Before you begin your Bible study, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure you have named your sins privately to God the Father.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(Known, Unknown and Forgotten sins) (1Jn 1:9)
You will then be in fellowship with God, Filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to learn Truth from the Word of God.
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth," (John 4:24)
HOUSE OF CARDS
A FOUNDATION OF SAND
One of the best known Biblical parables is the story of the two foundations. (Matt 7:24-27) One man built his house upon sand. When the storms came, the sand shifted and the house crumbled. The other man built his house upon a rock. Because of this solid foundation, his house withstood every storm. The analogies to the foundation and the superstructure are generally familiar. The believer who tries to gain Spiritual maturity, (Favor with God) by his own thoughts and ability is depending on a foundation of sand. It will not hold up in the light of God’s judgment. (John 6:63; Rom 8:7-8)
According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (Salvation) Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, (God's Thoughts) wood, hay, straw, (Human thoughts and or programs of the old sin nature; 1Co 4:20) each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, (God's Omniscience) and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. (Mark 4:20; Luk 12:42-44) If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; (Matt 13:12) but he himself will be saved, (Delivered from the Lake of Fire) yet so as through fire. (Mark 9:49; Luk 12:46-49) (1Co 3:10-15)
The believer who is legalistic, self-righteous and or moralistic; that is, he considers morality the Christian way of life; is constructing his Christian life upon a foundation of sand. This type of believer seeks to build a superstructure of righteousness upon someone else’s unrighteousness. He has spent his lifetime comparing his own good points with the bad points of others, and he sees himself with a halo. (1Co 4:6; (2Co 10:12) In doing this, he has constructed a HOUSE OF CARDS! To such a person, life is merely an overt and superficial system of morality. Consequently, he says with confidence, “I have not done those horrible, monstrous things; therefore, I am righteous.” Like the Pharisee, he thanks God that he is not like “other men.” (Luk 18:9-14)
The area of weakness of the self-righteous person is the type of carnality which begins with mental attitude sins. Self-righteousness is the breeding ground for vindictiveness and unforgiveness, as well as a subtle form of jealousy, strife and bitterness. (1Co 3:1-3) Perhaps you have observed some of the immoral types having fun, and there is a little jealousy on your part.
You see, rationalizing your own righteousness is a coin with two sides. On one side of the coin you build a house of cards; on the other side you resent certain things. You become bitter, you judge, gossip, malign and slander. Then when you find in your own life the same inevitable weaknesses, failures and sins which emanate from the old sin nature,'' you cannot face the reality of those weaknesses. Therefore, in order to justify yourself, you must say, “I didn’t really do this. “Or, “Someone else caused me to do it.” So you add to the cluster of sins already accumulated under the principle of “operation patsy.” You refuse to take the responsibility for your own failures; you won’t “rebound” and keep moving! You won’t admit, “All right, I have failed; I was wrong,” and then forget it and move on!
What is the result? Your Spiritual life shrivels up, your capacity for life disappears, and you become the worst kind of person in the world — a self-righteous monster! As a self-righteous believer, you will inevitably want to “play God.” You will not only have your own house of cards, (Which folds up as soon as any wind of adversity blows) but you will also want to regulate the lives of others. You will try to squeeze those around you into your mold.
You can’t build your life on someone else’s unrighteousness any more than you can build your happiness on someone else’s unhappiness. In fact, you cannot build your life on anything but the true standard of staying in fellowship and learning God's Thoughts and Thinking with Them! (Matt 7:24; John 4:24) You become a Spiritual adult the day you are willing to take responsibility for ALL your thoughts as well as for ALL of your decisions! (No excuse Sir! Prov 28:13)
THE CONDEMNATION OF THE MORAL AND THE IMMORAL MAN
The first two chapters of the Book of Romans set forth a contrast between the moral and the immoral man. Chapter One denounces the overt sins of immorality; but Chapter Two says that the person who only THINKS sin is just as guilty before God as the person who mentally and overtly practices sin! Chapter One concludes:
And although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (Rom 1:32)
In Romans chapter One and Two, PRASSO is used for the practice of overt or obvious sins, while POIEO is used for hidden sinning. The moral man’s sins are predominantly mental; (More mental than overt) the immoral man sins with the volition of his soul plus his body. Sins which are confined to the soul have a tendency to multiply more rapidly. Those sins which are confined to the body have more social restraint placed upon them. Therefore, the moral man is not as well off as he may think! He adds sins to sins. He thinks sins and then uses his tongue to follow them up. Although the immoral man may have a tendency to avoid some of these hypocrisies, BOTH are equally guilty before God!
Since judgment is the sole prerogative of God, no one else has the right to judge either the moral or the immoral man. Both are judged according to the standards of the Word of God. (Rom 2:15-16) Now obviously, there are certain areas where the immoral man is judged by the laws of the land, and rightly so. But this passage is looking at the subject only from the standpoint of the self-righteous person. Chapter Two demonstrates that the moral man is under the same condemnation as the immoral man of Chapter One. Now this principle DOES NOT deny the role of obedience to authority; as part of the laws of Divine establishment. However, it does deny you the right to compare yourself with others whose sins, in your opinion, are worse than yours! (Luk 6:37; John 8:3-11)
THE CRITICAL ATTITUDE OF THE MORAL MAN
Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. (Rom 2:1)
The “everyone of you” in context is the self-righteous believer, in contrast to the immoral or reversionistic” believer of Chapter One. Because the moral person can hide his sins behind a facade of self-righteousness and legalizing; that are not as obvious as those of the immoral person; yet the moral person is just as guilty before God as the one he judges.
“Judge” in the Greek here means “to judge without a trial or without the facts”; hence, “to judge from prejudice.” The self-righteous person, (Believer or unbeliever) who is trying to build his righteousness on the unrighteousness of the immoral person is obviously prejudiced favorably toward his own sins; yet he is said to be thinking the same things that the immoral man is thinking! Remember, each member of the human race has an old sin nature, which has many categories of sins as well as the production of human morality. (Psa 39:5) Although the old sin nature is the source of all sin, each sin nature has a different trend and a different area of weakness. Confusion exists because of the varied manifestations of personal sin. For this reason we often condemn certain sins more than others. Our viewpoint toward sin is influenced by the background and environment in which our human conscience is developed.
But righteousness must come from an absolute standard, and that standard is the Word of God. (Jer 23:6; Jer 33:16)
THE JUDICIAL VERDICT OF GOD
And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. (Condemning) (Rom 2:2)
Now we have the first Principle of judgment of the moral or self-righteous man. “And” introduces a contrast between the false judgment or criticism of the self-righteous legalist and the true evaluation of the Bible; Truth. “We know DOGMATICALLY that the judicial verdict from the source of
the God” is correct. HIS THOUGHTS, expressed to us through the Bible, are absolute and perfect! (Isa 55:9) The Greek noun ALETHEIA refers specifically here to the DOCTRINE of hamartiology. (Sin) Man is a sinner because he is born with an old sin nature. (Rom 5:12; Rom 6:23) Although he is born physically alive, he is at the same time Spiritually dead because of the presence of the sin nature in the soul at birth. Personal sins come from the sin nature and are manifested in three categories: mental attitude sins, overt sins, and sins of the tongue. There are always two factors involved in sin: first, the source, which is the sin nature, and second, our choosing to sin: volition. But although the sin nature is the only source of sin, no one ever sins apart from his own volition. Even if you don’t know something is a sin, you know you want to do it, and you do it! Only Adam, in the first sin, sinned directly from his volition, since originally he did not possess a sin nature.
