God’s Judgment and the Law (Romans 2:12-29, specifically 12)

God’s Judgment and the Law (Romans 2:12-29, specifically 12)

Prepared and preached for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, February 6 and Sunday, February 7, 2021

Think with me for a moment about justice:

The traditional view of justice is the picture of the blindfolded statue with the scales in hand, trying to weigh out equity without being influenced by the appearance of anyone.  This idea that justice is blind simply means that justice does not want to take into account anyone’s looks or anyone’s position in life or anything other than the truth itself. 

Years ago in ancient Greece and Rome, justice was pictured not only with eyes that were blindfolded but with no hands, so that justice could not see and justice could not receive.  It could not choose on the basis of appearance and it could take no bribes.  It could not be bought. 

There’s an ancient story of a man who, in spite of all of the passions of a father, had to pass the death sentence on his own two sons for he was the leader of his country and his sons had conspired to overthrow the government.  According to the historian, the youth stood before the man, who was named Brutus the Elder, and they pleaded and they wept and they hoped their tears would be the most powerful defense with a loving father.  The men who sat behind the ruler whispered, “What will he do?  These are his children.”  He said, “To you, the executioners, I deliver my sons.”  And the historian wrote, “In this sentence he persisted inexorable, notwithstanding the weeping intercession of the multitude and the cries of the young men calling upon their father by the most endearing names.  The executioner seized them, stripped them naked, bound their hands behind them, beat them with rods, and then struck off their heads, the inexorable Brutus looking on the bloody spectacle with unaltered countenance.  Thus, the father was lost in the judge.” 

That may be a good picture of how it will be someday with God, who offers Himself as a loving father, but someday the father will be lost in the judge.  And God’s justice is even more inexorable.  God always does what is just.  In Leviticus 19:15, God indicts the people in anticipation, as it were, of their sins of injustice, which will become a part of their life.  He says, “You shall do no injustice in judgment.  You shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly.  You shall have just balances, just weights, and a just ephah” – ephah was a measure of grain – “and a just hin” – another form of measure.  “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” [1]

So, as we think about justice let’s let those thoughts stir us as we think about our salvation.

Someday God’s wrath on sin will be manifested and none of us are ready for that. In Romans 2:11 the Bible says that there is no partiality with God.

God is the just judge.

Does anyone get a free pass into Heaven?

Actually, we all do, every one of us…

However, we do not get into heaven based off of birth, country of origin, culture, etc.

So, I want us to look at Romans 2:12 and my theme is everyone needs Jesus.

Here is a personal application:

We don’t get into Heaven simply based off of being “Raised in the Church.” In other words, God does not have grandchildren.

Let’s look at this. We are covering a large section of Romans today so I am only going to have us read Romans 2:12. I will summarize the rest. Still, please turn to this passage in your Bibles so that you can follow along.

Read with me Romans 2:12:

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.

God will be a just judge, there is no partiality with God. We see this in verses 11-13.

We don’t get into Heaven simply based off of being “Raised in the Church.”

I said this already but allow me to elaborate. At some age we must make our faith our own. I believe strongly that some never make their faith their own. Some are still committed to Jesus based off of their parent’s faith, grandparents, or even further back in their heritage. We cannot be saved because of a tradition.

So, your children are raised, and they see that you are committed to the church mainly once a week and maybe a board meeting here and there, but your commitment to Christ is no different than a commitment to a social club. Your children see that you do not open your Bible during the week or spend time in prayer. Your children see that you don’t attend Bible studies, or the deeper things of the church. Your children see that you laugh at the idea of attending Sunday School, yet then you wish to witness. As one church member shared with me:

But it is more than simply not attending Sunday School, it is so much more.  It is being indifferent and having no interest in growing spiritually, no interest in getting to really know Jesus, no interest in working to become the person Christ wants you to be, no devotion to God.  It is believing the lie that, “I go to church and I do this or that for the church and I believe in God … so I’m okay.”  NO!  That is not what the Bible teaches.

The point is that Jesus has to be EVERYTHING to us.  He has to mean more than life to us.  Our only hope is Jesus and the grace He has so freely given us.  So, it’s not about church, Sunday School, good deeds – all good things, yes,  – but it is all about Jesus owning our lives.  It’s about Jesus owning our time, owning our resources, everything we are, everything we have really belonging to Jesus.[2]

People may see that you are committed to a history of religion, not a relationship with Jesus.

You are committed to a history of religion, not a relationship with Jesus.

I know this because I see it to often and in my family.

Then you wonder why your kids don’t go to church.

How does this fit into this passage?

The Jews thought they got a free ticket into Heaven by simply keeping the law.

The Jews thought they got a free ticket into Heaven because they were circumcised.

The Jews thought they got a free ticket into Heaven because they were Jewish.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

This is why verse 11 says God is not partial.

Just because you are Jewish does not mean that you are Heaven bound.

Or, just because you were baptized as a baby, or dedicated, or raised in the church, or serve on a board, or team, or teach Sunday School, or whatever else does not mean you are Heaven bound.

So verse 12: 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.

The Gentiles are without the law and that is how they will be judged.

The Jewish people have the law and that is how they will be judged.

Later in verses 17-24 Paul turns his attention to the sinfulness of the people of God.

Then in verses 25-29 he focuses on the circumcision.

Many of you know that being circumcised was very important in Judaism. In that day and age the Jewish people would think they had a free pass to Heaven because of circumcision.

One source shares: Some later rabbis even taught that Abraham sat at the entrance to Gehenna (“hell”) and would not permit any circumcised Jew to enter there. By implication, the way you lived made no difference. In a similar way, some Christian groups have believed that the rite of baptism saves, and so baptism was delayed until the end of life to make sure all sins were “washed.” But Paul declared that circumcision (and by extension, baptism) without obedience is empty. Furthermore, Abraham was a man of faith who was accepted by God long before he was circumcised (Gn 15:1–20). The true Jew is one who has a spiritual circumcision … of the heart.[3]

Circumcision is of no value if you do not practice the law.

 Verse 26: if the uncircumcised man practices the law it is as if he is circumcised.

Verses 27-29 are saying that circumcision and being a Jew is about the heart.

We see that God is the just judge. God is impartial and we all need Jesus.

This fits with the overall theme of Romans. Romans is all about salvation. We are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Where are you at?

Are you committed to Jesus?

Share Jesus with everyone.

I shared the following in the past, allow me to repeat it.

Walking Down the “Romans Road” to Salvation . . . .

Because of our sin, we are separated from God.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23)

The Penalty for our sin is death.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

The penalty for our sin was paid by Jesus Christ!
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

If we repent of our sin, then confess and trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will be saved from our sins!
For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  (Romans 10:13)
…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 
(Romans 10:9,10)[4]

Go and share the Gospel:


[1] http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/45-20A/principles-of-gods-judgment-part-4a

[2] Member of a past church I served shared this with me

[3] Edwin A. Blum, “Romans,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1784.

[4] http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/about/becoming_a_christian.aspx

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