Chapter 2:5-29

Fred R. Coulter—August 31, 1996

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Romans 2:5: "But you, according to your own hardness and unrepentant heart, are storing up wrath for yourself against the day of wrath and revelation of God's righteous judgment."

That doesn't mean just at the day of the return of Christ, because the judgment is on the house of God today. Judgment is always on everyone all the time, one way or the other. If we have been called, which we have; and if we have the Holy Spirit of God, which we do; then judgment is upon us. But judgment is also upon the world, too.

Let's review just how the heart is hardened. Here are four steps of hardening the heart:

  • pride enters in
  • turn from God
  • will not hear
  • you harden your heart

It's a choice that you make. It is not a good or a right choice that should be made, nor that anyone should do.

  • Do you suppose that Paul could have been writing about himself?
  • When he was Saul was he not hard-hearted against the Lord?
  • Was he not hard-hearted against the Christians?

Yes! Dragging them off into prison, seeing them killed! So he's speaking from experience. I know one thing that's important, brethren. God will want every one of us to go through certain experiences. Not all experiences are pleasant. Some of them are very nasty and mean. Nevertheless, experience is what develops the love of God.

So Paul, in writing from his own experience, is able to make it clear what it is if you don't repent and you choose to harden your heart. When God dealt with him, he didn't harden his heart. I mean, he was slammed off that donkey, mule, jackass, or horse—whatever he was on—to the ground. God immediately got the point—didn't He? Then he said, 'Yes, Lord, what would you have me do?' That's what it needs to be in all of these things. So, if you have a very difficult problem hit you, and it really knocks you for a loop, ask God, 'Lord, what is it that You want in this situation?' He'll let you know one way or the other.

Let's go to Ezekiel, the third chapter. I want you to think about this in relationship, not only to the people of Israel, but also to the churches today, because they all sort of intertwine together here,

Ezekiel 3:4: "And He said to me, 'Son of man, go! Go up to the house of Israel and speak to them with My words…. [Of course, every prophet only preaches the words of God] …For you are not sent to a people of a strange speech and of a difficult language, but to the house of Israel; not to many people of a strange speech and of a difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I had sent you to them, they would have hearkened to you'" (vs 4-6). Isn't that amazing! He said in another place, 'You go to and fro across the whole world and see.'

  • Has it ever been known that a nation changed their gods?
  • Has India ever changed its gods? No!
  • Have the Tibetans ever change their gods? No!
  • Have the Muslims changed their god? No!

'My people Israel have forsake Me, the Fountain of Living Water!' It's amazing thing! We're seeing the same thing happen in the Church today.

Verse 7: "But the house of Israel will not be willing to hearken to you, for they will not be willing to hearken to Me; for all the house of Israel are of a hard forehead and a stubborn heart." You can't penetrate it! You have a head like a billiard ball; it won't get in!

Verse 8: "Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces…" That's what needs to be, brethren. The day is going to come when we're going to have to face the world. We're going to preach to the world, and I know that day will come when God opens the door. This is the way that we need to do it. We need not be afraid of offending, because if you preach without offense, then you're not preaching Christ. It doesn't mean you deliberately go to offend, but the Truth alone will offend.

"'…and your forehead strong against their foreheads. I have made your forehead as an adamant stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or dismayed by their faces, for they are a rebellious house.' And He said to me, 'Son of man, receive all My words which I shall speak to you. Receive them to your heart…'" (vs 8-10). That's New Testament doctrine, brethren. That's the whole thing that God wants us to have, to receive those things in our heart.

"…and hear with your ears" (v 10). Jesus said in one place, 'Let this sink deep into your ears.' In other words, penetrate your mind. Then He told him to go, and so forth.

When you harden your heart, it's a choice. You don't have to harden your heart. When people harden their hearts, what do they do? They get mad at God! What on earth good is going to do to get mad at God? Are you going to change God? No!

Jeremiah 7:23: "But this thing I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice … [How many times have we seen that?] …and I will be your God, and you shall be My people; and walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, so that it may be well with you.' But they did not obey, nor bow their ear, but walked in their own counsels, in the imagination of their evil heart…" (vs 23-24)—collective—their evil heart! We don't have that in English; if you sent this to your English teacher, she would correct you for non-agreement of subject and object. But God looks at it collectively and singularly.

"…and went backward and not forward. Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them, yet, they did not hearken to Me, nor bow down their ear, but hardened their neck. They did worse than their fathers. Thus you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not hearken to you; you shall also call to them, but they will not answer you. But you shall say to them, This is a nation which does not obey the voice of the LORD their God, nor receives correction; Truth has perished, and is cut off from their mouth'" (vs 24-28).

That's what happens when people harden their heart and turn against God! It's one thing to sin and repent. It's even one thing to sin and delay repentance for a long, long time, but it's entirely another thing to harden your heart and then God has to deal with you in wrath. We don't want that to happen to any of us, or any of the people of God. God says, 'As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.'