The moral man has a tendency to commend his own respectability and morality while condemning the sins of the immoral man. He rationalizes and minimizes the sins of self-righteousness and legalism; and magnifies the sins of immorality. Therefore, by comparing himself with others, the self-righteous man builds up a system of human righteousness with which he seeks to gain the approbation of God. While he sees himself favorably by comparison with others, GOD sees the self-righteous moral man from the standpoint of the old sin nature. So the moral man, like the immoral man of Romans, Chapter One, is condemned as a sinner! (Both are living and thinking out of fellowship with God; Rom 8:8)
We have the Divine evaluation at the conclusion of, (Rom 2:2) “upon those who practice (PRASSO). . .” This refers to the previous chapter, where the same word was used to describe the sinning of the immoral man. “Such kind of things” recognizes a different CATEGORY of sins committed by the moral man. He commits certain kinds of sins; the immoral man commits another type; yet sin is still sin. When one tries to build righteousness on the basis of comparison, he is building on a foundation of sand. Any righteousness built upon comparison depends on a system of “judging.” Judgment is the prerogative of God, for He alone has both the character and the information to be a perfect Judge. For our benefit God has reduced many of His judgments to writing, as recorded in the canon of Scripture. Therefore, with certain exceptions, connected with Divine establishment, the prerogative of judgment is removed from man.
"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, (Criticism and arrogance) and then you will see clearly, (Have the objectivity and humility) to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matt 7:1-5) cf. (Rom 14:1; Rom 14:4; Rom 14:10).
These are severe warnings against those who seek to build their righteousness on someone else’s sinfulness. The exceptions for judging others are delegated in several areas: the function of judgment residing in the authority of rulers under the Divine laws of establishment; (Rom 13:1-5) the function of judges in determining innocence or guilt in violation of the law; the function of an executive, a president, a shop foreman, etc., in evaluating personnel under his supervision; and the function of military superiors in formulating efficiency ratings. In the Spiritual realm, the function of apostles during the Apostolic period and the function of pastors within the framework of the local church also gives the prerogative of judgment.
The only true basis for determining experiential righteousness is the absolute standard — Truth: The Word of God! (Jas 1:4) But even as believers in Jesus Christ we cannot "morally" meet the standards of the Word of God. True experiential righteousness must be based upon the filling of the Spirit and the function of Truth in the soul. (Rom 6:17-18; Rom 8:4-8; Gal 5:22-23; (1Pe 1:22) The greatest manifestation of this righteousness is the mature Spiritual life, which comes from learning and then living for a prolonged period of time in fellowship; and Thinking with God's Reality! Of course, reversionism, or moving in the reverse to God’s plan, is the great enemy of this righteousness. The more time you spend in carnality, the more you miss the great life of perfect happiness!
THE RATIONALIZATION OF THE MORAL MAN
But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? (Rom 2:3)
The vocative of ANTHROPOS (man) is addressed to the person who tries to build his righteousness on someone else’s unrighteousness. This passage says that you are not only rationalizing your own actions, but judging another's! This is hypocrisy! Self-righteous people can always see the failures of others, but they never see their own faults. They put the sins of others under a microscope but see their own sins through a telescope.
The self-righteous man excuses his own sins by judging the more obvious, overt sins practiced by the immoral man. He hides his own sins, both-mental attitude and sins of the tongue, behind a facade of legalism and religiosity. Thus he becomes not only self-righteous but generally very religious. In other words, he self-righteously condemns the practice, (PRASSO) of immorality, but he is doing (POIEO) the same thing mentally. That is why, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus placed such great emphasis on mental sin. (Matt 5:21-22; Matt 5:27-28) In these passages the immoral man commits murder, while the moral man thinks murder; (Hate) the immoral man actually commits adultery, but the moral man thinks adultery. In fact, the self-righteous man not only thinks adultery, he adds to his sins by judging, gossiping or maligning others.
Even though the sins of the moral man are not as obvious, they are just as wrong. The Scripture indicates that mental attitude sins and sins of the tongue are the worst categories because of their repercussions in the life. The only exception to that in the overt realm is murder. (Prov 6:16-19) The difference between PRASSO and POIEO is in the category of sin not in relativity. The moral man is no more justified than the immoral man! The respectability of the moral man does not minimize his sins, and respectability or morality certainly does not indicate a Spiritual life!
The self-righteous man concludes from his own false rationalization that because he has constructed a system of self-righteousness, he has escaped the judicial verdict of God. (Prov 16:2) According to the indicative mood of the word “escape,” he thinks he has actually avoided judgment by means of his own "moral activity"! However, God cannot justify self-righteousness and maintain His Integrity (Holiness) Because God is INTEGRITY, He cannot be a Respecter of persons in the human race; moral or immoral, religious or non-religious. (Deut 10:17; Acts 10:34) WE MUST STAY IN FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD: (SPIRITUALITY Rom 8:4)! Because all are under the judicial verdict of God, (Rom 3:23) all of us are Spiritually dead from birth; none of us can build our righteousness on what we do; whether it’s PRASSO or POIEO. (Rom 10:2-3) This means that the believer cannot be Spiritual by his own works nor can the unbeliever be saved by his own works. There are no good deeds, no system of righteousness which man can develop whereby he can gain Salvation or Spiritual maturity. Salvation and Spiritual maturity must depend on who and what God is, and all righteousness must have as its foundation Plus-R (God’s perfect righteousness; Rom 10:4). And after salvation we need Experiential Righteousness: (Spiritual maturity) (Heb 11:1; thru Heb 12:3). Romans Two takes the self-righteous person apart, bit by bit, and shows him that for all his efforts he has nothing at all! The only righteousness God recognizes is absolute righteousness: HIS! So the “rug” is pulled out from under the self-righteous man, and his “house of cards” topples.
The unbeliever’s only hope is to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and receive the imputation of Divine righteousness. When a person believes in Jesus Christ, God immediately credits to his account Plus-R, and that person is vindicated on the basis of possessing God’s righteousness. This is called “justification”, (Rom 5:18-19) and occurs at the moment of salvation. It is the only bona fide justification. There is no basis for self-justification by comparing your sins and good works with others. That puts justification on the basis of relativity; rather than on the basis of the absolute standard of God’s character. Now once a person becomes a believer, the filling of God the Holy Spirit and Truth must be the object and function his life so that he can develop full Spiritual maturity: Experiential-righteousness. (Matt 6:33; John 4:24)
No matter how you slice it, if righteousness doesn’t have God’s Thoughts as the foundation and the Spiritual life in the structure, it isn’t righteousness at all! That’s why sin is defined by so many ways in Scripture, negatively and positively: “You shall” and “You shall not.”
In summary, the facts are these: there is no basis for any righteousness except that which God has provided. Since God is perfect, the righteousness He provides is perfect! God is absolute in His Thinking; therefore, God's Reality--destroys any system of self-righteousness; any system of human morality and EVERY satanic and human system of thinking!
THE CONTEMPT OF THE MORAL MAN
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? (To a change of mental attitude) (Rom 2:4)
The self-righteous man is, first of all, anti-grace. Notice how he operates: in the last verse he rationalized; in this verse he looks down his nose. “Despise,” KATAPHRONEO, is a thinking word and means “to think down, to despise, to disregard, to scorn, to treat with contempt.” All meanings of the Greek are true here. What does he treat with contempt? GOD’S GRACE! The word PLOUTOS means “riches or wealth” and gathers up into one “ball of wax” all the benefits of grace. Grace is described by three nouns: His kindness, tolerance and patience.
The self-righteous person must inevitably disregard, despise, scorn and look down his nose at grace. Why? Because grace completely destroys his self-righteousness. Grace (Blessings) comes from God, just as judgment Cursing and discipline comes from God. (Lam 3:38-40) Both come from the same perfect Person! Judgment says to the immoral believer, “You’re sinful; you’re dead!” (Temporal death: carnality) Judgment says to the self-righteous believer, “You’re sinful; you’re dead!” (Temporal death: carnality) Now that’s a hard verdict for the moral man to accept! (Luk 18:20-23) More often than not, it’s the immoral man who latches onto grace first. You see, he’s ready for grace. That’s why Rahab the prostitute became such a great believer. (Jos 2:1-21; Heb 11:31; Jas 2:25) She was the first one in all of Jericho who responded to grace, and she even led some of the members of her family to the Lord. As a famous courtesan, Mary Magdalene understood human nature, and she, too, responded to grace immediately. (Luk 7:36-50)
Self-righteous and religious types have a problem with grace. Why? They have spent their entire life saying, “I am a good person; I am a righteous person. If you don’t think I’m good, look at so-and-so.” Inevitably, a self-righteous person spends most of his time in carnality because he’s always judging someone else to keep up his righteousness. His so-called righteousness must constantly be inflated through a system of relativity. (Honest in one or more areas and dishonest in the rest) But when something like the Word of God sticks a pin in self-righteousness, the ego pops, and there’s nothing left.
