NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY
Dr. Robert R. Seyda
EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS
SUMMARY OF CHAPTER TWO
The Apostle Paul’s final words in Chapter 1 were: “They know God has said that all who do such things should die. But they keep on doing these things and are happy when others do them also.” He was speaking of those who followed the sinful desires of their heart without any conscious rebuke and ended up worshiping creation instead of the Creator.
So he opens this second Chapter by warning the believers in Rome that they too were in danger of God’s judgment if they criticized those in the world of such immoral conduct while they’re committing the same sins themselves. Thinking that just because they were Christians, somehow God would be more lenient with them as His children. But Paul states emphatically, that not only would they be punished, but punished more severely than those who committed their sins in ignorance while they are knowingly disobeying God’s Word and His will.
Paul more or less was saying, that when you judge someone for what they have done wrong, you are giving the impression that you have never done anything bad. First look at yourself before you examine others. No, there is nothing wrong with condemning what God condemns, but always with the humility of the saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
Paul wants the Roman believers to realize that it’s one thing to claim that God had spoken to them, either through His Word or His servants, but it doesn’t count unless they act upon what they’ve read or heard. And this principle was true to both those who were part of God’s family [the Jews], and those who were not [the Gentiles]. It would be like two people caught for stealing food from a grocery store. One of them was a known crook, but the other was a relative of the owner. The relative, however, claimed that he should be treated with more respect and favor because he was carrying a book written by the owner at the time.
But on the other hand, Paul said that if two people were confronted with either doing what was right or what was wrong in a particular circumstance, and one of them who had never been to church and knew little about religion, followed his conscience and did what was right, that he would be looked upon with more joy by God than the other person who, while wearing a cross around his neck, chose to do what was wrong, even though he was one of God’s children.
Paul ends up by making the point that’s it’s not what a person is on the outside, but what they are on the inside that counts with God. That’s because God is not impressed with any outward appearance that is designed to please Him and others with moral or spiritual makeup. He looks on the heart to see if what He sees there is genuine or pretension.
William Newell summarizes Romans 2 with these “Seven Great Principles of God’s Judgment.”
– God’s judgment is according to truth (Romans 2:2)
– God’s judgment is according to accumulated guilt (Romans 2:5)
– God’s judgment is according to works (Romans 2:6)
– God’s judgment is without partiality (Romans 2:11)
– God’s judgment is according to performance, not knowledge (Romans 2:13)
– God’s judgment reaches the secrets of the heart (Romans 2:16)
– God’s judgment is according to reality, not religious profession (Romans 2:17-29)
God bless you for your love of His Word. I’m excited about walking with you through Chapter 3. My prayer is that God will inspire you and open your mind and heart to the truths He has stored in His Word. – Dr. Robert R Seyda