Mark3—here we're going to see an example of what really angers God. This is the only account where it said that Jesus was angry.

Mark 3:1: "And again He went into the synagogue, and a man who had a withered hand was there. And they were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbaths, in order that they might accuse Him" (vs 1-2). Jesus knew their thoughts!

Notice how Jesus handled this; may we all learn from this; may we all be able, when we're confronted with grave and difficult situations, to ask God to give us the words, to say what is right.

Verse 3: "Then He said to the man who had the withered hand, 'Stand up here in the center.' And He said to them… [all the rest] …'Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbaths, or to do evil?…. [Gotcha!] … To save life, or to kill?' But they were silent…. [He shut their mouths] …And after looking around at them with anger…" (vs 3-5). Only place! Some people think that if you get angry you're sinning; you're out of control. Not necessarily! Some people think if you raise your voice then you're not Christian. Well, Jesus looked around with anger! Why?

"…being grieved at the hardness of their hearts…" (v 5). Here Christ was going to do a wonderful thing and heal the man with the withered hand. They would rather let the man have the withered hand and not be healed, that they could have something to accuse Christ over. That's a pretty hard heart!

"…He said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as sound as the other. Then the Pharisees…" (vs 5-6)—all rejoiced! Thanked God, embraced Jesus and were converted! NO!

What did they do? "…left and immediately took counsel… [they had a committee] …with the Herodians… [work out a political decision] …against Him as to how they might destroy Him" (v 6).

Now, the disciples were not without their hardness of heart! This will teach us a little bit about belief. Since we have the full Scripture for us and with us—that we can look at all the time, we can read and study and we are to believe—I want you think about this in relationship to how you believe.

Mark 16:9: "Now after Jesus had risen… [in the Greek this is the aorist tense, He already had been raised] …early the first day of the weeks He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. She went and told it to those who had been with Him, who were grieving and weeping. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they [#1]did not believe it" (vs 9-11). Probably said, 'Oh now, Mary, are those demons back with you again?' Didn't believe!

Verse 12: "Now, after these things, He appeared in a different form to two of them as they were walking, going away into the country. And they went and told it to the rest; but [#2]they did not believe them either Afterwards, as they were sitting to eat, He appeared to the eleven and reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because [#3]they did not believe…" (vs 12-14). How does God look upon a true witness? Very profoundly! If you say that it's true, and it's something you should believe, you better believe it!

Here's another good lesson for us to understand concerning believing God, Luke 1:18. The angel came and announced what would happen with his wife and John the Baptist was to be born.

Luke 1:18: "Then Zacharias said to the angel, 'By what means shall I know this?…. [a simple question if you're 60 or 70 years-old] …For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.' And the angel answered and said to him, 'I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to announce this good news to you. But behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day in which these things shall take place because you did not believe my words, which shall be fulfilled in their time'" (vs 18-20)—in their set and due time.

Now then, think about this for a minute: How do you suppose that God is going to look upon those ministers—whoever they are, whichever church or denomination they are in—who come and say that

  • the Lord did not mean this
  • the Sabbath Day doesn't count, you can worship on Sunday
  • you can eat unclean meats
  • it's all right to keep Christmas and Easter
    • Is that not on step to hardening their heart?
    • Is that not disbelieving God in a gross way?

I tell you one thing: Anyone who says that Christ didn't mean what He said and the laws and commandments of God do not mean what they say, they're in deep trouble with God! It wasn't that Zacharias disbelieved, he just asked a question! If God says He sends Gabriel to you, and it's truly Gabriel and he tells you something from God, you'd better believe it! How much more the words of Christ? I call to your attention Deut. 18, that you speak the words of God. That's important for us to know and realize.

Heb. 3 was written—and I fully believe this—by Luke under Paul's direction. Anything that Paul would have written with his signature on it, sent to the Jews in Jerusalem, would have been burned on arrival—guaranteed! That's why it doesn't say, 'I Paul, an apostle.' Carl Franklin believes that the book of James was a cover letter that went with Hebrews, to send it together. That's very possible.

Let's understand something about hardening the heart. This has directly to do with the Sabbath Day:

Hebrews 3:6: "But on the other hand, Christ was faithful as the Son over His own house; Whose house we are, if we are truly holding fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. For this reason, even as the Holy Spirit says, 'Today, if you will hear His voice'" (vs 6-7).

Notice how it keys on hearing the voice of God. Notice that is the greatest sin that God starts out with—they 'didn't obey My voice, didn't believe My words.' This is for us, too. Everyday is today. Will you hear the voice of God today? That's why so much of the Bible is written in the present tense.