The trouble with many of you is that you have spent your entire Christian life thinking about yourself, rationalizing and building your house of cards. No wonder you’re so selfish and self-centered! No wonder you are so easily offended! That’s the only way you can sustain your righteousness. You haven’t a clue as to what grace is all about. You have always associated a certain kind of speech and behavior with sinfulness. If someone says “hell” or “damn,” you go right through the ceiling. If a lady wears pantsuits or "revealing clothing", you cluck and look heavenward. What’s wrong with you? It’s your phony self-righteousness. It’s your HOUSE OF CARDS! You have always felt superior because YOU don’t do THOSE things or go with the girls who do — but you do SOMETHING ELSE! You spend all your time judging!
This passage is designed to knock you right off your self-righteous perch; otherwise, you are never going to Understand what God has provided, and you are never going to grow up Spiritually! You think it’s your righteousness that counts, and that everything depends on you. Sometimes preachers help you; the ones who always hit on the “big five” don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t dance, don’t go to the movies, and don’t play cards! So you say, “I don’t do those things; therefore, I am a great Christian!” This has become your standard for Spirituality, and if someone does ALL of them, you think he isn’t even a Christian! These taboos have nothing to do with Salvation and or Spirituality. We all start with Satan and the old sin nature controlling us. (Eph 2:1-3) So we must learn to stay in fellowship and Think with Truth to become FREE! (John 8:31-32) So, (Rom 2:4) says that Christianity is grace — God does the work and man receives God’s provisions!
This is a “house” made of true righteousness, but you must have a clear Understanding of certain Principles before it can be constructed. Just because you happen to have a different type of dirt in your house than someone else has doesn’t mean that you don’t have dirt. In Altoona, Pennsylvania, everyone’s home is dingy from coal dust. In El Paso, Texas, the-sand filters into everything. Now a person in Altoona might say, “I-don’t have any SAND in my “house; therefore, I’m clean.” On the other hand, someone in El Paso could say, “I don’t have any COAL DUST in my house; therefore, I’m clean.” Who’s clean? God says NEITHER ONE! A house of righteousness cannot be built on someone else’s dirt. That’s a HOUSE OF CARDS!
Once a believer becomes self-righteous, he has nothing to sustain him. He goes negative to the Bible and doesn’t even feel the need for Truth. A self-righteous person thinks he doesn’t need anything. (Rev 3:17) When a believer falls into this category, he immediately despises, disregards and scorns Divine Spiritual riches. (2Pe 1:2-11)
THREE GRACE NOUNS
The first word describing the wealth of God’s grace in, (Rom 2:4) is CHRESTOTES in the Greek; and means “kindness” and or “generosity.” It is a word for grace function on the part of God and indicates what God has provided. The kindness and generosity of God is manifest through propitiation in the past and reconciliation now; when we believe in Christ. (1Jn 2:2; (2Co 5:19) God’s attitude toward us begins with maximum love at the point of the CROSS, and it will never be anything less. No matter how you fail or succeed, you can never get away from the love of God.
God has given you one day and then another and another. He has provided for your every need. You are so well fed you are FAT! That’s grace! Yet you treat with contempt the very thing that keeps you alive, the very thing that gave you eternal life. You complain, you become bitter and disappointed and frustrated. Why? Because you have no capacity for life; self-righteousness dries you up on the vine! The more disillusioned and frustrated you become, the more you gossip, malign and criticize the more you will try to pull strings, to do your own thing in order to be satisfied. If you had loved grace, you would have taken in Truth day by day, you would have grown in grace, and you would have been occupied with Christ. You would have realized that although people are unstable, Jesus Christ never changes. (Heb 13:8) Had you been occupied with Christ, CHRESTOTES "kindness" would be in your soul, and you would have compassion and love and tenderness; rather than bitterness, disappointment and frustration. You would be living the Spiritual life instead of a self-righteous, miserable existence.
Self-righteous people are never happy. Place them in a party or even in a church with a group of relaxed people, and they are miserable. Where can you put a self-righteous person where he will not be miserable? In heaven! A self-righteous person ekes out a superficial pseudo-happiness only when someone is buttering him up or giving him the attention he craves. This type must inevitably gather around him a mutual admiration club to stay alive. The greatest monster in the Christian life is the self-righteous person who has taken the weaknesses of others and compared them with his strengths until he has constructed a “house of cards.” And every card is a joker!
The second grace word, ANOCHE, translated “tolerance,” actually means “clemency” — an act of mercy and love; an act of compassion. The clemency of God’s grace is seen in the restraint of His judgment and wrath on every generation of the human, race; thereby He permits history to continue. Apart from Divine clemency, none of us would be alive today, nor would we have had the opportunity in time to believe in Jesus Christ and be saved.
The third word, MAKROTHUMIA, means “patience toward others; forbearance.” This noun reflects the character of God the Father in allowing the angelic appeal trial to run its course. The same concept is amplified in, (Rom 9:22-23) and also in. (1Pe 3:20) MAKROTHUMIA is actually directed toward the angelic conflict stage of history, while ANOCHE is directed toward the human conflict stage — toward personal relationships in life. MAKROTHUMIA is not used here so much in the sense of “forbearance,” its ordinary use, but in the sense of “live and let live” — to be relaxed.
MAKROTHUMIA actually means “to stop judging others; to stop building your self-righteousness on someone else’s unrighteousness.” There are a lot of people whose way of life doesn’t appeal to you, people who do things you don’t like. All right, then put it in the Lord’s hands. Give privacy to the other person grace privacy! (Rom 14:10-13; (2Co 5:10)
REPENTANCE: A CHANGE OF MENTAL ATTITUDE
“Not being ignorant that the graciousness of God brings US to change OUR MIND.” (Rom 2:4)
Repentance, METANOEO, is a change of mental attitude about something. The object of repentance is always indicated by the context. When the context is the Gospel, it is always the unbeliever who does the “repenting” he changes his mind about Christ. What changes his mental attitude toward Christ? What changes your mental attitude regarding salvation? The GOSPEL changes it. Repentance is coterminous with or immediately precedes faith in Christ. You can’t try to repent. It is automatic; usually you are not even aware of it. You simply believe in Jesus Christ.
Repentance for salvation is NOT feeling sorry for sin. There is a word in Scripture for “regret” or “feeling sorry”, (METAMELOMAI) but it has no Spiritual value. It is not a part of the Grace Plan. Although the unbeliever is a sinner, in salvation he changes his mind about Christ as a Person or about Salvation as a subject.
In connection with believers, “repent” (METANOEO) is used for a change of attitude toward GOD'S WORD BEING UNITED BY FAITH! (Heb 4:2-3) A change of mind toward human morality, a change of attitude toward Truth when you are in reversionism, and or a change of attitude toward carnality when you sin. (1Jn 1:9) God in His grace has provided a phenomenal system, which I call “rebound,” whereby you are forgiven when you confess your sin, no matter how you feel. God is not impressed with your constant regretting or attitude of sorrow. God is impressed only with what He does, with His Plan — GRACE!
