Main Verse: (Romans 2:1-5, Romans 3:9-20)
Key Thought: Key Thought: In this passage, we note that being a Jew (or any religious community, for that matter) does not mean you are guilt-free. In the previous lesson, Paul begins by condemning the sinful behaviors and attitudes of the Gentile world. And in this week’s lesson, he now turns his attention to his own people. We must bear in mind that his people had a disdain for Gentile people (Wisdom of Solomon, 12:23-14:31). This schism in Rome between the two groups had only worsened at the writing of this letter (see the introduction of the Study Guide). Some of the Jewish community (even Jews who had converted to Christianity) certainly looked upon the Roman world with contempt. So, we can safely assume Paul’s fire-torching words of condemnation for his own people were received with quite a shock. But both messages to the two groups are necessary. According to Paul no human (Jewish, or not) naturally seeks God or His ways.
One important note. Paul, in this portion of the letter (2:21-24), calls out certain behaviors of the Jewish community (as he did to the Gentile community in a similar fashion). According to Paul, these behaviors are just as evil for the believing Jew. In your reading for this week, please take note of this list of sins.
Being a part of religious culture is incapable of repairing the sin-damaged relationship between you and God.
Jewish writings Indicated their disdain for the Gentile culture:
“Therefore those who lived unrighteously, in a life of folly, You (God) tormented through their own abominations… For all people who are ignorant of God were foolish by nature and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know the One who exists. (Wisdom of Solomon, 12:23-25)
Religious Things Often Confused with Salvation
- Being born/married into a religious family
- Attending religious services
- Thinking religious thoughts
- Observing religious holidays
- Listening to religious music
- Serving religious causes
- Giving to religious causes
The goodness of religious deeds does not take away the badness of personal sin.
2 Cor. 5:21,
Heb 9:22, 26
- Paul calls out the religious group (the Jews) for their hypocrisy (2:1-5)
- You do the same thing
- Sin List (2:21-24)
- You deserve judgement
- God’s kindness and patience has a purpose- to lead you to repentance
- Or else you will receive God’s wrath
- You do the same thing
- Final analysis, whether you are Jew or Gentile, you are not good (3:10ff)
- Think of the sins of others that you have judged before:
- Have you been guilty of a similar sin (or maybe the opposite sin)?
- Do not forget the power of God through the Gospel (Rom 1:16)
THE CHURCH WILL STAND
And the church will stand triumphantly
Against the powers of Earth and Hell
Weathered and battle-scarred, still the church is alive and well.
And though kingdoms may rise, every kingdom will fall
That’s built on sinking sand,
But only the church of the living God forever will stand.
TALK IT OUT:
- Pastor Rusty has noted that according to the Apostle Paul no one, whether religious or not naturally seeks God or His ways. How have you seen this reality play out in your own life?
- Many believe if they are part of a religious community, this will make them right with God, however, Pastor Rusty makes the point that no religious culture can repair the sin damaged relationship between you and God. Why are people often tempted to trust religion more than God?
- Pastor Rusty lists a lengthy series of things people often believe will ensure them salvation: 1) Being born or marrying into a religious family, 2) Attending religious services, 3) Thinking religious thoughts, 4) Observing religious holidays, 5) Listening to religious music, 6) Serving religious causes, and 7) Giving to religious causes. Think through these seven things and honestly ask yourself whether you have ever tried to rely on any of them to make you right with God.
- Based upon Romans 3:10-13 Pastor Rusty makes the point that, “The goodness of religious deeds does not take away the badness of personal sin.” Why is it so important to understand none of us can be right with God through our goodness?
- Paul calls out those trying to be right with God by being religious in Romans 2:1-5. However, Romans 2:21-24 has a list of multiple sins. Pastor Rusty makes the point that all of us have been guilty of at least some of the sins of this list and thus deserve judgment. How does it make you feel to know you deserve judgment?
- Pastor Rusty says while we deserve God’s wrath, all of us have experienced God’s kindness and patience. The result is this should lead us to repentance. What sin or sins do you need to repent of today?
- Finally, no matter who we are, we aren’t good enough to please God. How can realizing we don’t measure up, help us respond properly to the Gospel?
LIVE IT OUT
- Make a list of other’s sins which you have judged in the past.
- Which of these sins have you been guilty of yourself?
- What opposite sins of these have you been guilty of yourself?
- The power of the Gospel means God is willing to forgive you because Jesus has paid the price so you can be made right with God. If you are not a believer, repent of your sin and ask Jesus into your heart right now.
- If you are a Christian, thank God for His grace which you in no way deserve.