  • you are doing
  • you are keeping
  • you are believing

Verse 8: "Harden not your heart, as in the rebellion, in the day of temptation in the wilderness." That's a choice that they made. After being brought out of Egypt, seeing the death of the firstborn, all of the other plagues, walking through the Red Sea, then they come into the desert in the Wilderness of Sin (Exo. 16) and they're all hungry and they said, 'God, You brought us out here to destroy us. Can You give us meat to eat?'

How much better would it have been if they would have said, 'Almighty God, thank you for rescuing us from Egypt. We know this is a harsh and a hard and a difficult environment out here in the desert. Now, in Your greatness and Your love for us, if You see fit, could You please provide us some food? Some meat? We would really like to have some meat.'

What did He do? He sent them gourmet quail, yes, He did! Even though they were rebellious! Just think how much better it would have gone for them. Think how much better it would have been when Moses was on the mountain. Instead of saying, 'As for this man Moses, we don't know where he is. This thing is smoking and burning up. After all no man could live up there on top of that.' If they would have said, 'My, he's still up there. Boy! God has something real important for us.' Just think how history would be different! A simple choice rather than the hardening of the heart!

Verse 9: "Where your fathers tempted Me and tried Me, and saw My works forty years." Three miracles, continuous, ongoing:

  • the cloud by day, which kept the heat off of them
  • the fire by night
  • the manna six days of the week for 40 years

—which means that miracles do not convince anybody. You must believe with the heart.

Verse 10: "'Because of this, I was indignant with that generation, and said, "They are always going astray in their hearts, and they have not known My ways." So, I swore in My wrath, "If they shall enter into My rest—"' Beware, brethren … [take heed, a message for us today] …lest perhaps there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in apostatizing from the living God. Rather, be encouraging one another each day, while it is called 'today,' so that none of you become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (vs 10-13).

That's how it happens. Then you get comfortable with sin, and when you get comfortable with sin you don't want to hear the Truth. Then when you don't want to hear the Truth, then you reject the Truth. When you reject the Truth then you begin hardening your heart.

Notice the direct statement here, v 14: "For we are companions of Christ, if we truly hold the confidence that we had at the beginning steadfast until the end. As it is being said, 'Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion'" (vs 14-15). That applies to us, that we don't harden our hearts.

Here's a truism that always is so; it says concerning the righteous judgment of God, Roman 2:6: "Who will render to each one according to his own works." Another proof that this is an ongoing judgment, and that's based on how he lives his life.

What kind of works are we to have today? The whole thing gets into works vs faith, and we'll see how that works out. Let's understand that the works we are to walk in are the works of love and faith and the commandments of God in the spirit. What is the opposite of being hard-hearted? Tenderhearted! Can we ask God to help us have a tender heart? Just like Christ. It was said of Christ that He grew up like a 'tender branch' before the Father. Can we have a tender heart to God and still be strong? Yes, indeed! That will, with Christ in you, make you strong. If you have a tender heart then you're going to do those things that please God.

Ephesians 2:8: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this especially is not of your own selves; it is the gift of God, not of works… [that is of your own]  …so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship…" (vs 8-10). These are the works that we are to do with Christ being the Workman.

"…being created in Christ Jesus unto the good works that God ordained beforehand in order that we might walk in them" (v 10).

It's true that God judges everyone according to the way that they live, which is their works. Remember this great and profound truth: Nothing can substitute for the sacrifice of Christ!nothing! We are to have good works. God is going to judge us.

Let's go to Rev. 2 & 3; let's see how God judges the Church that way. Let's see what He says to each one of the Churches—each one! Then He begins to enumerate their works. We're not going to go through a long, detailed thing, but nevertheless, I want to read this.

Revelation 2:2—to the Church of Ephesus He says: "I know your works, and your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot bear those who are evil; and that you did test those who proclaim themselves to be apostles, but are not, and did find them liars." So, He's going to judge according to the works.

  • v 9—Smyrna: "I know your works and tribulation and poverty…"
  • v 13—Pergamos: "I know your works and where you dwell…" God knows!
  • v 19—Thyatira: "I know your works, and love, and service, and faith, and your endurance, and your works; and the last are more than the first."

Revelation 3:1—Sardis: "…I know your works, and that you have a name as if you are alive, but are dead." That's got to be almost the worst kind of condition to be in.

  • Verse 8—Philadelphia: "I know your works…"
  • Verse 15—Laodicea: "I know your works…"

'Every man's work is going to be tried in the fire' as to what sort it is (1-Cor. 3). If it's gold, silver or precious stone it will endure and get better. If it's wood, hay and stubble it's going to get burned up—POOF!—and it's gone! We'll see later all those concerning the second resurrection

Revelation 22:12: "And behold, I am coming quickly; and My reward is with Me, to render to each one according as his work shall be." So, God judges us!

Let's see the comparison here. What Paul is doing is showing the comparison of really yielding to God and following the Gospel and not doing that.

