Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 7 years ago

You Are Not Good: Part II (Romans 2:1-11)


Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Please remain standing, and let's give our attention to God's word in Romans Chapter Two, verses one through eleven. Romans two, one through eleven, says God's word. Hear it now and believe. Therefore, you have no excuse, Oh man, every one of you who judges, for in passing judgment on another, you condemn yourself because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, Oh man, you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume, on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your heart and impenite in heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself. On the day of Wrath, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed, he will render to each one according to his works. To those who, by patience and welldoing, seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are selfseeking and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury, there will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek, for God shows no partiality. May He bless his word to us. Please be seated. In order to understand this section of Romans, you have to understand something about the sinner's heart, the sinful heart, or sinfulness within us, and that applies to both Christians and Non Christians, to those who believe and those who don't believe. Don't believe. The difference is that for the unbeliever, the one who hasn't been washed and purified by the blood of Christ, that sinful nature is complete, it's total, there are no qualifications, no things to add on to a phrase. Like those who are selfseeking and do not obey the truth but obey righteousness, they will be wrath and fury. So, as Paul is speaking to us, as God is speaking to us through his servant, there are two people, two groups, simultaneously in his sight. For those that do not live by faith in Jesus. There are entire selves are condemned because they are completely and entirely sinful. There's no purity, there's no holiness, because that is received through Jesus and they do not believe in Jesus. But for Christians there is also a condemning that happens here from God, because in us there is a sinful nature that still resides, what Paul calls the flesh or the old man. In each of... there is sinfulness that still needs to be put to death. Though we no longer are under the condemnation of that sin because of Jesus's forgiveness of us on the cross, and though we're no longer under the power of sin because Jesus has set us free from that, we all know that we still sin. If we say that we don't, we deceive ourselves. And so was we think about this? We have to think about that from both perspectives. In the first place, Paul seems to be talking most directly to those who don't know God, who live their lives entirely apart from faith and are condemned by those lives. But as Christians who do walk by faith, who do live by faith, who have been saved by Jesus. It applies to us as well, doesn't it? Because that same nature still needs to be put to death completely and entirely. That sinful nature deserves wrath. It's just that we don't receive it, not because God ignores it, but because he's forgiven it. So that's why I've titled this second sermon in this three part series. You are not good, part two, because you aren't good. There is something inside of you, something that you already know and I probably don't have to spend much time convincing you of, that isn't good. Sins that are embarrassing, shameful, sins that don't belong to you, to any of us, whether you are a Christian or not. Well, in the last passage, Paul spoke about one particular kind of person. He's going to address another and then yet another next time, and in each of these he's kind of parading an example before us, a clear example, so that we can see ourselves, we can see our own hearts in them, be convicted by it and turn in repentance. The first example Paul gave that I introduce to you last week, and that the end of Romans one or these people that we might call very bad people, grossly immoral people. These are people who do bad things, unnatural things, things that they know they ought not to do. Paul lists various kinds of sins in this category, everything from dishonoring parents to murder to homosexuality. Paul ends that description by telling us at the very end of chapter one, though they know God's righteous decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die. They not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. So you have this first example, is this person who is entirely consumed by their sin, so much that God allows them, in his wrath, to to fall deeper and deeper into that sin in such a way that they not only do that sin, but then they give approval to others who practice it. This is the nature of sin. But there are other kinds of sinners too, and that's another one that we are addressed to here in chapter two. Not every sinner, not everyone who sins, gives approval to sins, as the first chapter mentioned. In other words, there are people who sin but don't approve of it at all, at least when it comes to others. Paul points out this kind of person here at the beginning of Romans too, where in Romans one we have a person who practices such things, knows that they deserve to die and then approves of others. Here the last part changes. They know that those who do such things deserve to die and they don't give approval to those who practice of...

