1Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are that judges: for wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you that judge do the same things. 2But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 3And thinkt you this, O man, that judges them which do such things, and do the same, that you shall escape the judgment of God? 4Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasure up unto yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that does evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that works good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11For there is no respect of persons with God. 12For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. 17Behold, you are called a Jew, and rest in the law, and make your boast of God, 18 And know his will, and approve the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
19 And are confident that you yourself are a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which has the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. 21 You therefore which teaches another, do you teach yourself? you that preaches a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You that says a man should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? you that abhors idols, do you commit sacrilege? 23 You that makes your boast of the law, through breaking the law do you dishonour God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. 25 For circumcision verily profits, if you keep the law: but if you be a breaker of the law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision. 26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? 27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge you, who by the letter and circumcision do transgress the law? 28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
The Law of Conscience:
Before a burglar can rob a house (in peace) he must quieten the barking dog. Before a schoolboy can fish in the local park pond, he must first remove any sign that says “No Fishing”. That is conscience!
Some would argue that this second revelation of God’s truth is far more extensive and more powerful than the revelation of God through nature. It is our conscience that distinguishes us from everything else that God has created in the animal kingdom.
Any study of human behaviour will reveal that a far greater percentage of man’s behaviour is provoked by conscience than anything else. We have an inbuilt set of scales within us, and an awareness of moral standards is written on our hearts.
It is very educational to study not so much what people do or say, but why they do and say. If we are truly honest with ourselves as to why we personally do certain things, we would be more conscious of our conscience. If any good deed is done by one human to another, very little would be put down to personal initiative. Something inside has triggered off the idea to do so. One can readily think of the guilty husband who brings his wife flowers or chocolates, and sometimes our own comfort can trigger off a desire to help those less fortunate.
Much charity, even much church work, is done by those who have never truly understood the gospel of salvation by faith alone in Christ Jesus. The vast majority of people think that one gains entrance into heaven by good works. Christianity is certainly the only religion that does not preach such a message.
The Greatest misconception in the world.
The greatest misconception in the world.....
Is not that catgut comes from cats,
or that Warsaw wrote a concerto,
or that Mersey built a tunnel....
But that.. God has a book in heaven in which he records our good deeds and our bad deeds. and (as many people believe) if the good outweighs the bad, then their eternal salvation will be secure.
If you watch TV, then seek to discern just how much of TV would exist without conscience. Certainly not much humour would be on television. There would be nothing unusual about lying, cheating, robbery, adultery, murder or 99% of the content theme of all the other programmes. Envy and covetousness make celebrities to be celebrities. The greater percentage of sport on TV seems to be sponsored by gambling or alcohol.
Indeed if you read the last verses of chapter 1 once more you will see that not only those who commit evil deeds are condemned but those who vicariously enjoy reading or watching such deeds. Who then does not stand guilty on that score?
If you could invent a new sin you could be sure of making a fortune in the entertainment business.
In verse 15 of chapter 2 where we read of conscience, we see that man uses his conscience in two ways.
1. He accuses others. He is quite able to recognise wrongs in others.
Many a golfer can see in another golfer what is wrong with his swing, but he cant necessarily do it correctly himself.
2. Man makes excuses for his own sins. This fact alone shows how we feel the need to balance up the scales. We make excuses. They are endless at times.
Johnny says he hit Tommy because Tommy hit him first. If the man next door has a BMW while half the world is starving, then why shouldn’t I?
An evangelist once met a lad who was enquiring at a petrol station if diesel was poisonous, as he had obviously swallowed some when siphoning red diesel from a tractor to put in his 4 x 4. This of course is illegal. The evangelist had opportunity to share the gospel with this young man, but when confronted with the question of sin, protested vehemently that the real sinners are those who drive down the motor way at 90 miles an hour. This shows a very human trait in how we deal with guilt. Even in prison we have murderers taking the moral high ground over sex criminals. In society child molesters seem today to be bottom of the pile. Making such a pedestal, places the accuser on some kind of higher ground upon which he is able to excuse his or her own failings. “My sins are not as bad as their sins” This is all conscience orientated.
“Me thinks you protest too loudly” is oft applicable to people whose morals or lifestyle are condemned by others. For certainly there are those, often present on reality TV programmes who parade all their immoralities before the nation, seem to have something within that causes them to shout down their antagonists. The most blatant hypocrites are the media which traffic in gossip, filth and immorality yet pillories anyone who might be well known in society who is found to have fallen short morally.
The Law of Moses.
The Jews were a very privileged people. God gave to them a very special revelation about his Holiness. This again distinguishes the bible revelation from most other religious writings. The atheist says that the believer creates his own god, as some kind of crutch to lean on. However, it is hardly likely that if we were to make our own God, we would make him as a Holy God. As people who love to sin, it would prove most inconvenient to say the least. Most false religions have their false gods, and inevitably condone actions which the God of the bible would call sins.
So the Jews were able to stand on their moral soapbox and tell the world that a Holy God said “Thou shalt not steal” “Thou shalt not commit adultery” etc. But they never had the power to keep such commandments themselves. The Law did not make them any holier. In fact it brought about greater condemnation, for it was greater light, written on visible tablets of stone, not just on a hidden conscience.
So if what was intended to bring life, brought about death, we have to ask the question;
Why did God send the Law?
In order to help us remember let’s look at our next picture. The thermometer is not the cure, it merely reveals the sickness.
So we read in chapter 3 v 20 that God sent the Law for ONE PURPOSE ONLY. That was to reveal SIN. It is very important to remember this fact. It was never meant to give us a standard whereby we could justify ourselves, such as getting marks 7/10 or even 9/10.
No-one in all the earth has ever got 10/10 except Jesus Christ.
v 17 In this chapter Paul seeks to show how both Jews, who had the law of Moses, and Gentiles who had the Law of Conscience, were both guilty of violating those Laws.