Romans 2:7: "On the one hand, to those who with patient endurance in good works are seeking… [present tense] …glory and honor and immortality—eternal life… [brethren, may we all be counted] …on the other hand, to those who are contentious and who disobey the Truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish—upon every soul of man who works out… [present tense] …evil, both of the Jew first, and of the Greek" (vs 7-9).

Verse 8 means that when you are disobeying the Truth it can also have the meaning that you are won over to living evil, that obeying unrighteousness, he shall give indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish.

What he's doing in v 9 is warning the pending destruction of Jerusalem. This is one of the first warnings. What happened was, Judaism was actively denying Christ, building up everything to deny Christ. That's why it's awfully hard to find the historical Jesus in other writings' they made sure it was excluded. As we mentioned concerning Josephus, he was #1 in doing that.

Verse 10: "But glory and honor and peace to everyone who works… [present tense] …good… [that comes from God] … both to the Jew first, and to the Greek, because there is no respect of persons with God" (vs 10-11).

This comes as a profound revelation! The Jews always figured that God had respect unto them. They were the 'chosen' people. 'Since we were the chosen people and came from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God has to respect us.'

Comment was made that in today's paper, in reference to the coming Rosh Hashanah or Feast of Trumpets. The Jews said that God needs them and they need God and God needs their worship. Now you see why God said, 'I hate your feast days. I despise them!'

It's not designed that you can come to God and brag. The Holy Days are designed so we come and fellowship with God the Father and Jesus Christ, the whole total reverse of that. This is a profound revelation to the Jews, because all Gentiles were counted as 'goy-yeem'—cattle! Sinners by nature! Unclean! That you are not to have anything to do with them; you were not even to eat with them. Was that not the sin of Peter and Barnabas? Yes! So, Paul writes and says, 'There's no respect of persons with God.'

Wouldn't it be nice if there were not respect of persons in the court today? Yes! {note booklet and sermon series: Judge Righteous Judgment.}

Deuteronomy 16:18: "You shall appoint judges and officers for yourself in all your gates which the LORD your God gives you, tribe by tribe. And they shall judge the people with righteous judgment…. [by the laws of God] …You shall not pervert judgment; you shall not respect persons, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous" (vs 18-19).

That's why it's wrong to call brethren 'tithe-payers.' That's why we have in our Beliefs of the Christian Biblical Church of God booklet, that the giving of money is not required for salvation, because you can't buy salvation. What if you have no money to give? Are you excluded from the Kingdom of God because you can't give? No! But those who have should tithe, that's fine. We've lived through it, where the words of the righteous were perverted. Yes, we have! And we've suffered by it!

Verse 20: "You shall follow that which is altogether just so that you may live and inherit the land which the LORD your God gives you." That also has to do very profoundly with the Church, with the Kingdom of God.

Romans 2:12: "For as many as have sinned without law… [not the absence of; this means without the knowledge of law] …shall also perish without law… [because the 'wages of sin is death'; it still applies to them] … and as many as have sinned within the Law shall be judged by the Law." That's what James said to those who were about to be judged by 'the royal law.'

All of this that we are about to get into is so profound, a witness against the Jews. I want you to understand that in the terms that Paul wrote it; he uses the word law or the law 19 times. It becomes very important for us to realize.

Verse 13: "(Because the hearers of the Law are not just before God, but the doers… [the Greek there is 'poieo'—those who are practicing] …of the Law shall be justified."

What does justification mean? Right standing with God, having your sins forgiven, thru the sacrifice of Jesus Christ! So, this shows you have to doing, practicing, keeping the Law and there shall be justification for you.

This becomes very difficult for the Jews, v 14: "For when the Gentiles…" Notice that the definite article 'the' is in italics, which means that it is not there in the original Greek, but it is warranted to have it there and does not change the meaning. Some cases it is not warranted to insert the article 'the.'

"…which do not have the Law, practice by nature the things contained in the Law, these who do not have the Law are a law unto themselves" (v 14). This is astonishing to the Jews! Quite a revelation! I'm sure it was to Paul, having been a Pharisee in the past.

Verse 15: who show the work of the Law…" This is the only place in the entire New Testament where the term the work of the law is used and the definite articles are there in the Greek. Every other place it is works of law. When we get to Rom. 3 we'll get into that a little bit more, but I want you to be aware of that right here, right now.

"…written in their own hearts… [we're talking about the same thing that God wants of us] …their consciences bearing witness, and their reasonings also as they accuse or defend one another); in a day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel" (vs 15-16).