...these sins. In this passage, Paul reminds us that there are some people who know the law, know that those who break it deserve to die, and yet also make a point of noting those around them who are doing and deserving just that. This is the kind of person we call a hypocrite. So you might expect the point of this passage to be about the sin of judging others, but it's not. As all explain, though hypocrisy is never good, judging others can actually be a good and necessary thing. So what is the point of the passage if Paul's not saying that judging others is bad? Well, the point is this, and this passage God reminds us that those who judge the sin of others prove their ability to judge, and in that they show that they already know what to expect in God's judgment. Of them. Well, to consider this, let's first swing back and consider this controversial and common topic. Is it a sin to judge? A lot of people do think that judging others goes against Christianity. A many people that think that to name Usin or to call someone a sinner is really to step over a line that Jesus himself drew. Yet, on the other hand, it's hard to imagine that Jesus would have been happy with people excusing or ignoring sin. So what do we make of all of this? Is Judging a sin? Well, the answer that question really depends on what you mean by judging. If by judging you're referring to a selfrighteous spirit, then yes, judging is a sin, Jesus said famously in Matthew Seven. How can you say to your brother, let me take that speck out of your eye, when there is a log in your own eye, you hypocrite? Jesus says, take the flog out of your own eye and then you'll see clearly enough to take the speck out of your brother's eye. It's a sort of super ridiculous example, right the person straining at GNAT's another way we put it, like see trying to pull out this tiny little speck when a log is in their own eye. So if by judging you mean this kind of self righteous attitude, then yes, Jesus does condemn it. Or if, by judging you refer to a spirit of condemnation, a spirit of hardhearted refusal to forgive sin that has been committed, then yes, judging is a sin. Again, Jesus's words here from Luke's chapter six. Judge not and you will not be judged. Condemn not and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. So when people say it's a sin to judge, usually they're referring to one of these two things. They either mean that we shouldn't be hypocrites or that we shouldn't be judge mental unforgiving, and in this their right. This is exactly what Jesus is saying. But sometimes people want to take this a step further and a step too far, and say that any kind of evaluation of others at all is a sin. And that's not the case. If by Judge ging we mean evaluating something properly and naming it as it is to be named, good for good, evil for evil, then there's no sin in that that's, in some ways, the essence of righteousness. Consider a judge, for example, who has someone come before a him and...