You are impressed with your sincere regret, and you try to impress other people with your sincerity. However, your sincerity doesn’t impress God at all. Once you move into the adult Spiritual life, you will have grace-compassion. This is infinitely more impressive because God has provided it in FULL. It wipes out the phony sincerity that goes with self-righteousness. Are you ever going to be changed? Are the obnoxious corners going to be knocked off? If they are, it has to be God’s grace. Only grace can make changes that are worthwhile. If it isn’t a grace change in OUR THINKING, (Thinking with God's Thoughts; 1Co 2:16) it doesn’t mean a thing! Reform doesn’t mean anything — it has no strength of character. Grace is a way of life that gives you capacity. It is absolutely phenomenal! Change must be from the inside out; in a person and a nation! (Matt 23:26; Luk 11:40; (2Ch 7:14)
God’s grace-righteousness is a part of the adult Spiritual life. You get there only through Truth, through the daily function of Operation Z! (The grace apparatus for perception) When you are in the mature Spiritual life, you have mature Spiritual capacity. Only then can God pour out mature Spiritual blessing! (Eph 1:3; Jas 1:12) The tragedy of self-righteous people is that they are ignorant of grace! They have constructed their lives on a system of self-righteousness, and grace has no part in it! They try to regulate and mold everyone’s life around them, and they have used their tongues as the shillalah (Club) — to judge, to malign, to be critical, to run down, to coerce, to push and to pull. Obviously and inevitably, they have failed themselves and others, not to speak of the great Plan of God called GRACE. (Prov 8:36)
THE INDICTMENT OF HUMAN MORALITY
Next we are going to discover that the person who builds his righteousness on someone else’s unrighteousness, (Sins; real or imagined) is actually accumulating Divine wrath for themselves. The self-righteous person always assumes that everything he does is just one more good deed, one more merit badge deposited to his account. Moreover, the moral unbeliever and or believer think that if he accumulates enough good deeds, he is somehow going to get to heaven. Nothing could be farther from the Truth. The pseudo-righteousness developed by the moralistic man is “filthy rags” in God’s sight! (Isa 64:6) Every good deed that the self-righteous believer, ("Apart from being in fellowship and motivated by Truth") accomplishes is a deposit of wrath, or an indictment against him at the Judgment Seat. Why?
But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, (Heb 10:30-31; (1Pe 4:17-18) WHO WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the Truth, but obey unrighteousness, (Living out of fellowship with God) wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, (Thinks with Satan's thoughts) of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, (Lives in fellowship and Thinks with God's Thoughts) to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God! (Rom 2:5-11)
The word translated “stubbornness” actually means “scar tissue” in the Greek. This scar tissue is based on persistent negative volition toward the Truth. When you go negative to the Truth, you build scar tissue on the left bank of the soul. Scar tissue is always built on the left bank first, since that is the area of response toward God. This leads to the buildup of scar tissue on the right bank of the soul, which involves relationship with other people.
The immoral person builds scar tissue on the right bank through lascivious practices, in a frantic search for happiness. The self-righteous person builds scar tissue on the right bank by the accumulation of human morality — Operation Do-gooder, Operation World Peace Movement, Operation Redistribution of Wealth, Operation Sensitivity Training, Operation Social Action! www.nassiri.com
HUMAN SOLUTIONS ARE NO SOLUTION! THE DIVINE SOLUTION IS THE ONLY SOLUTION! (FAITH IN CHRIST AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH TO MATURITY!)
Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth! (1Ti 2:4)
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. "For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. "And he who does not take his cross (Old sin nature's plans) and follow after Me (God and His Reality) is not worthy of Me. "He who has found his life (Human sin nature reality) will lose it, (The new nature's Reality) and he who has lost his life (Our plans and desires) for My sake will find it. (The new nature's and God's Desires; Eph 4:22-24) (Matt 10:34-39)
The believer who is continually negative toward Truth goes into reversionism. He builds scar tissue on the left bank of the soul, which opens up “mataiotes,” or a vacuum in the soul. This sucks in Satanic Biblical Truths, (1Ti 4:1) and or human reality. He may become involved in church work or other good deeds in order to satisfy approbation lust, power lust, etc. This puts scar tissue on the right bank of the soul.
The self-righteous person is also said to be “unrepentant” or obdurate. In other words, he refuses to change his mind by mixing God's Word with faith and Thinking with God's Reality! (Matt 6:24-34) The “heart” refers to the right lobe. Because of the existence of the old sin nature, both believer and unbeliever can develop a “scar-tissued and unremorseful right lobe.” The believer with such a right lobe is minus Truth. (1Co 2:14) His vocabulary and categories are influenced by his lack of Divine norms and standards, and he has human reality on the “launching pad” of his soul. He is deluded by the idea that human morality impresses God. He either admires do-gooders or becomes one himself and devotes his life to the production of human morality. This is the function of the right lobe in building self-righteousness!
The unbeliever is minus Spiritual Thinking in his right lobe. (1Co 2:14) Therefore, he, too, must rationalize and judge. When other people’s norms and standards do not meet his own, their sins and failures are the object of his judgment and scorn. He then takes that information and puts it in his frame of reference and vocabulary, and he concludes, “I am righteous; I am good; therefore, I am going to heaven!” But no one ever gets to heaven by being “good.” Human morality has no place in the Plan of God! (Jer 51:17; Jud 1:19) You cannot be saved by joining a church, by being baptized, by feeling sorry for your sins, by raising your hand, by walking down an aisle, by keeping the Law; these are all human works — something in which you participate.
The only way to be saved is by what the Bible declares: “ . . . whoever BELIEVES in him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “He that BELIEVES in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36) “He that BELIEVES in him is not judged; he who does NOT BELIEVE is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name, [The God-Man-Savior] of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18)
The Gospel must get into the right lobe through HEARING, not by inviting the Gospel in. When you hear the Gospel, it first goes into the left or perceptive lobe. There God the Holy Spirit makes it an Objective Reality, which transfers it over to the right lobe and it becomes EPIGNOSIS. (Complete knowledge) Now volition can respond or react. Response is positive volition toward the Gospel; reaction is negative volition. If the unbeliever responds, he EXHALES faith in Christ. Salvation is an exhale, not an inhale. The inhale is Gospel-hearing. (Eph 2:8-9) You simply tell God the Father, privately and silently, that you are believing in Christ. You are not born into God's family until you do! (Gal 3:26)
Now the person who has built himself up at the expense of others and constructed a house of cards upon someone else’s unrighteousness has a “bankbook.” The next word in, (Rom 2:5) is THESAURIDZO — “to store up and accumulate for yourself.” According to God's Reality, the sum total of your bankbook (Human righteousness) is ORGE the wrath of God as Judge. ORGE is a very strong word in the Greek for wrath, anger or indignation. This is an anthropopathism or language of accommodation, ascribing to God a human characteristic; in order to explain a Divine Thought. In context it is a righteous expression of wrath toward those who have rejected His Righteousness and Thoughts and substituted their own self-righteousness, thoughts and ability; "deeds". God must take punitive measures in such cases; so ORGE is better translated “punishment,” which is exactly what God deals out for believers now and at the Judgment Seat. (Rom 2:15-16; (1Co 3:14-15) And at the Last Judgment for unbelievers. The details of this are found in. (Rev 20:11-15)
THE ETERNAL PAY-OFF OF THE UNBELIEVER
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. (Rev 20:11)
All judgment is committed to Christ. (John 5:27) At the First Advent Christ was judged for us; at the Second Advent He is the Judge. Everyone who rejected His judgment at the Cross must face Him as Judge. Everyone must either accept His love at the Cross or His justice at the Great White Throne!
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. (Rev 20:12-13)
As the unbelieving dead are resurrected and stand before God the Son, the books are opened; (These are the “deposit books’) then another book is opened, which is the Book of Life. (Rev 13:8) This is the book which contains only the names of believers. (Luk 10:20; Php 4:3; Rev 20:15) Now notice, the unbelievers are judged ACCORDING TO THEIR DEEDS — their good deeds! Every deed of human "morality" that the unbeliever has ever performed is recorded in the books of deeds.
Inevitably, the self-righteous man who builds his righteousness on someone else’s unrighteousness will seek to perform good deeds by which he impresses himself as well as his fellow man. Now remember, this is not condemning obedience as a part of the laws of Divine establishment. Here we are dealing with the self-righteous man who has rationalized all his life that, because his sins are not as obvious and apparently not as "wretched" as someone else’s sins, he is righteous.
He brings his “house of cards” to the Judgment, (1Pe 4:17-18) expecting it to stand up under the fire of God’s judgment! So God brings out all the human deeds all the deposits; and let’s say they total 927,628 good deeds and or thoughts; the entire house of cards. They still add up only to Minus-R! Jesus Christ is Plus-R (Absolute righteousness) Minus-R cannot have fellowship with Plus-R.