{for the following, refer to booklet: The Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Romans, Special Word Studies from the Greek}

Greek Interlinear, Romans 2:13: "(for not the hearers of the law…" Look at the three letters in the Greek above of the—'t-o-u'; that's what it is in the Greek: 'tau, omikron, upsilon'—this is the definite article of the law. Rather than having two words as it is in English, they do it with a different spelling. Every definite article in the Greek is spelled differently, depending on its application. But it still, nevertheless, is there so you can understand it—of the law

"…(are) just with God… [before God] …but the doers of the law… [the definite article: 'tou nomos'] …shall be justified. For when nations [Gentiles] which not law… [the definite article is not there] …have by nature the things of the law… [definite article] …practice…" 'poieo'—practice, do. It's not just a matter that you do it one time, it is that you have a principle that you practice.

"...these, law not having , to themselves are a law; who show the work of the law…" 'tau ergon tou nomos'—the works of the law. I will show you the difference between that and works of law when we get there, but I want you to note that very carefully.

One of the worst translations in the King James is 'the works of the law'—they inserted 'the' and 'the' as the definite article and they are not there in the Greek. Very important! Once you understand that, that is just going to lift so many, many thing to your understanding, that you will be able to see it. Now, I know it's a little technical; I'm not going to get any more technical than this—just enough so you can look at it and understand it. That's why if you have a Greek Interlinear, it's good for you to have to go through and read the English, even though you don't read the Greek.

Special Word Studies in the Greek, pg. 20, The Law:

The English word "the law" with the definite article comes from the Greek 'ho nomos'…

Notice, the definite article in what is called the 'nominative case' is a single letter. Whereas, of the law then is in the genitive case, which then has three letters. That's why Greek becomes very complicated. In English it's all simple, you can't miss it. So, here in the Greek it is 'ho nomos':

…and means "the law" or the entire set of "the laws and the commandments" as found in the Pentateuch

(go to the next track)

What is a Pentateuch? First five books of the Bible! That's just a fancy word for the first five books of Moses.

…or "all the laws of God," as found in all the Scriptures. The Divine Law, meaning code of law, which was given to Adam, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and to all the children of Israel, which were finally re-codified under Moses. The laws of God, as prescribed by God, in His laws, commandments, statutes and judgments—based on law—which includes all the written laws of God as contained in the Scriptures—Old Testament and New Testament.

Law with the Definite Article, "the Law"[Romans] Chapter Two:

13: (Because the hearers of the law are not just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
17: Behold, you who are named a Jew, and you yourself are resting in the law, and are boasting in God…
'God is on our side.' NO! It's the other way around, you better be on God's side!

18: and you know His will, and are approving of the things which are more excellent, and are being instructed out of the law
20: An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of the knowledge and of the Truth contained in the law.

Notice, it is only the form and knowledge of the Truth. Jesus Christ is what? The Way, the Truth and the Life! So then He gives fullness to everything! The Law does not!

23: You who are boasting in law… [no definite article] …are you not dishonoring God through your  transgression of the law?
26: Therefore, if the uncircumcision is keeping the requirements of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be reckoned for circumcision?
27: And shall not the uncircumcision by nature, who are fulfilling the law, judge you who, with the letter and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law?

Now, let's go back and study this a little more in detail, because those are pretty powerful words. All the way through this is talking about what God is going to do and is doing and how God views humanity. This comes as a shock to the Jews that God is going to deal with the Gentiles on an equal footing. That's important for us to know and understand.

Romans 2:16: "In a day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel…"

  • When is God going to judge the secrets of men not called?
  • Are we being judged today? Yes, judgment is on the house God!

We are going to be in the first resurrection. There is a Book of Life and our names are written there. And even our new name is written there.

  • Do you suppose there is a book that recalls all of the evil ones that have committed the unpardonable sin? There would have to be!
  • How are they going to be resurrected unless their name is in the book of the incorrigible wicked?

I know there is no 'thus sayeth the Lord' Scripture. I realize that, but we are trying to deduce this from the facts that we already know from the Scripture.

  • How is God going to know those who are going to be in the second resurrection to be given an opportunity for salvation?
  • Would not their names also be written in a book for the second resurrection? Yes!

That's when God is going to 'judge the secrets.'

Verse 17: "Behold, you are called a Jew, and you yourself rest in the law, and boast in God"—to the exclusion of everybody else. I wrote down to the Church of God today. Have we done that? 'Oh, we're Christians; we're going into the Kingdom of God and everybody else is going to hell in a hand-basket. We have the Sabbath! We tithe!' Sounds a little bit like Luke 18—doesn't it? Wrong emphasis!

Listen, whenever God deals with those He's called—be it Israel when He called them or us now—God always deals with those He called to correct them first! That's what Paul is leading up to here.

Verse 18: "And know His will, and approve of the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law… [they were already listening to it; they weren't doing it] …and are persuaded that you yourself are a guide of the blind, a light for those in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of the knowledge and of the Truth contained in the Law. You, then, who are teaching another, do you not teach yourself also?…." (vs 18-21). Very profound thing, brethren!