...he has to adjudicate, he has to make a decision about what is right and what is wrong. Judges who judge poorly are bad judges. We judge the judges, we make evaluations about them, and rightly so, because judging is a good thing, it's an important thing. It needs to be done well. So if a person is to live in the world in a way that's pleasing to God, it's absolutely critical that he or she knows how to separate the good from the bad, the wise man from the fool, temptation from Opportunity. We must be able to judge. We might also note that the Bible says, that says explicitly that the we, particularly we as the church, are to judge. First Corinthian six Paul commands the church in Corinth to make judgments, and he makes that command on their Cape, based on their capability to do so. Listen to these words. These are astounding. Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, in matters pertaining to this life. This comes in instructions where Paul tells us that in our inner church conflicts we're not supposed to take those into the courts, but deal with them here within our church, within the means that God has given for judging. God wants his church to be unified and pure, but in order for that to happen, the church must be able to judge between right and wrong, and when wrong is done, it needs to be dealt with properly. So Paul Instructs Titus in Chapter Three, ten and eleven as a for a person who stirs up division. After warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful, he is self condemned. So you see, then, it's not judging that's the problem. Really, it's the manner in which we do it, and that's what people mean usually when they say don't be so judgey, don't be judge. Mental judging is a bad thing. Jesus says that himself. He says that the way in which we are to judge is to be right. John Twenty Four. Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. So, to conclude this question, is it right to judge? Again? The answer depends on what you mean. You could say that Yes, judgment is a good and necessary thing, but its manner must be done correctly, and those who don't correctly judge either in their evaluation or in the way that they go about it. I'm do sin. But judgment in itself is important because it exposes sin for what it is. Forgiven sin is the work of Heaven, but hidden sin is the work of Hell. True and holy judgment in accordance with the doctrines of God is not a sin. It exposes sin for what it is. It names it, it's identifies it, it points it out. Well, with that question about judging answered, we're now in a good position to consider Paul's point. In Romans too, Paul is not saying we shouldn't judge. He's pointing out that our judging is a basis, a fair basis, for the judgment of God. The thing he's saying is that whenever we judge the sins of others, we don't just expose their sin, we expose our sin as well. That's why judging condemns us, because when we name us in. When we put... out there and say you are doing this because we're doing the same things, we find ourselves condemned. Of course, know how this works. Perhaps you've been caught in this parents, perhaps of an experienced I'm, yelling at their children about being impatient and then realizing only a moment later how impatient you are being. Or maybe you have really gotten on somebody's case at work for not being on time about something, and then you find only shortly later that you yourself have forgotten to take care of something. These are in some ways smaller things, but there's big ones as well, and most of us live in our lives as we pray, live our lives as we prayed in our prayer earlier, in a way that so quickly notices the sins of others and judges them by it. But then we don't judge ourselves that way. We look at our outward goodness, the sort of general way in which we desire to do well, and say, yeah, I'm I'm doing great, I'm I'm doing well. Paul brings this up before us so that we would know and remember that we're not doing well, that our ability to judge condemns us because it exposes our own sin. You know the old phrase, every time you point a finger, you have three pointing back at you. Maybe it's a little cliche, but it's pretty true, isn't it? There are is in each of us, these sins going on and that's what allows us to make these kinds of judgments. So there's a tension, there's a tension in our hearts that Paul is sort of putting his weight down on this sort of ouch spot right in there, that ouch spot that knows this judging that we do and yet knows the sins we also do. And Paul's pushing on it. God is pushing on it to make us feel that a tension between what we know we ought to do and what we do. We judge the sins of others, often rightly, yet do we see the sins in ourselves? Well, Paul's not only pressing on this point, but he adds a secondary point. He causes us, he reminds us of something within God's Providence, within your daily Christian experience, that it's meant to put that pressure on a little bit more, and it's actually God's grace, his kindness, his forbearance. Let me explain, in addition to pointing out this judging that we do, as we expose the sin of others and expose our own sins. Paul also points something else out that happens in life, though. We are sinning in these ways and know that all those people out there deserve condemnation, yet we somehow go on in our daily lives without being condemned. We have murderous hearts, lustful hearts, prideful hearts, we have selfish hearts and we know this. We know that all those people deserve to die for all the things they're doing, and yet here we are living, we who do them. And Paul says, there's a particular reason for this. It's not just an accident that your life is going on despite your sin. It happens because God is kind. He uses two other words. He says he's kind, he's patient, he's forbearing. This is really a remarkable thing and perhaps again to...