The unbeliever says, “But . . .. “And the Lord says, “I died for your sins at the Cross, so they are not going to be mentioned. But I have rejected your human morality. You have brought your human production here with you; I still reject it. I rejected it at the Cross; I reject it at the Throne!” When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, He bore the sins of the entire human race. (Unlimited atonement; 1Jn 2:2) During the time that Christ was bearing our sins in His own body on the tree, (Spiritual death; 1Pe 2:24) He bore only our sins. He did not do anything with human production moral and or immoral; except to reject it!
We have all been exposed to some preacher or evangelist who has said, “When you stand at the Judgment Bar of God, will you hang your head in shame as God mentions your sins?” At the Judgment Bar there is one thing that CANNOT be held against you, and that is sin you committed in time. For when Jesus Christ went to the Cross; every sin — past, present and future — was poured out upon Him and judged. (Isa 53:3-6) Every sin in the human race went to court when Jesus Christ was on the Cross. Under the law of double jeopardy, a person cannot be judged twice for the same crime. The same rule applies to the Grace Plan of salvation. Therefore, sins will not be the subject at the courtroom activity of the Great White Throne. It is true, the unbeliever will be in court; but he will be there for one reason only: his refusal during his lifetime to personally believe in Jesus Christ! (John 3:18)
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, (Rev 2:11; Rev 20:6) the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, (Psa 69:28; Rev 3:5) he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:14-15)
“Whosoever” means there are no exceptions in the human race; but the decision as to your eternal destiny must be made in time. Those who have rejected the work of Christ on the Cross and stand on their own good deeds are now indicted. The religious people, the moral people the self-righteous people, along with the immoral people, all have one thing in common: they have a “bankbook” full of deeds — and it is their passport to the lake of fire!
Now immediately, someone will question God’s judgment: Is God fair? God’s character is infinitely and eternally perfect, without being subject to change or instability of any kind. Therefore, it is impossible for God to be unfair. (Rom 9:20-33) In His fairness He “will render [Refund] to each one [Unbelievers and or believers] according to [The standard of] his deeds.” (Rom 2:6) ALL judgment is a demonstration of God’s fairness. Although all believers have had the opportunity to reach maturity. Each person is now given a trial. Salvation depends on faith in Christ, the Rock, (1Co 10:4) maturity depends on God's Nature and Thoughts constructed in the believer. (1Co 3:11-16) A house of cards has a foundation of sand; and will never stand before the absolute righteousness of a just and fair God!
THE ETERNAL PAY-OFF OF THE BELIEVER
The English translation of, (Rom 2:6-7) seems to say that deeds we will be judged and not thoughts. However, if you understand that, (Rom 2:8-9) are expressing the ATTITUDES of volition rather than the MECHANICS, you won’t have any trouble with it. Verse 7 is the Thoughts of POSITIVE volition; verse 8, NEGATIVE volition.
WHO WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good (Staying in fellowship---is Thinking with God's Thoughts) seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life. (Rom 2:6-7)
In verse 8, we see again the eternal pay-off of the negative believer.
But to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the Truth, (The Thinking of Christ; 1Co 2:16) but obey unrighteousness, (Staying out of fellowship and thinking with human thoughts) wrath and indignation. (Rom 2:8)
You are using as your building material self-righteousness; instead of God’s righteousness. God’s attitude toward such a person is anger and wrath — Divine judgment.
THE TEMPORAL PAY-OFF OF THE BELIEVER
There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, (Living by satanic and human reality) of the Jew first and also of the Greek. (Rom 2:9)
Here is the pay-off for the reversionistic and or carnal believer. Both Jew and Gentile are included; therefore, race or culture is not the issue in Spiritual things. Not every believer is reversionistic. He may have had good norms and standards, but when he rejects Truth, he gradually builds scar tissue on the left bank of the soul. This causes a blackout of the soul and emotional revolt, and opens up the MATAIOTES. Satanic Truth infiltrates into his frame of reference, changing his norms and standards and thoughts, so that all establishment Thinking in his right lobe is destroyed. He is under the “strong delusion” of. (2Th 2:9-12) These things bring nothing but self-induced misery to the individual involved, whether he is an unbeliever or a believer.
THE TEMPORAL PAY-OFF OF THE BELIEVER IN SPIRITUAL ADULTHOOD
But glory (Eternal) and honor (Temporal) and peace (Spiritual prosperity) to everyone who does good, (Living in God's Reality---of the filling of God the Holy Spirit and Truth; John 4:24) to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God! (Rom 2:10-11)
Honor is given to the maximum to the believer who has the capacity for it. God is waiting to benefit every believer to the utmost in the field of grace. (Isa 30:18) But until you erect an edification complex in the soul, (Adult Spiritual life: Temple) you do not have capacity for life or freedom, for love or happiness! Honor belongs to the believer who has taken in Truth on a daily basis through the function of Operation Z, and who has erected an edification complex. Then beyond the Adult Spiritual life is the Mature Spiritual life, which is the most valuable thing a believer can have in time! (Jas 2:23)
“Honor” is the Doctrinal and Spiritual capacity for life--“something of value” refers to the marvelous things which come to the believer in maturity, be they visible or invisible. “Adversity” or “prosperity” it is the absence of sorrow and misery; hence, tranquility — an overall benefit whereby something that God possesses becomes our possession; TOTAL SPIRITUAL AND MENTAL STABILITY! (INTEGRITY and or HOLINESS)
Again, it is not dependent on race or culture. God does not have more grace for one race or culture than for another. Grace does not have more to offer the religious, nonreligious, moral or the immoral. Grace benefits all, as indicated by the next verse: “For there is no partiality with God.” (Rom 2:11)
No matter how large the accumulation of human morality or how great the self-righteousness, no matter how sweet or pleasing the personality, these cannot save or gain the approbation of God! While the sincere do-gooders, the pleasing personalities, and the maudlin sentimentalists, (Gushily emotional) with their “love everybody” attitude may impress people, they do not impress God, nor does God approve of them. Why? Because they are Spiritually dead as unbelievers; and in carnality as believers--both function in the thinking of Satan! (1Co 2:14; (1Co 3:1; (1Co 4:20) They are incapable of loving everyone or of producing brotherhood; and yet this is the way Satan tries to pull his kingdom together! The more human morality you produce, the deeper you go in debt with God. (Rom 4:4) The harder you work for salvation, the farther you get from it. (Heb 4:9-11) Good deeds are like an undertow which carries you out to sea.
These last three verses anticipate another principle on which people build a house of cards — arrogance. Such a person imagines himself better than others on the basis of rationalization or something he does or thinks. He may be an intellectual snob, a cultural snob, a social snob. People from very humble circumstances can be arrogant as well as those from very exalted circumstances. But you can’t build your righteousness on arrogance!
THE CONDEMNATION OF THE RELIGIOUS SNOB
A snob is a person who on the one hand repels the advances of those he considers inferior to himself, while on the other hand he blatantly imitates or fawningly seeks association with anyone whom he considers superior. Name-droppers fall into this category. They associate VIP’s with themselves and form a system of snobbery. Since the Jews considered God superior, they sought association with Him through their own self-righteousness.
A snob can never really get hold of the Bible because it always means the intrusion of self-righteousness where grace-righteousness ought to exist. We all have areas where we are tempted; we all have occasions when we can look down our noses at someone and say, “I’m better than you.” But this passage is going to strip away all the phony gear and leave the real you; and when you look at the real you, there’s just one way to go — as fast as you can toward God’s grace!
Having the Mosaic Law; this made many of the Jews snobs. They said, “We have the Law; therefore, we are better than the Gentiles.” But God leveled them by saying, “There are Gentiles who are better at keeping the Law than you, and they have never even heard of the Law!” Being a snob may cause a person to avoid immorality; but he has avoided it on the basis of snobbery, not on the basis of Spirituality. (Being in fellowship and Thinking with Truth) Distorting the Law into a system of legalism led the Jews to substitute--Spiritual Virtue. (Gal 5:22-23) Snobbery is human rationalization, where Spiritual Thinking and Virtue ought to exist.
