e. a fellow believer, wanders from the truth, we should bring him or her back to God. We, as the body of Christ, are to mourn over sin and to judge sin inside the church. Yet, when we judge, we need to do so justly, lovingly, righteously and not hypocritically. First we take the log out of our own eyes, and then we will see clearly to take the speck out of our brothers’ eyes (See: Gal. 6:1-5; James 5:19-20; 1 Co. 5:1-13, esp. v. 12; Matt. 7:1-5).
So, the indictment here is not that some Christians are judging righteously, as God intended, but that they are judging hypocritically. What this means is that they are judging others’ sins while they practice (in lifestyle) the same things, or some things equally as bad. So, what “same things” is this referring to? It is the same things that those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ are doing (practicing). And, this should never be among Christ’s followers.
They are involved in all manner of lust, immorality, sexual deviancy, impurity, lying, idolatry, witchcraft, degrading passions, homosexuality, indecency, and depraved thinking. They, too, are filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them (See Ro. 1:18-32). Wow!
So, this is not telling us that God’s grace overlooks our present sins or that he smiles on us and that he delights in us while we are willfully sinning against him, as many preachers are falsely teaching these days. This is also not saying that we can pray a sinner’s prayer, or a prayer to receive Jesus, then live our lives however we want, and still have the hope of heaven when we leave this earth. And, this is not saying to us that God’s grace to us is a free license to continue the practice of sinning against God without guilt and without remorse.
What this is saying to us, who profess the name of Jesus, is that, if we practice (in lifestyle) the same sins as unbelievers practice, and yet we judge them for their sins, hypocritically, we condemn ourselves, because the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. We will not escape the judgment of God. And, the problem here is that many, many Christians, in particular here in America, do take lightly the riches of God’s kindness (his grace) to us, otherwise why else would they teach a gospel of grace which requires no repentance, no obedience and no submission to Christ and his cross, although they will teach that we should vow our fidelity to the US government with hand over heart. Something is wrong with this.
Don’t we not know that God’s kindness (his grace) leads us to repentance? And, repentance is not merely a change of mind to believe in Jesus with human faith, either. Nearly in all biblical references to repentance, it is in the context of leaving our lives of sin behind us to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience and in submission to his will for our lives. It is to forsake our idols and to make Jesus our ONLY Lord (owner-master). God’s grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). His grace is not carte blanche (free rein) to continue sinning, while thinking we have the promise of eternal life. There is no such promise given to us in scripture. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6).
Stubbornness and Unrepentance (2:5-11)
But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.
Do we see what this is saying here? Our eternal security is not secure based upon some decision we made many years ago to believe in Jesus as our Savior from sin, while we have lived life however we wanted. And, repentance is required, and it does mean turning from the practice of these sins and turning to walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness – all in the power and working of God’s Holy Spirit living within those of us who are His. This couldn’t be more clear! How do we have the hope of eternal life? We must be believing (present tense) in our Lord, and that faith has to be God-given, and if God-given, then it submits to his righteousness and holiness. If we, by perseverance in doing the good God has for us to do, in walking in the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, we will be given eternal life. I am not saying this! The Word of God says this! If we do not, by practice, obey God, we don’t have eternal life. It is that simple.
The Doers (2:12-16)
For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.
The Jews of the Old Testament were under the law of Moses, whereas Gentiles were not under that law. Yet, they would be judged the same. It is not enough to have the Word of God, or to have head knowledge of what the Bible teaches us. We have to do (put into practice) what the Word teaches us. It is not enough to pray a sinner’s prayer. We have to repent of our sins and to follow our Lord in obedience throughout our Christian lives, and be faithful to the end. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future). Jesus died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk, not according to the flesh, but according to (in agreement with) the Spirit (See: Ro. 8:1-14).
So, this morning, the Lord Jesus put in mind this song “Bless This House.” I believe “the house” the Lord is speaking of is his church, the body of Christ, but the blessings he has for us may not come in the form of material wealth, worldly possessions and the national freedoms we may now be experiencing, especially here in America. In fact, having all the stuff we have now can be a detriment to our walks of faith. The way in which he wants to bless us, I believe, is to give us eternal benefits from God, which have eternal and lasting value. And, that may come through trials and tribulations which will test our faith, and which will refine and purify us, so that we will walk righteously before our God and not in the ways of this sinful world.
Bless This House
Helen Taylor / May H. Morgan
Bless the people here within,
Keep them pure and free from sin . . .
Bless us all that we may be,
Fit O Lord to dwell with Thee . . .