"…You who preach, 'Do not steal,' are you stealing? You who say, 'Do not commit adultery,' are you committing adultery? You who abhor idols, are you committing sacrilege?" (vs 21-22). What is sacrilege? Replacing the ways of God with your traditions! OR Avoiding the Law of God!

Verse 23: "You who boast in law, are you dishonoring God through your transgression of the Law?…. [Yes! That's why the Church of God is going through what it's going through!] …For through you the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles, exactly as it is written" (vs 23-24).

Has not the name of God been besmirched because of the behavior of the Churches of God with all of their heavy-handedness and weird doctrines and strange things that they are doing, and that some of them have done? Yes! Instead of preaching the love of God, the grace of God, and obedience, they look and see what's happening to the Church of God and wonder: Where can there be God?

Verse 25: "For on the one hand, circumcision profits if you are observing the Law; on the other hand, if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision."

That is a tremendous statement! To say that you're circumcision shall be counted as uncircumcision, that's something! There could be no greater fighting words than those. That's why the rabbis have said, 'Jesus we understand, Paul we will never forgive!' Now you know. These are the most powerful words. This is like putting a dagger in the heart. Sticks pride right where it pops!

Verse 26: "Therefore, if the uncircumcised is keeping the requirements of the Law, shall not his uncircumcision be reckoned for circumcision?" But the covenant to covenant to covenant! We'll cover that in Rom. 4. That's almost blasphemous to a Jew, because they're not looking to the heart, they're looking to the flesh, the outside not to the inside. God looks to the inside and not the outside!

Here's even greater fighting words, v 27: "And shall not the uncircumcised, who by nature is fulfilling the Law, judge you…" Think of that! A Gentile sit in judgment of a Jew! Unthinkable! Blasphemous, but true!

"…who, with the letter and circumcision, are a transgressor of the Law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is external in the flesh; rather, he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God" (vs 27-29).

Let's go back to v 21; this becomes a very important and very profound thing that we all need to know and understand! "You, then, who are teaching another, do you not teach yourself also?…." In other words, what you teach must apply to you.

Here's another principle, which is very profound and very important for us to understand. Brethren, I have experienced this, through the years that we have been going, many, many times:

Matthew 10:24—the words of Christ: "A disciple is not above his teacher…" This shows there has to be teachers, there has to be disciples. We're all disciples of Christ. Is anybody above Christ? No!

"…nor a servant above his master. It is sufficient for the disciple that he become as his teacher…" (vs 24-25).

There's a great principle that we can learn here, which is this: The goal of every teacher should not be to, in pride, flaunt his knowledge at people; like scholars do to make you feel dumb and stupid—have you ever experienced that? The responsibility of any teacher is to teach all of those he's teaching to know as much as he knows, as much as he can. I can't teach you all Greek, and not all of you need to know Greek. But if I can teach you enough that it will help you understand the Word of God that it will help you understand the Word of God even more. Isn't that better? Yes! Does that not help you? Yes!

Now then, I found that the more I teach the brethren, and I learn myself, the more that God teaches me that I can teach in turn. That's called growing in grace and knowledge! That how we grow in grace and knowledge. Fully 50-percent of what I've preached on through the years has come from questions from brethren, because we all work together and we all learn together. When we're here on the Sabbath Day and God's Spirit is here and we are here to fellowship with God the Father and Jesus Christ, what God loves is that we're all yielded to Him in Spirit and Truth in studying His Word.

  • God will inspire us
  • God will teach us
  • God will make it so that we will know and learn and understand

I think that's wonderful thing, brethren, that God made that possible. That's why it's very important that anyone who is teaching teach himself and then teach those he's teaching. And with that, reach out more and more! Can we ever come to the fullness of the Word of God in a single lifetime? No! But can we strive toward that? Is that not the goal we need to reach to? Yes! That's very important and I think it's very inspiring once we understand it.

Romans 2:21: "You, then, who are teaching another, do you not teach yourself also? You who preach, 'Do not steal,' are you stealing? You who say, 'Do not commit adultery' …" (vs 21-22).

One of the things that just flabbergasted me when I first went down to Pasadena on a Sabbatical in 1972, I thought that everyone lived by the Truth and Law of God. I thought the ones who would do that would be the evangelists most of all. But, much to my chagrin and experience, I found out that they didn't, and I found that they hated each other and fought against each other and there were political battles going on, stabbing each other in the back, spying on each other. That's why I wrote my Harmony of the Gospels as a sanity project. That's what it really was. It's bad news! Can the teachers of God's Word possibly teach the brethren when they themselves are living in sin? No way! God is going to cut them off! We're seeing that happen today. And you boast in the Law, and you dishonor God through your transgressions and so forth! No way! That's not what God wants.