Because the Jews considered the Gentiles inferior, they would not associate with them until the Gentiles were circumcised and went through the whole system of the Law not because this was necessary, but because the Jews under the Law were snobs. Verse 12 says that the self-righteous snob is just as guilty as the immoral Gentile.
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. (Rom 2:12)
Those “without the Law” indicate Gentile or Greeks and further portray the category of immoral men. While Greek culture, which has been exalted through the centuries by mixed-up people, demonstrated phenomenal genius, it also included tremendous immorality — especially homosexuality. The Jews didn’t tolerate homosexuality; in fact, they had strict laws against it. It was the Jewish attitude of snobbery which lacked Virtue, not the Law itself. They looked down their noses at the Gentile practices and said, “We are better than they!”
The next phrase would get the Jewish snob to nodding: “[Those] without the law shall also perish. [Receive punishment] "You see, the snob would be quick to say that the immoral Gentile was going to hell. The Jew would say, “I judge him to be wrong by my Law; I judge him as being immoral and lascivious.” But the tables would turn on this self-righteous snob. Since he has not only built his righteousness on someone else’s unrighteousness, (Real or imagined) but maintained his righteousness by snobbery rather than by being in fellowship, he had a house of cards which was about to crumble, and here it is: the Jew under the Law is just as much a sinner as the Gentile who knows nothing of the Law!
There is no partiality with God. An unbeliever is an unbeliever and a carnal believer is a carnal believer; whether Jew or Gentile, moral or immoral, religious or non-religious, they are all under the condemnation of God. All have missed the boat of grace! All unbelievers are condemned by God’s standards on the basis of their rejection of Christ. (John 3:18) And all carnal believers are under Divine discipline because of the rejection of the filling of God the Holy Spirit and Truth! (1Co 3:1; (2Th 2:10) Not because of the moral category in which they happen to be. (1Ti 2:4)
The Law demonstrates that the morality of the self-righteous man is not good enough. The classic illustration is the rich young ruler. (Matt 19:16-22) The very way in which he came to Jesus and asked, “What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” indicates that he was a snob. He had compared himself to everyone around, and he figured he had it made! Therefore, he expected flattery from Jesus; instead he got smashed to the ground; because he trusted in himself and his accomplishments.
The Mosaic Law not only sets up a standard to determine sinfulness, but it also reflects the absolute standards of God’s perfect Righteousness and Virtue. God is infinitely superior to all creatures without-one ounce of snobbery! In grace, God has found a way to communicate the perfection of His character---and on the basis of character He is going to reject unbelievers because they rejected Christ. And believers for rejecting His Spiritual life. (Psa 73:27) He does not change His character for pleasing personalities, for the do-gooders or the brotherhood types. He has found a way to love mankind without compromising His character because of WHO AND WHAT CHRIST IS! Not because of who and what we are.
THE DELUSIONS OF THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS MAN
The self-righteous man is proud of his house of cards, and it is quite a shock to hear that he is just as guilty as the immoral Gentile. To the self-righteous man; the Law, with specific reference to the Ten Commandments, becomes a check chart by which he can keep track of his self-righteousness and human morality. This was the case with the rich young ruler. Such a check chart feeds the pride and inflates the ego into maximum arrogance! The proudest people in the world aren’t necessarily the obvious boasters — they are generally only trying to cover their insecurity. The proudest people are the arrogant, self-righteous types. They feel totally secure in their human morality; but keeping the Law neither saves nor justifies them before God. (Rom 3:20-28; Rom 9:30-33; Jas 2:10) Therefore, a parenthesis of amplification is given in (Rom 2:13-16).
For it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers (Believers and Thinkers) of the Law will be justified. (Rom 2:13)
First, the intellectual snob assumes that merely hearing and learning the Law in itself provides justification before God. Remember, the Mosaic Law is not just the Ten Commandments; it is far more than that. The Jews would master the entire content of the Law. When they came into contact with a Gentile who understood nothing of the Law, they would immediately develop a type of snobbery.
The second assumption is the view of the legalistic snob who disagrees with the first assumption. He says, “No, you can’t have justification on the basis of perception alone; you must DO the Law. There must be overt manifestation by which "I can" evaluate your righteousness.” I must say that the Jews in their legalism developed justification by works to a much greater extent than Christianity has today. The Jews would spend as long as ten years learning the Law; then they would spend the rest of their lives trying to fulfill every jot and tittle of the Law in order to get to heaven. Yet today legalistic Christianity has the nerve to promote such psychological deception as raising your hand or walking an aisle for salvation! Of course, the Jews, with all their zealous efforts, were just as lost as anyone is today who is trying to be saved by morality and or good deeds!
How good must you be to impress God? How many good deeds must you do to get to heaven? There’s no end to it because NO AMOUNT of good deeds can get anyone to heaven! God doesn’t operate on the basis of relativity. He is absolute, and His justice and righteousness are absolute. Therefore, His salvation is based on an absolute: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved!” (Acts 16:31)
The functional self-righteous Jew completes the illusion by assuming that when you do the Law, your deeds of morality can serve as a standard to compare yourself favorably with the immoral man. Hence, self-justification leads to an erroneous conclusion concerning Divine justification. However, the next two verses demonstrate that the Gentiles without the Mosaic Law could produce Virtue-morality comparable to the Virtue-morality of the Jews within the Law.
Both types of snobs have had their delusions paraded in order that they might be refuted; but since verse 13 is written from the standpoint of the hard-core legalist, or the functional snob, he is the first one to be refuted in verse 14.
Verse 15 will refute the intellectual snob.
GENTILE VS JEWISH VIRTUE- MORALITY
For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things (Thoughts) of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves. (Rom 2:14)
“Are a law to themselves” means that the Gentiles were able to produce Virtue-morality of the Law without the Law. Furthermore, this verse implies that they did a better job instinctively (The work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience) than the Jews did with the Law. Man is born with a natural instinct for establishment, just as a bird knows to fly south for the winter, God has written these on our heart! (Rom 1:19; Rom 2:15; Rom 10:8-9) Therefore, if the Gentiles could produce the same Virtue-morality as the Jews who had the Law, it made the Jews look bad. It also demonstrated the FALLACY of the second assumption of, verse 13 that keeping the Law could justify them before God (Rom 3:20; Gal 2:16; Rom 3:28, in that order). This is a very disillusioning piece of logic to hit people who are intellectually dishonest and snobbish.
That the Gentiles had Virtue-morality without the Mosaic Law demonstrates that they had good norms and standards in their right lobes. Since the conscience (SUNEIDESIS, meaning literally, “with knowledge” or “to know with”) is part of the right lobe or heart, it is here that the norms, standards and criteria for obedience to authority, faith in Christ, The Divine institutions and the establishment Thoughts are located--- "FROM BIRTH!"
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the Truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident WITHIN THEM; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and Divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are WITHOUT EXCUSE! (Rom 1:18-20)
In that they show the work of the Law WRITTEN IN THEIR HEARTS, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them. (Rom 2:15)
“The conscience [Of the Gentiles who do not have the law] confirming their testimony” is one of two genitive absolutes. In the Greek, this is a grammatical construction disconnected from the rest of the sentence, designed to wake up the reader — or better still, to shake him up! Now, what is it here that would startle the intellectual snobs? It blasted them right out of their seats to find out that Gentiles had souls with norms and standards like theirs. The Jews spent years learning the Law from which they developed their norms and standards. Now along came the Gentiles who had not even studied the Law, but produced the same obedience to authority, to the last six Commandments; by instinct.
“The Thoughts [The reasoning’s or Thinking’s] alternately accusing or defending” is the second genitive absolute and shows the function of the conscience. “To accuse or defend” demands norms and standards by which right and wrong can be sorted out. So because the Gentiles had norms and standards residing in their conscience, they could say of one another, “He’s right,” or “He’s wrong.” That destroyed the use of the Mosaic Law as an instrument of justification before God.
