Spiritual “Surgery”

In the concluding paragraph of chapter 2 Paul points out that the covenantal practice of circumcision given by God to the Jewish people is not of itself something that brings one close to God.  Circumcision was given to the Israelites as a sign of their covenantal connection with Him. It was an outward symbol of something else on the “inside”.  But circumcision itself was not spiritually significant; rather it was intended to be a sign of something on the inside.  Here is what Paul writes in verses 25-29:  “25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you […]

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An Advantage Spoiled

Sometimes people seem to have advantages in life, but those advantages don’t turn out to bring victory.  That’s my perspective on Paul’s words in Romans 2:17-24.  Here they are:  “17 Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, 18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. 21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who […]

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No Partiality in God’s Judgment

In the previous verse Paul stated that God would provide glory, honor and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  Prejudice was rampant in the first century among many ethnic groups but the group that was most relevant to the church was the Jewish/Gentile group.  Many of the early Christians were Jewish by race and then as the church began to spread outside of Jerusalem, many Greek people became believers.  Just as there is no racial discrimination in God’s glory, there is none in God’s judgment.  Here is what Paul […]

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More on Judgment

Paul continues his discussion on the judgment of God with the following words from verses 5-10: “5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, […]

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Sugar or the Stick?

There are many ways to change a person’s behavior.  There are positive ways and negative ways.  Unfortunately, the negative ways often seem to produce faster results, but I don’t think those results are often the best or the longest lasting.  How does God do it?  It’s pretty clear that God uses “the stick” at times in the lives of His people.  The Bible is full of examples where judgment from God falls on His people.  But in the midst of these sentences on judgment in Romans 2 we read this in verse 4:  “4 Or do you despise the riches of His […]

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Human vs. Divine Judgment

The word “judgment” carries a lot of meaning in our society.  What is the role of man in judgment?  What does it mean to “judge” someone?  When I use the word “judge” I don’t simply mean to evaluate whether someone’s actions are right or wrong.  I don’t think that is what “judging” is in a biblical sense.  Rather, I think that judging in a biblical sense carries with it the administration of punishment.  With this definition in mind I hope you will agree with me that it is very difficult for people to “judge” others.  We have a large and […]

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A Very Long and Dirty Laundry List

The phrase “laundry list” is used today to refer to any sort of list but back in the “day” the phrase “laundry list” had to do with…well…laundry.  Many people could not afford to have their own washing machine so they took their clothing to a commercial launderer and in order to make sure you received back your own underwear and other items (which is obviously extremely important) you would make a list…thus the phrase “laundry list”.  In Romans 1:28-32 Paul makes a laundry list of sin, sin that is intended to mark the actions and attitudes of a mind that […]

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Vile Passions

As part of the judgment on sin and those who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, Paul writes this in verses 26-27: “26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”  This is a pretty clear condemnation of homosexual activity.  It might be that this example is chosen because of the […]

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Animal Idols

Ever wonder why so many other religions create idols and statues that focus on animals?  If you research this, you will find out that many pagan religions have images of deities that are animals…ever wonder why? Romans 1:22-23 provides the answer: “22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”  If you read the previous verses you will see that those who are “professing to be wise” are those who have suppressed the truth about God that has been revealed to them.  The worship of […]

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What About Those Who Have Never Heard?

I’d like to spend one more day in Romans 1:20-21 to attempt to answer (in a brief blog post) the question regarding those who have never heard of Jesus.  If salvation is possible only for those who have received Jesus as Savior, then what about those who, to the best of our knowledge, have never heard the name of Jesus?  This is a great question and one where people disagree.  I think that Romans 1:20-21 helps us more than any other passage to think about this.  Here is the text: ”20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, […]

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