Overview of Romans. I. Intro. + Theme 1:1-15 II. Condemnation 1:18-3:20 III. Justification 3:21-4:25 IV. Sanctification 5:1-8:39 V. Illustration 9:1-11:36 VI. Application 12:1-15:13 VII. Epilogue 15:14-16:27. Rom. 2:17-24 : The Jews are as Guilty as Gentiles.
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I. Intro. + Theme 1:1-15
II. Condemnation 1:18-3:20
III. Justification 3:21-4:25
IV. Sanctification 5:1-8:39
V. Illustration 9:1-11:36
VI. Application 12:1-15:13
VII. Epilogue 15:14-16:27
The emphasis here is on the Jewish claim centered around the Scriptures.
Knowledge is emphasized over practice!
While the Jews claimed special privilege, they dishonored God.
They took pride in having God’s Law but were condemned by it!
“As it is written…”
Isa. 52:3; Ezek. 36:22
Circumcision is only valuable to those who obey.
(2:6, 11, 13; Gal. 3:10; Jas. 2:10)
Disobedient Jews who are circumcised in effect sink to the level of the Gentiles.
We either break the Law or keep the Law.
There is not a third option.
Of course, even a Gentile who obeys the Law is acceptable to God.
In that case, one physically uncircumcised would be a judge against those circumcised.
As this section teaches, the main issue is the source of our praise.
Is it men or God?
God is entirely impartial.
Neither Jew nor Gentile have an advantage against the penetrating light of God’s judgment.
The issue is simple:
Are you righteous in your behavior?
First, they have the “declarations of God”.
But, they didn’t believe them (3).
John 5:39, 46
So, is God done with Israel? (3)
Nope! (4a; 11:1)
God is faithful even when we are not!
One day, just like David in his confession, Israel will turn from their sin.
In that future, God will overcome.
In that day, He will be glorified and vindicated!
Humanity’s sin makes God’s righteousness stand out (v. 5).
It “recommends” God’s righteousness by contrast.
But, if that’s true, is God unrighteous?
(The thought is completely human)
If God operated that way, He couldn’t judge the world.
But, if sinful actions (Israel’s unbelief) end up glorifying God, then God shouldn’t be able to judge others as wrong.
“Let’s do bad things so that good things happen!”
Parenthesis: In fact, Paul had been accused of teaching just that very thing!
To Paul, this was pure slander.
In Paul’s thinking,
people who say things like that deserve judgment. (v. 8)
God is right to bring present wrath and future judgment.
“Are we offering a defense?”
“So, does the Jews advantage offer a defense of them?”
In verses 10-12, Paul presents what humanity does not do (Sins of omission).
In verses 13-18, Paul presents what humanity does do (Sins of commission).
Paul, then, exposes our deficiencies and depravities.
Man is deficient…
In his basic character
In his spiritual perceptions
In his spiritual devotion or pursuits
Humanity’s spiritual pursuits are useless!
Everything is stained by sin!
Man’s depravities involve his body, specifically our mouths and feet that are quick to say and do wicked things reflecting our spiritual death.
Our actions clearly show one thing:
We don’t fear God.
The Jews who had the Law and who considered themselves righteous are condemned along with the entire world.
There cannot be found one righteous, good person on earth.
Every person on earth is subject to judgment.
Present wrath and future judgment are deserved!
Romans 2:13 = Principle!
Romans 3:20 = Reality!
The Law is the highest form of morality on earth!
No one ever has been justified by the Law.
No one ever will be justified by the Law.
Works are completely ineffective to justify!
The Law is like a mirror held up to our lives.
It does not clean. It exposes.
And humanity, every last one of us, is condemned by the reflection of who we are!
The purpose of the Law was educational.
The wrath we see in the world is an indicator of man’s unrighteousness and helplessness.
God’s present wrath is justified.
God’s future judgment is justified.
And, mankind’s situation is hopeless.
We need help.
We need to be delivered from wrath.
We need to be made righteous.
This is EXACTLY why Paul was proud of the Gospel!