On the day (Believers at the Judgment Seat; Rom 14:10; and unbelievers at the Great White Throne; Rev 20:11) when, according to my gospel, (Teaching of Truth) God will judge the secrets (Thoughts) of men through Christ Jesus. (Rom 2:16)
The righteousness of the self-righteous man is inadequate for salvation. (Rom 10:2-3) He must have a righteousness which is totally apart from human merit---and equivalent to the Father’s perfect righteousness. The only way to obtain this righteousness is by the imputation of God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. (2Co 5:21) Since the self-righteous unbeliever has rejected Christ, he must, at the Last Judgment, depend on his own righteousness. (He must represent himself without his Attorney: Christ. The same applies to the believer who represents himself at the Judgment Seat with human morality; instead of Spirituality!) And the COMMENDATION they sought from God through self-righteousness becomes CONDEMNATION!
These three verses also form a pattern for believers that spend their lives thinking that the Christian way of life is DOING! They think that learning Truth is not important. Instead they believe that they must witness to so many people a day; they must spend so much time in prayer; they must do, do, do! So there are deluded legalists in the churches today who use every system and gimmick for Spirituality with the hope of impressing God. But like the human morality of the unbeliever, the believer’s human morality is also rejected and will be burned at the Judgment Seat of Christ. (1Co 3:13) Now you ask, “What about bona fide production in the Christian life?” The answer is that Divine Virtue-morality is produced automatically when you are filled with God the Holy Spirit and Think with Truth! (John 4:23-24) GOD'S REALITY; THE MIND OF CHRIST! (1Co 2:16)
THE CONDEMNATION OF THE RELIGIOUS MAN
From, (Rom 2:17) to (Rom 2:28) we have the religious man’s house of cards; in, (Rom 2:29) we have the true foundation for a relationship with God! (John 4:24) Remember that religion belongs to the devil. (John 8:44) Religion is antithetical and antagonistic to Christianity; religion and Christianity are mutually exclusive. Christianity is NOT a religion; it is a relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ through God the Holy Spirit! (John 15:26; John 17:3) Religion is man’s attempt to have relationship with God through his own deeds, traditions, rituals, thoughts and or abilities. Religion under this concept is always condemned in the Word of God. (Mark 7:6-8)
Verses 17-20 introduce one of the longest conditional clauses in the Word of God. The Jew, who is using the Mosaic Law as a system of salvation, Spirituality or gaining the approbation of God, is going to be used as the background for setting up a “straw man” in the field of religion.
But if you bear the name "Jew" and rely upon the Law and boast in God. (Rom 2:17)
In the category of religious Homo sapiens, none has been more religious than the unbelieving Jew. Therefore, the devout, zealous unbelieving Jew becomes a perfect illustration for the condemnation of the religious person. (1Co 15:9; (1Ti 1:15) If the religious Jewish unbeliever is condemned by God, all religious unbelievers are condemned. The religious person is always boasting about his relationship with God; but he has no relationship because he’s trying to be saved by his own works. “Deeds” are anything you add to faith in Christ for salvation. Christ did all the work! This is Divine power, and it is the only “deed” God will accept for salvation. His deed is a gift, which we receive through faith in Christ. (John 1:12)
The three verbs of, (Rom 2:17) each of which is characterized by a different form of the present tense, denote three assumptions or illusions of religion: that racial identity, religious activity or pseudo-intellectualism connote superiority. All religious people, Jew or Gentile, operate under illusion, and religious illusion leads to delusion or apostasy. Verses 18-20 state three delusions of religion.
THE DELUSIONS OF THE RELIGIOUS MAN
And know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law. (Rom 2:18)
The Jewish unbeliever is under the delusion that by learning the Law he understands the sovereign will of God. He is also under the delusion that his false standards are the standards of God and that his thinking is God’s thinking. (Isa 55:9) A third delusion is based on intellectual snobbery. While the religious Jew was thoroughly inculcated with the content of the Law, he failed, to understand its true meaning and purpose. (Death to the old nature; and new nature created; Rom 6:17-18) Hence, he was deluded into thinking he was saved simply because he, (As a natural man; believer out of fellowship; or an unbeliever) knew the Law. (1Co 2:13-14)
And are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness. (Rom 2:19)
Under this category, the religious Jew was confident that he was a guide to the blind — that he was the only one who could lead others out of the “swamp” of ignorance. Furthermore, he was confident that all non-religious people were in darkness, and only he was enlightened.
The Teaching Delusion.
A corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the Truth (Rom 2:20)
A third attitude of religion is that non-religious people are stupid and immature, and they must be straightened out by coercion. This is illustrated in more recent history by the Spanish Inquisition. Those who did not follow the dictates of the religious leaders were often tortured or killed. Religion is the worst thing that has ever happened to this world. In the name of Christianity, it is responsible for more evil than any other factor in human history!
When the religious Jews taught the Law, they took it out of its context and made it an outline for religion. The Law was to teach freedom and privacy, but these Jews destroyed freedom and privacy. The Law was to teach Jesus Christ as the only Savior, but they rejected Christ as Savior and set up their own system of works for salvation.
THE REFUTATION OF RELIGION
Verses 21-29 show that the assumptions stated in (Rom 2:17-20) are contrary to religion. This is demonstrated by four questions, which refute religion.
You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? (Rom 2:21)
The first half of the verse actually sets up the principle of attack. All religious people have a system or gimmick which they hope will provide a “ride’” into heaven. With the religious Jew, this system was the Mosaic Law. They taught it to Gentiles so that the Gentiles could learn the Law and be saved — yet they themselves were not saved! The four questions which follow illustrate this principle.
The first question: “You proclaim not to steal do YOU steal?” They were telling people that if they were guilty of stealing they couldn’t go to heaven. Yet these same Jews were guilty of the worst kind of stealing — the “corban” gimmick, which was, in effect, stealing from their parents. (Matt 15:5 ; Mark 7:11-13)
The second question: “You who keep saying not to commit adultery — do you commit adultery?” (Rom 2:22) The religious Jews were just as guilty as the Gentiles they were teaching because they were committing mental adultery. (Matt 5:27-28)
The third question: “You who detest idols, do you rob idol-temples?” (Rom 2:22) Since the seventy years of the Babylonian Captivity, the Jews had had a fanatical hatred of idols. They used the second commandment as an excuse to steal vast sums of money from the heathen temples, (Acts 19:37) which were the banks of the ancient world, as well as the center of the phallic cult. (Pornography of every kind)
The fourth question: “You who keep boasting in [The keeping of] the law, through the violation of the law, do you dishonor God?” (Rom 2:23) The religious Jews always boasted about the portion of the Law which they kept. But there was always a part which they overlooked and which condemned them. Furthermore, their legalism and rejection of grace was dishonoring to God. They added insult to injury by transgressing the very Law which they used as a means of salvation. Religion fails through both deed and sins to meet the standard of its own self-appointed system of salvation!
THE FALLACY OF RELIGION
For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," just as it is written. (Rom 2:24) cf. (Eze 36:19-28)
The Jews had such a pharisaical respect toward the Name of God; they would not even pronounce the Tetragrammaton, (Jehovah) but used ADONAI instead. Yet through the hypocrisy of religion and the inconsistency of legalism, the religious Jews maligned the very Name they claimed to worship and revere by extracting a bona fide part of the Word of God designed for something else and making it into a system of works for salvation.
This hypocrisy overflowed to the immoral Gentiles, who had the common sense and discernment to see through the facade of the religious Jew. They just laughed and blamed this blasphemous inconsistency on God. If there’s anything that makes a bright person stupid and robs him of his common sense, it’s religion! It’s the same today. People, who are normally intelligent and have understood the grace of the Cross, often fall in line with many non-Biblical and legalistic practices in their own churches.
Before the Cross, Truth was taught by ritual as well as by exegetical verse-by-verse analysis of the Scripture. After the Cross, the only ritual which is bona fide for the Church is Communion: The Lord's Table which represents many Doctrines. (1Co 10:21; (1Co 11:23-31) But, like the Law, ritual had been distorted into a system of legalism. At the time the Book of Romans was written, the religious Jews were still trying to practice Judaism with its Old Testament rituals, which were intended for the previous dispensation. They continued to perform various ceremonies until the fifth cycle of discipline. (The Jewish dispersion of 70 A.D.) One of these was circumcision, which is now used as an illustration in verse 25.