...use the parent child relation, as ship, as an example. You've known this or seen this kind of thing. Maybe you remember as a child doing something which you knew you ought not to do, and maybe you also remembered that you're you knew that mom knew that you ought not to do it, and you also knew that mom knew that you did do the thing you ought not to do. And yet there she is, not punishing you, but watching you, helping you, waiting for you, and at every moment you're sort of wondering wins the Shoe gonna drop? Wins the SPANKING gonna come? When am I going to get my time out, because I know that she knows, and yet she doesn't do anything. Well, there's two kinds of ways to read that situation. One way is you ignore it and you try to pretend that everything's fine, but of course that's just suppressing the truth that you know. The other way is to disregard it and just along the lines of ignoring it and just chalk it up to mom's forgetfulness or stupidity or not caring. Or maybe she's even approving of your sin and you can continue on and doing it. Or maybe, just maybe, mom is giving you a second chance, maybe she's forbearing your sin, being patient and kind with you, letting the pressure kind of sit for a little bit under her judgment without fully executing it, so that you would go to her and say mom I'm sorry, so that she wouldn't have to pour her wrath out on you a fully to teach you your lesson, to give you what you deserve, however you want to put that, but she's doing this so that you would come to a realization of your sin. That's what God does in our everyday lives. It's what Paul says. He's don't doing he's forbearing, he's being patient, he's being kind. So what are we going to do with that? Are we going to be presumptuous and presume on that and say great, he doesn't care, or are we going to feel that judgment even in his gracious waiting and kindness and turn and repentance? We experience this in our lives. There's so many examples of this in scripture. The Tower of Babil after the flood, David Sin Against Your Ryan Bathsheba, lot living and dwelling and Sodom and Gomrah offering his daughter's up to be brutally attacked and worse, and yet God rescuing him, bringing him out. This happens to us, doesn't it? How many times have you found yourself in a situation are he said, I know that God is gonna get me for this. Somehow, some way, I'm going to get caught, I'm going to fall all I'm going to feel some pain for this. And then you don't. How do you make sense of that? What choice do you make? Well, God tells us here that the choice is clear. You can be a fool and disregard it, ignore it, think that God either doesn't care or is actually approving of your unrighteousness, or you can be thankful that he hasn't condemned you on the... See His forbearance and his patience and his kindness for what it is, as something that's meant to lead you to repentance. And repent. That's our world today. Individuals, families, people's businesses, nations, churches committing gross and heinous sins against their fellow man and against God, and he gives them yet another day. In some cases he even continues to bless them to such a degree, to such a degree does he bless them, that people begin to think God is a bad judge, that he doesn't care. But Paul is telling us here that that's not the case, that God is just and that judgment is coming in is do for all our sins. But these blessings are not God's ignoring, but God's forbearing. So what will you do? Some will choose to disregard and they will find that their punishment is indeed just around the corner. Paul Promises. God himself promises in many times and in many places, and in this passage in particular, that he will render to each according to his works. Verse Nine. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, and that is why it's so important that we live by faith, that we live trusting in the right, revealed righteousness of God, as he said in Romans one, sixteen and Seventeen, and not in ourselves, because in ourselves we either find one of two things that Paul's mentioned so far, either such sinfulness that goes to the extent of approving of other sinners, or a sinfulness that rightly judges other sinners but then condemns ourselves. Either way, it's a no win situation. Either way we are held accountable for our sins. God exposes these things, though, so that we would turn in Pentance, so that we would see not what my hands have done, but yours and yours alone, that we would turn to God and he is righteousness that we would turn to Jesus, a savior who has died for us and given us himself on the cross. There is, in a sense, a warrant out for your arrest and the sheriff sitting right across the street. Turn yourselves in, because he's gracious. God, the one who judges the world, has already judged the sins of Christians in Jesus Christ. That's the amazing thing about repentance. Repentance doesn't ignore sin and just try harder, nor does it ignore grace and just keep on sinning. Repentance sort of grasps all the ugliness in ourselves and all the beauty in Christ at the same time. Or to put it another way, repentance is when we hand our sins to God and then Simultaneously Receive His grace to ourselves. It's an act of faith, it's an act of trust, believing that what Jesus has done is truly effectual, that is, promises are real. What we here in the Gospel, then, is that Jesus, the son of God, has come into the world to become man and that judgment for sin...

...has passed on him. He would be judged instead of US arrested, tried, crucified, not for what he'd done, but for we'd done. That judgment would be perfect and fair. It would be death. It would be the full weight of sin and the wrath of God, the wrath that the only son of God could bear and come through even to Resurrection and glory. This is a message that doesn't sweep sin under the rug, but it shows us how we can be saved. When we see that, we can know that we do have forgiveness and we can sing songs like we did earlier. In Thy Wrath and hot displeasure. Chasten not, Thy Servant Lord. Let Thy mercy without measure, help and peace to me, afford asking for a savior, trusting in God as our Savior. That's what we do in repentance. That's what we do when we see His mercy and turn to him for His grace. Let us pray.

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