Let's look at the thing concerning circumcision. Circumcision is two-way proposition. Circumcision of the heart, of the mind—that's what we're going to look to. There's something you need to do and let's see what it is; then there's something that God will do:

Deuteronomy 10:16: "Therefore, circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stiff-necked… [hard-hearted, disobedient] …for the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, the mighty and awesome God Who does not respect persons nor take a bribe" (vs 16-17). Isn't that what we just read there in Rom. 2, 'God is not respecter of persons'? Yes!

So, there's something we need to do. How do you circumcise your heart? You surely don't have an operation and open up this and wonder what this is? 'Now my heart is circumcised; I got that thing cut out' and stitch yourself back up. No! That means that it begins by responding to God's graciousness in leading you to repentance. Your part in the operation of circumcision is repentance; repentance and a willingness to obey; that's your part.

Now, let's see God's part. This is talking about a time when the children of Israel are out in captivity and they come to themselves and start repenting.

Deuteronomy 30:1 "…where the LORD your God has driven you, and shall return to the LORD your God and shall obey His voice according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the LORD your God will turn away your captivity. And He will have compassion on you… [See how God responds? IF you return to Him then He will return to you!] …and will return and gather you from all the nations…" (vs 1-3).

Verse 6: "And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart…" How does He do that? By giving His Holy Spirit! That's how God circumcises your heart. That is the circumcision 'made without hands.'

"…and the heart of your seed… [To do what?] …to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live" (v 6).

Let's see how that's described with the circumcision of Jesus Christ, the circumcision 'made without hands.' This is what we want, brethren:
Colossians 2:9: "For in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him…."

  • we don't need philosophies of men
  • we don't need traditions of men
  • we don't need the theology of men
  • we don't need the Dalai Lama
  • we don't need the pope

to tell us how we need to live in Christ! You are complete in Him. Also, brethren, we have the complete Word of God, which makes even greater for us.

"…Who is the Head of all principality and power" (v 10)—which means don't get involved with any of these spiritualist things or demons or lights, tweetings, poppings and voices, because your leaving Christ when you do that. That's what he says the rest of the chapter.

Verse 11: "In Whom you have also been circumcised with the circumcision not made by hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism…" (vs 11-12).

That's how you are circumcised spiritually; of the heart. Now unto the covenant that was with Israel and Abraham, only the males could be circumcised, because it was in the flesh. Now then, the circumcision of the spirit—as Paul is talking about—the circumcision of Christ 'made with out hands' applies to male and female.

"…by which you have also been raised with Him through the inner working of God, Who raised Him from the dead. For you, who were once dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh… [there it is, He takes that away] …He has now made alive with Him, having forgiven all your trespasses" (vs 12-13).

We don't want to get into a controversy about circumcision—to do it or not do it—because that doesn't count. I had one man come up to me and say, 'Must I be circumcised to be saved?' He had been involved with some of these 'sacred namers' and here he was 42-years-old. I said, 'No!' So I turned here:

Galatians 5:6: "Because in Christ Jesus neither is circumcision of any force, nor uncircumcision…"—because you have the two extremes. The Jews were saying, 'We're circumcised; we're of God.' And the Gentiles coming along saying, 'Look, you're stupid. Why would you be circumcised? How are you of God?' You have both of these things. So, Paul is saying that 'neither one of them avail anything.'
"…rather, it is the inner working of faith through love." That's what is the important thing!

Galatians 6:12: "As many as desire to make a good impression in the flesh…"—brag in the flesh; make proselytes! 'Brother, are you circumcised?' They even had them coming up in Gal. 2, spying! What were they doing? They had spies going into the men's room—'is you is or is you ain't!' They're called false brethren! What righteousness is there in that? None! That's why he says circumcision or uncircumcision avails nothing!

"…these are the ones who compel you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ; for those who are circumcised, neither do they keep the law themselves… [that's exactly, precisely what Paul was writing about] …but they want you to be circumcised in order that they may boast in your flesh. But as for me, MAY IT NEVER BE that I boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any spiritual force; rather, it is a new creation that avails" (vs 12-15).

Be created in Christ Jesus; have the mind of Christ, the love of God—that's what's important.

Verse 16: "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God." So, we are the true Israel of God, because we are spiritual Israel.

Romans 2:26—this is something! "Therefore, if the uncircumcised is keeping the requirements of the Law… [How important is keeping the requirements of the law?] (So important that): … shall not his uncircumcision be reckoned for circumcision?" God looks to the heart!

Acts 15—this is where they had the great controversy. If you will read very carefully the book of Acts, you do not find the Pharisees associated with the Church of God any longer after this conference.

Acts 15:8: "And God, Who knows the heart…" This is a better and more interesting and more profound statement in the Greek—the heart-knowing God. God knows the hearts of all men!