RITUAL WITHOUT REALITY
For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. (Rom 2:25) cf. (Jer 9:25)
Circumcision was now being used by the religious Jews as the key ritual for gaining both the approbation of God and entrance into heaven. Wherever you find ritualism converted into religionism, you find something that is dishonoring to God. Ritualism, which comes from the trend of asceticism in the old sin nature, has an appeal for a lot of people. It makes them FEEL closer to God. But “feeling” is not a part of the Spiritual life. Spirituality is determined by what the Bible teaches.
Circumcision was beneficial or bona fide for Israel under the principles of the Law. It was a teaching aid and a sign which designated the Jews as a race and a national entity. It has no literal Spiritual significance in the Church Age, but it does have a meaningful analogy. In circumcision the useless skin is cut away. This represents cutting off the control of the old sin nature at Salvation, (Positional righteousness; Col 2:10-11) and experientially at maturity. (Experiential righteousness) (Gen 17:1-27) cf. (Rom 4:17-22; Heb 11:8-12)
We no longer practice the rituals of the Mosaic Law, because Jesus Christ fulfilled them in His life and at the Cross. There are, however, certain principles of establishment in the Law which will always be applicable to both believers and unbelievers. From the time that the Law was given, the Law has been broken. The entire human race is in violation of the Law. Verse, (Rom 2:25) is saying that if you are a violator of the Law, then your circumcision is just a physical operation without Spiritual meaning.
Jewish circumcision had become ritual without reality. GOD'S REALITY lies in the Truth which the ritual reveals or portrays! The Jews were placed under the fifth cycle of discipline because they did not have the circumcision OF THE SOUL to accompany the ritual. (Jer 4:4; Jer 6:10; Jer 9:25-26; Eze 44:9) Ritual NEVER takes the place of Truth; nor does any experience! It’s just another house of cards when taken out of its context and made into a substitute for Truth.
People are always trying to DO something to take the place of Truth. Even born-again believers today in their legalism have tried to make something special out of ritual, when the only thing that is special is the assimilation of Truth. It is the Spiritual Knowledge of Truth that gives capacity for freedom, for life, for love and for happiness! This Knowledge fulfills the purpose of the intensified stage of the angelic appeal trial. Life becomes real only when Truth makes God real and fulfills the principle of occupation with Christ and TRUE REALITY! Circumcision is used in this passage to represent all the evils of religion in the field of ritual.
So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? (Rom 2:26-27)
This portion of the dissertation parallels, (Rom 2:14-15) where the establishment Gentile compares favorably with the religious Jew, who emphasizes ritual without reality. So the question is asked: If the Gentiles keep the regulations or requirements of the Law without the ritual of circumcision, wouldn’t it be the same as if they were circumcised? The answer has to be yes. Once it is established that his uncircumcision is equivalent to circumcision, the ritual of circumcision loses its Spiritual significance. Therefore, the Jews cannot use the keeping of the Law as a basis for gaining the approbation of God.
The Gentiles, who had never been circumcised, stand as a judgment to the Jews, who have been circumcised, because the Gentiles do the Law instinctively, while the Jews, who knew the Law, did not obey it. The key is what is in the soul. The Gentile has establishment in his soul, although he has not been circumcised. The Jew in question had been circumcised, but he was anti-establishment and or Truth in his soul. (Jer 9:25)
THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE RELIGIOUS JEW AND TRUE ISRAEL
Up to this point we have had the distinction between the Gentile (The uncircumcised) and the Jew. (The circumcised) Now we have another distinction: there were two kinds of Jews in the Dispensation of Israel, just as there were in Paul's day — the believer and the unbeliever. The unbeliever had been circumcised and placed emphasis on the ritual. The believing Jew also had been circumcised; but he placed the emphasis on the circumcision of the heart, which meant he was functioning under the laws of Divine establishment. For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. (Rom 2:28)
“Overt manifestation” indicates a Jew by birth or nationality — that is, a racial Jew. He can be a religious Jew: but this is not referring to a regenerate Jew. A person can be born a Jew, but he is not true Israel until, like Abraham, he believes in Jesus Christ for salvation. (Gen 15:6; Rom 4:3)
Remember, this chapter is talking to Jews of the Church Age; but is also speaking of the Jews of the previous dispensation. The Jews of Paul’s day were distorting Jewish Laws and rituals, so Paul had to go back and explain the original purpose of circumcision under the Law. In the Dispensation of the Church, any racial Jew who believes in Christ becomes a member of the Body of Christ.
Now we come to a contrast between the true and the false Jew from the standpoint of the Word of God.
But he is a Jew (A believer) who is one inwardly; (In Reality) and circumcision is that which is of the heart, (Positional righteousness) by the Spirit, (God the Holy Spirit) not by the letter; (Ritual) and his praise is not from men, but from God. (Rom 2:29)
For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God (Live in fellowship: in the Spiritual life; Gal 5:25) and glory in Christ Jesus (Trust in Christ and His Thoughts) and put no confidence in the flesh, (No trust in the old sin nature or its thoughts; Prov 28:25-26) (Php 3:3)
Both the new birth and the circumcision of the heart are invisible. Circumcision of the heart, which represents the edification complex and the adult Spiritual life, is invisible because it is in the soul. All the advantages which belonged to the Jew of the Old Testament came from the Bible---Truth in his soul, just as they do for any believer today. This is the only means by which anyone can receive blessings from God!
So we have seen that immoral, moral and religious people are all in the same boat they — are all condemned! (Luk 9:56; NASB) They all have a system, a house of cards, by which they hope to be saved or to gain the approbation of God. But any system of human works will be inconsistent because man is inconsistent and imperfect, and his own inconsistencies and imperfections will trap him!
The only permanent “house a person can construct is built on Truth. You must have the true foundation of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, and then through the function of Operation Z; erect a superstructure in the soul. This superstructure consists of: http://thinkingtruth.wordpress.com/2008/02/05/top-and-bottom-circles/
Why waste your time on a meaningless, flimsy, unstable HOUSE OF CARDS, when you can have every grace asset needed to build a “house” which will stand forever!
DOCTRINE OF MORALITY
1. Christianity is NOT a morality; Christianity is NOT a religion; it is a relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ through God the Holy Spirit! (John 15:26; John 17:3)
2. Virtue-morality is a by-product of Spiritual adulthood. (Eph 5:3)
3. However, human morality has no Spiritual dynamics. (Gal 5:16) Consequently, Virtue-morality is a result, of obedience to authority for believers and unbelievers.
4. In contrast to keeping the Law, "by ritual only" without Salvation and or the filling of the Holy Spirit. (Rom 7:14) The true dynamics of the Spiritual life are located in the filling of the Holy Spirit; (Rom 8:4; Gal 5:22-23; Eph 5:18) and the daily function of Operation Z; which results in Spiritual maturity! (The nature of Christ being completed in us: THE NEW MAN; Eze 11:19; Eph 4:24)
5. Morality cannot provide either Salvation or Spirituality! (Psa 39:5; Isa 64:6; Rom 3:10-12; Rom 7:18; Gal 3:2; Tit 3:5) Anything the unbeliever can do is not the Christian way of life!
6. However, Virtue-morality is the result of obedience to the authority of the Divine laws of establishment and or the Word of God; therefore, absolutely necessary for the orderly function of the human race. (Rom 13:1-5) Obedience to authority provides the framework for the true function of the Divine institutions. (Volition, marriage, family and nationalism) As a part of the laws of establishment, (Freewill, privacy, property and protection) obedience to authority is for the entire human race, believer and unbeliever alike! (Matt 8:9-10; Luk 7:8-9) The unbeliever is capable of obedience to authority as indicated by the rich young ruler (Matt 19:18-20)
7. Obedience to authority protects human freedom, as illustrated by the Ten Commandments, and makes evangelism possible in every generation.