"…bore witness to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, even as He did to us, and made no difference between us and them, and has purified their hearts through the faith" (vs 8-9). That's what Paul is talking about. So, their uncircumcision is reckoned as uncircumcision.

Romans 2:27: "And shall not the uncircumcised, who by nature is fulfilling the Law…"—present tense. God doesn't want us just to keep the Law, brethren. God does not want us to just look at the letter. God wants it to be fulfilled in us! Keep that in remembrance concerning the Sabbath. Don't just keep the Sabbath, fulfill the Sabbath by fellowshipping with God the Father and Jesus Christ and then each other. Let the Sabbath be the greatest day of the week. It should be, because God has set that as an appointed time to meet with you, to meet with all of His people, that we can come together and learn of Him. That's what's important. "

"…who by nature is fulfilling the Law…" (v 27). Not just keeping; it's different. The Greek there is 'teleiosis' which means to fill to the full, the whole purpose of it.

Psalm 119:18: "Open my eyes so that I may behold wondrous things out of Your Law." That's how we fulfill the Law.

  • then the Sabbath can become a great joy
  • the Holy Days can become a great joy
  • the Spirit and love of God can be on us in everything

That's what's so tremendous in it! Because there are those who do that, he says to the Jew:

"…judge you, who, with the letter and circumcision, are a transgressor of the Law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is external in the flesh; rather, he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God" (vs 27-29).

Now, let's go back and survey just a little bit and summarize Rom. 2. What we're doing here is talking about the judgment of God and he ends up saying that the final judgment of God will be the Gentiles judging the Jews. That's an awesome statement!

Romans 2—Summary

  • v 1—judging—the wrong kind of judgment
  • v 2—judgment of God according to Truth
  • v 5—God's righteous judgment

righteousness, Truth and God's judgment

  • v 3—wrong kind of judging; the judgment of God—do you think you shall escape the judgment of God? No way! No one is!
  • v 12—judged by the Law
  • v 16—in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men
  • v 27—shall judge you

There is an awful lot of judgment in here. And judging according to works!

Law (19 times)—we're going to see that's very important as we progress on through the book of Romans. I'm going to make a very bold statement: No law has been done away with!Jesus said, 'Not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law till all be fulfilled!' Now then:

  • Do we still keep the Ten Commandments today? Let's start out with what we know! That's always a way to begin to understand.
  • Do we have things in the New Testament which expand and amplify all of the judgments and statutes that we find in the Old Testament? Yes! All based upon loving your neighbor as yourself! All the statutes and judgments are based upon that.
  • What about sacrifices? The animal sacrifices have ceased, but we have a law of a greater sacrifice being Jesus Christ!
  • Sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving? Yes!
  • We are to become what? A living sacrifice!

So, rather than doing away, what God has done is replaced it with a higher standard, with a greater requirement. When you understand that, then it's going to help you understand Galatians. {note sermon series: Epistle to the Galatians}

Some of Galatians gets very complicated. Lots of times it's very easy to get things mixed up, because of previous teachings; we need to understand that. Even though we come to a greater understanding of it, it doesn't change anything that we are doing today, but actually fortifies and reinforces what we are doing and verifies our knowledge to an even greater depth than we have understood in the past.

Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version (except where noted)

Scriptural References:

  • Romans 2:5
  • Ezekiel 3:4-10
  • Jeremiah 7:23-28
  • Mark 3:1-6
  • Mark 16:9-14
  • Luke 1:18-20
  • Hebrews 3:6-15
  • Romans 2:6
  • Ephesians 2:8-10
  • Revelation 2:2, 9, 13, 19
  • Revelation 3:1, 8, 15
  • Revelation 22:12
  • Romans 2:7-11
  • Deuteronomy 16:18-20
  • Romans 2:12-16, 13, 17, 18, 20, 23, 26-27,

16-29, 21

  • Matthew 10:24-25
  • Romans 2:21-22
  • Deuteronomy 10:16-17
  • Deuteronomy 30:1-3, 6
  • Colossians 2:9-13
  • Galatians 5:6
  • Galatians 6:12-16
  • Romans 2:26
  • Acts 15:8-9
  • Romans 2:27
  • Psalm 119:18
  • Romans 2:27-29

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Deuteronomy 18
  • Exodus 16
  • 1 Corinthians 3
  • Luke 18
  • Romans 4
  • Galatians 2

Also referenced:

  • Sermon Series:
  • Judge Righteous Judgment
  • Epistle to the Galatians
  • Books:
    • Josephus
    • Interlinear Greek-English New Testament by George Ricker Berry
    • A Harmony of the Gospels by Fred R. Coulter
  • Booklets:
  • Judge Righteous Judgment
  • Beliefs of the Christian Biblical Church of God
  • The Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Romans; Special Word Studies from the Greek

Transcribed: 11-21-10
Reformatted/Corrected: November/2016